50 States in 50 Days: Nevada
The level of talent is golden in "The Silver State"
As the season draws closer, Five-Star is previewing the high school basketball scene in all 50 states. Each day, we will focus on one state, highlighting the top teams, players and games of the upcoming season. Today, we focus on Nevada. So, did we pick the top teams or did we snub your alma matter? Did we find the best players, or is there someone flying under the radar, ready to make noise? Let us know in the comments below.
Five Players to Watch:
Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman) – Widely regarded as the nation’s top prep player, Shabazz is a pure scorer who can light it up from anywhere on the floor. His strength and athleticism are an asset to him in the paint where he can bang with the forwards as well as on the perimeter where he can blow by most guards trying to check him. Muhammad also has the potential to be a tremendous defensive player, and has already demonstrated a high-effort approach to compliment his quickness and length. His playing style, much like his name, resonates with those who come to see him play and leaves quite the impression. The recruiting race for Shabazz is still wide open, and his father has stated that a decision won’t come until the spring. His list includes Kentucky, USC, Duke, Arizona, Kansas, UCLA and UNLV.
Rosco Allen (Bishop Gorman) - The 6-9 senior forward prides himself on his versatility, and has turned into a complete player during his time at Gorman. Allen is a dynamic talent, who can knock down the three ball, drive to the rim and finish in transition. With offers from a plethora of high majors, his short list includes North Carolina, Stanford, Oregon and UNLV. Allen is a polished talent who will be able to play the 3 at the college level and whose versatile arsenal would fit in with any offensive scheme.
Christian Wood (Findlay Prep) – Just a junior this year, Woods is a consensus top 50 player in the class of 2013, and his stock continues to rise. At 6-9, Woods is somewhat of a cross-breed between a PF and a wing player. He possesses excellent hands around the rim and in transition and can stretch defenses with an evolving outside game. Wood has committed to play for coach Dave Rice and the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
Brandon Ashley (Findlay Prep) - The senior transfer from California’s Bishop O’Dowd is a borderline scary addition to the Pilots. At 6-8 and just under 200 pounds, Ashley is light on his feet and can finish with a soft touch or drop the hammer with a big slam. Rivals ranks him as the top PF in 2012, and for good reason. Every college program in America would like to take on a versatile big man with the skill set of Ashley. Luckily for Arizona fans, he’s committed to take his talents to Tuscon in the fall of 2012.
Dominic Artis (Findlay Prep) - Artis has some of the quickest handles in the 2012 class. Last year he starred at Salesian High in California but transferred over to the Pilots for this season. He was one of the most improved players in the nation as he holds offers from UCLA, Oregon and Washington. Early last year, his best offer was from University of Nevada- Reno.
Teams to Watch:
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) – After a shocking loss to Bishop Manogue in last year’s state semifinals ended the Gaels campaign for a third straight title, Bishop Gorman is back with a chip on its shoulder. The perennial Vegas powerhouse, led by the nation’s top ranked player Shabazz Muhammad, will dominate opponents with its high octane, above the rim attack. Along with the 6-6 Muhammad, the Gaels have size and athleticism that make them a borderline impossible matchup. Seniors Rosco Allen (6-9, #55 in ESPNU 100), Ben Carter (6-8, ESPNU #27 PF) and Demetrius Morant (6-8, committed to UNLV) will create a major “pick your poison” effect that will plague opposing coaches all season long.
Findlay Prep (Las Vegas) - Another perennial Vegas power, Findlay will sport a new look in 2011-12, with the addition of California transfers Brandon Ashley (6-8 Sr. PF committed to Arizona) and Christian Wood (6-8 Jr. PF committed to UNLV). Despite it being just the fifth season in the school’s history, Findlay has built a culture that centers around sports and an elite talent pool that spans the globe. Point guard Nigel Williams-Goss (6-4 Jr.) will run an offense loaded with weapons, such as 6-8 senior forward Anthony Bennet (#7 in Rivals 150 for 2012) and 6-11 junior Benas Griciunas who hails from Lithuania. Vegas basketball fans are already looking forward to January 21st, when Findlay will face off with fellow 4A frontrunner Bishop Gorman at the Cox Center. Last year’s matchup ended in a double OT win for the Pilots.
Hug (Reno) - The Hawks figure to be the top team in Reno, returning 6 of their top 8 players from a 21-3 team that saw their season end with a one point loss in the North Region semifinals. Hug will run, trap and press with a collection of quick, but under-sized perimeter players by dynamic 5-8 SR Andrew Johnson (15.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.2 apg, 4.0 spg) and 5-9 SR Norris Dupree (9.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.9 spg). Junior Sam Williams (13.3 ppg 7.7 rpg), 6-6, gives the Hawks an inside presence. Bishop Manogue emerged from Reno to shock Bishop Gorman in the state semifinals last year. With the state tournament at Lawlor Events Center at UNR this year, the Hug Hawks could figure it's their turn in 2012.
Centennial (Las Vegas) - Leading scorer Aaseem Dixon is gone to Arizona Western College, but 5 key players return for the Bulldogs, who went 23-5 in 2010-11. Seniors Neiman Lee (6-4), Ryan Vozzola (6-4) and Evan Martin (6-5) comprise one of the best front lines in the state, with 6-2 JR Marcus Allen (11.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.0 spg) primed for a big season in the backcourt.
Eldorado (Las Vegas) - The Sun Devils, loaded with underclass talent, were supposed to be a year away from making postseason noise in 2010-11. Instead, they advanced to the 4A state tournament play-in game, losing 55-54 heart-breaker to Sierra Vista to finish 21-8. Stud junior lead guard Julian Jacobs transferred to rival Desert Pines over the summer, but Eldorado should still be the team to beat on the east side of Las Vegas. Senior guards Daquan Thrower and Markeith Floyd combined to score more than 24 points per game a year ago while junior forwards D.J. Billingsley and Donovan Wright added better than 16 per game between them. Size will be a concern, but depth and quickness will not.
Lionel Hollins (Rancho)
Greg Anthony (Rancho)
C.J. Watson (Bishop Gorman)
Kevin Gaines (Clark)
Lorrenzo Wade (Cheyenne)
Olek Czyz (Reno)
Luke Babbit (Galena)
Armon Johnson (Hug)
Freddie Banks (Valley)
Bison Dele (Bishop Gorman - one season, as Brian Williams)
Brady Walker (Virgin Valley)
David Padgett (Reno)
Marcus Banks (Cimarron-Memorial)
Pace Mannion (Chaparral)
Matt Othick (Bishop Gorman)
Sam Smith (Clark)
Willie Smith (Clark)
Avery Bradley (Findlay Prep)
Tristan Thompson (Findlay Prep)
Cory Joseph (Findlay Prep)
Deandre Liggins (Findlay Prep)