High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: high school basketball

2012 Under Armour Elite 24 announced

June, 26, 2012
The seventh annual Under Armour Elite 24 will be held in Los Angeles at the Venice Beach outdoor courts Aug. 25 and will be televised live on ESPNU (7 p.m. ET). The event also will showcase a slam dunk contest on Aug. 24 (ESPNU, 7 p.m. ET).

Featuring 24 of the nation’s best high school players, the Under Armour Elite 24 was held at the famed Rucker Park in Harlem its first four years. Since 2010 it has been held in Los Angeles and will return to Venice Beach for the third consecutive year.

Last year before an overflow crowd of more than 2,500, the Marques Johnson Squad defeated the Raymond Lewis Squad 142-132. Each squad, in the tradition of the event, are named after local playground legends.

Marques Johnson team MVPs were UCLA recruit Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.), who finished with 18 points and eight assists, and Virginia recruit Justin Anderson of Montrose Christian (Portland, Ore.), who finished with 23 points.

Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), also headed to UCLA, and Aquille Carr of Patterson (Baltimore, Md.) were named MVPs of the Ray Lew team.

Rosters for the 2012 event will be announced at a later date.

Prominent alumni through the event's first six years include NBA All-Star Kevin Love (Timberwolves), 2010 No. 1 NBA Draft pick John Wall (Wizards) and 2011 NCAA Final Four MOP Kemba Walker (Connecticut). Two Under Armour Elite 24 alumni were named NBA Rookie of the Year -- 2010 honoree Tyreke Evans (Kings) and 2012 honoree Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), the No. 1 pick in last year's NBA Draft.

Alumni Bradley Beal (Florida), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Terrence Jones (Kentucky), Austin Rivers (Duke) and Harrison Barnes (North Carolina) are expected to be high picks in this year's NBA Draft.

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

Lesser knowns shine at Pangos Camp

June, 4, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The tenth annual Pangos All-American Camp didn't have the star power at the top compared to last year's camp when talents such as Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA) and future NBA pick Andre Drummond (UConn) dominated, but there were plenty of lesser known players that made a name for themselves on a national scale.

The play of guard Zach LaVine of Bothell (Bothell, Wash.) immediately stood out. His controlled athleticism and ball skills made him a difficult defensive assignment. The confidence level of LaVine, ranked No. 97 in the ESPN 100, is through the roof and it helped him gain an edge on other backcourt players in attendance.

"I came here to get my name out (on a national level)," said LaVine, who is uncommitted and has offers from the likes of Washington, Louisville and UCLA. "Coming all the way down from Washington, unless you're a Tony Wroten, you won't get that publicity and have a big reputation until people see what you can do. I have the mindset coming in that I think I'm better than everyone else. I feel like I know what I can do."

LaVine pointed out Solomon Poole of Parker (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Ikenna Iroegbu of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) as guards who impressed him.

Other backcourt performers who stood out included Derrick Walton of Chandler Park (Detroit), Billy Garrett Jr. of Morgan Park (Chicago), Conner Frankamp of North (Wichita, Kan.) and Dakari Allen of Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.).

Frankamp, a Kansas commit, was applauded for his unselfishness, perimeter shooting and winning basketball plays. Allen was the consensus choice among the camp's coaches and national scouts as the top perimeter defender.

Cream of the Crop

After two and a half days of instruction and competition, the most deserving players were selected to play in one of the Pangos Camp's two all-star games Sunday afternoon.

A panel of respected scouts aided camp director Dinos Trigonis in the selection of players for the Cream of the Crop Top 30 and Top 60 games.

Leading the way for the victorious White squad in the Top 30 all-star game was wing Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). The White squad led 65-60 with five minutes remaining when Johnson helped his team take control in its 82-67 victory with strong drives to the basket. He finished with a game-high 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting and dished out a team-high four assists.

Named game tri-MVPs along with Johnson were Frankamp and Zena Edosomwan. Frankamp had five points, three assists and a steal while Edosomwanfinished with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Edosomwan, a 6-foot-8 forward originally from Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), will go the prep school route after reclassifying to the 2013 class. He's headed to Northfield Mount Hermon School (Northfield, Mass.) and is still committed to Harvard.

The standout of the Top 60 all-star game was guard Kevin Zabo of Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.). He netted a team-high 14 points, including two 3-pointers, in his Blue squad's 69-66 victory over the White squad. Ja'Quon Newton of Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) also finished with a team-high 14 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, for the losing team.

"I think I finished off camp strong, especially in the Sunday morning games through the Top 60 game," said Newton, who hasn't narrowed down his list from offers including Georgetown, Villanova, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Temple and Virginia. "This weekend I was impressed by the play of Cliff Alexander."

Veteran camp instructor Tom "Tootie" Cirincione called Pangos a "big man's camp." There certainly were a lot of standout power forward types, none more impressive than Cliff Alexander of Currie (Chicago), who was named the 2012 Pangos Camp Most Outstanding Player.

Other bigs who impressed included Jarrell Martin of Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.), Jermaine Lawrence of Pope John XXXIII (Sparta, N.J.), Mike Young of St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) and Jonathan Williams III of Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.).

Ultimate camp veteran

Some of the campers fought nerves in early games, but the level of play picked up on the second day, especially in the evening session. One player who didn't have jitters and fully knew what to expect coming in was Kaelen Malone, a junior-to-be at McKinney Christian Academy (McKinney, Texas).

In his pre-teen years, he would accompany his father Mitch Malone (founder of the Texas Bluechips AAU program) to shoe-sponsored summer camps such as ABCD. He would serve as a ball-boy and run around doing errands for the camp coaches. More importantly, he was soaking in invaluable knowledge while watching future pros like O.J. Mayo (Grizzlies) make a name for themselves on the summer circuit.

"I used to hop in drills with the older guys when I got a chance and one memory that stands out was a game at ABCD," Malone said. "On the first play, Bill Walker tried to dunk on Greg Oden but he blocked it and said, 'nope, not today.' It gave me a chance to see how hard guys had to work in order to make it (to the pros)."

Malone intends to do a year of prep school after he's done at McKinney Christian.

"I think it will help me mature and find myself," Malone said. "The experience of being away from home without starting my eligibility will help me be successful. Going to all those camps watching guys that are now making some real money gave me a chance to understand what it takes to be successful."

The blueprint

In the summer of 2011, Iroegbu left his home in Elk Grove, Calif., for the Appalachian Mountains of Mouth of Wilson, Va., to play for national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy.

At this camp last year, Iroegbu showed flashes of being a high-major Division I guard, but he pressed -- trying to do too much on one possession -- and was often out of control with the ball. During Oak Hill's 44-0 national championship season, Iroegbu didn't get as much playing time as he would have liked. He had the same on-court problems with the Warriors, but made tremendous strides during practice under the tutelage of Oak Hill coach Steve Smith, noted for his work developing lead guards.

