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Posted On: 01/15/19 4:31 AM
Eastside Catholic: 6’5 SG Shane Nowell & 6’2 PG Nolan Hickman
Eastside Catholic has a handful of talented sophomores but Nowell and Hickman are the leaders of the future for the Crusaders. With key sophomores like Syon Blackmon and Jaylahn ‘JT’ Tuimoloau also on the roster, Eastside will be a contender for the 3A state title for years to come.
Shane is a 6’5 athletic off guard who can defend all perimeter position. He is the number one scoring option and has to guard the other teams best wing player in a metro league where there aren’t too many off nights. Nowell constantly puts pressure on the defense because of his driving ability and his relentlessness on the offensive boards.
Nolan is a level headed guard who doesn’t get too high or get too low. When you watch him play, his composure and demeanor make you think there’s no way this kid is a sophomore. Hickman does a good job of balancing his offense and keeping his teammates involved. Even though Hickman is one of the state best floor generals, he is a proven scorer who can beat you from all three levels.
This backcourt duo is already one of the best backcourts in the state and with their team ranked #1 in the state, they could already be the best. The bond between these two will only grow over the next couple years as they will be teammates this summer for Seattle Rotary EYBL team.
O’Dea: 6’9 PF Paolo Banchero & 6’4 SG John Christofilis
O’Dea has gone through a rough patch recently, losing 4 straight games dating back to their holiday tournament in So Cal. The Fighting Irish are lead by senior point guard Noah Williams and their two star underclassmen. With the recent injury to Banchero, O’Dea has had to rely on its other role players to step up along with Christofilis and Williams.
Paolo is the number one player in 2021 and a top 5 player regardless of class. At 6’9 makes him a matchup nightmare because he can post you up or take you off the dribble and his outside jump shot is more then respectable. What makes him different from other bigs is his athletic ability. He can run the floor like a gazelle, or play in the half court and bang with the strongest of low post bigs. There really isn’t any weaknesses in his game.
If you have never seen John shoot, I recommend you do so as he very could be the best shooter in the state. He always seems down and ready to shoot and gets great elevation on his shot. Christofilis really made a name for himself at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic where he picked up an offer from Univ. of San Diego. John is an improved ball handler but will need to continue to improve them if he wants to continue his rise to becoming a top recruit.
The inside-out threat of Banchero and Christofilis will be a force to recon with for years to come. These two will join Nowell and Hickman on Seattle Rotary this summer as they will team up to compete in the Nike EYBL. Though they will be teammates for club ball, these guys will see plenty of each other in 3A metro league competition.
Cashmere: 6’0 PG Mason Landdeck & 6’2 SG Sam Phillips
Cashmere basketball is primarily know for its girls program and all world point guard Hailey Van Lith. But with Landdeck transferring over from back-to-back 2B state champs Kittias, Cashmere boys have been making some serious noise. Currently ranked 6th in 1A, the Bulldogs have almost matched their win total from a year ago (14-9.)
Landdeck has put up some big numbers this season, including a 48 point outing. The uptempo style of the Bulldogs definitely caters to Mason’s game but there is no doubting his scoring ability. Though scoring seems to come easy to Landdeck, he is an above average passer who loves putting his teammates in position to score. He will do whatever is needed to help his team win, which is usually scoring.
Phillips is the more rugged of the two. Sam brings his lunch pale to work everyday and grinds; he defends and rebounds well for a 6’2 combo guard. Phillips is a consistent shooter from the outside, but does a great job of attacking bad closeouts and getting to the lane where he can finish in traffic. If Sam can improve his ball handling, that will only make this tandem even more dangerous down the road.
While Cashmere transitions its program into a winning one, having corner pieces like Landdeck and Phillips is a step in the right direction. With Lynden Christian and Zillah graduating its best players, can this young backcourt be next to take control of the 1A division?