Commentary

Next in line: Boys' athletes

Updated: May 20, 2009, 12:37 PM ET
By Jon Mahoney | ESPN RISE Magazine

With this year's seniors about to graduate, ESPN RISE looks ahead to who will become the next boys' high school sports stars.

[+] EnlargeMichael Gilchrist
Jason O. WatsonMichael Gilchrist is only a sophomore, but at 6-foot-7, is a highly regarded recruit.

Perry Ellis
Basketball, Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
Class of 2012
A 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward, Ellis put his name on the map this year when he took home Gatorade State Player of the Year honors. He averaged 19.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game and grabbed 20 boards in Wichita Heights' win over Wichita Southeast (Wichita, Kan.) in the Class 6A state finals.

Michael Gilchrist
Basketball, St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.)
Class of 2011
Gilchrist came into high school with a lot of hype, and the 6-foot-7, 185-pound forward has definitely backed it up at St. Pat's. Rated the nation's No. 1 recruit in the ESPNU Terrific 25, Gilchrist averaged 14.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this season and was both the ESPNRISE.com Sophomore of the Year and the Gatorade State Player of the Year.

Kenny Hilliard
Football, Patterson (La.)
Class of 2011
A 6-foot, 218-pound running back, Hilliard was named EA SPORTS National Sophomore of the Year after rushing for 2,377 yards and 34 touchdowns on 256 carries. Hilliard, who was also the Class 3A All-State Offensive MVP, is the nephew of former LSU and New Orleans Saints standout running back Dalton Hilliard.

Nyjah Huston
Skateboarding, Davis (Calif.)
Class of 2013
A rising star in action sports, Huston placed eighth at the X Games in 2006. Only 11 at the time, Huston was the youngest competitor to ever compete at X. He's also competed on the AST Dew Tour, earning a pair of second-place finishes in 2006. This year, Huston could have the same type of impact that fellow skateboarding phenom Chaz Ortiz (see below) enjoyed in 2008.

Chaz Ortiz
Skateboarding, Dundee-Crown (Carpentersville, Ill.)
Class of 2012
The future is now for Ortiz, who in just his freshman year of high school copped the Dew Cup in skate park by besting three-time defending Dew Cup champ Ryan Sheckler. Ortiz took home the title with a first-place finish at the AST Dew Tour's last event, the PlayStation Pro. And if that wasn't enough, he's also been featured in Gatorade commercials. Click here for more on Chaz Ortiz.

LaQuinton Ross
Basketball, Murrah (Jackson, Miss.)
Class of 2011
Two years ago, Ross was the youngest participant in the Boost Mobile Elite 24. Now a sophomore with another Elite 24 appearance under his belt, the 6-foot-8, 180-pound small forward appears destined for stardom. Rated the nation's No. 3 recruit in the ESPNU Terrific 25, Ross averaged 23.7 points, nine rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game this past season.

CHI Rise Cover
ESPN RISEESPN RISE Magazine cover boy Chaz Ortiz is already taking over skateboarding.

Nick Vena
Track, Morristown (N.J.)
Class of 2011
Vena is bringing the national spotlight to an event that doesn't see it too often -- the shot put. Vena already holds national freshman (67-10.25) and sophomore (72-02.50) records. The sophomore record was set at this year's prestigious Penn Relays. It also set a meet record and was the nation's No. 1 toss as of press time.

Kasen Williams
Football, Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.)
Class of 2011
Williams has started since his freshman year for a program that's won back-to-back state titles. The 6-foot-1, 191-pound wide receiver/safety finished this year with 56 catches for 939 yards and 13 touchdowns and added three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He has offers from Florida, Tennessee and LSU.

Justin Worley
Football, Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.)
Class of 2011
Hard to believe Worley was just a sophomore this year as he guided Northwestern to a Class 4A, Division II state runner-up finish. A quarterback, Worley set a single-season state record with 309 completions while passing for 3,641 yards and 50 touchdowns. He tossed five touchdown passes in Northwestern's win over Lancaster (S.C.) in the Upper State championship.

Tony Wroten Jr.
Basketball, Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)
Class of 2011
Wroten put his name on the map with a fantastic freshman campaign in which he averaged 20.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and four assists per game. He averaged 18.6 points per game this year and was an All-State selection. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound shooting guard is rated the nation's No. 2 recruit in the ESPNU Terrific 25.

Jon Mahoney is a football and baseball editor for ESPNHS. Email him at jon.mahoney@espn.com.

SPONSORED HEADLINES