Future teammate Tyler Lewis was also at the Pangos Camp last year and parlayed an excellent senior season into a McDonald's All-American berth. Lewis wasn't considered a strong candidate for the prestigious game last summer and his senior season is something Iroegbu is working to duplicate in 2012-13.

"Tyler's season showed me that even if you're not ranked at the top, if you're successful on the court, positive things can happen," Iroegbu said. "You just need to win. This off-season, coach Smith has already talked to me about being a team leader. He wants me to be smart and have fun."

The maturity in his game was evident at this year's Pangos Camp. National scouts also noticed his improved strength and controlled explosiveness.

"Ike can blow by anybody, he can be really good," said Oak Hill teammate R.J. Currington. "Another thing ... he's humble."

Pangos Camp All-Time MOPs

2012: Cliff Alexander, Currie (Chicago) 6-9 PF
2011: Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-6 WF
2010: Myck Kabongo, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-2 PG
2009: Harrison Barnes, Ames (Ames, Iowa) 6-7 WF
2008: John Wall, Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 6-3 PG
2007: Brandon Jennings, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-1 PG
2006: James Harden, Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.) 6-5 SG
2005: Jerry-Davon Jefferson, Lynwood (Lynwood, Calif.) 6-8 WF
2004: C.J. Miles, Skyline (Dallas) 6-6 WF
2003: Robert Swift, Bakersfield (Bakersfield, Calif.) 7-0 C

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

NHSI individual & team records

March, 22, 2012
2012 boys' bracket | 2011 boys' bracket | 2010 boys' bracket | 2009 boys' bracket

Most Points (Game)
37 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals
32 -- Cory Joseph, Findlay Prep vs. Mountain State, 2010 semifinals
31 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 quarterfinals
30 -- Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer vs. Findlay Prep, 2010 quarterfinals
29 -- Terrell Vinson, Montrose Christian vs. St. Benedict's Prep, 2009 quarterfinals
29 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals

Most Field Goals Made (Game)
15 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals (15x26)
12 -- Terrell Vinson, Montrose Christian vs. St. Benedict's Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (12x20)
11 -- Doron Lamb, Oak Hill Academy vs. Pinewood Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (11x14)
11 -- Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer vs. Findlay Prep, 2010 quarterfinals (11x16)

Most Field Goal Attempts (Game)
26 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals (15x26)

Most Free Throws Made (Game)
12 -- Nick Johnson, Findlay Prep vs. Dwyer, 2011 quarterfinals (12x17)
11 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 quarterfinals (11x14)
11 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals (11x12)
11 -- Tyrone Johnson, Montrose Christian vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 championship (11x11)

Most Free Throw Attempts (Game)
17 -- Nick Johnson, Findlay Prep vs. Dwyer, 2011 quarterfinals (12x17)
14 -- Mouphtaou Yarou, Montrose Christian vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 semifinals (6x14)
14 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 quarterfinals (11x14)
13 -- Tristan Thompson, Findlay Prep vs. Montverde Academy, 2010 championship (5x13)

Most Free Throws Without a Miss (Game)
11 -- Tyrone Johnson, Montrose Christian vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 championship (11x11)
8 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Montverde Academy, 2010 semifinals (8x8)

Highest Free Throw Shooting Percentage (Tournament)
.947 -- Tyrone Johnson, Montrose Christian, 2011 (18x19)

Most 3-point Field Goals Made (Game)
6 -- Noah Cottrill, Mountain State Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (6x12)
5 -- Ronald Scott, John Carroll vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 quarterfinals (5x8)
5 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. United Faith Christian Academy, 2011 quarterfinals (5x9)
4 -- Ryan Bogdan, Pinewood Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2009 quarterfinals (4x5)
4 -- Tamir Jackson, St. Benedict's Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2009 semifinals (4x9)
4 -- Pe'Shon Howard, Oak Hill Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 championship
4 -- Jamail Jones, Montverde Academy vs. Montrose Christian, 2010 quarterfinals (4x8)
4 -- Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian vs. John Carroll, 2011 quarterfinals (4x5)
4 -- Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 semifinals (4x7)
4 -- Victor Adams, Dwyer vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 semifinals (4x7)
4 -- Keith Hornsby, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals (4x6)

Most 3-point Field Goal Attempts (Game)
13 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 championship (3x13)
13 -- Michael Taylor, Boys & Girls vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 semifinals (3x13)
12 -- Noah Cottrill, Mountain State Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (6x12)
11 -- Pe'Shon Howard, Oak Hill Academy vs. Mountain State Academy, 2010 quarterfinal (2x11)

Most Points (Career)
100 -- Corey Joseph, Findlay Prep, 2009-10 (6 games)
91 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010-11 (3 games)

Highest Scoring Average (Tournament)
(minimum two games)
31.5 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010 (63 points/2 games)
27.0 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy, 2011 (81 points/3 games)
23.0 -- Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer, 2011 (46 points/2 games)
21.7 -- Jamail Jones, Montverde Academy, 2010 (65 points/3 games)
20.7 -- Avery Bradley, Findlay Prep, 2009 (62 points/3 games)

Highest Scoring Average (Career)
(minimum two games)
31.3 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010-11 (94 points/3 games)

Most Rebounds (Game)
17 -- Michael Carrera, Montrose Christian vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 semifinals
15 -- Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Oak Hill Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 championship
14 -- Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Oak Hill Academy vs. St. Benedict's Prep, 2009 semifinals
13 -- A.J. Hammonds, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals
13 -- Michael Carrera, Montrose Christian vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 championship

Most Rebounds (Career)
57 -- Tristan Thompson, Findlay Prep, 2009-10 (6 games)

Highest Rebounding Average (Tournament)
12.7 -- Michael Carrera, Montrose Christian, 2011 (38 rebounds/3 games)
11.0 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010 (22 rebounds/2 games)
10.7 -- Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Oak Hill Academy, 2009 (32 rebounds/3games)

Highest Rebounding Average (Career)
10.3 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010-11 (31 rebounds/3 games)
9.5 -- Tristan Thompson, Findlay Prep, 2009-10 (57 rebounds/6 games)

Most Assists (Game)
9 -- Pe'Shon Howard, Oak Hill Academy vs. Mountain State Academy, 2010 quarterfinal

Most Steals (Game)
8 -- Kenny Manigault, Pinewood Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2009 quarterfinals
6 -- Malik Nichols, Boys & Girls vs. Winter Park, 2011 quarterfinals
5 -- Nick Johnson, Findlay Prep vs. Mountain State, 2010 semifinals
5 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 championship

Most Blocked Shots (Game)
5 -- Adam Jones, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals
4 -- Isaiah Armwood, Montrose Christian vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 semifinals
4 -- David Nyarsuk, Mountain State Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2010 semifinals

