In the first two months of the 2021-22 high school boys basketball season in Washington, contending teams have begun to make their marks.
So have many individual players.
SBLive has taken a look at a few candidates for state player of the year in each of Washington’s six classifications. All are listed in alphabetical order:
Tyler Bilodeau, Kamiakin, forward, sr.
Rode a growth spurt into perhaps the state’s most notable breakout season during COVID-condensed spring 2021. The 6-foot-8 Oregon State commit can score in a variety of ways — off the dribble, shoot from the perimeter and with his back to the basket. He’s averaged 26.4 points per game through eight games and has helped Kamiakin, SBLive‘s No. 2 team in 4A, maintain a commanding grip atop the Mid-Columbia Conference.
Dylan Darling, Central Valley, guard, sr.
It’s a head-scratcher why more Division I programs aren’t bidding for Darling’s services. The 6-foot-2 point guard was a pivotal spark plug in the Bears’ 4A state runner-up run as a sophomore and has developed into maybe the state’s most explosive guard. It’s his team now, and’s he’s putting up gaudy numbers at a wildly efficient rate. Averaged 38 points, eight boards, five assists and five steals per game through his first five games of the season.
Zoom Diallo, Curtis, guard, soph.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore is putting together quite the encore to a freshman season that attracted offers from the likes of Washington and Washington State. As Curtis has fought to get its full lineup on the court in the early season, Diallo has been the stabilizing force, averaging around 17 points, six assists and five boards per game. Makes up one half of one of the state’s most imposing backcourts alongside junior Tyce Paulsen.
Parker Gerrits, Olympia, guard, jr.
Gerrits, who holds offers from Montana and Portland, has taken another step forward after earning first team all-4A SPSL honors as a sophomore. The 6-foot-1 guard is averaging 18 points, four boards, three assists and two steals per game. “He’s our heralded leader. Nobody works harder or cares more,” Bears coach John Kiley said. His stellar play has led Olympia to a 9-1 start.
Bryson Metz, Union, guard, sr.
The shifty floor general is the engine that makes the Titans go. Metz controls the pace, is disruptive defensively and shines when the spotlight is brightest, scoring 24 points on 9 of 10 shooting in a road win at 3A dynamo Mt. Spokane. He’s led the Titans well as the lone returning starter (16.5 points, 4.4. assists, 3.1 steals per game) and the team missed him sorely when he missed three games with an ankle sprain.
Quin Patterson, Mount Si, forward, sr.
Top-ranked Mount Si looks like 4A’s most complete team and Patterson is its unquestioned leader. The 6-foot-7 forward and UC San Diego signee is poised, efficient and tough to rattle. Two years ago, he stepped up off the bench and hit big shots in the Wildcats’ 4A state title run. Now, he’s a leader of a talented and deep team, posting 16.5 points (46 percent from 3), five boards and 2.5 assists per game.
Don’t sleep on: Carson Frawley, Camas, forward, sr.; Miles Heide, Mount Si, forward, jr.; Tyce Paulsen, Curtis, guard, jr.; Bobby Seibers, Glacier Peak, sr.; Jayden Stevens, Gonzaga Prep, forward, sr.; Carson Talbert, Tahoma, forward, sr.; Sylas Williams, Jackson, jr.
Asjon Anderson, Mount Tahoma, guard, sr.
A three-year leading scorer of the T-Birds, Anderson opened the season with three consecutive 40-point games and 33.5 points per game through his first six — perhaps the best in the state — along with 7.3 boards, 5.7. assists and. 4.8 steals per game.
Tre Blassingame and Kaden Hansen, Auburn, guards, sr.
Auburn’s secret to success is any one of its core players can take over on a given night. At 6-foot-5, Blassingame is the team’s top rebounder (six per game) in addition to being an impressive athlete, and leads defensively on top of averaging 18.1 points per contest. Hansen is a dead-eye shooter from deep (58 percent) and is the team’s leading scorer at 19.9 a game.
