August 10, 2011
For the second consecutive year, there were no California players selected to the McDonald’s High School All-American game. There is no denying that there has been a recent talent swoon in California but the class of 2012 is about to change that trend. Dynamic guards, talented swingmen and dominant big men highlight an incredibly deep class and Cali High Sports looks at the best of the best in our countdown of the top 30 players for 2012.
We continue our countdown with Fairfax forward Taj Adams, an emerging recruit who is generating plenty of interest from schools across the West Coast.
#15 Taj Adams
Position: Power forward
Schools Considering: Nevada, San Diego State, UTEP, USC, Utah, Washington State, Pepperdine (no offers, heavy interest)
Every year a recruit comes from seemingly out of nowhere and draws the attention of scouts. This year, that player just might be Taj Adams. A long, athletic power forward with a good face up game, Adams played very well this summer for Fairfax and should see his recruitment pick up once the season starts.
Adams is a very skilled big man who can score in a variety of ways on the offensive end. Taj has a solid mid-range game and possesses a very consistent stroke from 15 feet. He does a good job of squaring up his shoulders and setting his feet on jump shots and his high release point makes his shot tough to block. What really makes Adams lethal from mid-range his is quickness and arsenal of stutter and jab steps. He can freeze his defender with one and his quickness helps him create the necessary space to get his shot off.
When defenders press Adams too tightly he can get by them off the dribble and is an effective finisher at the basket. He has really long arms that help him finish layups and floaters and does a good job of following his shot and creating 2nd and 3rd chance opportunities. He’s really improved his off hand this summer and has a good baby hook that has strengthened his back to the basket game.
While he may have a thin frame, Taj uses his leaping ability and wingspan to help him corral rebounds. Taj has a great feel for the game and his instincts help him chase down loose balls and take the right angle on balls coming off the backboard. He stays active on the glass all game and makes quick decisions off offensive rebounds. He needs to put on weight to be able to bang bodies more often down low but he is certainly a competitor who isn’t afraid to get physical on the block.
Strong lateral quickness make Taj an effective defender and his aforementioned long arms help him really protect the rim. He blocks plenty of shots but alters dozens more and knows how to use his quick hands to disrupt passing lanes and balls thrown into the post. Adams’ competitive nature helps make him a force on defense and Fairfax is going to rely on him to anchor the paint on both ends of the floor this season.
The next level?: Taj’s potential is enormous. He is probably going to grow another inch or so and once he fills out his frame he will be able to be a highly skilled inside-outside forward. He has all the tools to be a very effective four at the college level and is reminiscent of former USC forward and current Chicago Bull Taj Gibson.
Adams doesn’t hold any offers yet but is attracting plenty of interest from USC, San Diego State, UTEP and Nevada. UTEP will probably be the first of that group to offer but once other stretch 4’s and athletic 3’s start making their decisions (Skylar Spencer, Xavier Johnson, etc) Adams college destination will start to come into focus.
Cali High Grade: 82