All-Time Team Records
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-1 (.857)
Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 4-2 (.667)
Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 2-1 (.667)
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 4-3 (.571)
Boys & Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 1-1 (.500)
Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) 1-1 (.500)
St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) 1-1 (.500)
Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.Va.) 1-2 (.333)
Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.) 1-2 (.333)
Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) 0-1 (.000)
Christ School (Arden, N.C.) 0-1 (.000)
Friends' Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) 0-1 (.000)
John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) 0-1 (.000)
Pinewood Prep (Summerville, S.C.) 0-1 (.000)
St. Francis (Baltimore, Md.) 0-1 (.000)
United Faith Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.) 0-1 (.000)


Most Points (Game)
25 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship
23 -- Kianna Conner, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals
22 -- Ashley Gomez, Murry Bergtraum vs. Hollywood Christian, 2011 semifinals

Most Field Goals Made (Game)
10 -- Cori Coleman, Dr. Phillips vs. Murry Bergtraum, 2011 championship (10x20)

Most Field Goal Attempts (Game)
20 -- Morgan Jones, Lake Mary vs. Peddie School, 2010 semifinals (3x20)
20 -- Cori Coleman, Dr. Phillips vs. Murry Bergtraum, 2011 championship (10x20)

Most Free Throws Made (Game)
9 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship (9x9)

Most Free Throw Attempts (Game)
12 -- Tierra Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. St. Francis, 2009 semifinals
9 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship (9x9)
9 -- Hannah Schaible, Dr. Phillips vs. Riverdale Baptist, 2011 semifinals (8x9)

Most Free Throws Made Without a Miss (Game)
9 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship (9x9)

Highest Free Throw Shooting Percentage (Tournament)
1.000 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy, 2010 (11x11)

Most 3-point Field Goals Made (Game)
6 -- Kianna Conner, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals (6x11)

Most 3-point Field Goal Attempts (Game)
11 -- Kianna Conner, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals (6x11)

Highest Scoring Average (Tournament)
21.5 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy, 2010 (43 points/2 games)
17.5 -- Hannah Schaible, Dr. Phillips, 2011 (35 points/2 games)

Most Rebounds (Game)
16 -- Tianna Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. Seton Keough, 2009 championship
13 -- Shenaqua Reese, Murry Bergtraum vs. Hollywood Christian, 2011 semifinals

Highest Rebounding Average (Tournament)
12.5 -- Tianna Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. Seton Keough, 2009 (25 rebounds/2 games)

Most Assists (Game)
11 -- Dawnn Maye, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals

Most Steals (Game)
7 -- Rahneeka Saunders, Riverdale Baptist vs. St. Francis, 2009 semifinals
7 -- Alex Rodgers, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dillard, 2010 semifinals
5 -- Liz Brown, Seton Keough vs. Riverdale Baptist, 2009 championship
5 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship
5 -- Alex Smith, Peddie School vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 championship

Most Blocked Shots (Game)
7 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship
6 -- Tianna Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. St. Francis, 2009 semifinals

All-Time Team Records
Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) 2-0 (1.000)
Peddie School (Highstown, N.J.) 2-0 (1.000)
Seton Keough (Baltimore, Md.) 2-0 (1.000)
Murry Bergtraum (New York) 1-1 (.500)
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 1-2 (.333)
Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 1-2 (.333)
Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) 0-1 (.000)
Holllywood Christian (Hollywood, Fla.) 0-1 (.000)
Lake Mary (Lake Mary, Fla.) 0-1 (.000)
St. Francis (Baltimore, Md.) 0-1 (.000)

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

NHSI preview: St. Benedict's Prep

March, 22, 2012
Team: No. 4 seed St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 33-2, No. 15 (No. 7 in the East)
Head Coach: Mark Taylor (1st year at school, 31-1; previously spent nine years at St. Joseph of Metuchen, N.J. and five at Ridge of Basking Ridge, N.J.)

Key Players:

Melvin Johnson
The 6-foot-3 senior guard is labeled by Taylor as "probably the best shooter" he's coached in 15 seasons at three New Jersey schools. That's high praise since Taylor coached Jason Williams at St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.) among 11 Division I players, including the Lakers' Andrew Bynum, in nine years at his alma mater. "Melvin can fill it up with unlimited range and driving floaters. He's special on the offensive side." The University of Miami recruit is ranked No. 92 in the ESPNU 100 and lived up to his billing with consistent play.

Tyler Ennis
The 6-foot-2 junior point guard runs the offensive attack for the Gray Bees, which averages 82.8 points a game. Ranked No. 41 in the ESPNU 60, he leads the team in assists (7.1 per game) and steals (2.5 avg.) while scoring 15.0 points a game, second to Johnson on the squad. "Tyler and Melvin get everyone involved in the game," Taylor said. "Our three guard setup drives the engine and Tyler's at the wheel. Our team chemistry is very good with a trio of guards and trio of forwards and Tyler is a big part of that."

Isaiah Briscoe
Not many freshman are starters, much less standouts, on FAB 50-ranked teams. But the 6-foot-3 first-year combo guard is no ordinary frosh. "Some analysts rate him in the Top 5 in his class," Taylor said. "He doesn't play like a freshman. He's very strong and plays above his age level." Briscoe is the team's third leading scorer (11.9 ppg) and second in assists (5.3 avg.). "With a senior, junior and freshman handling the ball much of the time, we have a mix that gives defenses fits," Taylor said.

Road to NHSI:

With a new head coach, some first-year players, and a regular season schedule not matching up with some of the top-ranked POWERADE FAB 50 teams after a 13-12 record in 2010-11, the Gray Bees were absent from the pre-season rankings.

But Taylor guided the Prep to nine straight wins in December before meeting up with defending FAB 50 champion St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) in a Jan. 1 clash of unbeatens. The Gray Bees took the current No. 3 ranked Friars to the wire before bowing 51-50. The Gray Bees reeled off 22 straight wins and soared up the FAB 50 charts to No. 10.

They concluded their regular season at the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational, where they dropped their second game of the season to FAB 50 No. 13 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 64-49 after opening the tournament with a 69-65 victory over John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.). They rebounded to defeat No. 46 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) for third place.

"We beat Gonzaga without Tyler Ennis and Jordan Forehand, who had a bad ankle, and led the whole way," Taylor said.

Coach Taylor feels strongly the Gray Bees didn't deserve to drop a few seeds after losing to eventual tournament champion DeMatha without the services of Ennis. He does understand the Alhambra Tournament served as a nice tune-up for the NHSI, where the Gray Bees will enter with confidence because Ennis will be cleared to play.

Inside Scoop:

Taylor's two-trio attack has worked to near perfection. He uses three guards -- Johnson, Ennis and Briscoe -- out front and has three forwards, all Canadians, he rotates at the two front court spots. The inside players are 6-6 senior Kamalll Richards, 6-8 junior Isaiah Watkins and 6-7 senior Denzell Taylor. "The two-trio setup has worked well," Taylor said.

