Elite Prospects Gather at Rose City Showcase This Weekend

Garybell_mediumThe Rose City Showcase has become one of the top AAU tournaments in the nation.  Long overlooked by the national media, the Pacific Northwest has become one of the best locations for high school basketball in the country.  In light of the growth of prep basketball in the Pac-Northwest, the Rose City Showcase has featured some of the best basketball prospects in the country.  Here are just a few names that have come through during the last three years: Bill Walker, OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Lance Stephenson, Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas.  That's just in the past few years.  Many NBA stars have endured the Rose City Showcase and have taken the next step at this tournament.  Gonzaga's own Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye both participated in the Showcase as well.

This year's showcase kicks off tonight at Lewis and Clark College in Portland after a long stay at Grant High School, which simply could not hold the crowds that gathered to see the prospects anymore.  Here is a look at the Super 17's Elite Division Schedule (aka what everyone comes to see).

5 PM -- Derrick Rose All Stars vs. Team Oregon
6:15PM -- Emerald City Pioneers vs. Friends of Hoop
7:30PM -- Seattle Rotary Select vs. MBA Elite
8:45PM -- I-5 Elite vs. Team A.C.C.E.S.S.

Want some stars? If you live anywhere near the Portland area or maybe even Seattle you need to head down to L&C for the 7:30 game between Seattle Rotary Select and MBA Elite.  Gonzaga fans are probably familiar with Seattle Rotary Select and the powerhouse that it has become.  SRS, among other things, touts arguably the two top players from the 2010 and 2011 recruiting class.  For 2010, it is Josh Smith.  The man-sized prep star was once rated as the #1 prospect by Rivals.com but has since fallen to fifth.  Smith measures at 6'10'', 270 pounds and still has a year left of high school!  He's been offered by the who's who of colleges including Tennessee, Duke, UCLA, Kentucky, Texas, Louisville, and of course Gonzaga.  He still mentions the Zags from time to time but he should definitely look to the school that utilizes him best as a "one and done" type player.  More exciting than Josh Smith has to be 2011's Tony Wroten Jr.  Wroten is one of the best prospects to ever come out of the Seattle area.  At 6'5'' Wroten is barely 16 years old and can play the guard or wing and has a remarkable feel for the game.  He is also likely to head off to an elite school but has ties to the University of Washington as well.  Wroten is ranked as the second best prospect in the Rivals preliminary 2011 rankings.  The MBA Elite Team from Mississippi should not be ignored just because they are taking on SRS.  Want to know why Wroten Jr. is the second best player in the 2011 class? It's because LaQuinton Ross happens to be ahead of him.  The MBA star is a 6'8'' swingman who has every college already at his doorstep even though he is only halfway through high school.  Matching up with SRS' Josh Smith will be 6'8'', 285 pound Demarco Cox.  Cox, who is also one of the best offensive tackle prospects in the country, says he wants to play basketball in college.  The Smith/Cox match up tonight should be well worth admission.

Plenty of Gonzaga Prospects, too.  While Gonzaga might miss out on the Smith and Wroten's of the Pacific Northwest, their are still a number of elite prospects that could play their college basketball in Spokane.  Leading the way, at least for me, is 2011 recruit Gary Bell Jr (pictured above).  Bell Jr. also plays for the Seattle Rotary Select team with Smith and Wroten and may not have all the immediate attention right now but the showcase could be a big jumping off point for him.  Bell is being recruited as a point guard at this point and reports offers from Washington and Cal.  At 6'1'', he's got good length and shoots the ball well.  He will probably be very highly rated when Rivals and Scout put out their extended rankings.  Brett Kingma is another prospect that will be in the main event playing for the Emerald City Pioneers.  Kingma is a guy that has flown well under the radar thus far as a 2011 prospect but has been tearing it up.  Standing at around 6'1''-6'2'', Kingma is known as a dead-eye shooter who can drain 7 or 8 threes in the blink of an eye.  He has a Gonzaga offer and there is no doubt that his recruitment will heat up soon.  Portland St. had offered him early so with Ken Bone at Washington State, you can bet WSU has shown major interest.

Friends of Hoop, another Seattle based AAU team carries two Gonzaga prospects.  Joe Harris of Chelan, WA and Aaron Bright of Bellevue, WA.  Harris, like Kingma, has been on Gonzaga's radar for quite some time and is kind of hidden up in Chelan.  A 6'5'' combo guard, Harris is a 2010 prospect and was recently offered by Ken Bone and Washington State and is receiving plenty of interest on the West Coast.  He's been steadily improving and could become one of the top players in the state next season.  Aaron Bright's Gonzaga recruitment may have taken an odd turn when the Zags signed GJ Vilarino.  Bright visited Gonzaga on April 9th and I thought he would definitely be a Zag until GJ signed on.  Standing only at 5'10'', Bright is a very heady point guard who usually chooses wisely and is deceptively quick.  His size may affect how high his recruitment goes but Bright is definitely a player to watch in the state of Washington.

Hopefully some of our dedicated readers like DKZagBlazer will be there and let us know how it all went.  If not, OregonLive has done a pretty good job previewing the event and will do a bulk of the coverage.  Visit the official Rose City Showcase website for more information.

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