50 States in 50 Days: California
"Golden" State's talent could add to historic alumni list
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 California. So, Golden Staters, 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 Teams to Watch:
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) – The defending champs in Division II are back and, many expect, improved. Junior Aaron Gordon is a bonafide star, and will only get better as the season progresses. Gordon, along with senior forwards Neil Vranicar and Thomas Peters give Tim Kennedy’s squad impressive frontcourt depth, which is especially valuable down the stretch and in the post season.
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) – A big season could be in the fold for the Monarchs who return senior stars Katin Reinhardt and Xavier Johnson from a Division I state title team a year ago. Mater Dei is certainly no stranger to success on the hardwood, and a national schedule that includes a trip to Fort Myers for the City of Palms Invitational and an east coast showdown with NYC’s Christ the King could make for a year to remember for Coach Gary McKnight and his squad.
De La Salle (Concord) – The Spartans have the depth to run with anyone in the state this year and will once again look to make a their presence felt in the Division I tournament. The team travels to Hawaii to play against national competition in December, but coach Frank Allocco better have his team ready for the stretch; the Spartans’ season will live or die on how it fairs come tournament time against the downstate powers.
Loyola (Los Angeles) - Led by super-sophomore Parker Cartwright and senior backcourt mate Justin Childress, Loyola has high aspirations for 2012. After a heartbreaking playoff loss to Mater Dei in last year’s playoffs, the Cubs are out for revenge.
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach)- Another casualty of Mater Dei’s dominant title run from a season ago, Long Beach is back with a new-look squad that calls upon several underclassmen to step up. Junior forward Jordan Bell has been generating a buzz playing alongside Gabe York for the Compton Magic this summer, and figures to be a major contributor to the Jackrabbits success.
Five Players to Watch:
Gabe York (Orange Lutheran) – Standing at just 6’2’’, the senior guard plays well beyond his size. A prolific scorer who can put teams away very quickly, York can shoot the long ball, but earns his stripes in the lane. When he’s in a rhythm, there’s very little that opponents are able to do about it. After watching him play, it’s easy to see why he is one of the crown jewels in Arizona’s prized recruiting class of 2012.
Grant Jerrett (La Verne Lutheran) – Widely regarded as one of the top Power Forward’s in the class of 2012, Jerrett is a college coach’s dream. At 6’10’’, he can roll to the basket and utilize his big frame and soft touch, or step out and shoot the three with impressive consistency. Sean Miller and the Wildcats are getting a special player in 2012.
Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty) – The 6’7’’ junior has generated plenty of buzz for his above the rim antics, but he’s determined to be more than just a posterizing threat. As a sophomore, Gordon made strides across all aspects of his game, and has become one of the top all-around players in the class of 2013. Beyond his scoring prowess, AG has improved markedly as a rebounder and passer in the past year. Arizona, Stanford, Oregon, Washington and Kansas are vying for his college commitment.
Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei) – A silky smooth point guard with size and athleticism, Katin Reinhardt is a thrill to watch. At 6’5’’, he is a nightmare in transition and a scoring threat whenever the ball is in his hands. Surrounded by top tier players at perennial title contender Mater Dei, Reinhardt has lots of opportunities to show off his knack for distributing with style. UNLV coach Dave Rice has a true Runnin’ Rebel with this 2012 commit.
Jabari Bird (Salesian) – Bird is dynamic talent who plays with an extraordinary blend of power and flair. The 6’6’’ junior guard already boasts a total package of skills, and the scary thing is he has two full seasons to fine tune them. He can step outside and knock down a three or mix it up in the lane and time a signature put-back jam. As of now, Bird lists Arizona, Washington and UCLA as his top schools.
Rick Adelman (Saint Pius X)
Aaron Afflalo (Centennial)
Ryan Anderson (Oak Ridge)
Gilbert Arenas (Grant)
Trevor Ariza (Westchester)
Stacey Augmon (Pius)
Matt Barnes (Del Campo)
Brent Barry (De La Salle Catholic)
Drew Barry (De La Salle Catholic)
Jon Barry (De La Salle Catholic)
Bruce Bowen (Edison)
Cedric Bozeman (Mater Dei)
Scott Brooks (East Union)
Chase Budinger (La Costa Canyon)
Bill Cartwright (Elk Grove)
Cedric Ceballos (Dominguez)
Tyson Chandler (Dominguez)
Josh Childress (Mayfair)
Jarron Collins (Harvard-Westlake)
Jason Collins (Harvard-Westlake)
Darren Collison (Ewiwanda)
Michael Cooper (Pasadena)
Austin Croshere (Crossroads School)
Antonio Davis (McClymonds)
Austin Daye (Woodbridge)
DeMar DeRozan (Compton)
Baron Davis (Crossroads)
Mark Eaton (Westminster)
Jordan Farmar (Taft)
Landry Fields (Los Alamitos)
Paul George (Knight)
Taj Gibson (Calvary Christian)
Drew Gooden (El Cerrito)
Gail Goodrich (Polytechnic)
James Harden (Artesia)
Chuck Hayes (Modesto Christian)
Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall)
Eddie House (Hayward)
Jason Kapono (Artesia)
Steve Kerr (Pacific Palisades)
Jason Kidd (St. Joseph Notre Dame)
Brandon Jennings (Dominguez)
Jeremy Lin (Palo Alto)
Bill Laimbeer (Palo Verdes)
Brook Lopez (San Joaquin Memorial)
Robin Lopez (San Joaquin Memorial)
Andre Miller (Verbum Dei)
Reggie Miller (Riverside Poly)
Ed O'Bannon (Artesia)
Gary Payton (Skyline)
Paul Pierce (Inglewood)
Leon Powe (Oakland Technical)
Tayshaun Prince (Dominguez)
DeShawn Stevenson (Washington Union)
Kurt Rambis (Cupertino)
Isaiah Rider (Encinal)
Bill Russell (Oakland)
Bryon Russell (San Bernardino)
Byron Scott (Morningside)
Paul Silas (McClymonds)
DeShawn Stevenson (Washington Union)
Kiki Vandeweghe (Pacific Palisades)
Bill Walton (Helix)
Russell Westbrook (Leuzinger)
Jamaal Wilkes (Santa Barbara)
Scott Williams (Glen A. Wilson)
Dorrell Wright (Leuzinger)
George Yardley (Newport Harbor)
Nick Young (Cleveland)