The first annual Drew Gooden Invitational Showcase at El Cerrito High featured some of the best teams in the state. NorCal won three of the four Northern versus Southern California matchups.
Mitty 71, Lincoln 60
Aaron Gordon did not start on Saturday due to an injury he suffered against Travis, but the senior changed the game upon his entrance. He sparked an 11-4 run late in the first quarter and Mitty never gave the lead back.
Gordon finished the night with 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Monarchs in limited action. The senior made his presence felt immediately and was too much to handle for Lincoln.
Mitty also had good play in the backcourt from juniors Matt McAndrews and Connor Peterson. McAndrews is good ball handler and distributor who can get his teammates involved. Although McAndrews is a smaller guard and his jump shot could improve, he should be a point guard to follow. He had five points and nine assists.
Peterson had a solid night of his own with 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists. He has a nice jump shot to keep defenses honest but can also slash to the rim and finish through contact. The 6-foot-2 junior will likely be a point guard at the next level and can handle the ball well enough to play the position. Peterson may not have a quick burst off the dribble, but has sneaky athleticism. He has drawn interest from West coast schools such as Portland, San Francisco, and San Jose State.
Oregon-bound Tyree Robinson led Lincoln with 20 points and 10 rebounds. His twin brother, Tyrell, is also headed to Oregon although he did not enter the game until the second half. He finished with 11 points of his own. Junior guard Marquel Jones also contributed 17 points for Lincoln.
Salesian 60, Serra (Gardena) 47
Salesian dominated this game early and never looked back. The Pride opened on 13-3 run and remained in control for the entire contest. Their three Division I signees led the way along with the emergence of senior Jermaine Edmonds.
Edmonds had 12 points, eight assists, four steals, and three rebounds for Salesian and should be a player to watch. Although he may be overshadowed by a talented squad, Edmonds has been in contact with Cal Poly SLO, UC Irvine, and UC Riverside.
Jabari Bird was the most talented player on the floor and finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. The Cal signee knocked down two of his three attempts from behind the arc and displayed his athleticism by catching an alley-oop. Bird was a steal for Cal and should make an immediate impact next season.
The backcourt of Markel Leonard, a Cal Poly SLO signee, showed improvement on his jump shot and knocked down a trio of three pointers for nine points. He is a smart guard with a high basketball IQ who could also contribute on the defensive end. Mario Dunn, who is signed with Montana, had eight points of his own. He is an extremely athletic guard who plays hard at both ends.
Serra had 19 points from Ajon Jefferson, who displayed a silky jump shot. Emmanuel Ndumanya, a 6-foot-10 senior center, also made an impact with his size. He scored four points and snatched up six boards.
Bishop O'Dowd 57, Pacific Hills 53
After a win over Deer Valley in Southern California, Pacific Hills traveled to play the Dragons for its third game in as many days. Bishop O'Dowd opened with a 8-0 run, but the Bruins answered with a 11-4 run to end the first quarter. Pacific Hills captured the lead early in the second quarter and took a sizable 40-29 advantage into the half. The Dragons made a run that extended from late in the third quarter into the fourth quarter to tie the game at 47. From that point, Bishop O'Dowd did not surrender the lead and held on to capture the victory.
Sophomore Ivan Rabb led the way for the Dragons with 22 points and nine rebounds. The 2015 prospect is regarded as one of the top prospects in the country and holds offers from Arizona, Cal, Kansas, NC State, and UNLV. The 6-foot-9 power forward was effective with his back to the basket and was a quality passer out of the post. Defensively, his length gives opponents a problem when they come into the lane as Rabb can block or alter shots inside of the key.
Outside of Rabb, fellow sophomore Paris Austin should be a name to remember. The 5-foot-10 guard typically played the off guard against Pacific Hills, but will clearly be a point guard at the next level.
Austin had five points but seemed to make a bigger impact with the ball in his hands.
Seniors Michael Perri and Russell Davis were also under-the-radar contributors. Perri is a lockdown defender who had four steals and also contributed eight points. Davis had some clutch baskets and tallied seven points with four rebounds. Junior point guard Juwan Anderson also had a solid showing with six points and three assists.
For Pacific Hills, Jahmel Taylor was the clear standout. The senior point guard had 17 points in a variety of ways, but fouled out with 2:30 left in the game. Junior wing Namon Wright had 12 points and five rebounds.
Palma 66, El Cerrito 63
Host El Cerrito was in control early, but the Palma defense transitioned to a zone that gave the Gauchos problems. The Chieftains took the lead late in the first quarter and never gave it back, but El Cerrito had a chance to tie it at the buzzer. The Gauchos trailed by as many as 14 points in the fourth but refused to go away. A corner three hit the back rim and Palma held on to give El Cerrito its first loss of the season.
Palma was led by UCLA signee Noah Allen, who had 24 points with 11 rebounds as his 6-foot-6 frame gives him prototypical size to play the off guard in the Pac-12. He handled the ball on numerous occasions for the Chieftans and was typically given isolation looks. Allen had a nice crossover to create space along with the quickness to go by defenders. There were times, however, where Allen tried to make a flashy pass off the dribble and turned the ball over instead of coming to a complete stop.
Junior Jacob Regester and senior Jacob Taylor also contributed for Palma with 13 and nine points respectively.
Guards Tyrell Alcorn and Rae Jackson carried the load for El Cerrito. Alcorn, a sophomore, finished with 18 points that included 11 in the fourth quarter. The point guard was a factor all over the court as he could knock down the three, slash to the basket, and play exceptional defense as well. Jackson, a senior, had 18 points of his own and was
4-of-6 from behind the arc. He was an efficient scorer who could also finish around the rim.
Marcellus Pippins, a Utah commit for football, had 10 points of his own with eight in the final quarter. He is a tough, physical on-ball defender who also had four assists.
Inglewood 65, Newark Memorial 55
After a slow start, Inglewood had a strong second half to defeat Newark Memorial. Newark led throughout the entire first quarter, but Inglewood took a 28-27 lead at halftime. The Cougars took the lead with their opening basket of the second half, but never re-gained it. Inglewood hung on in a close game.
Inglewood's scoring was evenly distributed, but Brandon Randolph was definitely the best player on the floor. The Xavier-bound point guard finished with seven points, three rebounds, and two assists but had lots of passes that led to free throws or easy misses.
JoJo Zamora was a spark for Newark and finished with 22 points, six rebounds, and four steals. The senior is a crafty scorer around the basket and a gritty defender who could force turnovers. His jump shot was solid, but could be more consistent. The transfer from Serra is a good fit for Newark and should draw some collegiate attention.
Junior Damian Banford was another standout with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-6 post has good hands and excellent footwork. He got to the foul line on numerous occasions, and only missed one of his 11 attempts from the charity stripe.