Mater Dei High School will host the 15th annual Nike Extravaganza this Saturday, featuring elite teams from Southern California and across the nation. The Extravaganza is the last major showcase event before the end of the regular season and provides some of the state's best teams with one final test before the postseason.
Torrey Pines-Santa Margarita
The final game of the early session tips off at 2 p.m. and features Torrey Pines and Santa Margarita at 2 p.m. The Falcons have quietly staked their claim as the San Diego Section's top team, closing out January with wins over La Costa Canyon and Santa Monica. Shooting guard Nick Kerr leads the Falcons with 19.2 points per game. The 6-foot-3 junior is the son of Steve Kerr, who spent 15 seasons in the NBA as a three-point specialist. The younger Kerr certainly seems to take after his father and is shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point range this season.
The Eagles have struggled in Trinity League play and are not as strong as they've been in the past. Despite an 11-11 record, Jerry DeBusk's squad is no pushover and could cause trouble for teams in Division 3AA. 6-foot-8 forward Brandon Blanchard is capable of taking over the low post and rattling off 20-plus points and double-digit rebounds for the Eagles.
Ocean View-Orange Lutheran
The evening session starts at 4 p.m. with a matchup between two top Orange County teams, Ocean View and Orange Lutheran. The Seahawks are the top team in Division 3AA and a threat for the Division III state title. As always, they will be led by 6-foot-7 Stanford signee Anthony Brown and point guard Avery Johnson.
Orange Lutheran entered the year with high expectations and a talent-laden roster, but a pair of blowout losses to Mater Dei show that they have a long way to go before reaching the top of the Trinity League. Sitting at 15-6 entering the week, the Lancers are one of the top teams in Division 4AA. Orange Lutheran has a balanced attack with four players averaging over 10 points per game. 6-foot junior James Douglas has been the top scorer at 15.0 points per game; senior Tyler Funk is not far behind and also leads the squad in assists. Sophomore sensation Gabe York is continuing to develop and 6-foot-5 senior Dylan Rice gives the Lancers a body inside.
At 5:30 p.m., City Section power Fairfax will face Georgia's defending AAAAA state champions, Wheeler. Fairfax is not the team they've been in the past and may be in for a long night against Wheeler.
The Wildcats are ripe with Division I talent, led by 6-foot-6 swingman Jelan Kendrick, who signed with Memphis in the early period. Senior point guard Phil Taylor has verbally committed to Florida International and 6-foot-4 wing Joey Jerome is headed to Winthrop.
No. 17 Mater Dei-Bishop Gorman
Event hosts Mater Dei will play in the 7:00 p.m. game against Bishop Gorman, who entered the week ranked 17th in the Rivals High 100. The Monarchs are ranked 8th in the nation and have regularly cracked the 100-point barrier against league foes thanks to the big three of Gary Franklin, Keala King and Tyler Lamb.
Their depth may be tested by Bishop Gorman's squad, led by 6-foot-5 sophomore scoring machine Shabazz Muhammad and senior point guard Jonathan Loyd. 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Rosco Allen will pose a challenge to the Monarchs' frontcourt.
No. 14 St. Patrick-No. 46 Taft
The final game of the night matches 14th-ranked St. Patrick of New Jersey against No. 46 Taft. Early season losses to Westchester and Corona Centennial exposed weaknesses in Taft's squad, but the transfer-laden Toreadors have bounced back with a vengeance, defeating Gardena Serra in last week's Fairfax State Preview Classic. Taft boasts two of the nation's top small forwards in Bryce Jones and DeAndre Daniels. St. Patrick's strength is in the backcourt with point guard Kyrie Irving, who has signed with Duke and averages over 20 points per game. Junior forward Michael Gilchrist also averages over 20 points per game for the Celtics and is already fielding offers from the nation's top colleges.