Twelve (12) California ballers are included in the final 2012 Rivals Top 150. These players are highlighted in the following summaries in the order of their 2012 Rivals Top 150 rating. The recently updated 2012 ESPNU Top 100 rankings are listed for comparison.
#15 Grant Jerrett – (ESPNU #9) – This 6’10” Power Forward is the cornerstone of a fantastic 2012 haul for Sean Miller and the University of Arizona. Although an imposing physical figure, Jerrett’s game isn’t an overpowering one. He has a nice jumper and can hit it beyond the arc. The biggest concern regarding his game is his tendency to shy away from contact. Jerrett will need to add to his 220lbs, if he’s going to effectively play the inside game at the NCAA level and beyond. On the Defensive side Jerrett has a quick bounce, solid timing, and is poised to develop into an effective shot blocker. He appears to take pride in his D which should lead to substantial minutes in his Freshman season. With continued development Jerrett should prove a force at the D1 level.
#23 Brandon Ashley – (ESPNU #16) – This is another nice catch for Coach Miller and the Wildcats. At 6’8” and 215lbs Ashley has often been a man
among boys. His physical gifts are unquestioned and he has the athleticism, bounce, and agility to garner a 5-star ranking. Similar to Jerrett, Ashley doesn’t appear comfortable when the game gets physical and can shy away from contact. His high-level natural gifts have afforded him the opportunity to grab headlines without consistently giving maximum effort. If he can develop a consistent motor and a desire to improve, Ashley could be an absolute force at
the 3/4. On the flip side, if Ashley is satisfied with the status quo he could go the way of recent Arizona big time recruits (i.e. Josiah Turner and Sidiki Johnson), who have not produced on the court at a level corresponding to their hype.
#38 Katin Reinhardt – ESPNU #47) – Reinhardt could prove to be the most interesting of this year’s Cali crop. No doubt Reinhardt can score and score in bunches. He has the vision of a PG and is an effective passer. He also has a tendency to fall in love with the dribble and is somewhat TO prone. If he
improves in this area and focuses on taking what the D gives him, as opposed to forcing his will, he could develop into a high-level SG for the Rebels. As with many score first HS Guards, Reinhardt’s D could use some work. He has the
physical tools to make the adjustments and just needs to sharpen his focus.
#46 Gabe York – (ESPNU #65) – For my money York is the one (among
this group) to watch. His combination of explosive bounce and legitimate beyond the arc range is lethal and rare. If he were two or three inches taller he would be a Top 5 prospect. I believe York is very underrated by ESPN. Few in this class
have York’s ability to score but he needs to work on defensive consistency and rebounding. At 6’1” and 170lbs he has room for more physical development and strength. York strikes me as a potential impact player at the D1 level and should also be a cornerstone of the 2012 Arizona class.
#47 Dominic Artis -(ESPNU #62) – At 5’11” and 165lbs Artis is one of the smallest players to crack this elite list. He has long arms for his frame and serious hops so he does play taller than he is, but his slight build is an area of concern. Artis has a good outside game, but not a great one. His speed and solid passing appear best suited for an up tempo offense, but he has also shown the patience and court savvy to run the half-court set. If he doesn’t grow anymore he should prove a solid D1 Point Guard and have a quality collegiate career. If he grows to 6’1” or so and can add 15-20lbs without sacrificing speed and agility he should flourish for the Ducks. Oregon averaged 72.2 pts per game this season and showed some ability to light up the scoreboard. Artis should fit right in at Oregon and keep the scoreboard flashing.
#52 Robert Upshaw – (ESPNU #55) – As documented, Upshaw committed to Kansas St. and Frank Martin, de-committed, and presently is committed to Fresno State. On the court Upshaw’s game is a tale of two ends. On the Defensive side he displays strong timing, has good length, and is an effective shot-blocker. On the Offensive end Upshaw is very much a work in progress. His game lacks fluidity and he appears to over-think each post move. His Defense should garner significant early minutes and allow his Offensive game to develop along the way. He’s known as a hard worker, so the improvement is likely.
#68 Xavier Johnson – The Buffs dip back into SoCal in hopes of securing another impact player (’11 Askia Booker, Price High). Johnson is 6’6 and made significant strides this season. “X” has good bounce and athleticism and is creative around the rim. Prior to this season his outside game was inconsistent at best. He know holds a decent 3pt shot, but would benefit from more work on his jumper. There’s currently a noticeable “hitch” in his stroke which delays his release. Johnson appears to have made due against HS defenders, but D1 athletes will be much better equipped to snuff this out if not corrected.
#87 Tyrone Wallace – The career of Tyrone Wallace should prove an interesting watch. He is able to finish and dribble equally with both hands, thrives in placing teammates in good scoring position, and his 6’4 frame should prove challenging for many collegiate 1’s. On the flip-side, Wallace lacks elite quickness and has, at best, an average outside game. If his strong work ethic lends to an improved jumper and tighter ball security, Wallace should have a productive collegiate career. If however, the J does not improve and defenders are allowed to play off, his lack of quickness will be further exposed and results will suffer.
#126 Skylar Spencer – My take is Spencer remains one of the most underrated big men in the country. His shot-blocking prowess alone merits Top 100 consideration. He carries a better feel for the game than last year’s 5-star shot-blocking machine Angelo Chol and may actually be hampered by Chol’s less than stellar Freshman campaign. No doubt Spencer needs to further develop his Offensive game. At this point his production comes via put-backs and transition dunks. With consistency at the 12-15 foot range Sklyar will force his defender to honor a jumper off screens and outside the paint movement. Short of that, his defender will lag of Skylar on screens and feel free to hunker down in the paint, limiting teammates dribble/drive opportunities.
#132 Grant Verhoeven – Here’s a case of size and effort over hyper-athleticism. Verhoeven was very productive at the High School level (27.8pts and 18.3reb), but did struggle against similar sized and athletic big men. In that he’s headed to Stanford it’s safe to assume Verhoeven will play out his 4yrs in college and by his Senior year could develop into an All-Conference type performer. I don’t think he’ll ever light up a stat sheet, but come the end of the game you’ll look up and see he’s contributed more than you realized. The blue-collar high effort approach appears his option and to do so he’ll need to add to his 215lb frame so as to avoid wearing down. The Rivals rankings of #132 and 3-star appear more accurate than the #88 and 4-star applied by ESPN.