Posted On: 01/3/20 12:46 AM

It is officially 2020 on the calendar and it got me thinking about some of the best players and teams we have seen over the course of the last 10 years. 2010-2020 has been very fortunate to followers of basketball in the Evergreen State. Simply put, the level of talent has been on par with anyone, anywhere in the country. Loads of college players, overseas standouts and NBA players have come out in the last 10 years. Here are just some of the best that the last decade has offered. 

Decade’s Five Best:

Before I start, I want to note how difficult it is to come up with the five best we have seen in the last decade. So many players could have a case made for them. This list is based this off of high school resume, on the court talent and accomplishments while in high school. *Not how good they ended up or NBA success

PG: 2011 6’5 Tony Wroten (Garfield HS) – One of the single most naturally talented players we have ever seen come out of Washington. Tony’s size, athleticism and passing ability made him one of the most sought after recruits in the country. He was widely regarded the number one player in the country during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He was the first freshman ever to be named to the first team All-State Tournament team. Wroten averaged 20.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in his freshman season at Garfield. He also won a gold medal with Team USA’s U17 group in the FIBA World Championships. Wroten would go on to finish his career as the 14th ranked senior in the country and earn an invite to the Jordan Brand Classic, despite controversially being left off of the McDonald’s All American roster which saw only two players from the entire west coast make the game in 2011. He averaged 25.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in his final season for Garfield. I could also not leave out the fact that Tony Wroten was easily one of the most exciting players to watch on the summer circuit where he torched opposing teams with Seattle Rotary Select dating back to his elementary days. 

SG: 2013 6’4 Zach LaVine (Bothell HS) – Zach LaVine stepped into the high school scene his sophomore year, as freshman did not play varsity basketball at Bothell High School (Was in junior high in 9th grade). From the very get go he was special. As a skinny and small sophomore, LaVine torched the state for 26 points per game shooting from just about anywhere on the court with supreme confidence. His recruitment would eventually skyrocket playing with Friends of Hoop his entire high school career. In his senior year, he averaged nearly 29 points per game and took home a lot hardware while he was at it. He was Mr. Basketball, AP Washington State Player of the Year, First Team Parade All-American, Ball is Life American and rated number 44 in the nation. 

SF: 2017 6’4 Jaylen Nowell (Garfield HS) – Jaylen was apart of one of the greatest runs that the historic Garfield Bulldogs program has ever seen. He was the 6th man for the 2013-2014 team that won the 4A state title and finished ranked as the 21st best team in the country. He made a big jump in his sophomore season as the go to player after superstar Tramaine Isabell graduated. Jaylen averaged nearly 24 points per game and over 6 rebounds, leading Garfield to a second straight state title in a 14 point win over Rainier Beach. He was the best player on a loaded Garfield team that finished the season ranked as the 17th best team in the country. During this time he also won two gold medals as a member of team USA’s U16 and U17 teams. Jaylen also accumulated 3A first team All-State honors during his time at Garfield. Known for his uncanny scoring ability and lethal pull-up jumper, Jaylen was one of the better scorers and winners we have seen in the last decade. Jaylen spent his entire club career with Seattle Rotary and eventually played in the Nike EYBL with the program. 

PF: 2017 6’10 Michael Porter Jr. (Nathan Hale HS) – The legend of Michael Porter quickly grew in Seattle although he was only in the town for less than a year. Porter Jr. averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds in his junior season at Tolton High School in Missouri, winning the school’s first ever state title. Some proud Metro League and Seattle basketball followers said “He’s never seen the physicality and pace of play we have in Seattle,” but it just so turned out to be the opposite. We had never seen the size, skill and all around talent that Michael Porter had. That is the reason for him being on the the All-Decade team, despite being in Seattle for just one season. He averaged 36 points and nearly 14 rebounds per game at a time when the Metro League was as good as it’s ever been in the 2016-2017 season. He led Nathan Hale to a perfect 29-0 record and the number one ranking in the entire country. For the second year in a row, he led his school team to its first ever state title. Behind Porter’s off the glass alley oop dunk, Nathan Hale dominated an absolutely loaded Garfield team in the 3A state championship game 68-51. Games like his 52 points and 23 rebounds versus a very good Seattle Prep team will never leave my memory. A real rare prospect that could score 40-50 points in three quarters and sit the fourth quarter. Fans once waited 6 plus hours in line flooding 23rd Avenue to attend the Nathan Hale game at Garfield that was also aired on ESPN. The accomplishments and on court dominance of Michael Porter Jr. is the best we have seen from anyone in this last decade and he is more than deserving of a spot on this list, even if we only got to see him for a year. He played his club ball with MoKan Elite and was the MVP of the Nike EYBL and winner of the Peach Jam. He was the MVP of the McDonald’s All American Game and Nike Hoop Summit. 