Richards averages 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds; Taylor 5.7 points and 6.9 rebounds; and Watkins 8.2 points and a team-best 8.1 rebounds a game. The fact the Gray Bees are the only team which is playing in two major tournaments -- the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg, Md., and the NHSI -- over the course of three weekends hasn't escaped Taylor's watch. "We've played some good teams one at a time but this two-week pace is like the college Big East Tournament with back-to-back-to-back games against elite teams. It's survival of the fittest."

Mr. Basketball USA Tracker week 9

March, 9, 2012
Last week, we took a look at the most important criteria in the ESPNHS Mr. Basketball. This week, we asked players from across the country to give their opinions on what makes a national player of the year.

It should come as no surprise top vote-getter Shabazz Muhammad (94 points, 10 ballots) solicited plenty of support, but the reasons why he and other top candidates were the choice varied.

Student-athletes around the country placed great emphasis on leadership skills and the ability to make teammates better which leads to team success, regardless of the amount of talent on the roster.

"Is he a winner? How's his attitude? Does he play hard consistently? Has he had big games against good teams? ...I haven't seen all the guys this year, so I guess I'll go with Shabazz (Muhammad)."

-Zena Edosomwan, Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), 2012

"Of course I'm going to say myself. But if not me, then Shabazz Muhammad. I think the player of the year should be a great person on and off the court. He should also be a warrior that hates to lose."

-Archie Goodwin, Sylvan Hills (Sherwood, Ark.), 2012

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

No. 3 Findlay Prep beats Vegas rival

January, 21, 2012

LAS VEGAS -- In a scene reminiscent of the glory days of UNLV basketball when iconic coach Jerry Tarkanian led the Runnin' Rebels to three NCAA Final Fours between 1987 and 1991, basketball was the talk of Sin City on Saturday.

It wasn't a college game, however, that had the city buzzing. The excitement surrounded a contest dubbed the Big City Showdown Challenge between POWERADE FAB 50 No. 16 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and No. 3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.).

In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cox Pavilion for a game that sold out two days after tickets went on sale, Findlay Prep used an 18-1 second-half run to spark its 73-61 victory.

Dominic Artis and Nigel Williams-Goss led the way for Findlay Prep, scoring 21 points apiece and making big plays seemingly every time Bishop Gorman made a push. Artis also had seven assists and two steals to pace the victors.

"Artis is just comfortable out there," said Findlay Prep head coach Michael Peck. "It took him a while to get used to playing and being effective in our system. He's now comfortable and confident. He may go all 32 minutes the rest of the way for us."

Findlay Prep took control early after both teams started the contest tight. A baseline jumper by Bishop Gorman's Shabazz Muhammad ended a 16-5 run by Findlay Prep and made the score 28-22 midway through the second quarter. Bishop Gorman (14-4) eventually cut its deficit to two points, but Findlay Prep's Amedeo Della Valle hit a 3-pointer to give Findlay Prep (19-1) a 33-28 lead with with 20 seconds remaining in the half.

That's when Bishop Gorman's Rashad Muhammad (nine points) hit a 3-pointer and Ben Carter followed by connecting on a 70-foot heave at the halftime buzzer to give Bishop Gorman a 34-33 lead and all the momentum heading into intermission.

But the momentum didn't last.

Findlay Prep ended the third quarter with a 13-0 run to take a 53-39 lead heading into the fourth, and the Pilots eventually grew their lead to 17 points, 58-41, in the final quarter. Bishop Gorman competed until the end and were able to cut the deficit to nine, 66-57, on a put-back layup by Shabazz Muhammad with 2:17 remaining, but the Gaels never truly threatened to complete the comeback.

Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 100 and frontrunner for ESPNHS Mr. Basketball USA honors, was coming off a 37-point performance five days ago in a victory over DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.). In this game, however, he struggled from the field (9-of-25) and finished with 19 points. He also had a team-high nine rebounds.

"I take (guarding Shabazz Muhammad) personal," said Findlay Prep's Winston Shepard, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds and did a good job defensively on Gorman's star. "I've been playing against him a long time and I'm a good player, too."

Findlay Prep was coming off a victory over Simeon (Chicago), the preseason No. 1 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, in a game the Pilots played without the services of Anthony Bennett, the No. 7 prospect in the ESPNU 100.

Making Findlay Prep's victory over Bishop Gorman even more impressive was Bennett did not play in this game, either. On top of that, Findlay Prep forward Brandon Ashley, No. 4 in the ESPNU 100, was in early foul trouble and finished with three points, but had a big impact in the third quarter.

"In the first minutes of the third quarter, Brandon gave us exactly what we needed -- a defensive presence," Peck said. "That's how we maintained our lead."

With its victory Saturday, Findlay Prep will now be seriously considered for the No. 2 spot in next week's POWERADE FAB 50. The Pilots have a tremendous amount of firepower on their roster and find ways to win with different contributors.

Currently, they trail unbeaten Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and two-loss Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) in the national rankings.

"When their guards play well, they are the best team in high school basketball," said ESPN director of basketball recruiting Paul Biancardi.

Findlay Prep is now 4-0 all time against Bishop Gorman. The Pilots have never lost to an NIAA school.

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

ESPNHS Players of the Week, Jan. 4, 2012

January, 4, 2012
Related: Players of the Week (Dec. 28)

(After games of Saturday, Dec. 31)
Here are this week's high school boys basketball Players of the Week. One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.

Devin Thomas, Central Dauphin (Harrisburg, Pa.)

The 6-foot-9 senior and Wake Forest recruit had double-doubles on back-to-back nights as the unbeaten Rams (7-0) won a four-team local holiday tournament. In a 59-52 overtime win over Souderton (Souderton, Pa.), Thomas scored 31 points and collected 22 rebounds. The next night, he scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds in a 52-48 victory over Norristown (Norristown, Pa.). He also totaled eight blocked shots in the two wins. Thomas was selected a tournament MVP for the second time in three weeks. He averages 21.3 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks this season after earning all-state honors as a junior.

Imara Ready, Parkview (Little Rock, Ark.)

For the first time since 1992, a team from outside Texas has won the Whataburger holiday tourney and that team was unbeaten Parkview, led by its 5-foot-11 junior point guard. Ready pumped in 32 points in the title game of the 54-year tourney’s top division as Parkview defeated Rufus King (Milwaukee) 72-64. In last year’s final, Parkview lost to Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas), a FAB 50-ranked team that also was in this year’s field but lost in an early-round game to Richland (Richland, Texas). Ready averaged 17 points and seven assists as a sophomore starter for Parkview’s Class 6A state title team. He’s improved in all facets of his game and has already committed to Nebraska.

Zak Showalter, Germantown (Germantown, Wis.)