Brooklyn Hicks, Timberline, guard, jr.
Bouncy guard is among the toughest defensive matchups in the state due to his explosiveness, first step and bounce. Averaging 23.4 points per game, 5.6 boards, 3.4. assists, 3.2 steals on 52 percent shooting. Holds offers from Washington, Washington State, Cincinnati, Oregon State and others.
Koren Johnson, Garfield, guard, sr.
A gifted scorer on all three levels and a pesky defender, the Washington commit showed backup back at Garfield on the eve of the start of the season after previously transferring to National Interscholastic Basketball Conference member Wasatch Academy. His return has elevated Garfield to the 3A state favorite and SBLive‘s top team in the state. 6-foot-3 combo guard was a first team all-state pick as a sophomore after helping the Bulldogs win a 3A title.
Jaxon Nap, Hazen, forward, sr.
After spending most of his competitive basketball years scrapping as an undersized guard, Nap hit a meteoric growth spurt when few eyes were watching. He emerged from pandemic shutdowns a 6-foot-7, 200 pounds forward with guard skills (and the ability to fly), which caught the eye of Montana coach Travis DeCuire, with whom he signed in November. He averaged 37 points and 10 boards per game in his first two games, posted 21 points, 22 boards and eight assists against Interlake on Jan. 5 and in total, he’s producing 27.5 points, 13.5 boards and six assists per game — despite double and even triple-teams.
Braeden Smith, Seattle Prep, guard, sr.
His imprint can be felt in so many ways. The Colgate commit — who doubles as the school’s star quarterback — helped lead the Panthers to the 3A quarterfinals in 2020 as a sophomore and holds Seattle Prep’s assist and steals record. Shifty guard who can take over a game, facilitate and defends hard.
Isaiah Watts, West Seattle, guard, sr.
The son of former Washington standout Donald Watts and the grandson of Seattle Supersonics legend Slick Watts, the 6-foot-3 Isaiah is hitting his stride as West Seattle’s heralded leader. More of West Seattle’s offense runs through him now than ever. “He can go out there and score 21 points on half as many shots,” West Seattle coach John Kriley said.
Don’t sleep on: Conrad Bippes, University, forward, sr.; Jaylin Stewart, Garfield, forward, jr.; Maverick Sanders, Mt. Spokane, forward, jr.; Ethan Martin, Arlington, guard, sr.; Elijah Johnson, Shorecrest, guard, sr.
John “John John” Barbee Jr., Franklin-Pierce, guard, sr.
He formed a high-scoring backcourt with his older brother, Jalen, over the last two seasons. Now, it’s his team (though his younger brother Javon has taken on point guard duties as a freshman) and he’s handling it well, averaging 33 points and six boards per game and flashing a first step that reminds his coach (and dad) John Barbee of Quincy Wilder.
Jaedyn Brown, Pullman, guard, jr.
After moving from Wyoming, he’s emerged as a high-octane scorer in the 2A GSL. The 6-foot-3 junior is averaging 23.5. points per game on an efficient 60 percent from the field, 53 percent from 3 and 93.8 percent from the free throw line while chipping in five boards and 3.2 assists per game for the Greyhounds.
Wyatt Dunning, Port Angeles, forward, sr.
The 6-foot-5 Dunning has the size of a forward with guard skills. He can shoot from deep and has the footwork to navigate the interior with grace. Dunning had 30 points and 16 boards in the first game the season.
Cavin Holden, R.A. Long, guard, sr.
The game slows down when the ball is in the hands of reigning 2A Greater St. Helens League MVP. Holden has the ball on a string, a strong pull-up game and a high basketball IQ. Averaging 21 points, 5.4 assists and four steals per game.
Jonas La Tour, North Kitsap, guard, sr.
La Tour was an integral part of North Kitsap’s state title run as a sophomore. He’s bigger, stronger, scoring at an even higher clip and the unquestioned leader of a the 2A favorites.
