St. Mary's Gabe Vincent is the reigning All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MAXPREPS)
Boys basketball players around the area are doing their best to do what Gabe Vincent did last year.
Vincent, a 2014 St. Mary’s graduate, was last year’s All-Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
This year, there’s a treasure trove of worthy candidates. And that’s a good problem to have for those teams and for us as basketball reporters.
This is my first installment of a weekly Player of the Year Watchlist (Which I’ll do for girls, too). In weeks after this, I’ll have these candidates trending a certain way — whether it be neutral, up or down.
Here you go:
DRUCE ASAH (Tracy, Sr.)
Asah, a 6-foot-2 commit to Cal State East Bay (NCAA Division II), is a 20-points per night caliber player. Tracy doesn’t have updated stats on MaxPreps, but if they get some I’ll update as to Asah’s progress.
JAELEN RAGSDALE (Weston Ranch, Jr.)
Ragsdale is a precocious point guard for coach Chris Teevan and company, posting 22 points and four assists per game. Weston Ranch can move the ball, play pressure defense and shoot, and Ragsdale is the guy who can put it all together down the stretch.
ANDRE GREEN (Bear Creek, Sr.)
Green is surely a college-level player, a 6-1 guard averaging 21 points and five boards. He was fantastic in Bear Creek’s overtime win over Chavez Friday, with a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.
ANAND HUNDAL (Manteca, Jr.)
Hundal is a shot-blocking machine, as the 6-8 junior averages 13 points, nine rebounds and six blocks per game. That means he’s got 96 blocks through 16 games posted on MaxPreps. Buffaloes coach Brett Lewis says he’s coming into his own offensively, too, and he is: shooting 56 percent from the floor.
LEWIS HAYES (Chavez, Sr.)
Hayes doesn’t just look like a strong high school forward. With his musculature and skill set, he already looks like a college player. He’s posting 17 points and nine boards for the Titans, and has a heck of a jump shot for his frame.
ELIJAH TUANDO (West, Sr.)
Tuando has thrived for the Wolf Pack, averaging 16 points on a good team, but one that plays with a tight rotation of players in its tougher games. West will be ready down the stretch, having faced one of the best teams in Northern California in De La Salle, and hanging with St. Mary’s for most of their TCAL opener this week.
JOSHUA PATTON (Sierra, Sr.)
Patton is a mainstay in my basketball coverage this year. He’s a 6-7 forward, Sacramento State commit and double-double waiting to happen. His mental game is ready for college: he knows when to be selfish and when to kick the ball out. Only experience teaches that.
LANCE COLEMAN II (St. Mary’s, Sr.)
Coleman II is just an unfair matchup. He’s 6-8, but a veritable two-guard who can drill 3-pointers and back down defenders for a bucket in the paint. Coleman II is averaging 22 points and nine boards and will have to shine in the playoffs if St. Mary’s wants to contend for a section title.
L.J. REED (Tokay, Sr.)
It may be early to put Reed on this list — as he just ended his transfer sitout period — but his talent cannot be ignored. The UCLA football commit is a returning All-Metro basketball player from The Sacramento Bee’s list, and is already putting up 16 points and five boards. I think his rebounding numbers will only improve as his basketball stamina does, and Tokay needs him to compliment fellow scorer Nico Brusa in TCAL play.
MORE NAMES TO WATCH
Tydus Verhoeven (Manteca)
Brandon Moss (Bear Creek)
Nico Brusa (Tokay)
Alex Smith (St. Mary’s)
Jazz Swanson (Weston Ranch)
Robin Hong (Lincoln)
Brody Nutting (Lodi)
Jimmy Beltz (Elliot Christian)
Fred Lavender (Weston Ranch)
David Lerma (Elliot Christian)
Marcus Moore (Stagg)
Jacob Araya (Stockton Christian)
Justice Harris (Chavez)
Hunter Johnson (Sierra)
Kenyon Williams (Brookside Christian)
Jacob Aruta (St. Mary’s)
Elan Spencer (Lincoln)
Peter Van Katwyk (Kimball)
Jess Spivey (Sierra)
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