#NEXTWestCoastKickoff | 7th Grade Standouts (Pt. 1)
Ladera Ranch, Cal. — The inaugural Prep Hoops Next West Coast Kick-off provided an opportunity to observe what the “Left Coast” has to offer as far as youth hoops talent from the Class of 2026. The event did not disappoint,…
Ladera Ranch, Cal. — The inaugural Prep Hoops Next West Coast Kick-off provided an opportunity to observe what the “Left Coast” has to offer as far as youth hoops talent from the Class of 2026. The event did not disappoint, as several teams and players placed their stamp on the tournament, and put the rest of the nation on notice with regard to their abilities on the hardwood. Below are a handful of the top performers from the weekend in Southern California to begin the first of a three-part series featuring seventh-grade standouts…
Josiah Andrews | Rocklin, CA | Class of 2026
Andrews led Y.B.A. Elite (CA) in scoring at the West Coast Kick-off, and despite their balanced roster, he posted team-highs in three of the club’s four games en route to an unbeaten weekend. The Northern California product dropped 20 points versus The Truth (CA) in the finals. As the most prolific offensive weapon for the event’s seventh-grade champions, Andrews displayed his ability to create scoring opportunities off the bounce and showcased a reliable jumper from multiple areas on the court. The 5-foot-8 guard has an impressive wingspan and exhibited excellent potential on the defensive side of the ball as well.
Daylon Mike | Roseville, CA | Class of 2026
Mike was one of the more underrated performers at the West Coast Kick-off and provided immense versatility for Y.B.A. Elite (CA) during their seventh-grade championship run. The 5-foot-9 forward is an energetic defender and consistently recognized his opportunities to score on offense. He was most effective attacking the rim, whether slashing to the lane in the halfcourt, or finishing in the paint. Mike also did an exceptional job of rebounding from his position and anticipated well defensively. As he polishes his perimeter skills and improves his foot speed, Mike will likely transition full-time to the perimeter. Editor’s Note: This player was previously listed incorrectly as Kareem Assaf. We apologize for the error.
Jason Crowe, Jr. | Inglewood, CA | Class of 2026
Southern California hoops historians may recognize the name, as Jason Crowe, Sr. starred at Inglewood High School in the late 1990s and later at Cal State Northridge before enjoying more than a decade-long career playing overseas. Crowe, Jr. made a major impression at the Prep Hoops Next West Coast Kick-off by leading The Truth (CA) to the seventh-grade title game. The crafty lead guard was perhaps the event’s most exciting playmaker, proving to be an absolute wizard with the ball, while also demonstrating deep range on his jumper. Crowe currently belongs among the top tier of West Coast floor generals in the Class of 2026.
Matthew Gibbs-Martinez | Lakewood, CA | Class of 2026
Gibbs-Martinez and aforementioned teammate, Jason Crowe, Jr., exhibited remarkable chemistry, playing off one another magnificently as backcourt partners with The Truth (CA). In what amounted to a five-guard line-up, Gibbs-Martinez not only delivered timely scoring and ball-handling contributions, but more importantly, welcomed difficult defensive match-ups throughout his club’s run to the Prep Hoops Next West Coast Kick-off crown. The seventh-grade prospect has a wiry frame but flashed superb athleticism competed with an edge of toughness and a fearless approach.
Jaden Gray | San Diego, CA | Class of 2026
Gray has established himself as one of the most productive players in the Class of 2026 to date. He’s been a key contributor for a San Diego Prospects (CA) organization that has proved its willingness to play, quite literally, anytime and anywhere. For that reason, Gray already competes with veteran-like poise, and produced several memorable performances during the West Coast Kick-off. Nearing the six-foot mark, Gray has significant physical advantages compared to his peers, but is intelligently continuing to transition his game outward. His future is in the backcourt but he still does an excellent job of capitalizing on mismatches at this level.
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