Jordan Medcalf, Lynden, guard/forward, sr.
Reigning Northwest Conference MVP is showing what he’s capable of doing with a full season. The 6-foot-4 senior — who doubles as a point guard and wing — has led the Lions, SBLive’s No. 3 team in 2A, out to an 8-1 start. Don’t test his hand-eye coordination — he won a state golf title as a freshman.
Aaron Ofstun, R.A. Long, forward, sr.
A hulking interior presence, the 6-foot-8 forward demands a double — or sometimes more — when he touches the ball. He’s averaging 21 points, 10 boards and nearly two blocks per game while shooting 55 percent from the field for the Lumberjacks, a surging 2A state hopeful.
Don’t sleep on: Luke Brewer, Tumwater, guard, sr.; Deacon Dietz, Mark Morris, guard, sr.; Rylan Donovan, White River, guard, sr.; Jackson Harty, West Valley (Spokane), sr.; Amare Jackson, Highline, guard, jr.; Kobe Parlin, Mark Morris, guard, jr.; Levi Pepper, Selah, guard/forward, jr.
Clay Delp, Zillah, guard, sr.
The steady-handed senior led the Leopards to a district title in the spring and is back running the point. Delp can facilitate and control the game with poise and take over when needed. He’s averaging 20 points per game.
Jordan Hansen, King’s, forward, sr.
When the moment or matchup are the biggest, Hansen shines. The 6-foot-6 Idaho State commit delivered 34 points in a loss to 3A Garfield, the state’s top team, and 31 in a win over 4A Gonzaga Prep. He’s averaging 29.6 points on 58 percent shooting (48 percent from 3) and 7.4 boards per game for the Knights, the No. 1 team in SBLive’s 1A power rankings.
Cameron Hiatt, King’s, guard, fr.
The 6-foot-4 point guard is putting together one of the most dominant debut seasons in recent memory — and doing a lot of it against bigger-classification competition. By the midway point of the season, the big guard is posting 20.6 points, 5.5 boards and 3.3 assists per contest — and is a capable and willing defender. “You forget he’s a freshman,” King’s coach Rick Skeen said.
Andrew Hommes, Lynden Christian, guard/forward, sr.
Lynden Christian’s leader can shoot, finish at the rim, and lock down the opposing team’s top player with his 6-foot-5 frame. The Point Loma Nazarene pledge can be a volume scorer, but knows when to defer. Leads the undefeated Lyncs with 17 points and 10 boards per game.
Luke Navarre, Zillah, guard/forward, jr.
Maybe the smoothest pure scorer in the state, the 6-foot-4 Navarre’s high release makes him tough to slow. His range extends beyond the 3-point line, he plays above the rim and he’s coming into his own as a junior, averaging nearly 30 points per game with a career-high 43 against College Place.
Bradley Swillie, Life Christian Academy, sr.
An instrumental piece in Life Christian Academy’s 2B runner-up finish in 2020 and its trophy finish at an unofficial 1A state tournament in spring 2021, the 6-foot-5 guard is the leader of a 1A contender. He’s putting together his best season to date, averaging 31.1 points on 53 percent shooting, 8.9 boards, 3.4 assists and 3.4 steals per game.
Don’t sleep on: Treyvaughn Bierlink, Quincy, guard, sr.; Logan Britt, Seattle Academy, guard/forward, sr.; Hunter Carter, Annie Wright, soph.; Jason Grant, Toppenish, forward, sr.; Nate Harding, Chelan, guard, sr.; Chae Haynes, Life Christian, guard, sr.; Boen Phelps, Freeman, guard, sr.; Tyler Sipma, Lynden Christian, guard, sr.
Jackson Esary, Kalama, guard, sr.
Has shown flashes of dominance in the early season while rehabbing an elbow injury suffered while leading the Chinooks to the 2B state football title in December. Big-bodied guard is physical and well-rounded. Averaging 25.5 points, 11 boards, 4.2 assists and three steals per game,
Kelson Gebbers, Brewster, forward, jr.