The 6-foot-2 senior guard exploded for 15 first-quarter points and ended with a game-high 28 as the unbeaten (10-0) Warhawks defeated previously unbeaten and state-ranked De Pere (De Pere, Wis.) 60-49 in the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Shootout at Mequon. Germantown jumped out to a 22-8 first-quarter cushion against a team that had beaten the Warhawks last year at the same event. Showalter, son of Germantown coach Steve Showalter, has elected to accept a preferred walk-on invitation from Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan after considering 15 other scholarship offers. An all-state and local Player of the Year choice as a junior, he averaged 19 points and 4.5 assists last season.

Martez Harrison, University Academy (Kansas City)

The 5-foot-11 senior point guard is among the nation’s top scorers at 34.0 points per game and led his team last week to the championship of the Bishop LeBlond Holiday Tournament in St. Joseph, Mo. Harrison had 30 points, eight assists and four steals when the Gryhpons topped the host school 59-50 in the title game. Earlier in the event, he had 34 points with seven assists and four steals when University Academy beat Mid-Buchanan (Faucett, Mo.) 66-51. Harrison exploded for a 58-point game early in the season against Harrisonville (Harrisonville, Mo.) and his game-high for assists so far is 11. He has generated interest from a few mid-major colleges, but remains uncommitted.

Nick Emery, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)

He helped Lone Peak bounce back from an early in-state loss with a solid runner-up finish at the prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Although Lone Peak was defeated by Milton (Milton, Ga.) in the title game, Emery set a four-game tournament record with 119 points to best the previous mark set by ESPNHS All-American Chris Wright of St. John's (Washington, D.C.) in 2006. He scored 21 points in the title game and 29 in a 72-67 overtime semifinal thriller over Whitney Young (Chicago) in which there was 15 lead changes. A BYU recruit, Emery is one of the better shooting guards in the West region for the class of 2013 and has led Lone Peak back this week into the POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings.

Robinson twins: Double trouble for opponents

December, 29, 2011
Tyrell Robinson, Tyree RobinsonScott Kurtz/ESPNHSTyrell and Tyree Robinson (right) are standout junior wings at Lincoln (San Diego, Calif.). The twin brothers plan on attending the same college.
Related: Quicks Shots Day 1 | Quick Shots Day 2

Here are Day 3 notes from the 22nd Annual Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in San Diego, Calif., Dec. 27-30.

SAN DIEGO -- In San Diego County, the Lincoln (San Diego) boys' basketball team is much like a schoolboy Duke. It's a love-hate relationship with local fans -- you either are a die-hard Hornets supporter or you want to see them lose at very opportunity.

The common denominator is San Diego hoop fans love to watch the Hornets play and look forward to the highlight plays Lincoln's players provide.

The players drawing most of the "oh, did you see that?" moments are juniors Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson. They are identical twins with the identical goal of keeping Lincoln as legitimate CIF state title contenders. It won't be easy, as Lincoln graduated 11 seniors off a team that went 31-2 and advanced to the state semifinals, but not much comes easy for Lincoln basketball players.

Not only do they endure the rough Lincoln Park neighborhood of Southeast San Diego where the school is located, the players fight for the respect they feel has been earned as San Diego's most successful program in recent seasons.

It certainly wasn't easy for Lincoln at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic. The Hornets opened with POWERADE FAB 50 No. 10 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), the tournament's top seed. It was perplexing to Lincoln head coach Jason Bryant. After all, we're talking about a program that finished in third place at last year's tournament (dropping a one-point game to champion Long Beach Poly in the semifinals) and won the CIF Div. II state title the season before.

"I mean, for us to be ranked No. 2 in the county, it's a slap in the face," Bryant said. "We haven't lost to a county team last two years."

Despite missing 6-foot-3 guard Jerry Cobb to academic ineligibility, the Hornets played DeMatha tough before falling 59-48 when the Stags' powerful front line wore Lincoln down in the second half.

“We were ready, it was 35-32 at halftime," Tyrell said. "Once I got in foul trouble, it was hard for us to execute.

"We were focused on boxing out and putting a body of them because they were taller than us. We missed a couple of easy open looks, but we'll be good."

On the court, a close inspection reveals noticeable differences between the two brothers. Both are listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, but Tyrell is slightly thicker and muscular with a lower center of gravity. Naturally, he excels at getting to the rim and absorbing contact.

If there is any height difference, it's due to the fact Tyree has a bit more length and plays more upright. He has a smooth stroke from the outside. In fact, he nailed six 3-pointers en route to 22 points against DeMatha.

"Tyree is one of the best shooters in the state," said Bryant, now in his fifth season at Lincoln. "Tyrell can get to the rim effortlessly and that sets up his brother, who he usually finds spotting up on the wing. They play well off each other."

Both are also standout football players. Tyrell is a defensive end and Tyree is a corner. As a sophomore, Tyree was a second team Cal-Hi Sports all-state medium schools and football will factor into their college recruitment.

"Basketball is my first love, but football comes easier for me," Tyree said. "We are going to go to the same school. We're going to keep our options open and hopefully play both.

"I never want to leave my brother, we ride and die together."

It's probably music to their parents' ears that they'll stay together for college. After all, they have lived in Southeast San Diego their whole lives and grew up a stone's throw from Lincoln.

Their mother Denise Robinson actually attended Morse (San Diego), Lincoln's rival, and dabbled in basketball. Father Scotty Robinson is a South Carolina native. Older brother Scotty Goodloe was a football standout at Marian Catholic (San Diego) and played at Weber State.

Off the court, Tyree speaks in a more proper tone and is a bit of an introvert. Tyrell, who was born two minutes after his brother. He's a bit looser and outgoing with strangers.

"My brother is more goofy," Tyree jokingly said.

After the loss to DeMatha, Lincoln dropped a 56-55 heartbreaker to Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) after the Huskies converted a lay-up at the buzzer. Tyree hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds remaining and Tyrell finished with 24 points. On Thursday morning, the duo combined for 33 points in a 53-44 loss to La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.).

Despite Lincoln's struggles in the tournament, not to mention their different personalities, both brothers remained upbeat about the rest of Lincoln's season -- and playing together on the next level.

So what is it that makes the brothers so close-knit and positive? Is it their DNA makeup as identical twins? Their father's military background?

Bryant relates it to something much more simplistic.

"They are really coachable and very humble even though they get a lot of attention. They are a pleasure to coach, not because of their talent, because they are just good kids."

National Division final set

As expected, POWERADE FAB 50 No. 10 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) advanced to Friday evening's final with a 64-49 victory over upstart Newark Memorial (Newark, Calif.) in the first semifinal.

Up-and-coming 6-foot-2 junior Jairus Lyles led DeMatha's balanced attack with 15 points, as four players scored in double figures for the Stags.

DeMatha jumped out to a 19-7 lead after one quarter and the Cougars could not recover. Newark Memorial cut its large deficit down to six points (48-42) with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Stags pulled away down the stretch.

