Written on July 26, 2016 by Frank Burlison
LAS VEGAS – The Los Angeles-based Earl Watson Elite squad capped a strong five days and overcome a significant injury to capture the Fab 48 17-Under Invitational division champion Sunday afternoon at Bishop Gorman High.
EWE, coached by George Zedan (Cantwell-Sacred Heart in Montebello), toppled another Under Armour-front program, Splash City (made up of players from the northern and central regions of California) in the title game, 65-50, as Jemarl Baker and Reed Farley led the way with 20 and 15 points, respectively.
There wasn’t a better jump shooter – or a player who hit “bigger shots” – in Las Vegas than Baker while leading EWE overall record of 9-zip on the week, including the three wins on Sunday (quarter- and semi-final victories over the Omaha Sports Academy and Florida Vipers, respectively).
From my perspective, Baker was an easy selection as the Most Outstanding Player I saw during the five days of the third and final NCAA Division I evaluation period.
No team I saw during the Fab 48 or adidas Summer Championships (at the Cashman Center in northern Las Vegas) had better depth than EWE, nor anyone who used his depth as well as did Zedan, who is one of the finest coaches in California.
Surprisingly enough, EWE didn’t miss a beat even when it lost its most gifted “big man” when Ira Lee (Napa, CA, Prolific Prep) who suffered a shoulder injury in a pool play win over the same Splash City team Friday that made him a spectator the final two days.
It was a superb week for the overall West Coast Elite/Earl Watson Elite program founded and operated by Ryan Silver, as his squads also reached the Final Four of the Fab 48 16-U Invitational division and the title game of the 15-U Invitational.
It was also an impressive five days for the entire Under Armour grassroots program, which was represented by seven of its teams in the Fab 48 17-U Invitational Round of 16, four in the quarterfinals and two in the finale.
Rolling to the adidas Uprising Summer Championships 17-U title was Coach/Director Vincent Pastore’s Massachusetts Rivals squad, which capped an 8-0 week by toppling Garner Road (from North Carolina) Sunday, 93-78.
Only one foe got was within double figures of Mass Rivals all week and that is when it beat D-I Minnesota, 66-61, in the final of the eight-team “Creator’s Cup” Thursday night.
What follows is the list of the 30 players who most impressed me while watching the adidas and Fab 48 events.
The list is not strictly based upon “college potential” or any other form of “upside” but upon a combination of how well the players and their teams performed at the events, especially when I was court-side.
Obviously a whole of tremendous players didn’t make the cut, a lot of those of which I “rate” (as “prospects”) over those who did make the list.
Players from the Las Vegas Championship/Big Foot, NY2LA and PremierBall were not included because time/endurance restrictions kept me from attending those events.
Most Outstanding Player:
Jemarl Baker (Earl Watson Elite17s/2017/6-3/Eastvale, CA, Roosevelt)
The remainder of the Top 30 (alpha listing):
Makai Ashton Langford (Mass Rivals 17s/2017/6-1/Ashburnham, MA, Cushing Academy)
Evan Battey (Dream Vision 17s/2016/6-7/To be determined (Villa Park last year)
Teddy Allen (Omaha Sports Academy 17s/2016/6-5/To be determined JC or Prep (Boys Town, NE, last school year)
Wabasa Bede (Mass Rivals 17s/2017/6-0/Ashburnham, MA, Cushing Academy)
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Team Final 17s/2017/6-8/Philadelphia Neumann-Goretti)
Trevon Duval (WE R1 17s/2017/6-2/Dallas API (will re-locate as a senior; TBD)
Reed Farley (Earl Watson Elite 17s/2017/6-4/La Jolla, CA, La Jolla)
RaiQuan Gray (Florida Vipers 17s/2017/6-7/Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dillard)
Joey Hauser (Iowa Barnstormers 16s/2018/6-8/Stevens Point, WI, Stevens Point)
Prentiss Hubb (DC Premier 17s/2017/6-3/Washington, DC, Gonzaga Prep)
Jerome Hunter (Ohio-NOVA-Tillman 16s/2018/Pickerington, OH, North)
Matthew Hurt (D1 Minnesota 17s/2019/6-9/Rochester, MN, John Marshall)
Spencer Freedman (Big Red Elite 17s/2018/6-0/Santa Ana, CA, Mater Dei)
Trevin Knell (Exum Elite-Utah Prospects 17s/2017/6-3/Woods Cross, UT, Woods Cross)
Romeo Langford (Eric Gordon All-Stars 2017/2018/6-4/New Albany, IN, New Albany)
Scotty Lewis (Team Rio National 16s/2019/6-4/Tinton Falls, NJ, Ranney)
Tyrese Martin (WE R 1 17s/2017/6-5/Allentown, PA, William Allen)
Damari Milstead (Splash City 17s/2017/6-1/Hayward, CA, Moreau)
Michael Okauru (Garner Road BC 17s/2017/6-5/Wolfeboro, NH, Brewster Academy)
Onyeka Okongwu (Compton Magic 17s/2019/6-8/Chino Hills, CA, Chino Hills)
Mitchell Robinson (New Orleans Elite 17s/2016/7-0/Chalmette, LA, Chalmette)
Chris Seeley (Splash City 17s/2016/6-7/Fresno Central (will attend college in fall)
Grant Sherfield (Marcus Smart YGC36/2019/6-2/Arlington, TX, Mansfield Summit)
James Slater (Team Takeover 16s/2018/6-6/Fairfax, VA, Paul VI)
Jordan Tucker (NY Rens 17s/2017/6-7/White Plains, NY, Stepinac)
Isaiah Washington (New Heights 17s/2017/6-1/Bronx, NY, St. Raymond’s)
Tremont Waters (Expressions Elite 17s/2017/5-10/South Kent, CT, South Kent School)
Kris Wilkes (Indy Hoosiers 17s/2017/6-7/Indianapolis North Central)
Emmitt Williams (Each 1 Teach 1 17s/2018/6-7/Bradenton, FL, IMG Academy)
Zion Williamson (Game Elite/2018/6-6/Spartanburg, SC, Day)