High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: boys high school basketball

Quick Shots: Aaron Gordon out indefinitely

May, 2, 2012
5/02/12
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Aaron Gordon, a 6-foot-8 forward from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) and a third team ESPNHS All-American this past season, will be off the AAU circuit indefinitely because of a broken bone in his foot.

On April 24, Gordon told KOB, a television station in New Mexico, that he has a slight fracture in his toe. On May 1, his mother Shelly Davis Gordon told ESPNHS a recent MRI confirmed what the family already knew about the fracture.

“He has a fracture at the base of his toe that he played on for several months,” Shelly said. “We really won’t know if it will heal with time or if it has to be repaired until later this week after a CT scan. Right now, it’s unclear how long he’ll be out.”

The No. 3 prospect in the ESPN 60, Gordon averaged 22.9 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 blocks for the CIF Division II state champs in 2011-12 and was the first junior in 12 years to be named state player of the year by Cal-Hi Sports.

Hatch plans return to court

Austin Hatch, a Canterbury (Fort Wayne, Ind.) junior who survived a plane crash last summer, says he still plans to play for the Michigan Wolverines in 2013.

Hatch's tragic story made national news in June, when a plane piloted by his father crashed while trying to make an emergency landing. Hatch's father and stepmother died in the accident, and Hatch suffered near-fatal injuries to his brain, lungs and ribs. Hatch had committed to Michigan just two weeks earlier, and Wolverines coach John Beilein will honor the scholarship.

Incredibly, it was the second plane crash Hatch has survived; in 2003, he lost his biological mother, a sister and a brother in a similar accident, which he and his father survived. Hatch is now out of the hospital, and though he hasn't played basketball and remains unsure if he'll ever regain his form, he says he's fully committed to playing for Michigan in 2013. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-6 forward hit 45 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Don't call it a comeback

After sitting out the 2011-12 season, center Dakari Johnson of Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) is having an excellent spring so far playing for E1T1 Elite.

One of the country's few true elite pivot players is in excellent shape and has led E1T1 to a 8-1 record through two sessions of the Nike EYBL. Through nine games, Johnson is averaging 16.7 points and 8.6 rebounds, which is second to Julius Randle (9.4) of the Team Texas Titians among all EYBL participants.

The New York City native was the ESPNHS National Freshman of the Year in 2010-11 at St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.Y.) before sitting out his sophomore season because of transfer rules.

Other talented prospects who college coaches and fans are eager to catch on the circuit because they missed all or portions of the 2011-12 season with injury include forward Thomas Hamilton Jr. of Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.), the No. 42 prospect in the ESPN 60, and guard Bronson Koenig of Aquinas (La Crosse, Wis.).

Sophomore guard James Blackmon Jr. of Bishop Luers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) will likely miss the entire summer after tearing his ACL in early February.

Ennis the menace

Some questioned Tyler Ennis' selection as Gatorade State Player of the Year in New Jersey over Kyle Anderson, but the junior guard is silencing many of his critics with his play at the Nike EYBL. The 6-foot-2 Ontario native and St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) standout has paced CIA Bounce to a 9-0 mark at the prestigious event.

Ennis tallied a game-high 20 points to spur Bounce to a 69-55 win over the NJ Playaz during the second session in Hampton, Va. He went 8-of-15 from the field and added six boards in the victory. Ennis added 12 points and six dimes in a win over Mokan Elite and flirted with a triple double as Bounce routed The Family by 27.

David Auguste and Mike Grimala contributed to this report.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Julius Randle: Who do you think you are?

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
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Julius Randle and Billy OwensKelly Kline and AP Photo/Duane BurlesonWe compare class of 2013 power forward Julius Randle, left, to Billy Owens, former NBA and Syracuse forward from Carlisle High School (Pa.), class of 1988.
This summer, ESPNHS will sit down with some of the nation's elite players to break down their game, talk about the inevitable comparisons to college and pro players and get their take on who they pattern their game after.

Player: Julius Randle
School: Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
Position: Power forward
Height/weight: 6-9/225
ESPN 60: No. 2

Who is Julius Randle?