"We're mad we didn't get the win, but we're not hurt because we competed," said Newark Memorial's Casey Norris, who finished with 10 points and made heady plays around the basket. "We watched a lot of film, so we were prepared, we just didn't make enough threes to get the win."

DeMatha will face Windward (Los Angeles), which continued its strong play with a 71-59 victory over regionally ranked Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.).

Windward has started slow in many of its early games this season, but against Taft they jumped out to a 21-13 lead after one quarter of play. Senior guard Luke Silverman-Lloyd sparked the Wildcats in the first half with three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points, all on long-range shots.

In the second half, senior LMU recruit Nick Stover took over. He continuously finished drives around the basket and knocked down a majority of his free throws. He finished with a game-high 30 points.

Taft coach Jason Hart (a former NBA guard) ordered a full court press that created some easy baskets late in the game, but the Toreadors couldn't cut their deficit to single digits after trailing 57-39 entering the fourth quarter.

Senior forward Brandon Perry led Taft with 25 points. Taft's other standout forward, senior Anthony "Dinnertime" January, was held to nine points.

"Our game plan was to come out hard," Silverman-Lloyd said. "We didn't want to face an uphill battle.

"We're going to look at the film [of DeMatha] tonight. We're going to need a full team effort to win. If we get out to a strong start, we'll play with them the whole game. We're the underdogs, but we like that role."

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

Holiday Classic: Quick Shots Day 2

December, 28, 2011
BeeJay Anya, DeMatha, high school basketballScott Kurtz/ESPNHSJunior BeeJay Anya led DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) to a big win over Lincoln (San Diego, Calif.), but his team has a long way to go to be considered among the Stags' all-time best teams.
Related: Quick Shots Day 1

Here are Day 2 notes from the 22nd Annual Torrey Pines Holiday Classic in San Diego, Calif., Dec. 27-30.

Recollections of DeMatha's first venture West

SAN DIEGO -- In the marquee matchup of the National Division opening round, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) took on Lincoln (San Diego, Calif.) in a game that had a semifinal feel to it.

DeMatha, ranked No. 10 in the latest POWERADE FAB 50, is arguably the nation's most recognizable high school program. They have been a national power since Morgan Wootten, the predecessor to current coach Mike Jones, won the first of his four mythical national titles in 1962. Lincoln won a CIF Division II state title two years ago, has not lost to a team from San Diego County since the 2008-09 season and has a large, boisterous fan base.

That combination created an electric atmosphere as DeMatha rode a big performance for junior BeeJay Anya (21 points, 14 rebounds) to a 59-48 victory. On Wednesday night, the Stags cruised to a 83-47 quarterfinal win over Mayfair (Lakewood, Calif.) to improve to 7-0 on the season. They will take on 20o9 National Division runner-up Newark Memorial (Newark, Calif.) in one Thursday evening semifinal after the Cougars defeated St. Bernard (Playa del Rey, Calif.), 57-49, in their quarterfinal game.

As exciting as the DeMatha-Lincoln game may have been, the atmosphere, according to Jones, was not quite on par in comparison to DeMatha's first California road trip during the 1990-91 season in Jones' junior year.

"I think it was even more electric because we played Artesia (Lakewood, Calif.) on their home floor," Jones said. "They had a good team and I think we won by four or six. I remember it was fun; I had a good time."

That season Wootten's Stags were supposed to participate in an event called the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Tempe, Ariz. The event, however, ran into financial difficulties that led DeMatha to a replacement tournament in California called the Gold Coast Artesia Classic, a five-team round robin event at Artesia.

DeMatha handily defeated a San Pasqual (Escondido, Calif.) team that featured future Duke forward Erik Meek and defeated the host Pioneers by six points.

Artesia had a young team led by three high-major sophomores (Charles O’Bannon, Avondre Jones, James Cotton). DeMatha also had an underclass-dominated team led by guard Duane Simpkins (Maryland) and Jones, a 6-foot-4 wing who matriculated to George Washington University.

Over twenty years later, it's amazing the images Jones' memory conjures up.

"I remember getting dunked on while taking a charge," Jones said. "I made the play I was supposed to."

That season, Jones averaged 17.7 points and 5.7 rebounds and helped the Stags to a 30-0 record and No. 5 final national rating. In fact, the program went 75-0, the only time the DeMatha program went unbeaten for a season.

Lance Booker seasoned tournament veteran

When St. Bernard (Playa del Rey, Calif.) senior guard Lance Booker takes the floor at Torrey Pines High School, only players from the host Falcons are more at home on the court.

That's because this is Booker's third consecutive year playing in the Holiday Classic -- and he's playing with his third different team.

Two years ago, he was a pint-sized reserve guard on a Leuzinger (Lawndale, Calif.) team that won the school's first-ever CIF Southern Section title. As a junior, he played at Crenshaw (Los Angeles) and is now reunited with Reggie Morris, Jr., his former coach at Leuzinger who is now in his second year at St. Bernard.

"When I was at Leuzinger, I really loved playing for (Morris)," said Booker, who led his team to a 68-61 opening round win over Houston St. Thomas (Houston) by making all eight of his free throws and scoring 16 points. "If I would have followed him to St. Bernard, I would have had to sit out, but now I'm with him again."

Booker's high school journey has taken him from a modestly measured 5-foot-3 contributor at a large public school to a full-grown leader at a smaller parochial school. He's learned plenty about the game along the way, including how to deal with the trash talk that comes his way regarding his small frame. In fact, he has experience that players with more size, and perhaps even skill, would envy.

So does he still get ribbed about his size? Despite growing about six inches over the past two years, Booker's answer isn't surprising.

"Man, all the time. I play with a chip on my shoulder. I always feel like I have something to prove."

For the third consecutive season, "LB-Gwap" (as he referred to by teammates) knows his exact role on the team.

"When I came into St. Bernard, I already knew we were going to have a young team. I am trying to set an example for the younger guys."

"Lance is very familiar with the system we run," Morris Jr. said. "He brings another dimension with his ball-handling and outside shooting, plus he knows everything we're trying to do.

"He's definitely one of my leaders. He sets the barometer with his energy and he gets after it defensively."

Back in the game

Matt Shrigley of La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.), bound for Steve Fisher's program at San Diego State, did not play in Monday's special tip off games at Torrey Pines. It didn't matter much for the Mavericks, who improved their record to 10-1 with a 59-39 victory over Poway (Poway, Calif.).

Shrigley reportedly was nursing a sore ankle. He suited up for the Mavericks' Tuesday night American Division opener against Folsom (Folsom, Calif.) at LCC's gym.

La Costa Canyon traditionally hosts the American Division bracket and thus does not compete in the top National Division. The Mavericks are currently ranked No. 20 in the FAB 50 West Region rankings and No. 13 in the Cal-Hi Sports state top 20, so it would be interesting to see how they would fare against the top competition the National Division has to offer.

