Posted On: 09/5/18 2:58 PM
School has started all around and there are several old faces in new places for this upcoming prep basketball season. Some of these new faces just happen to be some of the top players in the state. Who changed places and where did they go? Here’s a quick look at the top names.
RJ Veliz, Woodburn (from Blanchet Catholic)
The #9 player in the PrepHoops Class of 2019 rankings certainly proved himself as a main man at 3A Blanchet Catholic and there’s no reason to believe why his all-around offensive game won’t translate to the 4A level at Woodburn. His skills in themselves would translate at any level at any level in the state but the fact his father Raul will also be the head coach with the Bulldogs certainly won’t hurt. Look for Veliz to make a quick adjustment and challenge for class 4A player of the year honors.
Jonah Downey, Silverton (from Santiam)
The #29 player in the PrepHoops Class of 2019 rankings makes an even bigger jump up to 5A from 2A but if there’s a player who can do it, it’s Downey. The rising 5-foot-10 senior brings a high level of athleticism to the table and joins a talented returning group that was a title favorite last year. The Silver Foxes appear to be in that position again and Downey should start from day one.
Jonathon Nchekwube, Jefferson (from Churchill)
The #32 player in the PrepHoops Class of 2019 has slowly shifted gears each year and will spend his senior season in Portland at Jefferson. A physical specimen at 6-foot-8, Nchekwube will be able to focus on playing inside due to the fact the Demos have depth up front. It’s there where he can use his strength, athleticism, and ability to finish at the rim to keep the pressure on opponents in the paint.
Oreon Courtney, West Linn (from West Albany)
The #49 player in the PrepHoops Class of 2019 rankings largely operated under the radar at West Albany last season. Having transferred to West Linn already in the spring of his junior year, the 6-foot-3 swingman will bring a level of athleticism that will largely be unmatched by many of the Lions opponents this season. Courtney doesn’t need any plays run for him to be effective, so look for him to be active on the boards to score on putbacks or get out on the break.
Trevon Richmond, Jefferson (from Roosevelt)
The #50 player in the PrepHoops Class of 2019 rankings was largely unsung at Roosevelt last year. He’s decided to return to Jefferson – where he had played prior to his junior season – and he should fit right in with the deep Demos backcourt. A versatile backcourt performer who competes hard at both ends, Richmond should get plenty of playing time on both units and his knack for rebounding will certainly come in handy for head coach Pat Strickland.
Treyden Harris, South Salem (from Cascade)
The 6-foot-3 forward makes the jump up to the 6A level from 4A but the transition should be relatively seamless for the lefty as he played high level AAU basketball with Team Fly Williams during the summer. He’ll add strength to the frontline for the Saxons but also has the ability to step out and hit the three. Expect Harris to be the team’s #2 offensive option behind “Skinny”, Jaden Nielsen-Skinner.
Andre Best, Oregon City (from West Linn)
Currently the #19 ranked player in the Class of 2020, the rising junior will cross the river to join the Pioneers after playing a reserve role on the varsity squad for West Linn the last two years. With Trevon Bradford graduated, Best should step right into a starting spot and get handed the ball to do his thing.
Emmanuel Steward, Grant (from Benson)
Grant already brings back plenty of firepower from last year’s state championship team but Steward will certainly make the Generals even tougher to guard. A silky smooth shooter from deep, Steward will benefit from defenses focusing on the likes of Aaron Deloney and Ty Rankin. The 6-foot-2 rising junior really performed well at Portland State Elite Camp over the summer and should get plenty of buckets in NE Portland.