Gebbers played a feature role on the team’s 2B title run in 2020 as a freshman. Now, it’s his team — and he looks every bit the part of a Division I prospect, showing an ability to score on all three levels. The Bears will go as far as Gebbers take them.
John Lustig, Colfax, guard, sr.
The Lewis-Clark State pledge is on a tear. He’s averaging 31.7 points, 7.8 boards, 4.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game and has led Colfax to the top of the Northeast 2B standings and No. 2. In SBLive’s 2B power rankings. His crown jewel performance of the early season was a 51-point outing against Liberty (Spangle).
Tennessee Rainwater, Davenport, guard, jr.
Simply electric above the rim. As one opposing coach put it, the 6-foot-4 guard/forward is “one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen” at the 2B level. Was an undersized guard as a freshman, has blossomed into a consistent scorer as he’s grown into a hulking build that has allowed Gorillas coach Matt Henry to play him at forward, too. Averaging 24 points and seven boards per game.
Zach Swanson, Toutle Lake, guard, soph.
The Oregon State baseball commit made an immediate splash as an eighth grader and led the Ducks to a 10-0 regular season record in the gauntlet Central 2B league in the condensed spring season. Now, the 6-foot-2 combo guard is averaging around 20 points per game as a sophomore.
Chase Wilson, Okanogan, forward, sr.
The 6-foot-7 forward presents matchup fits with the way he can do a little bit of eventing — back to the basket, facing up, off the dribble, shoot from deep. Had 40 points in his season-opener and is averaging around 19.3 points and 8.8 boards per game.
Don’t sleep on: Tayshawn Colvin, Liberty (Spangle), guard, sr.; Carson Boesel, Okanogan, guard, jr.; Joel Kelly, Cle Elum, forward, jr.; Michael Lenke, Columbia (Burbank), guard, jr.; Tre’ Seydel, Raymond, guard, sr.; Jaden Turner, Ilwaco, guard, sr.
Justice Hart, Yakama Tribal, forward, sr.
A pivotal post presence as a sophomore in Yakama Tribal’s state 1B runner-up run in 2020, Hart has become the team’s leading scorer (26 points per game) in addition to its best rebounder (seven boards per game). He’s helped the Eagles (4-4) rebound from an 0-3 start.
Reece Isaak, Almira-Coulee-Hartline, forward, sr.
At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Isaak’s size and touch around the rim make him tough to stop. He’s been one of the most dominant bigs in 1B over the past several years, and is putting together a strong senior season averaging 19 points and 12 boards per game. Also a standout football player for the state champion Warriors.
Tyran Lane, Lummi, forward, sr.
A multi-year starter and leader both on the court and in the locker room, the 6-foot-6 Lane is dominant with his back to the basket and hopes to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Travil Lane, who was a two-time WIBCA state player of the year (2015, 2017).
Colton Seymour, Cusick, guard, sr.
Quick, shifty guard demands on-ball pressure well beyond the 3-point line because of deep his range extends. The reigning Northeast 1B MVP is a fifth-year starter. When he was in eighth grade, the seniors on the team asked that he play varsity. Scored 29 in an impressive early 20-point win over preseason No. 1 ACH and is averaging 21.4 points, 6.5 steals and six boards per game. 2,000 career points could be within reach.
Cole Wagenaar, Sunnyside Christian, guard, jr.
After suffering a broken leg that required surgery in May, he made a triumphant return to the court, scoring 27 points, including five 3s, and pulling down 13 boards. More of a 3-point specialist as a freshman, Wagenaar, the youngest of longtime head coach Dean Wagenaar’s sons, grew nine inches between his eighth grade and sophomore year and now runs the point.
Don’t sleep on: Duncan Toby, Lummi, guard, sr.; Jack Lesko, DeSales, guard, sr.; Pierre Boorman, Moses Lake Christian Academy, guard, sr.; Grady Murray, Almira-Coulee-Hartline, sr.