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SoCalHoops Recruiting News

Class of 2002: Top SoCal Soph
Posts & Power Fowards--(June 5, 2000)

These our our final, post-season, post-spring, pre-summer listings for the class of 2002, the current crop of sophomores who are about to become "rising juniors" in a few weeks (at which point we'll begin to switch all of our class designations for everyone, not just the sophs).   This first list is for the point guards.  Since last fall, a few more players have been identified, so the overall numbers on these lists (even with those players we've now moved to other positions who were on the fall list) has expanded somewhat from 35 last fall, up to 44 on this list.

We've already done our listings for the Top Juniors (Class of 2001) and the Top Seniors (Class of 2000), and all of the SoCalHoops  "Top SoCal Players" lists can always be accessed by clicking on the link on the navigation bar at the left.   We're busy working on the the Class of 2003, this year's current Freshman class, and we'll post that up shortly as well. 

This was probably the easiest yet at the same time the most difficult of our lists to prepare,  because unlike this year's current crop of juniors (the guys who will become "rising seniors" in a few weeks) which has a huge number of post and power forwards, many of whom are very skilled,  in the sophomore class there are very few really big true centers.   While there are a number of players at 6'-8" and bigger,  some of whom can play with their backs to the basket, or have some post moves,  very few of these guys have really polished footwork, and even among the players designated as power forwards, there are more than a few who many would argue should be classified as small forwards instead.  But this is a developing class, and among younger players it's not unexpected there are only a few really accomplished players at these positions.  But then this years' junior class, with guys like Tyson Chandler, is pretty unusual, and the soph class seems more typical in that most of the big men will likely develop later rather than sooner.  There are notable exceptions, e.g., guys like  Martin Iti at center (although he's still got a ton of work to do in his development) or Charlie Rodriguez, who is one of the most accomplished post players in any class this past year, and a few others, but the general rule still seems more than applicable to this class of very good, but somewhat raw talent.

A huge caveat about this list:  Please don't get hung up about our previous lists, or where a player may have been shown before.  Some players have left the area and are no longer listed; others have moved around and are now up from the small forwards to this list; a few who appeared on our list of power forwards in the fall are now shown as small forwards. 

We hate to repeat this but it's worth noting:  We haven't ranked any player individually by number in comparison to the others.  Maybe we should, and maybe someday we will, but for now we won't.   Others do it, and for them, it's an expression of opinion.   For us, we're just not sold on the value of the ranking players who still have two more years of solid development ahead of them.  Putting players into large groupings is about as far as we're willing to take it.  But everyone listed on any of our lists, whether it's in one of the "top" or "next best" or "best of the rest" is, in our view, a player capable of getting recruited, and in many cases the difference in skill level between some of the players in one group from those in another can be hard to ascertain.

Many of the recruiting services will use numerical rankings, and we've spoken with several about why they do that, and we've been told various things. . . mostly the view seems to be that these guys are doing this for a living, rating players and selling their services to the college coaches, so they want to be as helpful to the coaches who may use their reports.  That's fine for such services;   they're in business and they're entitled to conduct business any way they want, and won't get any arguments from us.

On the other hand, college coaches use even the most painstakingly-prepared numerical rankings only as a guide to decide which players they want to see during the open evaluation periods, and after a coach has seen a player, he'll make up his own mind about any "ranking" for his own purposes.   From our perspective, these SoCalHoops lists are not intended to "rank" players; they're meant  to get the word out about players we believe are among the best at their positions in a given class who may have a chance at the next level.

Another huge caveat:  We have not seen every player in SoCal in the current sophomore class.  We think we've seen most of the big guys, the posts, power forwards and small forwards, but we're certain that over the next two years, others will surface from among the ranks of the frosh-soph or jv teams from this past season.  Most of what we know about the players in this class comes from seeing those sophs (relatively few in number in comparison to say jrs. and srs.) who who played varsity this past season, or who have consistently played with some of the better clubs and travel teams.   We've also reviewed all of our prior lists, every CIF playoff team roster from this season,  all the tournament and showcase rosters, and spring league rosters, in an effort to at least consider everyone we've seen but may not have recalled just from memory.   But we want to stress, we have not seen everyone there is to see in this class.  A huge number of the class of 2002 played at the JV or frosh-soph level this past year, and they arel yet emerge over the course of the next two years.   So, we'll be the first to say that we probably haven't seen even half of the class of 2002.  But finding out about new players we've never seen is part of what makes this stuff so much fun, and we're looking forward to seeing even more players identified over the next two years.

We've tried to list those players who played particularly well this past season and spring, who are among the more promising players, those we think have a chance of getting recruited at some level.   The list include players from Fresno in the north, to San Diego in the south, i.e., the entire SoCal region.  Many of the players listed have already drawn the attention of some of the traditional recruiting gurus (e.g., Recruiting USA, Fullcourt Press, Clark Francis'  HoopScoop,  PrepStars Recruiting, PacWestHoops,  and others).  

Lastly, not to be too repetitive about this, but if we've left a player off the list, it may or may not be an oversight, but if you think someone deserves to be on the list who isn't, let us know via e-mail.

SoCalHoops Top 5 Sophomore Post Centers
(Class of 2002)

Chad Carter   6'-8" So. F/C   Arlington
DeAngelo Collins   6'-9" So. PF/C   Inglewood (expected to return)
Martin Iti   6'-11" So. C/F   Villa Park
Paul Meynan   6'-11" So. C   Redondo
Bryce Prather   6'-8" So. C/F   Villa Park

SoCalHoops Top 10 Sophomore Power Forwards
(Class of 2002)

Mercedes Lewis   6'-7" So. PF   Long Beach Poly
James Mathews   6'-8" So.PF   Palisades
Charlie Rodriguez   6'-7" So. PF   Clovis West
Matt Salinas   6’-9"  So. PF   Sonora
Darius Sanders   6'-6" So. PF   Compton Dominguez
Thomas Shewmake   6’-9" So. PF   Cathedral City 
Shamar Shire   6'-8" So. PF/SF   San Diego
Lance Soderberg   6'-8" So. PF/SF   Corona Centennial
Jamaal Walls   6'-6" So. PF/SF   Crenshaw
Adam Zahn   6'-7" So. PF/SF   Redondo

SoCalHoops Best of the Rest Top Sophomore Power Forwards
(Class of 2002)

McKensie Clark   6'-6" So. PF/SF   Pasadena
Derek Daniels   6'-8" So. PF   Montclair Prep
Alex Elliott   6'-6" So. PF/SF   Rolling Hills Prep
Kevin Gardner   6’-7" So. PF/SF   Peninsula
Samir Hernandez   6'-6" So. PF/SF   Compton Dominguez
Anthony Jones   6'-6" So. PF   Verbum Dei
Terrence Jones   6'-6" So. PF   Crenshaw
Matt McKinney   6'-8" So. PF   Santa Ynez
Ryan Meilleur   6'-8" So. PF   Artesia
Mike Roche   6'-6" So. SF/PF   Long Beach Poly
DaShawn Strong   6'-5" So. PF   El Segundo
Jon Todd   6'-7" So. PF/SF   Chaminade

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