Countdown to Tipoff Rankings: Boys Nos. 11-15

Brookside Christian guard Da'Vion "D.J." Barlow blocks the shot of an Elliot Christian player during their Sac-Joaquin Section boys basketball Division V championship game last March at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. RECORD FILE 2015

For San Joaquin County high school boys basketball fans, last season was good in Stockton, but great in Manteca.

Sierra won its first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section championship, celebrating heartily on the floor at Sleep Train Arena after topping Valley Oak League foe Weston Ranch. The Timberwolves advanced to the NorCal Division III semifinals, as did St. Mary’s in Division II.

It’s my second season covering prep basketball for The Record, and in honor of that, I’m incorporating returning player rankings, a top 15, and a “Countdown to Tipoff” for boys and girls hoops.

How it works: These player rankings are returning players only. These are weighed both by past varsity success and statistical prowess and the potential impact these players may have this year. All factors will be weighed, including whether a player must sit out time after a transfer. At least one player on both the boys and girls lists are a transfer.

Now, this counts down not to the first day of regular-season hoops, which for a handful of teams in the area is Friday, Nov. 27, but the day the near entirety of the section begins: with the Foundation games on Monday, Nov. 30.

Away we go:

No. 15 – Aidan Green (Tokay G, 6-foot-1, Jr.)

Green, older brother of reigning All-Area second-team guard Andre Green, now at Holy Names in Oakland, has transferred to Tokay.

While Aidan Green averaged seven points per game last year, it was obvious that he’s a dynamic and developing offensive player who would’ve received more playing time if not on a senior-heavy, playoff team.

Green will have to sit out the mandatory first five weeks as a transfer student-athlete, but will join a Tokay team that features solid returners like Collin Beckler, and another important transfer in guard Austin Dongon, formerly of Edison High.

No. 14 – Isaiah Harris (McNair F, 6-foot-3, Sr.)

While the Eagles labored to a seven-win season in 2014-15, and a 5-5 record in the San Joaquin Athletic Association, they finished strong. McNair even upset Bear Creek in its finale, forcing the rival Bruins to split the SJAA championship with Chavez.

And Harris was McNair’s best player, and he’s back. He averaged 14 points, nine boards and two blocks per game. Now that Chavez’s Lewis Hayes and Bear Creek’s Brandon Moss are out of the league, he could be the premier post player in the SJAA.

No. 13 – Elan Spencer (Lincoln F/C, 6-foot-8, Sr.)

Spencer, raw and developing a year ago, still managed to average 10 points and seven rebounds for coach Gary Greeno and the Trojans.

Just as Harris could benefit from a depleted SJAA, the Tri-City Athletic League no longer has St. Mary’s trio of length in Lance Coleman II, Alex Smith and Jacob Aruta, or Tokay’s Kashif Afzal.

No. 12 – Jess Spivey (Sierra F, 6-foot-4, Sr.)

Spivey and guard Daniel “D.J.” Wyatt are the integral components returning from Sierra’s section championship and NorCal semifinals run. He’ll be key if the Timberwolves compete for a fifth consecutive VOL title, which is unlikely given Manteca’s and Weston Ranch’s prowess.

What makes Spivey such a valuable player is his length and ability to rebound, melded with his relative speed and ability to guard small forwards, and a solid 3-point stroke.

No. 11 – Da’Vion “D.J.” Barlow (Brookside Christian G, 5-foot-10, Sr.)

What a year 2014-15 was for the Knights. With the help of studs like Barlow, Brookside Christian went 26-5 overall, unbeaten in the Central California Athletic Alliance, won a Sac-Joaquin Section championship and advanced to the NorCal finals.

Barlow averaged 10 points and five boards, and has the experience of a crazy playoffs, like a 97-93, triple-overtime win over No. 1 San Francisco-Stuart Hall in a NorCal semifinal.

COUNTDOWN TO TIPOFF RANKINGS

Nos. 11-15: Green, Harris, Spencer, Spivey, Barlow

Nos. 7-10: Friday

No. 6: Monday

No. 5: Tuesday

No. 4: Wednesday

No. 3: Thursday

No. 2: Nov. 27

No. 1: Nov. 30

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

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