Nevada Players to Watch at Holiday Prep

Harvey Perry

It's the time of year when high school basketball teams converge on Las Vegas for the Holiday Prep tournament. Here are the teams -- and players -- to watch from Nevada who will be participating...

4A TEAMS

Basic (Henderson) - Solid last year, dreadful this year.  Nobody worth seeing.

Bishop Gorman - The Gaels had three out of state players join the squad this year, all juniors.  I haven't seen them play yet this year, so I have no opinion yet of the newcomers.  Their only loss has been to #1 ranked Cheyenne, and they won a Jesuit tournament in Sacramento this past weekend.  6-5 JR Brandan Prescott (From Tucson Salpointe) has been the Gaels' leading scorer, while 6-7 JR Severin gates (From San Diego) and 6-5 JR James Wilkes (From Los Angeles) have gotten plenty of playing time.  Four interesting underclassmen have played major roles this year: versatile 6-5 FR Andre McFarland, athletic 6-1 JR Cori Anderson, 5-8 SO PG Greg Williams, and 6-3 SO Kashif Watson, younger brother of C.J. Watson.  Senior leaders for the Gaels are defensive leader Robert Porter (6-1) and fourth year varsity post Mark Hill (6-5).  The Gaels are widely considered #2 in the state behind Cheyenne, and they should do quite well in the HPC.

Bonanza - Best team the Bengals have had in years, led by 6-4 star JR Cornell Johnson and 6-5 SR wing D.J. Richo.  6-3 SO Nigel Moore, 6-4 JR Brett Jaekle, and 6-7 SR Pat Marigold lend strength inside.  5-10 JR Eric Serrano moved in from Boston, MA, and he's played the point for Bonanza.

Centennial - The backcourt has been the key for Centennial, led by 5-9 SR Jahmon Smith and 6-2 SR Lincoln Rogers (Rogers has scored more than 30 points in two games this season, showing that he is fully recovered from the knee injury that ended his season in January last year).  6-5 JR Dane Bowen is a tough rebounder.

Chaparral - One of the worst teams in the state last year with a 2-24 record, but they've looked much better this year.     6-5 JR DaVan Evans has the potential to become a big-time player, and 6-2 JR Rodney Bennett has had his moments this year.

Cheyenne - Clearly the top team in the state, and potentially one of the best in Nevada history.  6-5 SR Lorrenzo Wade and 6-4 SR Chris Fuller (Transfer from Centennial) are dominant athletes on the wings, while 6-8 SR Chad Ferguson and 6-4 JR Chris Davis have been getting it done inside.  6-9 SR strongman Kenny Crockett hasn't played this season despite being in uniform for every game.  6-2 SR Greg Barlow has looked good at the point, and his backup, 5-9 SR Kevin Woodruff (Clark transfer) has looked like a small college prospect when he gets minutes.  Other players to watch for include 6-7 SR Wesley Archer, 6-5 SR Eric Ashley, 6-0 SR Maurice Andrews, and 5-10 SR Elgin Williams.  This team is 12 deep and loaded with athletes.  

Cimarron-Memorial - Potential all-state wing player Jason Petrimoulx was involved in an ugly offcourt situation which involved police and his dismissal from the team.  The rest of the team hasn't been able to make up for the loss of their star player.  Not a team to go out of your way to see.

Coronado - In only the second varsity season for the Cougars, Coronado has established itself as one of the top teams in Southern Nevada.  6-7 JR Mike Kale, 6-3 JR Brandon Degregorio, and 6-1 SR Wes Hager are worth a look.

Desert Pines - The Jaguars have struggled a bit trying to blend in athletes from their state runner-up football team.  6-4 SR Shyon Clark is among the most athletic and best players in town,  and he's helped by 6-3 SR Damian Williams and 5-11 SR Tony Williams.

Durango - Loaded with terrific guard play but hampered by several injuries early this season.  5-11 JR Tywain McTyer,     5-11 SR Josh Wood, 6-1 JR Houston Power, and 6-3 SO Lamar Falley are the key perimeter players, while 6-5 SR Todd Lamasters (Transfer from Palo Verde) and 6-5 JR Shane Venable rebound the ball.

