High-SchoolCalifornia: Must See

Elite 24: Teams, coaches announced

August, 23, 2012
8/23/12
9:19
PM ET
Under Armour Elite 24 alumni Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker will lead the coaching staffs of the two teams at this year’s event held at Venice Beach, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 25.

Jennings, a point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks who began his prep career at nearby Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) before going to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, dished out an event record 23 assists in the 2007 game. He will team with Derrick Williams, the No. 2 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft and an alum from La Mirada (Calif.), to lead the “Raymond Lewis” squad. Walker, who made 7-of-8 field goals en route to 16 points in that same 2007 game, will team with DeAndre Jordan, who participated in the inaugural event at Harlem’s famed Rucker Park in 2006, to lead the “Marques Johnson” squad.

Teams, in the tradition of the event, are named after Los Angeles playground legends.

Featuring 24 of the nation’s top high school basketball players, Under Armour Elite 24 participants are selected based on their performance during AAU tournaments and national summer camps by ESPN high school basketball experts.

California's has five participants in the game split between both squads. Isaac Hamilton from St. John Bosco of Bellflower, Marcus Lee from Deer Valley of Antioch and Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year Aaron Gordon from Archbishop Mitty of San Jose will play on the Raymond Lewis squad. Jabari Bird from Salesian of Richmond and Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei of Santa Ana are on the Marques Johnson roster.

The 2012 Under Armour Elite 24 will be held at the Venice Beach outdoor courts in Los Angeles Aug. 24-25. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 25, while the Under Armour Slam Dunk Contest will air Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

Here are the breakdowns of the Raymond Lewis and Marques Johnson all-star teams:

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Elite 24: Gordon, Bird selected

August, 11, 2012
8/11/12
11:00
AM ET
The final 12 players selected to participate in the seventh annual Under Armour Elite 24 event at Venice Beach were announced last Thursday.

Featuring 24 of the nation's top high school basketball players, Under Armour Elite 24 participants are selected based on their performance during AAU tournaments and national summer camps by ESPN high school basketball experts. The first 12 players were announced two week ago.

The 2012 Under Armour Elite 24 will be held at the Venice Beach Courts in Los Angeles Aug. 24-25. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Aug. 25, while the Under Armour Slam Dunk Contest will air Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Aaron Gordon, last season's Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball state player of the year and the No. 6 ranked prospect in the ESPN 100, leads the class of 2013 contingent. Also included is Jabari Bird, ranked No. 20 in the ESPN 100 and Gordon's teammate on the Oakland Soldiers AAU club. Gordon and Bird led their respective high school teams to state championships last season and the duo led the Soldiers to the Nike Peach Jam title last month.

The Elite 24 roster includes five of the top 10 players in the ESPN 100.

Tyus Jones, the No. 2-ranked player in the ESPN 60, leads the class of 2014 contingent. Three of the top six players in the ESPN 60 are on the Elite 24 roster.

Five Under Armour Elite 24 players have committed to colleges: Nate Britt II to North Carolina, Aquille Carr to Seton Hall, Nigel Williams-Goss to Washington, and both Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene to Kansas.

Below is the full list of the second 12 players selected to the game. The specific team rosters and dunk contest participants will be announced prior to the event. To view the first dozen players, CLICK HERE.

Join our Under Armour Elite 24 fan page on Facebook and don't forget to follow the event on twitter: @UAElite24

Hamilton, Lee make Elite 24 game

July, 31, 2012
7/31/12
2:11
PM ET
The first 12 players selected to participate in the seventh annual Under Armour Elite 24 event have been announced.

Featuring 24 of the top high school basketball players from across the nation, the Under Armour Elite 24 participants are selected based on their performance during AAU tournaments and national summer camps by ESPN high school basketball experts.

The 2012 Under Armour Elite 24 will be held at the Venice Beach Courts in Los Angeles Aug. 24-25. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Aug. 25, while the slam dunk contest will air Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Two California players were selected among the first dozen: Isaac Hamilton of St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), who recently scored 50 points in a AAU game for Dream Vision, and fast-rising Marcus Lee of Deer Valley (Antioch, Calif.), who plays in the summer for California Supreme.

Forward and 2011 event alum Julius Randle, ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 100, headlines the list along with first-time participant Andrew Wiggins, ranked No. 1 in the ESPN 60. Randle, of Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) and the Team Texas Titans AAU program, is a top 2012-13 national player of the year candidate. Wiggins, who played at Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) last season and recently led CIA Bounce to the Nike Peach Jam finals, is a native of Canada.

Other event veterans include Nate Britt II, who participates in AAU ball with the D.C. Assault and will spend his senior season at Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.); twin brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Travis (Richmond, Texas) and the Houston Defenders AAU club; and Aquille Carr, who preps at Patterson (Baltimore, Md.) and was a standout this summer for B'more Finest.

Britt had six points and two steals for the victorious Marques Johnson club last year. The Harrisons twins combined for 22 points and eight assists for Marques Johnson, while Carr was co-MVP for the Raymond Lewis club with 21 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and an event-record four steals.

The second dozen players, roster of teams and dunk contest participants will be announced in early August.

