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Posted On: 12/21/15 6:59 PM
Photo Credit: DenverPost.com
There is plenty we have learned from the first three weeks of the Colorado high school season, which marches on this week with a schedule highlighted by the Cherry Creek holiday tournament, which we will be attending on Tuesday and Wednesday.
One of the biggest things that have jumped out to me is the impact play from freshman at programs across the state. We are seeing a lot of first-year players not only get varsity minutes, but make a big contribution with those minutes.
Below is a list of some of the players who turned heads with their play at the varsity level through the first three weeks of their high school careers.
Kenny Foster, 6-3 guard, Smoky Hill
Foster has the tools to be a nationally ranked player, and it would be no surprise to see him end up on the lists of scouting services when they start compiling the best of the 2019 class in the near future. Foster’s skills (fantastic pull-up jumper, great ball-handling, etc.) and athleticism are matched only by the competitive will he has already formed. Foster has a legit chance to lead the Centennial League in scoring this season.
Hunter Shkapich, 5-11 guard
The talented guard has scored in double figures in seven of his first nine career games. In helping guide the Mustangs to a 2-1 mark last week with wins over Kennedy and Castle View, he averaged 21 points per game. Shkapich has great athleticism, with an ability, even under 6 feet, to play above the rim. And he’s a knockdown outside shooter. Shkapich hit 13-of-23 attempts from 3-point range in those three games last week.
Kwane Marble, 6-1 guard, Denver East
The first time Marble checked into a game this season, in the middle of hotly contested matchup with Legend on opening night, Marble grabbed a pass on the wing and took it straight at the rim. The fearless play demonstrated the poise Marble has played with for the Angels. A lengthy and athletic guard, with good feel and smooth motion, looks to have the chance to be a very strong two-way player.
Ronnie DeGray III, Bryce Matthews and Joseph Dalton
All three players are about 6-3 and bring strong athleticism to the table. Rebuilding Chaparral is coming off its first two victories of the season, defeating Mountain View and Frederick, and the three freshmen continue to grow into impact players. Matthews and DeGray, who have played together for several years, have good backcourt chemistry, handle the ball well and can take it off the dribble. This core of 2019 players has the chance to be special for the Wolverines in the future.
Jaedon Bowles, 6-5 forward, Manual
Through eight games this season, Bowles is averaging 20.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the 5-3 Thunderbolts. At 6-5 with solid athleticism and strength, Bowles can handle the ball in transition. He attacks with authority but also has soft touch. He demonstrates great IQ for the game.
Skye Ciccarelli, 5-10 guard, Woodland Park
Ciccarelli’s impressive start for the Panthers included a 38-point outing in a win over Dolores Huerta Prep on Dec. 5, when the guard hit 12-of-20 shots, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range.
Andre Sepeda, 5-7 guard, Greeley West
Sepeda may be small, but he brings great toughness and grit to the point guard position, refusing to be intimidated by bigger, older players. Sepeda was huge in GW’s victory in the title game of the Greeley Invite against top-ranked Wyoming team Cheyenne Central, pouring in 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point rage. Sepeda is quick, skilled and tough, a great recipe for a point guard with a very bright future.
JoVon Nelson, 5-11 guard, Far Northeast Warriors
Speaking of bright future, Nelson has been rock solid running the point for the 6-2 Warriors, who love to get up and down the floor. He has been great in transition for FNE, averaging 9.0 points per game to go with better than four assists. Nelson is very quick and has great feel for the game. He provides strong pressure on the perimeter defensively as well.
Stephen Hayes, 6-3 guard/forward, Overland
Cracking the rotation for the defending 5A champion Trailblazers, who are now ranked No. 7 nationally by MaxPreps, is no small feat. Hayes has done so by being a stout pressure defender who plays very well into Overland’s plan of turning stout defense into quick offense. And Hayes has the ability to score in a variety of ways.
Davon Walker, 5-7 guard, Douglas County
The pint-sized guard has great ball skills, with good vision and an ability to distribute both in the half court and transition. He’s a lefty with good creativity around the basket, who has already stepped into a leadership role under coach Earl Boykins.
Joe Urynowicz, 6-2 forward, Rocky Mountain
Urynowicz began his career in impressive fashion, scoring 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in a loss to Douglas County. He has continued to contribute for the 4-4 Lobos since, scoring 12 a few days later in a narrow loss to talented Fossil Ridge. He’s averaging nearly five rebounds per game to go with 7.9 points.
Kyle Helbig, 6-3 guard, Holy Family
Kyle was hoping to play with big brother Chris, one of the state’s top players, but the latter is missing this season after suffering a major knee injury during football season. Still, Helbig, who has great size for a freshman at the guard position has done well in his own right for the Tigers, averaging 8.6 points per game for the Tigers. At our combine in September, Helbig developed good feel for the game and strong catch-and-shoot ability.
Jodaun Dotson, 5-10 guard, Thomas Jefferson
Dotson handles the ball well and is a willing distributor. He’s played some strong minutes for the Spartans already this season, tallying 11 points in their victory over Prairie View on Dec. 12.