Everyone wants a winner but not every player can win a state championship. A handful of top prospects are doing their best to bring home the hardwood for their respective schools this year while other players are closing out their high school careers with a bang.
While college teams are trying to lock down conference championships, the prep stars are busy winning titles of their own. It is state championship time around the country.
Georgia Tech may be done with its season after losing to Maryland in the first round of the ACC tournament. The winners are coming to Atlanta though. Future point guard Javaris Crittenton won his second state championship in four years. His freshman and junior season ended in the state title game.
Florida power forward Zach Peacock helped his Norland High School claim the 6A title. Juniors Gani Lawal and Lance Storrs also won state championships in the Peach State. Both of their respective teams are considered the top teams in Georgia next year.
Five-star small forward Thaddeus Young of Memphis (Tenn.) Mitchell is aiming for a state title as well. He inked with Georgia Tech in the fall.
No one can beat future North Carolina big man Brandan Wright though. The five-star big man won his fourth straight state championship with his Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy team. There are few players that have had quite the senior campaign as Wright.
He won every national event he played in with BA, including a game at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Kentucky, the City of Palms tournament in Florida and the Arby's Classic in Tennessee.
Now imagine him opposite side of First Team All-ACC forward Tyler Hansbrough. Scary.
Believe it or not, Seattle big man Spencer Hawes just won a his first state championship. The five-star center was the wingman for current Portland Trailblazer Martell Webster for the last three years but surprisingly never won a title. This year, Hawes helped shoulder the load and brings a ring to Washington next year.
As good as Hawes has been in the Emerald City, Washington fans are flocking to the Tacoma Dome to see the state's little big man Isaiah Thomas. The 5-foot-8 point guard from Curtis High School in Tacoma is putting up huge numbers and winning along the way.
On Thursday night, Thomas scored 41 points in an 86-81 overtime win over Mount Tahoma. Matching Thomas with shots was sophomore guard Patrick McCollum, who finished with 35. The sophomore is shaping up to be the next Washington State star in the making much like Thomas, a Washington lean, was last year.
Budinger closing career on a high note
Arizona basketball is getting a face lift with the class of 2006. A good face lift at that. After a couple of roller coaster years with off the court behavior that makes the blotter rather than the sports page, Lute Olson and the Wildcats will be glad to welcome the likes of Chase Budinger and Nic Wise.
No one is playing better basketball in the country than the 6-foot-7 small forward from La Costa Canyon High School in San Diego. Budinger has tallied games of 50, 45 and 41 points in a row this post-season. He is scoring from the wing, dunking on anyone that gets in his way and putting his team on his back says trainer Trent Suzuki to GOAZCATS.com.
It is only fitting that the McDonald's All-American game is in his hometown.
Wise has his Kingwood team back in the Final Four this weekend. The road to get there isn't easy in the Lone Star State but it took a win over city rival and nationally ranked Westfield to get there. Wise came up big in the victory, scoring 32 points and dropping off eight assists.
Not only are Wise and Budinger having huge and successful senior campaigns but both are character kids, respected amongst their peers and leaders on their respective teams.
Stud sophomore J'Covan Brown helped Monsignor Kelly in Beaumont claim it's third straight TAPPS state championship. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 30 points in the title game. Get ready to hear a lot more from this good looking prospect this spring and summer.
What is the rush?
The spring AAU season will be interesting. Of the 100 players in the current Rivals.com class of 2007 rankings, 36 are committed. 71 total players are accounted for in the junior class who has already made a decision. While that doesn't seem like a lot, it is more than any other class in recent memory.
Why are so many juniors committing?
Coaching staffs that normally like to wait until the spring and summer to evaluate prospects on the AAU circuit are finding themselves taking pledges long before the off season travel schedule begins.
One assistant said the commitments are a product of the recent rash of decisions.
"What else are you supposed to do?" he said. "I know we would have liked to have waited a while but they you find yourself in a position where you didn't land a player at a position that you need the most. Why not take a kid early that you know you can count on?"
There are also a number of schools that are over recruiting for scholarship spots that are already filled. Why?
"It is the same as it always has been," the same assistant said. "With the NBA, transfers and kids leaving for other reasons, you have to keep your bases covered. If a kid leaves and you don't have someone to fill that position, you can find yourself in some trouble."
AAU season is less than a month away from starting. Hotels across the country are dead-bolting the TVs down now...The Kingwood Classic is looking like the place to be once again this spring for AAU teams. Get ready Houston, the city is about to be taken over once again by basketball America...With the coaching carousel beginning to spin, don't be surprised to see some movement with prospect's school list and a late flurry for some of the top remaining seniors in the country.