Lance McCullersMike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP ImagesGatorade National Player of the Year Lance McCullers of Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) slipped to the Astros in the sandwich round likely due to signability concerns.
High school prospects figured heavily into Monday night's MLB draft, with Puerto Rican prep shortstop Carlo Correa going No. 1 overall in a surprise pick by the Houston Astros and Georgia outfielder Byron Buxton going No. 2 to the Minnesota Twins. In all, 35 high schoolers were drafted out of the 60 picks on Day 1.

Correa became the first Puerto Rican player to be picked No. 1 in the MLB draft. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound native of Santa Isabel has a powerful bat and good speed. Given his size and position, some scouts couldn't help but compare him to a young Alex Rodriguez. Buxton also earned some pretty impressive comparisons throughout the draft process, with names like Justin Upton and Andrew McCutchen being thrown around. The 6-1, 175-pound outfielder burst onto the scene with a number of impressive showings last summer and held strong with his performance at Appling County (Baxley, Ga.) this spring.

Correa wasn't the only high schooler from Puerto Rico who heard his name called Monday, as the Twins used the first pick of the sandwich round on lanky right-hander Jose Orlando Berrios and the Los Angeles Dodgers used the 51st pick on Jesmuel Valentin-Diaz, a teammate of Correa's at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.

Many had Lance McCullers Jr. from Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) pegged as a possible top-10 pick, but his slide into the second round was one of the biggest stories of the evening. McCullers, a 6-2, 205-pound right-handed pitcher, ended up being selected 41st overall by the same team that picked Correa -- the Astros. McCullers, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, may have slipped due to high signing bonus demands, and the $1.25 million assigned to the No. 41 pick surely won't be enough to sway him from his commitment to Florida. The Astros, who have $11.2 million to spend total among their first 11 draft picks, will have to do some creative budgeting if they want to sign both Correa and McCullers Jr.

High school teammates factored prominently into Day 1 of the draft. Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) pitching aces Max Fried and Lucas Giolito were both selected in the first round. Fried, a 6-3, 170-pound left-hander, heard his name called seventh overall by the San Diego Padres. Fried transferred to Harvard-Westlake for his senior year after his old school cut its athletics department, and after a dominant spring it's no surprise he went in the top 10 picks.

Giolito is a different story. Considered the No. 1 prep prospect entering the spring, the 6-6, 230-pound power righty was sidelined a few weeks into the season with a sprained ulnar-collateral ligament in his right elbow. He only recently began throwing again, and draft experts were split as to whether a team would take the risk and select him in Round 1. The answer to that question turned out to be yes, as the Washington Nationals picked him 16th overall. His pick is slotted at $2.1 million, but it may take more than that to sign him away from his commitment to UCLA, especially considering he was at one time projected to earn a signing bonus of at least twice that much.

Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) teammates Jesse Winker and Walker Weickel were both picked in the sandwich round, with Winker going 49th to the Cincinnati Reds and Weickel going 55th to the Padres. Winker, a sweet-swinging outfielder, had seen his stock surge of late. He hit close to .500 in his senior season with an OBP of .649. There was a time earlier this spring when it looked like Weickel was a sure bet to be picked higher than Winker, possibly even in the first half of the first round. But concerns about diminishing velocity pushed Weickel down draft boards.

In addition to Fried and Weickel, the Padres also grabbed prep right-hander Zach Eflin of Hagerty (Oviedo, Fla.) at No. 33. At 6-5 and 205 pounds, Eflin has a frame scouts love to go with a fastball that has been clocked in the mid-90s. A battle with triceps tendinitis earlier this spring may have hurt Eflin's stock slightly, but he could prove to be one of the steals of the draft. It may be a tough task for San Diego to sign all three of these high-upside selections, but inking even two of them would have to be considered a success.

A few other teams also went high school heavy Monday night. The Toronto Blue Jays used four of their five picks on preps, including first-rounder D.J. Davis from Stone County (Wiggins, Miss.) at No. 17. The Rangers grabbed a trio of prep prospects, with Lewis Brinson of Coral Springs (Fla.) leading the way at No. 29. The Chicago White Sox were doing flips over their draft, as they snagged Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas) outfielder/pitcher Courtney Hawkins 13th overall (he celebrated by doing a back flip live on TV). With their only other pick of the evening, they grabbed Keon Barnum of King (Tampa, Fla.) -- arguably the high schooler with the best raw power in the draft.

Stray observations

--Solon (Ohio) lefty Matt Smoral had injury issues his senior year — he missed most of the season with a stress fracture in his foot. When healthy, he was considered a potential top 10 talent. Toronto selected him with the No. 50 pick.

--Joey Gallo seems like a perfect fit for the Texas Rangers at No. 39 with his power. Gallo hit .509 with 21 homers and 80 RBIs in his final season at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).

--Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.) star Matt Olson played his best ball toward the end of the season in leading the Panthers to their second straight state title. Perhaps that played a role in him landing with Oakland at No. 47.

--Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) third baseman Mitch Nay saw his numbers drop this season as he saw fewer good pitches to hit. But there’s no doubt the Blue Jays got a tremendous talent at No. 58 — Nay still impressed enough to earn Gatorade State Player of the Year honors this season.

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