Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Division I boys basketball favorite: There isn't oneJan 7, 2013
Who are the contenders for the Division I boys basketball crown come late February? There are many. Odds on favorite? None. Unless one is forced to answer with a hot iron.
A glimpse of a possible title showdown took place at the VisitMesa.com Challenge late last month between Corona del Sol and Pinnacle. What's not to like about Casey Benson, Bryan Siefker and Cassius Peat to make a repeat of last season come true. Pinnacle offers standouts Dorian Pickens and Drew Bender among a solid starting five and a deep bench.
A matchup to peek at Tuesday (January 8) finds Desert Mountain at Mesa High. Mesa has an abundance of athletic guards and 6-foot-10 center Isaac Allen engulfing the paint. Desert Mountain more often than not shoots lights out from the perimeter. And its not just one player. Four or five have the accuracy to wound and Rolando Rhymes often opens up those perimeter (threes) for his sharp-shooting mates. Football standout Mark Andrews doesn't do badly handling inside stuff and supplying rebounds.
That's just four teams that come to mind. Cesar Chavez and its standout post Pablo Rivas aren't backing down from the title mix with their 15-1 start. There's also scrappy Gilbert High, which doesn't boast a household name like most other contenders have, but can beat you if you don't match their intensity.
Dobson hasn't been the invincible force many thought when the season began, but the talent is there to make a run. Best player for the Mustangs from my view is guard Ryan Richardson (overall game). Chaparral and Brophy cause matchup problems for small teams. Highland, Red Mountain, Mesa Mountain View and Carl Hayden can be tough if they're in sync for full games, not partials.
Don't expect any separation or one team emerging as the favorite as the season continues. As one coach lamented, it's going to come down to matchups in postseason and how well teams play to their strengths/neutralize others on playoff nights. Lots of parity. And that makes each night entertaining.