Sunday, December 28, 2014

West Coast swing off to fast start
Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analysis

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- Friday morning, Rivals.com made our annual post Christmas trip to the West Coast for various Southern California area events. After a quick stop at the Under Armour Holiday Classic in San Diego, it was on to the Maxpreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs. With 37 points in the day's first game, relatively unheralded sophomore Richard Polanco was the day's breakout player.
Richard Polanco had a huge day on Friday.
Polanco seizes opportunity
The biggest reason that Rivals.com drove down to San Diego from Los Angeles for the Under Armour Holiday Classic before making the trek to Palm Springs for the Maxpreps event was to check out four-star sophomore point guard Jaylen Hands of Chula Vista (Calif.) Mater Dei. That fellow sophomore Richard Polanco of San Diego (Calif.) Army & Navy was taking the floor was an added bonus. As it turned out, Polanco ended up stealing the show. A strong 6-foot-6 wing, Polanco went absolutely nuts from deep. He made eight three-pointers and at one point over the course of the second and third quarters he made seven straight. When he wasn't bombing threes, Polanco showed that he can handle the ball, rebound and be a crafty playmaker for others. Obviously, he's not going to shoot the ball like that every time out, but with his size and sturdy frame, that he can shoot is a huge selling point when it comes to college coaches that will eventually have interest. Polanco isn't a high flyer, but already has a pretty good feel for how to use his body and mostly needs to eliminate a little extra flash from his game that can lead to careless turnovers. A native of the Dominican Republic, Polanco has been in the States for a few years now. He said that the only school he has really heard from at this point is Virginia. The only downside to Polanco's big outing was that there weren't any college coaches in the building. The 26th is the end of a short dead period on the recruiting calendar, so nobody was allowed to be there. However, it is a safe bet they will find their way to see him throughout the rest of the tournament after word of his big day spreads. As for the previously mentioned Hands, the 6-foot-1 floor general was playing with a taped right wrist and at times went to great lengths to avoid using his right (natural) hand. He is lightning quick and explosive, but didn't shoot the ball very well and was clearly less than 100 percent in his team's blowout loss at the hands of Polanco and Army & Navy. One other Mater Dei player actually showed some promise despite losing 67-39. Six-foot-7 freshman combo forward Miles Norris has good size, long arms and soft touch around the rim. His team got rocked on Friday morning, but he looks like he will be a good one down the road.
More Friday notables
Chance Comanche dominated the interior Friday.
Future Arizona big man Chance Comanche looks to have settled in quite nicely at Beverly Hills (Calif.) High. The 6-foot-10 insider was pretty much as dominant as he wanted to be against an overmatched and undersized Redmond (Wash.) High squad. That's the key, though. In the past, Comanche might have been prone to floating to the perimeter when he wasn't tested but on Friday he went to work on the interior and scored at will. The No. 32 player in the class of 2015, Comanche runs well, has soft touch and is still quite thin. However, it was also clear that he has been in the weight room and the added muscle on his frame was easily identifiable. Chalk it up as a good outing for Comanche in his first game at the Maxpreps event. The game between Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon and Sacramento (Calif.) High featured five players currently ranked by Rivals.com in either the class of 2016 or 2017. Sierra Canyon had point guard Devearl Ramsey (No. 46 in 2016) and power forward Cody Riley (No. 10 in 2017) while Sac High countered with power forward Solomon Young (No. 84 in 2017) and shooting guard Christian Terrell (No. 120 in 2016). As it turned out, the game was a bit sloppy and none of the highly rated guys ever really got off. Ramsey hit some tough jumpers off the dribble while Riley was under the weather and Young proved that he's a no-nonsense power broker -- albeit a bit undersized -- in the low post while Terrell showed flashes on offense. Late, the difference looked to be Sierra Canyon sophomore point guard Remy Martin's ability to simply take his man one on one and go make a play. A four-star prospect who currently ranks No. 55 in the class of 2016, Friday wasn't Daron Henson's best day. After making some early shots, the 6-foot-7 small forward from Bishop Hills (Calif.) Alemany went cold from deep. Cold streaks are going to happen it is how Henson handles them moving forward that will shape his commitment. Live bodied and long armed, he has to get more active on the glass and develop more in between game for those days when his deep jumper isn't falling. Once he balances out his game, his recruitment will soar. During the summer, Henson's teammate Earnest Sears caught Rivals.com's attention playing for the Dream Vision 15U squad. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard who can't weigh much more than 160 pounds, Sears again intrigued. He's only a sophomore and has to get much stronger, but Sears has a knack for making plays going towards the rim off the dribble.
Derek Ogbeide plays like a man on the interior.
The Georgia staff is pretty certain that they have stolen one in Derek Ogbeide and the 6-foot-9 center from Mableton (Ga.) Pebblebrook is on watch list for the final Rivals150 in the class of 2015. A bully with strength who plays with tenacity in the lane, Ogbeide is all big man and stays in the lane. During the first half of his Friday game, he was mostly ignored by teammates as they jacked on three after another so it was hard to get a good feel. Apparently, he was more involved by teammates during the second half and Rivals.com will get a chance to watch him again on Saturday. La Verne (Calif.) Damien has a nice perimeter trio in four-star senior combo guard Jeremy Hemsley, senior small forward Malik Fitts and junior three-star Bryce Peters. Headed to San Diego State, Hemsley is very athletic and very aggressive. He's looking to make plays off the dribble but at times is a bit out of control which leads to turnovers. Fitts had the hot hand from three on Friday night and looks like somebody that mid majors should be on. Peters, narrowly missed the 2016 Rivals150 coming out of the summer and will be in major contention again. He is athletic, can make some shots and has some pop off the bounce. Hands down, one of the biggest steals on the West Coast is UC Riverside landing 6-foot-4 shooting guard Eric Rwahwire out of Saddleback Valley Christian. The three-star prospect can fill it up from deep, has a great frame and plays hard on both ends of the floor. It will be a pretty big surprise if he doesn't go on to have a big career at Riverside and prove to be a thorn in the side of "bigger" West Coast programs who passed on him. Next up at Saddleback is thin but athletic and active power forward Irshad Hunte. Standing around 6-foot-8, Hunte is a high energy four man who can really run up and down the floor. He attacks the glass, tries to block shots and doesn't mind getting in the mix physically despite his skinny build. A three-star prospect, he will be one to monitor on at least the upper mid major level. Finally, the other player that we wanted to see in San Diego early Friday was junior four man Tim Harrison. Checking in at around 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8, he is a thin power forward at San Diego (Calif.) Francis Parker. A three-star prospect, Harrison runs well is a good enough athlete and looks like he has some touch. Early foul trouble and a guard dominated game kind of limited him but the overriding thought from watching him is that he has to be more physical on both ends of the floor. Strength will come with physical maturity, but physicality and toughness are a mindset. Harrison's already solid recruitment will be even more interesting if he can unleash his inner pit bull.

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