November 22, 2009

Central Valley Prospects: An Early Preview

Kevin McCarthy

Okay, gas up the SUV and start the discover-a-prospect tour. Isn’t this the manner in which assistant basketball coaches make their bones? Locate and sign that hidden gem, the late-blooming kid off-the-beaten tracks who maybe didn’t play club team ball or was sick during big tournament time and earn that giant step up in the coaching hierarchy.

This scenario probably doesn’t really happen anymore for a myriad of reasons. But DeRon Carbajal of Buchanan High wants to make sure the deserving ballers in the Fresno area receive their rightful attention. When a scout can visit a number of high schools and possibly see a multitude of prospects in a day of traipsing around southern California, well, it’s quite the different story even in an area as large as Fresno or especially Bakersfield.

So let’s have Carbajal offer the names of some of the San Joaquin kids who we will eventually be seeing dotting college rosters in years to come.

As for Carbajal’s bonafides, he has coached the Buchanan High’s girls and boys teams and currently assists with the former. Carbajal also ran the Carpinteria High boys basketball program earlier and most recently instructed at the July 2009 LeBron James Skills Academy. He played college hoops at Santa Barbara City College and Vanguard University.

Here are the names and descriptions he offered:

Central Cali’s Finest Instructional Showcase Top Prospects
  • 6-foot-6 Jordan Burris, Stockdale High, Bakersfield, 2010 (signed LOI with Nevada)
    He’s a fabulous athlete who could play the one, two and three at the next level. Put him in Los Angeles and he would have been known as a big time player.
  • 6-foot-0 Robert Sandoval, Clovis East, 2010
    Robert is a very good ballhandler who will be a major factor in the Valley this season.
  • 6-foot-11 Robert Upshaw, Edison High, 2012
    Upshaw’s a project who will need lots of work and must get stronger but he’ll be the target of major colleges before all is done.
  • 5-foot-7 Bryce Martinho, San Joaquin Memorial High, 2010
    Bryce does great things with the basketball. Fresno City College is frothing at the mouth over him and a bunch of NAIA schools are after him.
photo of Bryce Martinho Bryce Martinho
  • 6-foot-0 Jarred White, Central High, 2011
    He is an excellent shooter and ballhandler.
  • 6-foot-6 Sam Milhous, Buchanan High, 2010
    Sam will probably have to attend a junior college first and is sort of a silent factor right now but he handles the ball extremely well and he’ll be a one, two or three eventually at the next level.
  • 6-foot-3 Jackson Carbajal (DeRon Carbajal’s son), Buchanan High, 2010
    He is a typical coach’s kid with a high basketball IQ who can shoot and jump and is a fabulous defender." The younger Carbajal recently signed a letter-of-intent to play for Brian Katz at Sacramento State next season.
  • 6-foot-2 Alex Fertig, Buchanan High, 2012
    Alex is a sharpshooter who will take some of the pressure off Jackson [Carbajal] and then take his place when Jackson’s done.
  • 6-foot-5 Kevin Bailey, Clovis East, 2011
    Kevin has to improve his strength, his ballhandling in the open court plus his shooting form and consistency but he’s going to be something else. Washington has already called me about him. I see him being similar to Quincy Pondexter" (the former San Joaquin Memorial star who is now in Seattle).
photo of Alex Fertig Alex Fertig
  • 6-foot-8 Grant Verhoeven, Central Valley Christian High, 2012
    He’s only a sophomore this year and already 6-foot-8." Verhoeven is the son of former Fresno State star Pete Verhoeven who played six seasons in the National Basketball Association. He has already taken unofficial visits to Stanford and Fresno State.
  • 6-foot-2 Denzel Johnson. Clovis West, 2011
    He’s an excellent point guard who has West Coast Conference schools like Santa Clara already interested in him. He has also unofficially visited Stanford and Fresno State.

We will check in with Coach Carbajal as the basketball season reaches its mid-point to look at these and other ballers in order to see who has matched or exceeded expectations.