C: 2010 6’10 Josh Smith (Kentwood HS) – The Shaquille O’Neal of Washington high school basketball. Josh Smith was a dominant force at 6’10 and 270 pounds for the Kentwood Conquers. He led Kentwood in almost every major statistical category in his four years and averaged 23 points, 15 rebounds and 4 assists per game his senior year. Kentwood also won the 4A state championship that season, while taking home MVP honors. He was also recognized as Washington State Player of the Year, Mr. Basketball, McDonald’s All American and Jordan Brand Classic All American. Smith was ranked as the number one player in the entire country during his sophomore year and finished with a top 20 ranking at the end of his senior year. His dominance on the summer circuit with Seattle Rotary helped Smith earn scholarships from programs all around the country and he played on some of the most talented Rotary teams in the program’s rich history. (Feature image)

Honorable Mentions:

2018 6’5 SG Kevin Porter Jr. (Rainier Beach HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2015 6’5 SG Dejounte Murray (Rainier Beach HS) *NW Xpress/Seattle Rotary EYBL

2014 6’0 PG Tramaine Isabell (Garfield HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL 

2010 6’5 SF Joe Harris (Chelan HS) *FOH Seattle EYBL

2019 6’8 PF Anton Watson (Gonzaga Prep) *Spokane Griffins 

2012 6’3 SG Anrio Adams (Rainier Beach HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2017 6’7 SF Corey Kispert (King’s HS) *FOH Seattle Team LaVine

2019 6’9 SF Jaden McDaniels (Federal Way HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL 

2011 6’2 SG Gary Bell Jr. (Kentridge HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2014 6’0 PG Ahmaad Rorie (Lincoln HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2016 6’6 SG Sam Cunliffe (Rainier Beach HS) *NW Xpress EYBL 

2016 6’2 PG Isiah Brown (Lakeside HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2011 6’4 SG DaVonte Lacy (Curtis HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2013 6’5 SG DJ Fenner (Seattle Prep) *Seattle Rotary EYBL/DC Assault 

2014 6’7 SF Shaqquan Aaron (Rainier Beach HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2013 6’5 SF Tucker Haymond (Garfield HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2011 6’2 SG Brett Kingma (Jackson HS) *FOH Seattle EYBL

2016 6’3 PG JaQuari McLaughlin (Peninsula HS) *ACCESS

2014 6’5 SG Jason Todd (Jackson HS) *FOH Seattle

2017 6’3 PG Daejon Davis (Garfield HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2015 6’5 SF Matisse Thybulle (Eastside Catholic HS) *NW Xpress/Seattle Rotary EYBL

2015 6’1 PG David Crisp (Rainier Beach HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2019 6’4 SG PJ Fuller (Garfield HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2018 6’6 SF CJ Elleby (Cleveland HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2014 6’7 SF Djuan Piper (Rainier Beach HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2013 6’6 SF Tre’Shaun Fletcher (Lincoln HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2013 5’10 SG Marquis Davis (Rainier Beach HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2013 6’4 SG Dezmyn Trent (Foss HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2017 6’5 SG Roberto Gittens (Foss HS) *NW Panthers Team Avery Bradley

2018 6’4 SG Erik Stevenson (Timberline HS) *Washington Supreme UAA

2016 5’10 PG Jashaun Agosto (Garfield HS) *Seattle Rotary EYBL

2018 6’6 SF Emmit Matthews Jr. (Wilson HS) *Washington Supreme UAA