Over the past several years, ESPN and other sports cable networks have ramped up their coverage of high school basketball. This is mainly due to the proliferation of basketball-focused prep schools in America which feature a who's who list of top talent. Prior to this season, however, Gonzaga fans have not had much of a reason to follow these programs but with the commitment of Josh Perkins, we all have a reason to tune in. Perkins is the point guard for Huntington Prep, which takes on Indianapolis Arsenal Tech tonight on ESPN at 6:30pm pacific.
Tech and Prep are familiar with one another as they faced off back on December 7th. Tech won a close one, 54-51, on that day so tonight's game on ESPN should be a great one. Tech is led by Kentucky commit Trey Lyles, a 6'10'' senior who is averaging 22 points and 14 rebounds per game this season. Huntington Prep is a very deep squad which features Perkins along with senior JaQuan Lyle and junior Montaque Gill-Caesar. Both Lyle and Gill-Caesar are top-25 national prospects in their respective classes.
So far this season, Josh Perkins is averaging nine points, five assists, four rebounds, and three steals per contest. In Huntington's last matchup with Tech, he had 15 points, five boards, and three assists. Here is a recent clip of Perkins in action:
Silas Melson Continues His Hot Start
While Perkins is getting most of the attention from Gonzaga fans, it is hard to ignore the numbers that fellow 2014 commit Silas Melson is putting up. In his most recent two games, Melson is averaging 32 points and, like Perkins, he isn't just doing things on the offensive end. Last Friday, Melson's Jefferson High School team took on defending 6A state champ West Linn and Melson put his club on his back to get the win. Here is a great snippet from OregonLive about the win:
Melson played as though world domination was at stake, as the Gonzaga-bound senior scored 36 points and all but eliminated West Linn point guard Payton Pritchard with his defense.
"Every game is a statement," Melson said. "We came in with a little chip on our shoulder. Lot of people say West Linn is the best team in the state. We wanted to show who was best.
"We wanted to make it undoubted."
At least on Friday night it was for the Democrats. They withstood an early barrage by West Linn. Later, Jefferson coughed up all but one point of a 12-point margin early in the fourth quarter, but exploded to put the game away.
Mostly what the Democrats had over West Linn was Melson.
"The best player in the state won the game for us," Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said.
Melson scored 23 points in the second half, and hit 10 of 20 shots, including four 3-pointers. But for as much as Melson's 36 points will catch people's attention, it was his defense on Pritchard that was just as important.
We'll continue tracking Melson, Perkins, and Bryan Alberts (when he returns from injury). Keep in tuned here and best of luck to Perkins tonight.