The Mavericks, who have lost only to National Division contender Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) so far this season, opened with a 71-50 victory over Folsom (Folsom, Calif.). Shrigley led all scorers with 15 points. On Wednesday night, he was at it again, netting 28 points in La Costa Canyon's 69-58 quarterfinal victory over Chino Hills (Chino, Calif.).

Pac-12 bound guard shines

College basketball fans in the San Diego area got a glimpse of a future Pac-12 guard in the form of 6-foot-4 Christian Sanders of Houston St. Thomas (Houston).

The Stanford-bound Sanders netted a team-high 21 points in his team's 68-61 loss to St. Bernard (Playa del Rey, Calif.). He came back with a better performance in the loser's bracket on Wednesday afternoon, leading Houston St. Thomas to a 64-53 win over La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.).

Sanders dropped in 29 points, as La Verne Lutheran dropped its second consecutive game at the Holiday Classic. Ranked in the FAB 50 to begin the season, Lutheran's performances are the most disappointing among the highly regarded teams thus far.

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

NBA lockout: What did HS players learn?

December, 12, 2011
After a grueling 161 days of countless meetings, finger-pointing and accusations which at times got nasty, NBA owners and players ratified a new collective bargaining agreement last Thursday. The ratified deal ended a work stoppage that was on pubic display and scrutinized as much as the league's actual games.

The 19-year old age limit rule did not change with the new CBA, so high school players are not directly affected by the new labor deal this season.

So, what did prep players around the country learn from the NBA lockout?

ESPNHS interviewed high school players from across the country and found out teenagers are happy the NBA will return on Christmas. We also found out that they appreciated the insight that they got on the business aspect of the pro game during these lockout months.

The lockout also opened some eyes about the importance of education and a non-basketball related career.

Prepsters also learned about the dedication required to become one of the best players in the world and that ample opportunities exist to earn a living playing the game outside of the NBA.

Predictably, some players can't wait until Christmas, while others are not particularly enthralled by the star-driven league.

Here is what some high school players had to say about the NBA lockout:
[+] EnlargeSavon Goodman
Andrew Shurtleff for ESPN.comSavon Goodman and others learned alot about basketball's business side during the NBA lockout.

"I learned players definitely have a voice. I also learned basketball can be taken away from you... you have to learn to get money from other things in life. I learned a lot about basketball from the lockout. I didn't know players had an association to help them understand and fight for what was right for them. I also didn't know there were so many leagues out there. I thought there was the NBA and a European league. I got to play with some NBA players and it was an eye-opening experience to see how hard they work at their game."

-Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 2014

"It taught me how really important a college degree is. Also that nothing is promised so always have a backup plan. And control what you can control."
-Rodney Purvis, Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 2012

"I learned that you have to be smart and understand at the end of the day, it's a business. I also learned that you always have to work on your game because in a situation like the NBA lockout you don't have it written in stone when your going to play again."
-Savon Goodman, Constitution (Philadelphia) 2012

"I learned you always need a back up plan when basketball ends. It can't last forever and that's where education comes into place. It taught me to really take care of my academics and try something new that could get me a job besides basketball."
-Grant Jerrett, La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.) 2012

"I learned to have a backup plan, because the NBA is not always going to be there. I don't look at the NBA differently. For me, it's always fun to just play basketball. I was surprised how long it took to come up with a deal."
-Demarquise Johnson, Westwind Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 2012

"I learned a few things. First, stars and superstars never stop working. No matter what, basketball never stops for those guys. Two, if you make it to the NBA you have to be smart with your check. If you get to that level, you have to put yourself in a good financial situation. I don't look at the NBA different, basketball is still basketball, but I do realize now it's more of a business."
-Archie Goodwin, Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) 2012

"I just realized at the end of the day, the game is about money. These guys work so hard to get paid for what they do. Money is a big issue. The lockout was tough. I'm a huge Lakers fan, plus I want to see how the new NBA draft picks perform."
- Zena Edosomwan, Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 2012

"The main thing I learned is to not take the NBA for granted. I remember how exciting it was last year with the Miami Heat, the trades and the playoffs. You even see it this year already with the Dwight Howard/Chris Paul to the Lakers talk. Personally, I enjoy watching college basketball more. It's more about teamwork and plays."
-Kaleb Rodriguez, ThunderRidge (Littleton, Col.) 2012

"I learned you can't take nothing for granted. I realized it's a job for them. Once they were stripped of it [playing basketball], it put a tremendous strain on the players and fans. Personally, I'm ecstatic about the NBA coming back. Whenever I'm at home relaxing, I watch basketball. I want to watch the great games on Christmas Day."
-Jalen Ward, O'Dea (Seattle) 2012

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

Inside look at Mr. Basketball USA candidates

November, 13, 2011
Preseason ESPNHS All-State Teams

Mr. Basketball USA is the title bestowed upon the National Player of the Year by ESPNHS.

During the regular season, ESPNHS will release its Mr. Basketball USA Tracker, a weekly look at the nation's top on-court performers, according to a panel made up of 10 high school basketball and recruiting experts, including five McDonald's All-American selection committee members. Now in its fifth year, the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker begins with its preseason voting results Nov. 17.

The early favorites*

Kyle Anderson, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 6-7, PG

ESPNU 100 Rank: No. 5

Resume: He was spectacular for the Friars last season, earning second team ESPNHS All-American honors after netting 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He was one of the top two players on the No. 1-ranked team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Why he could win: Anderson is a legit triple-double threat every game he plays. He has a huge impact on the outcome of games, and the defending champs will play some big ones.

Why he wouldn't: He'll have to carry more of the load and sometimes that's too much for a team shooting for the No. 1 spot in the ratings. The Friars can't afford many slip-ups. It remains to be seen if the lost production of guard Myles Mack hurts or helps Anderson's candidacy.

DaJuan Coleman, Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.) 6-10, C

ESPNU 100 Rank: 14

Resume: As a junior, he was named second team ESPNHS All-American after averaging 24.5 points and 14 rebounds per game. He earned Class A Tournament MVP honors for the second straight season.

Why he could win: It's simple -- if he leads his team to a sterling record and another state title he'll be in the running. Coleman earned ESPNHS National Freshman of the Year honors in 2008-09 and has led the Red Rams to a 75-7 record and three Class A state titles.

Why he wouldn't: The lack of national competition he’ll face outside of the East Region could hurt his candidacy. It will stand out as a negative factor if Jamesville-DeWitt doesn't win a state chip.

Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-6, SG

ESPNU 100 Rank: 1

Resume: As a junior, the smooth lefty earned first team ESPNHS All-American honors by averaging 25.1 points and 7.7 rebounds for a 25-6 club. His junior campaign ended with a thud, as Gorman was upset in the state semifinals, but some analysts considered Muhammad the West Region’s top player regardless of class last year.

