June 22, 2010
Cali High Sports is coming out with the best and most accurate list of the top Cali players for each sport. We add basketball to our rankings where an extremely talented 2011 class features maybe the best crop of athletes California has seen in years.
We begin our countdown to #1 with Harvard-Westlake Center Damiene Cain. Cain has been on Varsity since he was just a freshman and has proven to be a winner in his time with the Wolverines. Cain was part of a CIF championship team as a sophomore and his squad reached the CIF semifinals last year.
#9 Damiene Cain
Schools Considering: Boston College, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon State
Club Team: Compton Magic
Cain has proven to be a dominant 5 at the high school level and should thrive in his senior season. As a junior, Cain averaged 13.3 points per game, 9.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. Cain did all of this while sharing the post with physical monster and Miami commit Erik Swoope. With Swoope graduating Cain will become the focal point of the Wolverines offense and should expect a huge spike in all of his numbers.
On the offensive end Cain uses incredible footwork and skill rather than brute force in order to beat opponents. He has maybe the best fundamentals of any big man in California and a whole array of post moves.
Cain uses both hands extremely well and can score with jump hooks using either hand. Cain is great at getting deep position and hitting a quick turnaround jumper or catching the ball near the shoulder and backing down his man. Cain’s great footwork allows him to get separation from defenders and he is athletic enough that if you try and pressure the ball he can get by you to the basket.
Cain can also score outside of the post as over the last few years he has developed a solid, consistent jump shot. If you leave Cain open out to 16 feet he will make you pay pretty much every time and while his range doesn’t quite extend to the three point line, he may knock one in from long range every now and then.
Cain has developed a good mid range game over the years and has been improving his handles. He can hit pick and pops with better regularity now and can score moving to his right and left side.
On defense Cain does a great job of protecting the hoop and is an excellent help defender. He gets great position when a shot goes up and you rarely see a guy grab an offensive rebound on him. He has a very wide base with a long wingspan which allows him to do a good job of boxing guys out.
Damiene is a solid shot blocker who at the least alters penetrating guards shots. He has been working on his quickness and can guard 3's well now and is strong enough to body up big men one on one in the post.
The next level?: Cain is a little undersized to continue playing the 5 at the next level but a guy with his skill set deserves to play at at a high Division 1 school. Cain will probably be a bit of 3/4 hybrid in college. He can stretch defenses out but also can play in the post.
Damiene would be a valuable addition to any college program. He's a solid kid and a hard worker who has lots of room to get better.
Cali High Grade: 89