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Posted On: 02/13/18 3:55 AM
It all starts with the point guard. They ignite the offense and are often the vocal leaders on the floor. There are several terrific underclassmen point guards in the state, including some player of the year candidates. Here are a handful:
(Pictured: Aaron Deloney (#1) is a handful on offense.)
Aaron Deloney, Grant junior
Deloney is arguably the best score-first point guard in the state. He’s averaging 26 points and 6 assists per game for Grant, the consensus No. 2 team in the state. He’s the epitome of a fun-to-watch player. Last year, he missed much of the season with injury, but he’s now a 6A player of the year candidate. He’s thin and not quite 6 feet tall, but he has the speed and skills to be a big-time college player. He’s receiving low-major Division I interest.
Marcus Tsohonis, Jefferson junior
The best college prospect in the class of 2019, Tsohonis is a talent. He’s a high-major Division I-caliber player and holds an offer from USC. On a stacked Jefferson team, Tsohonis leads the team with 23 points and 7 assists. Although teammate Kamaka Hepa is probably the 6A player of the year frontrunner, Tsohonis has equal right to that title.
David Gonzales, Silverton sophomore
Silverton is the top team in 5A and they have a spectacular trio in senior Cade Roth, junior Levi Neilsen and and point guard Gonzales. He’s as complete of a 10th grade point guard as you’ll find. It’s unlikely he’ll be a serious 5A player of the year contender, but that’s only because he’s on a balanced team and a sophomore. He can shoot the three, create offense and make passes, and lead the defense. “His ball-handling skills and his ability to get to the rim are unmatched,” coach Jamie McCarty said.
Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, South Salem junior
The only one on this list committed to a college, Nielsen-Skinner will play for Barret Peery at Portland State. The 5-foot-11 scoring point is averaging 20 points per game for South Salem.
Jesse White, Barlow sophomore
Barlow is currently in a four-way tie for first place in the Mt. Hood Conference at 9-2 and it’s not an exaggeration to say that White is the biggest reason for that. He’s averaging 17.5 points and 4.2 assist a year after earning all-league honorable mention.
Isaac Lange, Thurston junior
Lange has superb athleticism and is an impossible matchup for almost all 5A players. He’s led Thurston to a 14-5 record and No. 3 OSAA ranking. He has Division I athleticism, but needs to develop a jump shot to be considered at that level. As is, he’s more likely a Division II-type. Still, he’s pretty incredible.
Taylor Anderson, Grants Pass junior
Grants Pass has quietly had a very solid season and, ranked No. 13 by the OSAA, are on pace to host a playoff game. Anderson is averaging 13 points and 4 assists and is one of their keys.
Drayton Caoile, West Linn junior
West Linn’s season might be a bit disappointing by some standards, but Caoile is still a very good point. He has a great handle and can score and pass (6.5 assists per game). The 6-foot guard been hearing from Division II schools.
Jack Roche, Wilsonville junior
Averaging 16.1 points and 6.7 assists, Roche is an outstanding point guard. He makes the right decisions and is dangerous in Wilsonville’s well-oiled offense.
Chase McClain, Mountain View junior
Coach Brian Broaddus calls McClain “very quick and explosive.” His Mountain View Cougars are 14-5 and ranked 6th in 5A by the OSAA.
Collin Warmouth, Roseburg junior
Warmouth is one of Roseburg’s top players and, a year ago, earned first team all-Southwest Conference. The 6-foot-2 guard—who also plays football—is one of the Indians’ best scorers.
(For more prep hoops coverage, follow @HayesGardner on Twitter.)