Mr. Basketball Preseason Candidate: Christian Guess

High School

Posted On: 10/18/17 11:58 AM

Christian Guess’ senior season at Shaker Heights is shaping up to be dramatically different than junior year. Guess didn’t play much as a junior because of transfer regulations, as he was coming over from Glenville.

During Guess’ unusual ride last season, Shaker Heights went 12-13 overall. They did make it to the Solon District Finals, eventually losing to Garfield Heights. Guess played a big role in their mini postseason run, including 23 points in the District Semifinal against Maple Heights. However, despite several late-season 20-plus point performances, Guess didn’t receive and All State honors.

Most of the recap from last season points towards Guess having slim odds as a Mr. Basketball candidate, given our formula.

First of all, Ohio’s Mr. Basketball must have elite talent. Since 2001, only LeBron James (#1 NBA Draft pick) and Justin Fritts (Wheeling Jesuit) didn’t play Division I basketball.

Next, we considered projected team success. Again since 2001, 10 of the 17 Mr. Basketball winners led their high school team to the State Final Four that season.

Then, the most important piece of the formula considered is production. We’re considering the player’s projected role on their team to predict if they have the opportunity to fill up the scorer’s book. It’s especially imperative that you put up points, as the only Mr. Basketball to average under 20 points since 2001 was Jared Sullinger at 19.9 points per game in 2009. But, Sullinger made up for that tenth of a point by averaging 14.8 rebounds, being the #2 player in the country, and winning the Division I State Championship.

So, why is Guess a preseason candidate? As you’ll see below, we don’t believe the 2017-18 season will resemble his junior year whatsoever.

Talent: A-

Guess, the #22 player in Ohio’s senior class, is difficult to stay in front of when he drives. He’s a relentless slasher who finds creative ways to elude defenders on his way to the right-handed finger-roll. He’s also electric on the fast-break.

More importantly, his jumper has shown improvement this summer. If Guess can keep the defense honest from the outside, a couple retweetable in-traffic dunks are bound to happen this season.

Guess currently holds four Division I offers.

Team Success: B-

With one of the strongest combinations of perimeter wings in the state in Guess and Dale Bonner, Shaker will be much better than last season’s sub-500 record. It’s just a matter of how much better, which is tough to say. A full season of Guess being integrated into the lineup will certainly help their chemistry. It also helps that Guess and Bonner have spent time as AAU teammates with Ohio Basketball Club. Also, they will return junior Kevin Bishop, who missed time last year with an injury.

They should see a four to eight win increase, which could be enough to put Guess in contention.

Production: A-

Guess’ style of play should get him 20 points per game in his first full season with Shaker. Sure, he’ll have to share the scoring load with Bonner, a year-round teammate, but there should be plenty of opportunities for Guess to get his.

His athleticism and tenacity at 6’5” means he should also do well in the rebound and steals categories.

Guess’ chances:

Guess is a bit of a long shot because of Shaker’s lack of success last season. We expect them to improve, but they’ll have to be on the high end of our expectations to be good enough for a Mr. Basketball winner.

Guess will also have to integrate into the offense seamlessly. He’s a potent offensive talent, so that means that his teammates will have to adjust to him, rather than the other way around. So, basically, the team must allow Guess to cook. If afforded the opportunity, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see an improved Guess put up ridiculous enough numbers and play himself into contention.