The Rainier Beach boys basketball team has typically had to go out of state to find games such as the one it will play tomorrow night. Never ones to steer clear of the spotlight...
The Rainier Beach boys basketball team has typically had to go out of state to find games such as the one it will play tomorrow night.
Never ones to steer clear of the spotlight, the Vikings of recent years have hopped planes to faraway places for the promise of playing some of the nation’s best teams. Their travels have taken them to Delaware and Houston, St. Louis and California.
But this year, for at least one prime-time showdown, Rainier Beach will stay home.
The Vikings meet perennial power Mater Dei at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow in the main event of the Les Schwab Hoop Challenge at Seattle Pacific University.
The Monarchs of Santa Ana, Calif., are ranked 14th in the country by USA Today, and feature the talented trio of senior point guard Mike Gerrity, a four-year starter, 6-foot-7 sophomore Taylor King, who has given an oral commitment to UCLA, and 7-foot-1 sophomore Alex Jacobson.
The game is the main event in an eight-game schedule that begins at 9 a.m. and includes teams from four states and some of the best players in the area.
The event’s other blockbuster draw features Class 3A state champion O’Dea against Jefferson of Portland, one of the favorites to contend for Oregon’s 4A state crown.
Plenty of individual talent will be on display. Several of the top players are from the Seattle area, which has produced some of the nation’s top recruits this year. Among those playing tomorrow are Jon Brockman of Snohomish, Marcus Williams of Roosevelt, Terrence Williams of Rainier Beach and Mitch Johnson of O’Dea.
“I love playing in front of the spotlight,” said the 6-foot-7 Marcus Williams. “I think it brings the best out of me as a player.”
Ten players to watch
Jon Brockman, Snohomish: The 6-8, 245-pound forward was recently rated No. 1 in the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s annual Best in the West poll. He averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds last season and has signed with Washington.
Mario Chalmers, Bartlett (Anchorage): Chalmers, a 6-2 point guard, averaged 27 points, eight steals, six assists and four rebounds last season, helping his team to the 4A state-championship game where it lost by one on a three-point buzzer-beater. He has signed with Kansas. Mario’s father, Ronnie, is the coach at Bartlett, a school of about 1,900 students.
Mackenzie Flynn, Redmond: One of the state’s best point guards, the 5-7 Flynn is averaging 15 points, seven assists and four steals. She has signed with Idaho. Redmond meets Monroe in the event’s only girls game.
Mitch Johnson, O’Dea: Johnson, a 6-1 point guard, averaged 19 points last season and was named most valuable player of the Class 3A state tournament. He has signed with Stanford.
Steffan Johnson, Kent-Meridian: The 6-1 guard is averaging 26 points through two games and has signed with University of the Pacific. The Royals knocked off defending 4A state champion Kentwood Tuesday.
Taylor King, Mater Dei: A 6-7 forward, King averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman, and has drawn comparisons to former St. John’s and NBA star Chris Mullin. King has given an oral commitment to UCLA. The Monarchs, coached by Gary McKnight (668-62 in 23 seasons), have won five state, 17 California Interscholastic Federation and 21 league championships.
Brian Morris, Jefferson (Portland): The 6-9 center is the reigning Portland Interscholastic League player of the year. Tomorrow’s game will be the Democrats’ season opener.
Kirsten Thompson, Monroe: Thompson, a 6-6 center, averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks last season. She has signed with Arizona State.
Terrence Williams, Rainier Beach: Williams, a 6-6 guard, averaged 14 points, six rebounds and six assists last season. He has signed with Louisville. He has been playing with a torn tendon in the middle finger of his shooting hand, but is averaging 21 points.
Marcus Williams, Roosevelt: A 6-7 guard, Williams averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals last season. He has signed with Arizona.
Matt Peterson: 206-515-5536 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Star gazers’ guide|
|Want to check out of the top players from this year’s bumper recruiting crop?|
|Dec. 14 Boys: Seattle Prep at O’Dea, 7:30 p.m.|
|Jan. 5 Girls: Rainier Beach at Chief Sealth, 7:30 p.m.|
|Jan. 17 Boys: O’Dea vs. Rainier Beach,|
|Jan. 18 Boys: Juanita vs. Roosevelt, old Lincoln|
|Jan. 21 Boys: Mount Vernon at Snohomish, 7:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 2 Girls: Oak Harbor at Monroe, 7:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 11 Girls: Garfield at Redmond, 6:30 p.m.|