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2016 Jerry Tarkanian Classic: Day 1
by Dinos Trigonis
(December 15, 2016)

The 5th annual Jerry Tarkanian Classic is being held December 15-20, 2016 @ Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas NV) and surrounding area gyms.  80 high school boys squads (spread over 5 divisions) and 27 prep programs (National Division) are participating this year.

A large contingent of national/regional media and scouts attended the 1st night of the event including Frank Burlison (BurlisonOnBasketball.com/McDonald’s All-American Game voter), Van Coleman (The Basketball Channel/McDonald’s All-American Game voter), Evan Daniels & Josh Gershon (Scouthoops.com), Krysten Peek (RivalsHoops.com), Dinos Trigonis (Fullcourt Press & Nothing But Net), Corey Evans (HoopSeen.com), Christian Popoola (PremierBall.com), Etop Udo-Ema (Fullcourt Press& Dunk News), Matt Rodriguez & Arek Kissoyan (BallisLife.com) and Eric & Johnny Hines (Courtside Films).

Colleges on hand opening night included UCLA, Utah, Colorado, Cal, Arkansas, TCU, UNLV, New Mexico, Long Beach State, Wyoming, Loyola Marymount, Cal State Fullerton, Northern Colorado, Pepperdine, Weber State, Columbia and Southern Idaho.

Below, we will highlight several players that made an impression:

Spencer Freedman            6’1”     2018   Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
Cerebral PG with an excellent feel for the game, Freedman is a pin-point passer as well as dangerous 3-point threat.  Terrific student is hearing from the likes of Harvard, Stanford, USC, Brown and Princeton.

Jared Vanderbilt                 6’7”     2017   Victory Prep (Houston TX)
Multi-position player has tremendous ball skills for size as well as impressive passing ability.  Will be among the most coveted national spring recruits.  Kentucky and Kansas are currently among the many elite programs that would love to land him.

Jacobi Gordon                    6’7”     2018   Chris Walker Academy (Houston TX)
Very underrated national prospect is a swingman with plenty of scoring skills as well as deep range on his 3-point shot.  Scored 28 points (including 4 threes) in win over Cooper Academy/CA.

Bruno Fernando                 6’10”  Post.  IMG (Bradenton FL)
Physical specimen is an active rebounder and rim-protector with a high ceiling.  Maryland signee has the potential to be an interior force in Big 10.

Evan Battey                         6’7”     2017   Elite Prep (Inglewood CA)
Colorado signee is playing this season on the Elite Prep squad although he still attends Villa Park/CA where he is ineligible to play on that high school’s CIF team.  Physical beast in the paint, this burly PF rebounds at a high clip and is a legit scoring threat on the block.

Justice Sueing                    6’6”     2017   Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA)
Active and bouncy WF scored a team high 16 points in a 70-40 win over Liberty/Las Vegas NV.  Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak was among the coaches watches Justice here.

Jalen King                            6’9”     2018   Chris Walker Academy (Houston TX)
Long, athletic forward with upside runs floor well.

James Jean-Marie              6’7”     2018   Athlos (San Antonio TX)
Bouncy hybrid-forward makes plays on both ends.  One to track for mid-to-high majors nation-wide.

Mike Wang                           6’9”     2018   Mater Dei (Santa Ana CA)
Skilled “stretch 4” with very nice range and accuracy on his 3-point shot.  Wang has also improved his rebounding and defense since last summer.

Tyler Bey                              6’7”     post    Middlebrooks Academy (Los Angeles CA)
Colorado signee is a pogo-stick forward that runs the floor like a deer and finishes above the rim in traffic.

Will McDowell                     6’6”     Post   Elite Prep (Inglewood CA)
Australian native is a talented point guard with tons of savvy that is attending prep school after not qualifying to attend Fresno State (where he signed last spring).  Looks like he is back on the market as he had TCU and many Pac-12 schools watching his every move here

George Dixon                      6’5”     2017   IMG (Bradenton FL)
Strong and assertive forward can play both inside as well as out on the perimeter.

Souleymane Doumbia      6’10”  2018   Athlos (San Antonio TX)
Athletic center with plenty of room for improvement has the size and athletic ability to be recruited at HM level.

Silas Slaughter                   5’9”     2019   Elite Prep (Inglewood CA)
Up and coming young floor-leader is a jitter-bug PG that has the quickness to evade opposing defenses. 

Greg Bowie II                       6’2”     2018   Athlos (San Antonio TX)
Texas-Rio Grande Valley signee has a nice pull-up jump shot off the bounce.

Gianni Brown                      6’5”     Post.  Cooper Academy (Diamond Bar CA)
Strong wing forward with nice scoring ability.

Julian Strawther                 6’6”     2020   Liberty (Las Vegas NV)
Promising young swingman is a very talented prospect near top of national 2020 class




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