Fullcourt Press Southern California
Pre-Summer Class of 2011 Rankings Part I – Point Guards By Dinos Trigonis (May 12, 2010)
This is the first of a five part series of 2011 rankings that will be released over the next week or so. Unlike some other media sources that don’t fully understand that the college and pro game positions are inherently different for many reasons too detailed to discuss here, the Fullcourt Press has always broken down its rankings into 5 different position areas: (a) Centers/Post-Forwards, (b) Combo-Forwards, (c) Wing Forwards/Off-Guards, (d) Combo-Guards and (e) Point Guards. These position categories reflect how multi-dimensional the college game has become and how much the concept of “versatility” is valued by college coaches. These rankings reflect both current player talent level/skills as well as their “upside” or potential. The Fullcourt Press also tends to value “intangibles” (e.g. work-ethic, attitude, character, leadership, basketball IQ, etc.) more than several of our fellow West Coast scouts.
We also feel that projecting a player’s potential involves not just looking forward but also reflecting on a player’s past body of work. We believe that this overall and comprehensive perspective gives us a better read of a player’s present and future capabilities. We have ranked the top players in each of our five position categories from 1-10 with others deserving consideration listed further below. For purposes of these rankings: “Southern California” is the area bordering the Fresno area to the north and the Mexican Border to the south.
We will update these 2011 rankings again in late August/early September – after we get a chance to digest how much all of these players either improve or digress between now and the July recruiting period.
Listed below are the top Point Guards in Southern California’s Class of 2011. Guerrero edges out the rest of the field due to his terrific skills/package (shooting/ballhandling) as well as his track record of competing successfully against top lead guards not only within his own 2011 class but also top prospects from the recent classes of 2010, 2009 and 2008 as well. While he may not have a flawless career to date, he does have the finest track record of this pool of PG prospects as well as the toughness worthy of claiming the top spot. McBroom may not have great size but he plays with tons of confidence and is a real long-distance threat, Cooper has demonstrated the capability to make clutch shots, Moore has nice size for the position as well as impressive pin-point passing ability, Caffey and Daniels have made a lot of noise this spring and could challenge for the top spot by summer’s end, Guei is a cat-quick and pesky defender while Heller, Ragsdale and Keller are hard-nosed playmakers that can knock down perimeter shots. Overall it is not a great class although there are several solid prospects that have the potential to be excellent contributors to their future college programs.
1. Cezar Guerrero 6’0” St. John Bosco (Bellflower CA)
The debate surrounding Cezar’s college fortunes strongly resembles the college recruiting situation of Cal forward Jamal Boykin (a 2010 all-Pac-10 selection) and we all know how that turned out. Several so-called “gurus” thought Boykin would be a non-factor at the high-major level and ridiculed my assertion that he would be an excellent college player due to his tremendous character, leadership and other important intangibles. Boykin would prove those naysayers wrong by being a 3-year starter and very important part of a Cal team that captured its first Pac-10 title in 50 years as well as achieving “back to back” NCAA tourney appearances (including a win over Big East power Louisville before being eliminated by eventual 2010 NCAA champ Duke this year). Boykin would lead Cal in rebounding, FG percentage (finishing 5thall-time in this category) and “double-doubles” for two straight seasons as well as averaging double-figures in scoring as a senior. Like Boykin, those “gurus” have come out in full force attempting to discourage high-major programs from pulling the trigger on Guerrero but again (like Boykin) they ignore his full body of work and his intangible qualities (toughness, willingness to sacrifice his body and his overcoming personal adversity). Guerrero has been a factor on the elite grassroots circuit since he started on a Belmont Shore squad as a freshman – leading a Belmont team that included Mason Plumlee (Duke), Kyle Fogg (Arizona), Stephan Van Treece (Louisville) and Bobby Capobianco (Indiana) to the 2008 Las Vegas Easter Classic title. That same freshman year he along with Darius Morris (Michigan) and Fogg would best arguably the nation’s best grassroots back-court of Avery Bradley and Abdul Gaddy in an Arizona Catcus Classic game. As a soph, Cezar would lead Belmont Shore to the “Elite 8” of the Real Deal in the Rock (Little Rock AR) – pouring in 35 points in a play-off win over the Oakland Soldiers (led by Jabari Brown and Nick Johnson) before losing to eventual tourney champ Illinois Warriors. Guerrero is a Dan Dickau-type lead guard that can create off the dribble as well as knock-down NBA-range three-point bombs. Guerrero has an excellent mid-range pull-up jump shot as well. Cezar has been faulted by some as being too flamboyant and scoring-oriented but he has really improved his overall playmaking skills over the past year – leading Belmont Shore this April to the Fullcourt Press Easter Classic title. CJ also demonstrated his ability to compliment elite players at the 2009 Pangos All-American Camp where he teamed with the nation’s #1 2010 prospect Harrison Barnes to win all four of their team’s camp games. Having missed all but 2 days of last July due to a broken collar bone as well as this past HS season due to CIF transfer rules, it has been difficult for college coaches to get a good recent read on him, but based on spring play, he appears to be rapidly rounding into form and headed for a big summer. UNLV (has unofficially visited), USC (has unofficially visited), SMU, Auburn, UTEP, Arizona (will attend their elite camp), Oregon State, Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine are among the growing list of schools expected to evaluate Cezar closely this summer.
