The 20th Annual Les Schwab Invitational took place at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Oregon from December 27-30. The tournament tends to feature Oregon schools with a couple of programs from nearby Washington, along with two traditional powerhouses with Maryland’s DeMatha Catholic and Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy. It featured both of the East Coast schools in the final, with the incredibly deep Oak Hill squad gaining an 82-66 win over DeMatha to claim the Les Schwab title. Beyond Oak Hill coach Steve Smith gaining his historic 1000th win, there was a standout performance from likely McDonald’s All-American Markelle Fultz, some very strong performances from the class of 2017 and a number of players we will be seeing take the NCAA by storm in the near future. Many coaches were shadowing future pros, with a number of former and current Portland Trail Blazers on hand to take in the bevy of prospects.
PG/SG Markelle Fultz 6-5 DeMatha 2016 *Washington
Tournament Stats: 20.3 ppg (53.4% FG), 6.8 rpg, 4.8 apg, 3.8 spg, 2 bpg
Even with his team coming up a bit short in the final, Fultz was the standout of the weekend and voted Les Schwab MVP for his importance to his team’s success. Facing a very deep Garfield backcourt, Fultz took over the semifinal contest on both ends of the floor. Able to shift gears and penetrate to the hoop, he displayed the body control to finish through contact or get the ball to a teammate in good scoring position. He also set the tempo defensively with three blocked shots well above the rim, which made them hesitant to take it into the paint the rest of the game and they forced rushed shots.
Finishing one assist short of a triple double, this was proof of just how valuable an all-around player he could become for Washington. His speed, athleticism and agility are all high level, while he also possesses great size, length and developing instincts as a point guard. His jump shot is still a bit streaky, though mechanically he shows the ability to improve with repetition. The fact that he did not play varsity until he was a sophomore makes him that much more intriguing, as he has developed into a potential one-and-done and one of the most exciting members of this strong senior class.
PG Lindell Wigginton Oak Hill 2017 *Undecided
Tournament Stats: 20 ppg (59.1% FG), 13-24 3PT (54.2%), 15-19 FT (78.9%), 4 apg, 2.8 spg
Originally from Nova Scotia, this is Wigginton’s 2nd season with Oak Hill, with him going from a seldom used sophomore to one of the team leaders who is counted on as an offensive weapon. Finishing as Oak Hill’s leading scorer in the tournament, Wigginton showed he could score from deep and in bunches, with good elevation and more often than not a silky splash through the hoop. Asked to play off of the ball quite a bit, he played a lot of point during the title game and showed some playmaking ability for his teammates. He also had one of the plays of the tournament when he completed an and-1 off of an alley-oop, showing some possible growth finishing near the hoop rather than just being relegated to being a shooter. Before the season, Wigginton almost appeared to be an afterthought behind Oak Hill’s other 2017 guards, but this tournament shows he possesses a lot of the similar qualities that make his backcourt mates high major prospects. He does have a handful of offers, with this tournament showing that there will be many more to come.
PG Matt Coleman Oak Hill 2017 *Undecided
Tournament Stats: 12.8 ppg (78.3% FG), 11-14 FT (78.6%), 8.3 apg, 3.7:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, 2 spg
Coleman was the steady hand that guided the cruise liner that is Oak Hill Academy, with his ball-on-a-string handle and creativity as a passer. While every guard on Oak Hill will likely want to play point guard as their primary position in college, there was no question who the ball was going to on this team when they wanted to run their offense as efficiently as possible. His quickness and athleticism may not be world class, but not lacking either, as he was able to penetrate defenses on a regular basis and finished with a couple absolute posters on bigger defenders at the rim (with Fultz being on the wrong side of one). He is absolutely someone you would want at the helm of a high level team at the college level and certainly has a chance to one day play at the highest level. Arizona was among the schools watching him very intently, and he should be running the show for a NCAA blueblood to begin the 2017 season.
SG Daejon Davis Garfield 2017 *Washington
Tournament Stats: 17.3 ppg (64.1% FG), 10.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 3.3 spg
Davis showed a high activity level as soon as he stepped into the game, displaying top-notch athleticism that saw him grab 18 rebounds (half of which were on the offensive glass) off of the bench for Garfield. He started the next three games, as he proved to be his team’s most consistent performer. His leaping ability and nose for the ball are both potent on the offensive end, while he also showed some solid vision as a passer and the quickness to make a defensive impact. He even shot 4-7 from three-point range, though a midrange game is the next step for him to become a more complete scorer. Davis really showed that he has made strides in his game and if he tightens up his handle, he has the ability to be a future star in the Pac-12, with talent to go beyond that.
PG Payton Pritchard West Linn 2016 *Oregon
Tournament Stats: 17.8 ppg (38.7% FG), 19-25 FT (76%), 6 apg, 1.8 spg
In what is shaping up to be one of the more prestigious high school careers in state history, Pritchard had one of the performances of the tournament in a win over scrappy Clackamas. Leading the lone Oregon representative to the semifinals, he finished with 33 points and 9 assists in the 81-70 victory. His outside shot is always a weapon to be aware of, though he has also gotten noticeably stronger since this past summer, which really helps him absorb contact finishing at the basket. Beyond his triumphant quarterfinal showing, Pritchard struggled mightily in his final two days, as he was held to 9-35 FG (0-15 3PT) in West Linn’s losses to Oak Hill and Garfield. The depth these teams have at guard, along with their all-around talent gave Pritchard major issues, as he struggled to carry his usual scoring load needed to make his team competitive. He does tend to over dribble and might at times be better off trying to create ball movement, as opposed to trying to force things. The hope will be that with extra help around him, he will thrive at shooting more off of the catch and feeling less of a need to force the issue. Payton will certainly use this tournament as fuel to fight towards his fourth state title in as many years with West Linn, while aiming for his third straight state player of the year award.
