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December 19, 2007

Best of the rest at Ocean View TOC

The Tournament of Champions at Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach provided us with a chance to see some of the best players in the West. The event also allowed us to get a peek at some of the top unsigned seniors and top underclassmen.

Justin Young breaks down his top underclassmen and unsigned seniors from the event.

Ocean View TOC Top Underclassmen
Michael Snaer, SG, Rancho Verde

Getting lost in the shuffle of all of the top level senior talent is the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from the class of 2009. Already known for his offensive abilities, Snaer fared very well against Jrue Holiday, a noted defender, in their match-up on the first day of action.

Snaer has great size for his position and knows how to use it to his advantage. He should average 25 points (or more) per game this season, as he did at the TOC, and has certainly cemented himself as one of the top prospects in California in 2009. He didn't do anything to change our opinion of him at the event and looked good in his match-up against one of the best players to ever play in the Golden State. That is commendable.

Demetrius Walker, SF, JSerra

He was one of the top seven players overall in the tournament field thanks in large part to his aggressiveness and toughness to the basket.

Walker scored in bunches and did so by constantly attacking the basket. He plays like a spring being uncoiled and went hard, quick and strong to the basket. If he didn't score, he generally went to the foul line for scores. Walker scored more than 20 points in all but one of his games in Huntington Beach.

High-major schools are starting to watch Walker a little closer thanks in large part to his play this season at JSerra.

Dwayne Polee, SF, Westchester

Southern California secured a commitment from the long and lanky 6-foot-7 forward over a year ago. Getting it done early looks like a very smart move on Tim Floyd and company's part. Polee showed flashes of great things to come.

He was good in the midrange with his jumper, worked inside for scores and boards and to top it all off, his athleticism is fantastic for a player of his size and length.

His father, Dwayne, Sr., is the Director of Basketball Operations for the Trojans, and the younger Polee looks like he is staking early claims on being one of "The Next" in SoCal.

Keegan Hornbuckle, SF, Campbell Hall

Despite a battle with food poisoning all week long, the 6-foot-6 wing had moments where he was a dangerous player on the floor.

He showed off a smooth jumper from three, crisp passing and ran the floor fairly well. There were flashes of Chandler Parsons, a Florida freshman, in his game but he's not quite like the former top-20 recruit from the Sunshine State.

Hornbuckle's recruitment is teetering between the mid-major and high-major levels right now. His brother, Mike, is a junior at Pepperdine.

Anthony Brown, SF, Ocean View

The baby-faced sophomore was the most impressive come-out-of-nowhere player in the event. Brown, a 6-foot-4 wing, was the sixth man for his squad and he made quick work in his time in the game.

The class of 2010 prospect scored quick points for his squad, knocked down perimeter jumpers, scored in the midrange and has a rangy body that should continue to grow and fill out over time.

At the end of the day, it wouldn't be surprising to see his school list include the best of the best in the West.

Ocean View TOC Top Unsigned Seniors
Keion Bell, SG, Pasadena

After his performance at the Tournament of Champions, it would not surprise us to see him emerge as a nationally recruited prospect in the backcourt.

The 6-foot-3 senior is one of the better uncommitted players in the class of 2008 and surprisingly, he's being under-recruited. Part of the issue is the fact that he has been out of sight, out of mind.

Now at Pasadena High School, Bell showed off his ability to play multiple positions in the backcourt. He's a crafty player inside the paint and scored with a variety of moves to the rack. Athletically, he's a high-major player. Ideally, Bell would be best served at a mid-major plus or a low-end high-major. It will be interesting to see where his recruitment is at after the New Year.

Kyle Clark, C, Lakewood

The 6-foot-11 big man slowly grew on us and by the end of the event, it wasn't inconceivable to say he could catch on with a West Coast Conference-level program.

Clark won't score a lot of points but he did crash the boards, block shots and ran the floor well. Ideally, a redshirt year would do him some good to strengthen his upper body.

As the event went on, his confidence grew and he finished the tournament strong. Like Bell, it will be interesting to see where his recruitment stands come January.

Oscar Bellfield, SG/PG, Westchester

As one of the more notable unsigned seniors coming into the event, Bellfield had a lot to prove for himself in this event. With a championship game victory and a series of games with few mistakes in the backcourt, Bellfield did enough to walk away as a proud player.

The combo guard decided to wait to receive offers from the high-majors and while some may look, he would be best served for a mid-major club. The 6-footer will come to college as a battle-tested player that has a couple of years with good coaching under his belt.

Bellfield isn't the quickest or most athletic player around but he makes up for it with good passing and smarts in the backcourt.

Takeshi Clifford, SF, Ocean View

In the opening game on the opening day of the tournament, the 6-6 wing went right to work, scoring all 23 of his points in the first half of the game.

The following game, he struggled against more athletic defenders but rebounded nicely in his third game of the tournament and looked more like the player he was in the opener. Clifford can score in the midrange and at the basket. He has a good-looking perimeter shot and is confident in his abilities to put the ball in the hole. Clifford went for 20-plus points in three of the five games that he played in.

Clifford should have no problem catching on with a low-major on the West Coast because of his size, shooting and scoring touch and ability to play a couple of spots on the floor.



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