For years, challengers came and went. The task, build a consistently powerful West Coast high school program to compete with prep and private school programs from the East on a yearly basis. In Henderson, Nev., head coach Mike Peck has built a program at Findlay Prep that has matched the East Coast titans and emerged as perhaps the top program in the country.
This year is no different and Findlay is loaded again. Tuesday afternoon, Rivals.com had the opportunity drop in on Findlay as it scrimmaged a local team that included guys like former NBA players Jerome Williams and Tracy Murray.
Johnson has it rolling
It really wasn't difficult to pick a star of the evening run as Arizona-bound guard Nick Johnson went bananas against the older guys. The ridiculous two-footed leaper soared above guys bigger and stronger than him to ram home dunks and played good on the ball defense.
Two things, however, stood out. First, Johnson's jump shot looks much improved. He was exploding off the floor for effortless shots between 12 and 22 feet that never seemed to draw rim as they swished home.
Second, Johnson showed great poise and toughness in refusing to back down. The hotter he got, the more physically his older opponents played him. Rather than get frustrated after taking a couple of cheap shots, Johnson just attacked more.
More notes from Findlay
The Texas Longhorns point guard of the future Myck Kabongo loves it at Findlay Prep. A vocal kid with confidence and personality on the floor, he's clearly a leader. He's also very quick and motors from one end to another to slither into the lane for twisting finishes. At times, though, that quickness and speed works against him as he will get a bit out of control. As things wore on, the physical style got to him a bit so adding strength will be key.
He only scored 10 points during the scrimmage, but Amir Garrett also chipped in with six rebounds and countless deflections on the defensive end. Get this, the 6-foot-5 wing wasn't even in the starting rotation because of Findlay's depth. The senior plays with energy, has a nice lefty stroke from deep and is the owner of game-changing athleticism and straight-line speed.
Canadian import Anthony Bennett from the class of 2012 is a bruiser on the interior. He's long-armed. pretty explosive off the floor and doesn't mind trading elbows. He's most effective as an energy guy but he looks like he's working hard on his skill level and he's showing promise facing the hoop.
2013 combo guard Nigel Williams-Goss is a steady backcourt performer. He loves to utilize a floater in the lane whether going right or left, shoots it and is a smart player. The Portland native plays both the one and the two for the Pilots.
2012 forward Winston Shepard did his thing. A rangy guy who likes to handle the ball and attack in transition, he's got some game that is reminiscent of Julian Wright at the same age. When left open, Shepard squared up and knocked down a couple of threes and a 15-footer from the left side.
Finally, it was fun to see a couple of multimillionaires helping out the next generation. Just like he was at Georgetown and in the NBA, Williams was an energy guy and had a ton of fun. Even though he's been away from the game for a few years, the junkyard dog is still in great shape. Murray, put on a ridiculous shooting display from deep. It took him about a quarter to find his legs and settle in, but once he did it was curtains from beyond the 3-point line as he ripped home deep jumper after deep jumper after deep jumper.