West Coast Elite Spring Classic
Las Vegas, NV
While all the major shoe companies had their events spread all across the country, Ryan Silver and his staff put together an event in Las Vegas that was chock full of college prospects from all over the West Coast. There was a plethora of "sleeper types" as well as a bevy of underclassmen that will warrant Division 1 interest--led by 6-foot-5ish Demaurian Williams (Factory 17u) and 6-foot-8ish Bernardo de Silva (Mountain Stars).
Dimaurian Williams (Phoenix, AZ/ Westview)
2019, CG, 6-foot-4, 190 pounds
Joel's Take: Williams plays the game similar to that of Boston Celtic Marcus Smart. He's a "Big" guard who gets in the lane at will, finishes at the rim, drops off dimes to open teammates, and can hit the occasional 3-point shot. Winner.
Spencer Washington (Henderson, NV/ Findlay Prep)
2018, PF/WF, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds
Joel's Take: This long-armed lefty plays the game at a great pace on the offensive end. Smooth jump shot, gifted passer, and is the brother of Kentucky signee PJ Washington. Would like him to be more assertive in the areas of rebounding and defense, however.
Elias King (Sacramento, CA/ Christian Brothers)
2018, PF, 6-foot-7, 215 pounds
Joel's Take: Anytime Simply Fundamental needed a basket or a big play, King was on it. The undersized 4-man has quite the bag of tricks that he can tap into on the offensive end including a feathery 3-point shot or a fundamentally sound post finish.
Ahead of his time
Daishen Nix (Las Vegas,NV/ Trinity International)
2020, PG, 6-foot-3, 175 pounds
Joel's Take: Nix isn't a burner yet, but he never gets sped up, changes speeds with aplomb, and he can knock in deep 3-pointers. Runners and skillful passes are part of the package as well. Mature feel for the game.
Steele Bennett (Phoenix, AZ/ Desert Vista)
2018, C, 6-foot-11, 235 pounds
Joel's Take: Steele is one of those prospects that fall into the category of--the more you watch, the more you like. Great length, magnetic hands, and is productive at both ends in the areas of rebounding and blocking shots. He is a rim-level athlete at this stage, but a definite Division 1 prospect at the Mid-Major level.
Bernardo de Silva (Mount Pleasant, UT/ Wasatch Academy)
2020, PF, 6-foot-8, 190 pounds
Joel's Take: This youngster is just scratching the surface of his impressive ceiling. His offensive game consists of a soft shooting touch, above the rim finishes, sneaky ball skills, and he is a fluid runner who can convert buckets in transition.
Rip Economou (Santa Monica, CA/ Santa Monica)
2018, WF, 6-foot-6, 175 pounds
Joel's Take: The physical attributes have never been the issue with Economou. He has the prototypical wing-type frame and budding athleticism, however his approach (questionable shots and savvy) have been evident at times. If he can learn to impact the game with his passing, defense, and rebounding, the talent is there.
Kelson Eiselen (Roundup, MT/Roundup)
2018, WF, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds
Joel's Take: Eiselen has a strong frame with good length and he can crush the rim as well in transition. However, what will get him D 1 looks will be his soft shooting touch that was on display this weekend.
Nathan Hansen (Provo, UT/ Timpview)
2019, PG, 6-foot-1, 155 pounds
Joel's Take: Hansen is a true gem. Everything he does on the court is done with maximum effort and innate skill. He pushes the ball well in the open court, doesn't over-handle it, and his shot is impeccable with a quick release.
Jaxon Baker (Phoenix, AZ/ Brophy Prep)
2017, 6-foot-7, 200 pounds
Joel's Take: Baker is a late-developing versatile forward who looks like a redshirt candidate at the next level. He has a smooth looking jump shot out to 21-feet and his release is tight. He needs strength to improve his ability to finish through contact, but the upside is there.
Colten Kresl (Paradise Valley, AZ/Chaparral)
2017, CG, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds
Joel's Take: Kresl was one of the better scorers in the event. Always known as a deep shooter his middle game has progressed as well. He has the strength now to carry defenders on his hip and either attack the rim or nail the 3-point shot. At his size though, his point guard skills (high screen and roll, etc.) need to improve.
On the Rise
Lucas Elliott (Tucson, AZ/ Pusch Ridge Christian Academy)
2019, PF, 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
Joel's Take: Elliott is far from a finished product, but the signs are there that he'll be a Division 1 priority a year from now. Still quite gawky at this stage, but once maturity kicks in, he has the inside-out skills and evolving bounce to open some eyes on the recruiting trail.
Emmanuel Taban (Phoenix, AZ/ Apollo)
2019, WF, 6-foot-6, 180 pounds
Joel's Take: Taban has that quintessential wing-type frame with terrific length. His ball skills are solid in the open court and he can knock in the 3-point shot. There is a whole lot of upside with Taban.
Jackson Ruai (Tucson, AZ/ Amphi)
2019, SG, 6-foot-3, 155 pounds
Joel's Take: This slender guard might have been the quickest guard at the event. He is the ultimate slasher and defender who "thinks" the game at both ends. If his jump shot gets more consistent, he'll be a Division 1 priority.
Pennington can ball
Paul Pennington (Boise, ID/ Boise)
2018, PG, 5-foot-10, 145 pounds
Joel's Take: One Division 1 coach compared Pennington to former Gonzaga player David Stockton. Pennington is clever playmaker with a ton of moxie. He needs strength, but he changes speeds very well and he can knock in the deep 3-point shot.
West Coast Elite Notebook:
* 2018 Reagan Lundeen (Santa Ana, CA/ Mater Dei) could be a heck-of-a-volleyball
player due to his bouncy nature. Had a number of fine finishes in transition as a result and his motor ran hot.
* He Will not "wow" you with ultra-quickness or blazing speed, but 6-foot-1 Mason Westlake (JW North) can run a team, manage the offense, and knock in deep jump shots.
* Ryan Turrell (Valley Torah) continued to exhibit different areas of his game that are coming together including driving and kicking out to open shooters, rebounding in traffic, and an improved mid-range game. The jump shot is Division 1 good.
* The most impressive Senior Junior College prospects that I saw were as follows: 6-foot Marcus Shaver (Shadow MTN HS), 6-foot-1 Nicholas Anderson (Fullerton JC), 6-foot-4 Rodney "Rocket" Henderson (Fullerton JC), 6-foot-4 Brandon White (LA Pierce), 6-foot-2 Will Johnson (Middlebrooks Academy), 6-foot-6 Zach Rollins (San Bernadino Valley).