Eldorado - The Sun Devils have some size and some athletes, but their best prospect is a ninth-grader.  6-8 SR Martell Lewis and 6-7 SR Malik Gipson work in the paint while freshman Davell Jackson (6-0)  scores from the wing.

Foothill - Harvey Perry has returned and led Foothill to a fast start to the season.  5-10 JR Jamal Smith (Son of former UNLV star guard Robert Smith) runs the point.  6-5 seniors Chris Cochran and Marques Ramos play on the blocks.

Galena  - The only Reno-area team in the tournament.  The Grizzlies are a bit down this season, but 6-7 JR Iain Hill provides hope for the future.

Green Valley - Everybody knows about Mitch Platt, and people are just starting to discover 6-5 SR PF Ron Dunlap, a hardworking, high-flying baseline athlete.  Senior Kellen Howard (Moved in from Detroit) plays the point.

Las Vegas - The Wildcats aren't the same team that went 29-4 and reached the state semifinals last year, but they have an outstanding pair of junior guards in 5-11 SG Kenny Howard and 5-10 Stanley Copeland, probably the best point guard in the state, regardless of class.

Mojave - The Rattlers don't have much size, but they have good team quickness.  6-0 SR Mike McWilliams and 6-0 JR Brandon Bell make the bulk of the plays.

Palo Verde - The most surprising team in the state so far.  The Panthers lost three key players to transfer after last year and not much was expected, but they've gone unbeaten so far this season, winning a tournament in Yuma, AZ, last weekend.  6-2 SO Jarrell Harrison runs the show and 6-2 FR Nate Schulte has started from day one.  6-3 SR Lendor Coney is a veteran inside.

Sierra Vista - A second year team built around the three point shot (First year coach Ken Gibson was a fantastic pure shooter at UNLV in the mid-90's). 6-0 seniors Garrett and Spencer Schofield provide perimeter firepower.

Silverado - If Palo Verde hasn't been the most pleasant surprise this year, the honor goes to Silverado.  6-4 JR Lorenzo Oliver barely played last year but he's now scoring nearly 20 ppg.  5-11 SR Chris McCoy is a steady hand in the backcourt.

Valley - The Vikings are extremely young and they've had their ups and downs this year.  5-9 SO Justin Everett and 5-11 SO Josh Rivers comprise the starting backcourt, while 6-3 SR Nick Green and 6-2 SR Jason Johnson score from the wings. Valley should be a tough out by the time the postseason rolls around, but at this point the veterans and the youngsters haven't figured out how to coexist yet.

Western - Two years removed from their state championship team, the Warriors are starting to get some of the old swagger back.  5-10 JR Roemon Turner is among the best point guards in town, while 6-4 SR Mario Hornsby and 6-5 JR Allen McFarland (Older brother of Gorman freshman Andre McFarland) form a tough interior tandem.

3A TEAMS

Moapa Valley - Perennial state 3A power Moapa is led by 6-1 SR PG Freddy Ortega, who I rank among the top 10 players in the state regardless of school size.  

Virgin Valley - Among the favorites for the 3A state championship.  6-6 SR Solomon Tait controls the paint and 6-0 SR Nick Bartlett distributes the ball.

2A TEAMS

Faith Lutheran - 6-1 SR PG Jason Case repeated as tournament MVP at the West Coast Classic tournament hosted by Faith Lutheran.  He's a strong, athletic guard with unlimited range and the vision of an all-state QB, which he was in the Fall.  5-11 SR Andrew Collins can also fill it up from behind the arc.

The Meadows School - Normally among the best 2A teams in Nevada, The Meadows are very young this year and pointing towards making a run at state next year.

1A TEAMS

Lake Mead Christian Academy - Led by 5-9 SR point guard A.J. Johnson.

Mountain View Christian School - The top-ranked 1A team in Nevada.  The Saints have team quickness that would be the envy of many 4A schools, but they don't have a player over 6-0 tall who gets regular minutes.  5-9 SR Shedrick McClenton, 5-11 JR Greg Anderson, 5-8 SO Alan Izawa, and 6-0 SR Scott Swingle are the key players here.  

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