LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Players committing to Pacific 12 Conference programs, including those from Southern California – of course – get most of the attention, “media” and otherwise. But that doesn’t mean all of the elite-level players land in…
LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Players committing to Pacific 12 Conference programs, including those from Southern California – of course – get most of the attention, “media” and otherwise.
But that doesn’t mean all of the elite-level players land in the Pac 12.
The Big West Conference has landed its share of some of the very best in the Southern California Class of 2020 has to offer.
Notable among those programs at UC Irvine and Cal Poly/SLO.
The UCI Anteaters of Coach Russell Turner, who finished atop the Big West regular-season standings by three games, started a senior backcourt of Eyassu Worku and Evan Leonard.
And that likely portends that 2020-21 freshmen Andre Henry (St. Francis of La Canada) and D.J. Davis (Riverside Poly) could see immediate and significant playing time in November.
Henry (pictured), who helped St. Francis to a runner-up finish in the CIF Southern Section 2AA Division and a State Southern Regional Division II crown, will give Turner a 6-foot-3 player capable of playing anywhere on the perimeter but ultimately, will be a “point guard”, per se.
The 6-foot Davis, who played half of his freshman season at Riverside Poly before transferring to Corona Centennial then returning to Poly over the summer, is as prolific a “deep” jump shooter as there is in this western-based class.
Davis and the Bears (including San Diego State-bound point guard Lamont Butler Jr. and future Chico State guard Evan Oliver) were the runners-up to Windward in the Southern Section’s Division 1 playoffs and were knocked off by Damien – in six overtimes – in the State Southern Regional D I quarterfinals.
Davis scored a SoCal-best 59 points in what proved to be his final high school game.
Cal Poly Coach John Smith and his staff are expected to have at least four freshmen guards on their 2020-21 in Camren Pierce and Brantley Stevenson (Etiwanda) and Ryan Evans and Aidan Prukop (Mater Dei).
Pierce (a first-team all-Southern Section Open Division point guard), Evans and Prukop signed letters of intent in November while the 6-3 Stevenson is a recent commit to the Mustangs following a superb final couple of months in his senior season for the Eagles, who finished 30-4 with three of those loses coming to the best team in the state, Sierra Canyon.
Long Beach State Coach Dan Monson and “Beach” staff got a commitment during mid-season from 6-5, left-handed Jadon Jones of St. Anthony – whose campus is located about four miles west of LBSU.
Jones – whose dad, Derek Jones, was a standout at Long Beach Millikan, Long Beach City College and Cal State Fullerton – helped the Saints to their first-ever slot in the Southern Section Open Division playoffs.
He’s a superb athlete who ball-handling and jump-shooting skill improved dramatically over the past year or so and helped earn him a spot on the all-Southern Section Open first team.