The left-handed combo forward has been one of the top players nationally in the 2013 class since middle school. Randle delivers as a high school player, leading Prestonwood to consecutive Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 5A state crowns. As a junior, he put his school in the national spotlight by leading the team to the title at the prestigious City of Palms Classic, where he earned MVP honors. For the season, the second team ESPNHS All-American averaged 21.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game while shooting 65.2 percent from the floor. Next season, Randle will have a good shot to become Texas' first Mr. Basketball USA selection since Rashard Lewis of Elsik (Houston) in 1998.

Scouting report

According to ESPN RecruitingNation, Randle is a pro in the making. He can drive going in either direction, has touch around the rim, but can also powerfully finish with contact. Randle has range, but is prone to being streaky from the outside. In a nutshell, he can dominate smaller players inside and is too athletic for post players to handle. When he is on, like he was during stretches of the 2011 Nike EYBL, Randle has the look of a top 10 to 15 prospect of the past decade.

Most frequent comparisons: Marvin Williams, Caron Butler, Billy Owens

ESPNHS comparison: Billy Owens

There are great similarities between Randle and the former Syracuse and Carlisle (Pa.) All-American who spent 10 years in the NBA. Owens, also proficient with his left-hand, was a top 5 prospect in 1988 and led his high school team to multiple state championships. Owens was powerfully built and a huge matchup problem on the high school and college level. He wasn't nearly as powerful as Randle, but high school players 25 years ago didn't have NBA-ready bodies nearly as often as they do today. What Owens did possess was an overall feel for the game that made teammates better and passing abilities that are rare for a 6-foot-8 player. Randle won't necessarily pick up those same traits if he doesn't already have them, but if he can learn to stay locked-in for a complete game instead of stretches, the sky is the limit.

Julius' comparison: LeBron James

Since Billy Owens was in his prime before Randle was born, naturally he doesn't really know anything about Carlisle's most famous athlete next to Jim Thorpe. Ever the student, Randle said he's "going to look him up to see what he's about."

Randle is a classic inside-out player who national scouts love because of his ability as an offensive threat across the entire floor, so he found it difficult to compare himself to one player. He does, however, have an affinity for the current Miami Heat star.

"I don't know if I can compare my game to just one player because I think I'm a mixture of players," Randle said. "On the perimeter, I use my speed, strength and handle sort of like LeBron to get where I want on the floor. I'm also able to make plays for my teammates."

Randle knows where his "money" is, too.

"In the post, I have moves also, so I would say I'm sort of like Amar'e Stoudemire or Zach Randolph, but more explosive."

The Prestonwood Christian standout is working hard to expand his game and incorporate some of the moves of his favorite player -- Kobe Bryant.

"Right now, I'm working on being a better defender and also my in-between game like pull-ups. So I watch a lot of Melo (Carmelo Anthony) and also my favorite player Kobe to see how they create space."

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Preseason Mr. Basketball USA Tracker

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
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Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 recruit in ESPNU 100, leads voting in preseason ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA Tracker. Jabari Parker, Kyle Anderson and Marcus Smart also collect first-place votes.

Last season, Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) was being mentioned in the same breath with the nation's top players such as Bradley Beal (Florida), Anthony Davis(Kentucky), Austin Rivers (Duke) and 2011 Mr. Basketball USA Michael Gilchrist (Kentucky).

Muhammad's junior season ended with a thud, as Bishop Gorman was stunned in its state playoff semifinal game. As a result, the uncommitted recruit dropped nine spots to 15th place in last season's final Mr. Basketball USA Tracker. He was named a first team ESPNHS All-American, but wasn't seriously considered for national player of the year.

Despite nursing a sore ankle in that state semifinal contest, the 6-foot-6 wing made no excuses -- he used the motivation created by that stunning loss to work on his game during the spring and summer.

By fall, Muhammad's talent and unmatched work ethic vaulted him to the top of the ESPNU 100 as the top prospect in the class of 2012 . It also put a bulls-eye on his chest as the player to catch in the race for this year's Mr. Basketball USA honor.

To read the rest of this story and see the Mr. Basketball USA voting results, CLICK HERE.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

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