December 18, 2013

2015 draws visitors



In the world of recruiting, success has everything to do with accurately projecting a player's ceiling.

It's a tough ask, in part because at 15/16-years old, prospects' bodies have as much growing to do as their game.

Fortunately for Marquese Chriss, there's little doubt the 2015 big has what it takes to produce at the next level.

No, it's more a question of just how dominant he'll ultimately be.



"He only started playing organized ball his freshman year," Chriss' high school coach, John DePonte, told GoldenBearReport earlier this week. "He's such a quick learner, though. His athleticism for a kid his size: I've never seen a player like him in my time."

Deponte isn't captaining some under-the-radar prep program, either. He's one of California's most successful high school coaches, and last year, with Chriss then only a sophomore, Pleasant Grove won the CIF Division I State Championship.

Nine months later, Chriss has added two inches to his frame and fresh wrinkles to his game.

"We have a whole new group of guards playing this year," said DePonte, "so we need him to help out on the perimeter. He has really soft touch on his jump shot. He's able to put the ball on the ground from the high post and attack the basket. Part of me wishes he still had last year's veteran guards to play with, but then he wouldn't be working on his perimeter game as much."

It's a catch-22, but one that doesn't appear to be hindering his development.

When Rivals.com caught the Eagles game on Friday, Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar was in the stands, and the Huskies have been Chriss' most aggressive pursuer to this point - he'll visit Seattle on January 9th. Friday, UW assistant T.J. Otzelberger sat courtside while the junior notched 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in a hard fought win over Monterey Trail.

The No. 62 ranked prospect, though, isn't leaving Northern California if the Golden Bears have anything to say about it.

Cal assistant John Montgomery attended Chriss' game on Saturday, and on Tuesday, assistant Gregg Gottlieb made the trip.

California has injected itself into the conversation in other ways, too.

"I never saw him play," said Deponte, "but another person told me that he reminded him of Yogi Stewart."

Michael "Yogi" Stewart ultimately matriculated to Berkeley and the professional ranks, but spent his prep years starring at Sacramento's Kennedy High.

That's not to say it's a two-horse race: not by a long shot.

Arizona, USC, Vanderbilt, and San Diego State are among those who have gotten in early on the 4-Star's recruitment, and more offers are sure to come as his junior year plays out.

"With his intelligence, he could play a more half court style, but with his athleticism, he could play an open court style, too," said DePonte. "I don't think people realize he's a strong kid. He can bang with people. He's continuing to learn to stay out of foul trouble -- learning to pick his spots -- and he needs more repetition with his perimeter game."

Still, says DePonte, "it never gets old watching some of the stuff he does."


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