Mater Dei cruised to victory during the Nike 30th Annual Fairfax Summer Basketball Classic, defeating Long Beach Poly by a score of 81-52. It let’s us know for sure one thing: Mater Dei is on the rise – again – and will be a contender next season. They have the pieces for a great run and will make some definite noise on the Open Division circuit. Nationally, PopScout thinks they’re a top 10 team and will garner some deep looks by the critiques who determine those factors. Based on what we saw at the recent Fairfax tournament, it’s safe to say that Mater Dei is strong and built like a stud.
6-8, 220 | Class of 2018
Michael showed some good skills during the Fairfax tournament for a 6’8 big man whose agile,smooth, and only a junior. He doesn’t appear to be a post up player but more of a hybrid who is very skilled with the rock and makes good decisions with the basketball in transition. He shoots well and has a nice mid range game – showing the ability to hit from free throw extended as well as drop floaters in the lane. PopScout feels he needs a few more “big time” games under his belt in order to gauge his true colors. We did see some room for improvements in his game, and a few unforced turnovers, which may indicate some nervousness out there on the court. At the end of the day, if he stays in the gym and keeps humble, look for this kid to make some noise his senior season for Mater Dei.
6-6, 210 | Class of 2017
The kid has the intangibles to be a stud – showing great composure and leadership on the court. The lefty has a nice pull up jumper, handles the ball extremely well, and gets to the bucket with power. Not afraid of contact and has a nice 6’6 frame. He rebounds and brings the rock up showing the ability to make smart decisions. Scores on all three levels and looks to play solid defense and helps out when teammates get beat. We like the upside of this kids’ game and are amazed that their aren’t many D1 schools knocking on his doorstep. ESPN has him at a scout grade of 65 and a 2 star rating…wow not quite sure of that. By the end of the 2016-17 campaign, this kid will definitely be on the radar and a one to watch.
PopScout had a chance to sit down with a few athletes during the 2016 Summer Fairfax tournament, to pick their brains and, frankly, get an idea about the character of these young, talented, student athletes. I was very impressed with the demeanor and professionalism that was shared during each interview. Take a look at Spencer Freedman as we interview him an hour or so before he takes on Chino Hills and savvy SO. PG Lamelo Ball. Although Chino Hills spanked Mater Dei last season, with Zo at the helm running point, Mater Dei went on to win this game, which gives them an immediate boost of confidence – and a bit of summer bragging rights. It’s still too safe to say if Chino Hills won’t be a contender, Gelo is out nursing a sore ankle, but it lets Gary McKnight and his coaching staff know that their players will be ready to battle, any and all squads, this upcoming campaign.
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