SG/SF Roberto Gittens Foss 2017 *Undecided
Tournament Stats: 20 ppg (50.8% FG), 7 rpg, 3 apg, 1.3 spg/bpg
Gittens was the one “under-the-radar” player to garner all-tournament honors, as he drove Foss to comeback wins over both Jesuit and Lake Oswego. Also, even though Oak Hill won a lopsided game over Foss in the quarterfinals, Gittens showed he could compete with their athleticism and kept them within striking distance during the 1st half. He was the tallest player on his teams rotation, but showed some developing ball skills and an outside shot that kept the defense honest. He was seen sitting behind the Washington bench during their opening Pac-12 win over UCLA and if he works on his shot selection, playing off of the ball and maintaining focus, he has the tools to play at a high major. This was a great week for Gittens, with a couple wins over some solid Oregon teams, along with winning the tournament Slam Dunk contest.
PG/SG TyShon Alexander Oak Hill 2017 *Creighton
Pure scorer in the truest sense, Alexander showed an ability to score from all three levels. He saved his best performance for the final, in which he scored 24 points on 9-13 FG (4-7 3PT). Serving as a scoring guard, Alexander also has some ball skills and decent athleticism, where he may turn into a combo once he gets to college. Still, it is not hard to see what his bread and butter is, which is scoring in a number of different ways.
PF Alphonso Anderson Garfield 2016 *Montana
However undersized he may be (around 6’6-6’7), Anderson has the strength, toughness and basketball acumen that should make him a very nice contributor. He was a tough match-up, good rebounder and showed some ball skills to give bigger players a tough time. His ability to score from both the low and high post will serve him well once he gets to college.
SF DJ Harvey DeMatha 2017 *Undecided
It was a pretty quiet tournament for Harvey up until the final, where he dropped 20 points (5-10 FG, 3-3 3PT, 7-7 FT) adding 6 rebounds. He certainly has the size and athleticism that make him a standout wing, as he teamed with Fultz to make some beautiful plays above the rim on both ends. His ball skills are still something to focus on, as he was prone to turning it over, and his shooting can still be streaky. Still, he made all 11 of his free throw attempts in the tournament, which shows a rare focus at this point in time. He has a bevy of high majors and certainly has the ability to be coach Mike Jones star attraction next year with the graduation of Fultz.
SF/PF Mario Kegler Oak Hill 2016 *Mississippi St.
He is quite physically dominant at the high school level, with a body that will surely help him make a quick transition into a college rotation. He is a streaky shooter at this point, though when his shot was falling against West Linn, he made Oak Hill a pretty insurmountable force. He led the Warriors in rebounding for the tournament, though at times his focus still seems to wane.
SF Braxton Key Oak Hill 2016 *Alabama
Key certainly understands post play, as he scored a majority of his points in the painted area. He also still provides you some wing capability, as he can bring up the ball off of a defensive rebound and has the ability to set up teammates. His outside shooting is still a bit of a question mark, but he was efficient, shooting 21-26 (80.8%) from the field, adding 5.8 rpg and 3.3 apg. His versatility really makes him a great get for Avery Johnson.
SG Jaylen Nowell Garfield 2016 *Washington
Nowell is another top notch 2017 prospect for Garfield, as he made the USA U16 team that won the Gold Medal during this past summers FIBA Americas. His ball skills and outside shot are even further along than his teammate Davis, though he is a notch less explosive and did not have the all-around impact during the tournament. He really struggled against DeMatha in particular, as he shot just 3-14 and missed all 5 of his three point attempts. Beyond that, he was a very effective scorer, and made 6-of-9 long distance attempts in Garfield’s three other games.
PG/SG Devontae Shuler Oak Hill 2017 Undecided
In his first two games, Shuler showed he was Oak Hill’s most explosive player and a true defensive force on the ball. He made 12-14 FG’s, including 6-7 from three. Unfortunately, after going for 19 points against Foss, Shuler was feeling under the weather during Oak Hill’s last two games, playing limited minutes. Even so, based off of his early play in the tournament, Shuler has a great deal of upside and should be a very sought after commodity on the high major radar.
PF/C Khadim Sy Oak Hill 2016 Virginia Tech
It seems clear that Sy has developed quite a bit during his time at Oak Hill, making an impact inside, averaging 9 ppg in only 13 minutes per game. His hook shot is his go-to weapon, but he even made a jumper from midrange baseline as well as draining his lone three-point attempt, finishing 7-8 (87.5%) FT. Strength wise, he seems to be in a good place, and while he still could stand to gain some post counters, he has tools for Buzz Williams to develop.
PF J'Raan Brooks Garfield 2018: The young big man was aggressive around the basket and runs the floor very well. Apparently a top notch pitching prospect, he certainly has a lot of upside as a basketball player as well.
SG PJ Fuller Garfield 2019: His lone field goal inside the arc was a majorly athletic alley-oop finish, after which he bumped his head on the floor only to get up like nothing had happened. He is definitely one to watch and already has major Pac-12 schools taking notice.
SG Montez Mathis Oak Hill 2018: Only playing limited minutes in an incredibly talented backcourt, he is a nice athlete who seems to have ability as a scorer.
PG/SG Justin Moore DC DeMatha 2019: Having already played at the U17 level during this past summer’s EYBL Peach Jam, his mature demeanor was noticeable. He is aggressive with a nose for the ball, looks to be another stud to come out of this prestigious institution.
C Kenneth Nwuba Oak Hill 2018: The big man by way of Nigeria is raw offensively, but he is quite athletic and did not back down on the defensive end. He rebounds and has potential as a shot blocker. He also has a world of potential and seems to possess a great work ethic.
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