RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — Southern California is consistently one of the deepest regions in the country. As the landscape of the 2014 class continues to come into focus, we take a look at some of the talent that grabbed attention at the West Coast Fall Showcase, hosted by West Coast Premier during the fall evaluation period.
By: Chris Hansen
Monique Billings (Corona, Calif.) – Santiago HS – 2014
The athletic potential alone that 6-foot-4 post Monique Billings possesses makes her one of the top prospects on the West Coast in the junior class. This setting provided a different lens for projecting her value at the next level because, even as talented as her high school is, there are fewer weapons to rely on, forcing Billings to take a more consistent role as a leader in the post. She had help with senior guard Chrishae Rowe, who is heading to Oregon next year, but the impact Billings made throughout her team’s game against Bishop Alemany was a definite sign of growth.
Over the past few summer seasons we have come to expect intermittent “wow” moments from Billings, followed by some passive stretches. She would block a shot across the gym or finish who can do my homework above the rim as a teaser of things to come but never really showed a full game like she did Friday night. She was an impact player on every defensive possession and showed that she is evolving into more than just a transition scorer. She is putting together a strong set of scoring moves in the post to complement her ability to beat most post players up the court.
Hannah Johnson (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) – Bishop Alemany HS – 2014
When you look for a player that will take on any challenge on the court, look no further than 6-0 forward Hannah Johnson. Though she often draws tough matchups having to play the post in high school, her future at the college level will be that of a utility frontcourt player. She brings so much energy to the floor and pursues rebounds so passionately, that she can play inside and be effective. But just as easily as she can turn over her left shoulder with a right-handed jump hook, she can step out to 3-point range and punish the opposition for trying to guard her with a true post player. She is starting to shows signs of identifying those mismatches on the floor. Effort is never an issue with Johnson so the next step is working smarter than her matchup, not harder.
Ashley Bolston (Medford, Ore.) – South Medford help with writing college papers HS – 2014
At 6-0, Ashley Bolston has ideal size for the wing at the next level. And as impressive as her length and size is on the perimeter, her skill set is really the thing that separates her in this class. She has great body control, knows how to use pivots before and after the dribble and of all the skills on offense to be exception at, teammates and coaches will love her ability to pass the basketball. Even if she over-penetrates and picks up her dribble, the play is not dead because she keeps her cool and knows how to create a passing angle with her length and making smart pivots. Some may try to criticize her footspeed but nobody was getting past her on defense but there weren’t too many possessions where you could say her athleticism was a liability. She’s worthy of a cool nickname, like that of former NBA Player Sam Perkins, who was dubbed “Big Smooth” later in his career.
AROUND THE RIM
Ali Bettencourt of El Dorado Hills, Calif., has a great balance of size and skill at the guard position. The junior from Oak Ridge High School showed well for the Cal Sparks NorCal team with the ability paper writing service scams to stretch the defense and use her 5-10 frame to shoot over the defense from range as well as be a secondary ball handler against pressing teams.
It’s not often that a player gets praise from anyone but her coach for setting screens, but East Bay Xplosion junior forward Jasmine Hampton of Carmichael, Calif., can make plays for her teammates with the underappreciated skill. She has good size, although she may be a little shorter than ideal at the forward spot, and she uses it to free teammates up as well as anyone this weekend.
Etiwanda junior guard Cherice Harris of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., showed well with her ability to be shifty and smooth on the dribble-drive at the same time. She is an effective penetrate and pitch guard and with her balance she can also find ways to score on the drive too.
Chris Hansen is the managing editor for Peach State Media. In addition to serving as a contributor to the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report, Hansen also covered girls’ basketball and women’s college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women’s basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. He is a member of the McDonald’s All-American team selection committee. He can be reached at email@example.com.