2. Austin McBroom 5’10” Campbell Hall (North Hollywood CA)
Confident floor general has legitimate 3-point range and is a fierce competitor. McBroom (a 4 year HS varsity starter) handles defensive pressure well and has the quickness necessary to be an adequate on-ball defender. Good student is hearing from Arizona, Marquette, Gonzaga, Portland and UC-Santa Barbara.
3. CJ Cooper 6’0” La Verne Lutheran (La Verne CA)
Mr. “Clutch” is a quick point with a dependable handle and a fine passer, but his consistent ability to take and make big shots (including several game-winning shots this past HS season) is a main reason we have him ranked so high on this list. All-State selection averaged 15.6 points and 6.1 assists per game for the California State Division V state champions this past season. Good student is attracting attention from the likes of San Diego State, UNLV, Portland, SMU, Pepperdine, Hawaii, USC, Colorado, Montana State, Arizona State and UTEP.
4. Alexis Moore 6’2” Poly (Long Beach CA)
Moore is a very dependable lead guard with excellent court vision and pin-point passing ability as well as an accurate outside shot. Excellent student is being looked at closely by Stanford
(has taken an unofficial to the Farm), UCLA, Penn, Bucknell, USC (visited unofficially), Oregon State and Arizona State.
5. Michael Caffey 5’11” Centennial (Corona CA)
Caffey has been an unsung hero for a talented Compton Magic squad this spring providing Etop Udo-Ema’s squad with toughness and energy at the lead guard position. Caffey has sprouted up several inches since he entered HS as a 5’5” freshman and now has a wiry and athletic frame that allows him to be a harassing defender. Quick ballhandler has ability to penetrate and kick to open teammates.
6. Jordan Daniels 5’8” Etiwanda (Etiwanda CA)
Ultra-quick but very small PG has real ability to beat defenders off the dribble as well as score from the perimeter. Most scouts love his feel and ability to run a team. Size and strength are the big questions that need to be answered this summer if he is to be a significant contributor above the mid-major level. Very good student is hearing from UTEP, Gonzaga, San Diego, Portland, USC, UNLV and Oregon State.
7. Allen Guei 5’8” Compton (Compton CA)
Cat-quick point guard is difficult to attack off the dribble and his passion for defense is a major factor to his being included on this Top 10 list. Guei also has the necessary quickness to get to the cup off the dribble. Lack of size often presents problems on both ends but his competitiveness allows him to make plays. Washington and a host of mid-majors showing interest.
8. Max Heller 5’10” Torrey Pines (San Diego CA)
Scrappy point is a tough competitor and can knock down open looks. Max has a high basketball IQ and can really direct a team’s offense. Yale, Penn, Cornell and San Diego are among those taking a hard look.
9. Clayton Ragsdale 6’2” Corona del Mar (Newport Beach CA)
Heady point has very nice PG instincts and is an underrated 3-point shooter. Excellent student is attracting attention from UC-Santa Barbara, Portland (will attend their elite camp), UC-Davis (will un-officially visit), Arizona State and Penn.
10. Billy Keller 6’0” Ocean View (Huntington Beach CA)
Cerebral lead guard has a nice perimeter stroke and an impressive GPA. While Billy does not have a high-major physique, he does have high-major heart and that grit allows him to be an effective playmaker. Hearing from schools like Portland, Colgate, Pacific and Lehigh.
* Chris Anderson 5’8” Canyon (Anaheim CA)
Small PG is quick in transition. Younger brother of UCLA guard Jerime Anderson is also a very good student.
* Siqueiros Bolado 5’9” Glendora (Glendora CA)
Heady point is an extension of his coach on the floor. Terrific student too.
* Chris Brown 5’9” Washington (Los Angeles CA)
Fast PG is hard to contain off the dribble and has real ability to penetrate defenses.
* Jordan Castaneda 6’2” Huntington Beach (Huntington Beach CA)
Montana State-bound floor-general has good size and is strong with the ball.
* Andre Darville 5’10” Silverado (Victorville CA)
Pesky defender competes on every play.
* Johnny Dee 6’0” Rancho Buena Vista (Vista CA)
Smooth-shooting lead guard is a San Diego-area native moving back to his original high school this June. Excellent student should have the Ivies taking a long look.
* Giovanni Douresseau 5’10” Palisades (Los Angeles CA)
Quick point has ability to elude defensive pressure.
* Javonte Sales 5’8” Gahr (Cerritos CA)
Speeding point also has a sharp mind in the classroom.
* KJ Smith 6’1” Campbell Hall (North Hollywood CA)
Very improved point competes every time he hits the floor. Excellent student.
* Joseph Soto 6’0” Rio Mesa (Oxnard CA)
Lefty is quick off the dribble and is a real sleeper in this class. Outplayed Top 10 PG Jordan Daniels (Etiwanda CA) in 805 Elite’s upset win over Pump-n-Run Elite at the recent Pump May tourney.
* Anthony Trammel 6’1” Central (Fresno CA)
Scrappy PG makes things happen on both ends of the floor and has real potential to crack the Top 10 at this position. Played well at the recent Pangos Sweet 16 – leading Organized Chaos to a 3-1 mark (losing by only 6 points to Compton Magic).
* Khiry Williams 5’10” Taft (Woodland Hills CA)
Quick lefty point didn’t get much burn for a loaded Taft squad this past year, but don’t be misled – this kid can play.
Photos of Cezar Guerrero, Austin McBroom and CJ Cooper by Nick Koza (www.SportsAmp.com).