Last week, I presented a handful of players who were making strong cases to be a part of The Post’s annual boys’ basketball All-Met team. But while names like Melo Trimble and Allonzo Trier have helped support the D.C. metro area’s claim as the mecca of high school basketball, it’s the depth of talent in the region that separates the teams and players from other states.
In this spirit, here are several players who have remained a bit under the radar this season but still made their mark (Disclaimer: These evaluations are based on players I’ve seen during the season. My opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the All-Met Sports staff).
G Trevor Blondin, Battlefield, Sr.
To be a school’s all-time leading scorer is impressive. To do so in just two and a half years of varsity play is bananas. Blondin has been on a tear of late, averaging 26.8 points in his last five games to put the Bobcats back on the track that got them to last year’s Virginia state quarterfinals.
F Abdulai Bundu, Largo, Jr.
The secret is quickly getting out on this evolving force on the inside. Though still raw in some areas, Bundu is learning how to use his size (6-foot-8) and strength for powerful dunks and big blocks in the paint. As he develops more post moves during the next season and a half, teams in Maryland will have their hands even more full with this double-double machine.
G Anthony Cabbagestalk, Montrose Christian, Sr.
It takes a special player to share the backcourt with highly touted junior Allonzo Trier, who excels on and off the ball. Cabbagestalk fits this role well, as his strong passing ability, smart play and experience as a scorer from his days at Grace Brethren-Clinton make him a key cog for the area’s No. 11 team. Cabbagestalk shows solid leadership and unselfish play in running the Mustangs’ high-powered offense.
F Will Gregorits, Lake Braddock, Sr.
His length and versatility make him a threat inside and outside the paint, making for another tough matchup on a Lake Braddock team filled with size and quickness. After working to recover from a preseason toe injury, the senior has the Bruins on a roll as the Conference 7 race thickens.
G Jason Jolly, Stone Bridge, Jr.
At 5-5, Jolly’s size alone makes him easy to overlook. But opponents have learned to respect the diminutive force who can pile up points in bunches with his quickness and penetration ability. Though he’s currently sidelined by a hand injury, look for Jolly to make some noise after his expected return in the coming weeks.
G Chris Lykes, Gonzaga, Fr.
Like Jolly, Lykes wasn’t blessed in the height department. But the 5-6 freshman’s fearless style of play has helped him emerge as Gonzaga’s top scorer (14.6 ppg) in a season that’s seen the Eagles struggle with a myriad of injuries. With three years of high school still left, Lykes’ potential is scary.
F Christian Lutete, McKinley Tech, Sr.
At first glance, Lutete doesn’t appear to be overly athletic or to possess the skills to be one of the area’s top scorers. But he is and he does, leading the Trainers with fundamental play, offensive versatility and deceptive quickness.
F Daniel Noe, Bishop Ireton, Sr.
As referenced in Monday’s notebook, this is not the same old Ireton that dwelled in the cellar of the WCAC standings, and Noe is a big reason why. His versatility has allowed the swingman to fill in at center and point guard during the last two seasons and his scoring ability is why the Cardinals have pushed a number of top WCAC teams to the brink.
G Marcquise Reed, Capitol Christian, Sr.
After helping lead Pallotti to a title last season, Reed has continued his strong play as the main scorer for the Warriors. Using efficient play and an ability to get to the line, the senior has scored 48, 45 and 41 points in games this season and makes the Warriors a contender in the tough Capital Beltway Athletic Association.
G Khiorie Stewart, Broad Run, Sr.
While Paul Rowley has staked his claim as Loudoun County’s top player, Stewart has attempted to make a run at the throne. The senior is a big reason why the Spartans reeled off 13 straight wins. He can knock down the open three and slice into the lane with his dribbling skills. Though Potomac Falls frustrated him into an off night last Friday, Stewart is one to watch.
G Evan Taylor, Paul VI, Sr.
The fact that Taylor starts at point guard for arguably the area’s deepest team in Paul VI speaks volumes. At 6-4, he possesses the length to disrupt guards on defense and the court vision to find the Panthers’ wealth of options. Taylor has been more aggressive on the offensive end of late, including a 19-point effort in the last-second loss to top-ranked St. John’s.
G Tristan Thompson, Cesar Chavez, Sr.
Like several other players on this list, at 5-8, Thompson is undersized by most standards. But his big-time play as slasher and primary scorer for the Eagles makes him too good of a prospect not to be playing at the next level. His speed makes him a constant downcourt threat and with cat-like quickness, he can grab steals in the passing lanes and turn them into easy buckets.
G Danzel Wright, National Collegiate, Sr.
Kevin Durant isn’t the only DMV native who can score at an amazing clip. Wright has been unstoppable on the offensive end, scoring 54, 40 and 38 points in four different games this season, resulting in an area-best 31.9 points per game. He also boasts a deadly outside stroke that helped him drain 10 threes in one game this year.
Needless to say, there are plenty other names who could populate this list. Who else is operating under the radar this season?
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Check out this week’s top basketball plays.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 1
Days until National Signing Day, the high school football holiday marking the first day that seniors can sign their national letter-of-intent to play at the next level. This year’s class includes the nation’s top recruit in Woodbridge’s Da’Shawn Hand (Alabama) and the nation’s top uncommitted offensive lineman in McNamara’s Damian Prince. We’ll have full coverage all day long right here on the Recruiting Insider blog.
-With the WCAC tournament less than three weeks away, red-hot Paul VI recently welcomed back top player Ariana Freeman last Friday after she missed six weeks with a knee injury.
-A year after becoming the first No. 8 seed to beat a top seed in the WCAC tournament, Bishop Ireton’s boys continue to emerge as a threat in the tough conference.
-By focusing on the little things, Wheaton is seeing big results on the hardwood.
–West Springfield has already tripled its win total from a year ago, thanks to strong play from post players John Cronin and Spencer Marin.
-Kennedy’s girls’ team is once again thriving off of stout play on the defensive end.
-With three MAC games on tap this week, No. 17 Maret looks to better position itself in its bid to defend its conference title.
–McLean punctuated its rise in Virginia Conference 6 girls’ play by knocking off a ranked South Lakes team last week.
-After dropping their first DCIAA game to Bell last week, Wilson’s girls’ will look to rebound Tuesday against Ballou.
-After electing to remain at Dominion for his senior year, Tony Richardson has helped lead the Titans’ surge to the top of the Conference 21 standings.
–Parkdale’s Kareema Conteh, who is averaging 21.4 points, is proving that not all of the area’s brightest stars populate the AAU circuit.
-James Madison recruit Beverly Ogunrinde has helped lead Pallotti to four straight wins.
-Old Mill is unashamed in its approach of trying to outscore opponents, and it’s worked of late, as the Patriots have won four in a row.
-With no seniors on its roster, a youthful Northern girls’ team is making waves in the SMAC.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
No. 19 Lake Braddock vs. W.T. Woodson (at South County), 7:30 p.m.
A burst pipe has temporarily left Woodson without a home court, which is why Tuesday’s game against Conference 7 boys’ co-leader Lake Braddock will be played at South County. Lake Braddock won last week’s matchup in a low-scoring affair.