Jordan Miller, Loudoun Valley–Loudoun Valley would be a good team even without Miller. With him they were great. Scored 20 points 22 times this season on his way to averaging around 22 points a game. Good size for a guard (well over six feet) that allows him to do some dirty work inside, and he’s athletic as well. Can hit from outside but does most of his damage inside the arc. At his best when he gets to the line–if he starts hitting free throws at over a 75% clip and keeps developing his right will score 30 a game next year. Has significant interest from low-to-mid DI schools.
Brandon Slater, Paul VI–We spent a lot of time watching Brandon Slater highlight videos this year. It was worth it. As long as Jordan Miller is for a guard, Slater is even longer at around 6’5″ or 6’6″. Top 50 recruit nationally who always could get to the rim and finish but now has a nice mid-to-long range jumper as well. Hit 59 threes on the year. Scored a season-high 34 points in a huge Paul VI win over Gonzaga in January. Another lefty, Slater led his talented Panther team in scoring at over 15 a game.
Brayden Gault, Battlefield–Loves to shoot threes and had 63 on the year. That talent plus his size could conceivably land him a DI scholarship. He’s at his best when he’s getting to the line and scoring from everywhere, however, such as when he scored 34 against Osbourn in January on just two threes. Could post up in the more traditional sense as a high school forward or center if need dictated and produce in that role. Hard worker who is an excellent free throw shooter.
Zyan Collins, Freedom-South Riding–A hard-worker who rarely takes a breather because he does it all. 6’1″ guard can handle the ball but leaping and rebounding ability means he essentially is a forward as well. Good passer who plays smart. Averaged almost 20 points a game en route to helping Freedom win its first conference title. Already holds five school records as a junior. Hudl highlights here.
“Zyan was our most important player this season. He led us in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Zyan does so many things to affect the game. Most nights he is scoring, but even when shots aren’t falling he still makes a difference finding his teammates, crashing the glass or getting our defense going. I think as a senior he can be one of the best players in the area.”–FSR Coach Justin Powers
Devon Flowers, The Potomac School–Impressive size at 6’8″ or 6’9″. Sometimes looks like coordination needs work–and then he blows right by a smaller and allegedly quicker defender with a beautiful spin move from the top of the key. Thin but extremely athletic big guy who can get up and down the court and protect the rim almost as well as anyone locally. Scored 32 points against John Paul the Great and had 31 points and six blocks in road win over Episcopal. Just needs consistency to take it to another level.
Darius Hines, Bishop Ireton–Smaller guard who can run a little hot/cold, but when he’s hot is as good as almost anybody. Scored 20 points in a half in a close loss to O’Connell in December. Has to do a lot for Bishop Ireton, to include handling and distributing the ball. Still manages to play good defense despite doing it all on offense. Can attack the rim with quickness and shoot the three. “Only” scored 14 a game but simply because has to make sure the Cardinals don’t push the pace too much against powerful WCAC teams.
Alex Bailey, Tuscarora–Smart, scoring combo guard who can attack with either hand. Understands how to vary speed to keep defenders off balance. Can get hot from long range, such as when he buried six in a win over Chantilly. Good ball handler who likes to get up and down the court. Averaged 18 points a game as Tuscarora’s leading scorer despite often being asked to help at the point and distribute the ball. Hudl highlights here.
Jordan Gibson, Stonewall Jackson–Part of Stonewall’s one-two junior punch with Antonio Warner that typically delivered 35-40 points a game. Another long wing that has considerable three-point range. Dangerous on the defensive end with his length, hustle and athleticism. Should be even better next year with more and more court time and situational awareness. Hudl highlights here.
Antonio Warner, Stonewall Jackson–A scoring point guard who loves to play against Battlefield. Followed up 30 points against the Bobcats with a career-high 38 against them a few weeks later. Can get hot from three but simply likes to run up the court for a lay-up off defense, whether that’s off a personal rebound, outlet pass or a steal. Cannot be careless with the ball with Warner around. Hudl highlights here.
Emmanuel Aghayere, South Lakes–Sometimes the Seahawks big man will just take his quiet double-double and a Seahawks win, but the 6’5″ forward can absolutely take over a game if need be. Comfortable in the low post, Aghayere can also surprise opponents with his ability to get up and down the floor quickly. Will block a shot and then take it all the way for a monster jam. Just needs a jumper and better free throw shooting to be completely dominant next year.
“I think Emmanuel’s biggest asset is his motor. It’s probably why he is so tough on the glass and so hard to defend. When he gets going, it’s hard to stop him. The other impressive thing about the kid is his maturity. He has grown on and off the court leaps and bounds over the last year. That maturity may be more important than the basketball.”
–South Lakes coach Andrew Duggan
Matt Urbach, W.T. Woodson–Tall guard who like his teammates just quietly gets the job done. Paul VI transfer can hit threes (47 on the year) but is also athletic and can defend. Impressed with his ability to deliver key rebounds, especially late. His ability to do that allowed coach Doug Craig to go small when need dictated. Second-leading scorer on the 6A state champs who went off for 26 in a win against West Potomac in January.
Braeden Johnson, Oakton–Known as a shooter, Johnson refined the other parts of his game this year. Tall guard led Cougars in scoring at around 15 a game and still hits threes–at a 2.5 per game rate. Contributed on the boards and surprised those who defended him at the three-point line by attacking the rim with his athleticism. As Johnson went so did the Cougars, who were 10-4 in games he scored 13 or more, 3-5 in games he did not.
Marquis Washington, Edison–One of our favorite players in the region, Washington did amazing work for an undersized Eagles team. Only around 6’0″, Washington consistently pulled down double digit boards, often guarded players almost half a foot taller than him and still managed to lead Edison in scoring at almost 20 a game. Hudl highlights here.
“Marquis led our conference in scoring for the second year in a row. He averaged a double-double, scored over 20 nine times, and three times scored over 35. Marquis had two games with 20-plus rebounds, and six games with 15 or more. All of this being undersized every night scoring around the basket. This young man is disciplined, and shares his family values of hard work, dedication, and determination everyday on and off the court.
–Edison coach Terry Henderson
Amari Cooper, Wakefield–Extremely athletic, Cooper showed right away Wakefield was more than Parks and Treakle from the get-go, scoring 20 in the season’s first game versus Yorktown. At only 6’4″ or so still manages to patrol the lane and reject shots at an impressive clip. Always a threat to follow misses in the transition game of the Warriors. Could go for 20 a game next year with improved free throw shooting and a little more offensive range. Hudl highlights here.
Anthony Douglas, Robinson–Most juniors on the list played on the varsity last year. Douglas was on the Rams’ JV most of last season. At 6’7″ a composed low post threat who can also drain short-to-mid range shots and will relentlessly follow his own misses. Probably the nicest touch around the basket of anyone his height or taller in the region. Despite the Rams having a wealth of senior talent, led them in scoring at around 13 a game.
Don’t forget–Ben Kling (Stone Bridge); Noah Barnes (Thomas Jefferson); Marcus Stephens (Hylton); Gabriel Kier (West Springfield); Nate Spurlock (W.T. Woodson); Chris Ozgo (Washington & Lee); Colter Carton (Langley); Brian Cobbs (Hayfield); Kaeleb Carter (Colgan); Adrian Spears (Lee); Dom Bailey (St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes); Matt Becht (O’Connell)