Why he could win: He has the talent and team around him to not only be regarded as the best player in Nevada’s history, but the first ever ESPNHS National Player of the Year from the state.

Why he wouldn't: The team around him. Only injury or a total Gorman collapse would prevent Muhammad from appearing on a ton of ballots each week. Gorman had up-and-down performances against national competition and his teammates need to rise to the occasion.

Jabari Parker, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 6-8, SF

ESPNU Super 60 Rank: 1

Resume: As a sophomore, he averaged 15.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for a team that finished 30-2 and ranked No. 9 in the FAB 50. Parker was named ESPNHS National Sophomore of the Year and Nationa Freshman of the Year in those respective seasons.

Why he could win: Being the top player on the No. 1 team in the POWERADE FAB 50 is a good start. Plus, Parker has the great combination of talent and work ethic. Traditionally Illinois teams don’t travel far to play national competition (they don't really have to), but that's not the case with Simeon.

Why he wouldn't: If he doesn't make those talented teammates better or Simeon doesn't live up to expectations, his candidacy will suffer. Traditionally, juniors don't win national player of the year honors and only three have been by ESPNHS -- LeBron James (2002), Lew Alcindor (1964) and Jerry Lucas (1957). You're talking about two of the top five high school players ever and another all-time great. Parker would have to prove he's in that select company.

Tony Parker, Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) 6-9, PF

ESPNU 100 Rank: 31

Resume: As a junior, he averaged 17.5 points, 15.6 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game for a team that finished 31-2 on-court and ranked No. 6 in the POWERADE FAB 50. Parker was named the Peach State’s second-ever ESPNHS National Junior of the Year, following Louis Williams of South Gwinnett (Snellville, Ga.) in 2003-04.

Why he could win: If T.P. plays with consistency throughout the year, he could become Georgia's second winner in four years, alongside Derrick Favors of South Atlanta. Georgia’s Class AAAA Player of the Year scored 21 points and grabbed 22 boards in a state title-game win. Similar performances this season, with the rugged schedule Miller Grove plays, makes for a strong candidate.

Why he wouldn't: Miller Grove has a brutal five-week stretch in its schedule where it faces Oak Hill Academy, plays at the City of Palms Tournament and Bass Pro Tournament Champions, and squares off against No. 1 Simeon and defending FAB 50 champ St. Anthony. It's sink or swim time for Parker. To play at the level necessary every night for Miller Grove to win all those games may be asking a bit too much.

Marcus Smart, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) 6-4, SF

[+] EnlargeMarcus Smart
Davide De PasMarcus Smart is the No. 11 ranked prospect in the 2012 class but is one of the best players now.
ESPNU 100 Rank: 11

Resume: Smart earned second-team ESPNHS All-American honors after pumping in 14 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Marcus finished 39-1 and ranked No. 5 in the FAB 50.

Why he could win: Is he a shooting guard? A point guard? A small forward? It's one of the most pressing recruiting questions of the 2011-12 season, but for what Smart does for his high school team the answer doesn't really matter. He's the ringleader on a team that has four starters back. He's simply a winner.

Why he wouldn't: Panelists might view Smart as a product of a great team and system, not the most talented individual in the country. That could happen if he doesn't have big games on the big stages or clearly separates himself from teammates. To Smart's credit, he's a team-oriented player, but the varying opinions on his future potential could hurt his candidacy, especially if Marcus doesn't win its showcase games.

Read More »

Long road to FAB 50 title

October, 25, 2011
The road to the POWERADE FAB 50 mythical national title won't be an easy one.

That journey will definitely pass through Ft. Myers, Fla., and Springfield, Mass. Those two locations are home to the most loaded events this upcoming season in terms of FAB 50 ranked-caliber teams in attendance.

Ft. Myers, Fla., is the home of the State Farm City of Palms Classic, the nation's top holiday tournament in recent years. The 2011 edition (Dec. 16-21) is no different, as Bishop Verot High School will host no less than eight FAB 50-ranked teams between December 16-21. The field of teams include (listed with preseason FAB 50 ranking):

16-Team Classic:

No. 2 Miller Grove (Lithonia Ga.)
No. 6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
No. 7 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
No. 10 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
No. 16 Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)
No. 18 Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.)
No. 50 Trinity (Louisville, Ken.)

4-Team Signature Series:

No. 23 Friends' Central (Wynnewood, Pa.)

The third place and championship game on Wednesday, December 21 will be televised live on ESPNU.

Among the teams that did not make the FAB 50, the one that intrigues us the most is Salesian (Richmond, Calif.), led by standout junior wing Jabari Bird. The Pride open the season unranked in the West Region Top 20, but one has to wonder how high they would have been in the FAB 50 had standout point guard Dominic Artis, who recently de-committed from UCLA, not left NorCal for Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.).

Speaking of Findlay Prep, the rugged schedule for the No. 8 ranked Pilots includes a stop at Blake Arena in Springfield, Mass., on Monday, Jan. 16 at the 2012 Spalding Hoophall Classic. In that game, Findlay Prep will battle No. 1 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) as part of a four game set to be televised on ESPNU.

Seven of the top nine teams in the POWERADE FAB 50 will participate at the Hoophall Classic, which is quickly becoming the nation's top showcase. The top showcase games at the five-day event over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend (Jan. 12-16) are:

Jan. 14

No. 47 La Verne Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.) vs. St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.)
No. 18 Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) vs. No. 19 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. Prestonwood Christian (Arlington, Texas)
No. 13 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. Northwest Catholic (West Hartford, Conn.)

Jan. 15

No. 23 Friends' Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) vs. St. Mark's (Southborough, Mass.)

Jan. 16

No. 2 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) vs. No. 9 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
No. 7 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) vs. No. 13 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
No. 1 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) vs. No. 8 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
No. 6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. No. 24 Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)

As if those games aren't enough to make fans and pollsters drool, there is a tentative game to be played on Jan. 7 at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W. Va., between No. 1 Simeon and No. 2 Miller Grove.

There is no guarantee that game at the Cancer Research Classic will pit the top two ranked teams in the FAB 50. But if Miller Grove can survive its early season schedule, including a game against No. 3 Oak Hill Academy, and win the City of Palms Tournament, there is no doubt the Wolverines will be pushing Simeon for the top spot.

Should Miller Grove falter before facing a potentially unbeaten Simeon club, there will be plenty of pressure on Jabari Parker and company to win that game. If not, a new No. 1 team heading towards the postseason could potentially emerge from the results of the Hoophall Classic.

At the conclusion of the 1989-90 season, four of the top five ranked teams in the National Prep Poll (precursor to the FAB 50) all finished with unbeaten records, led by No. 1 King (Chicago, Ill.) with a 32-0 mark.

With the stacked national schedules ranked teams are playing nowadays, that scenario is unlikely to materialize again.

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