Washington's Top In-State Prep Players

Prep basketball in the state of Washington is no longer a secret. The success of many local players, including Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Adam Morrison, Spencer Hawes and Jason Terry has put Washington on the map as one of the country's main talent hubs. The likes of Ben Howland, Rick Barnes, Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Self and others see Washington as a battleground recruiting state.

The next three years are no exception, as national talent continues to reside within the borders of the Evergreen State. 

Elite players like Abdul Gaddy, Josh Smith and Tony Wroten are complimented by the likes of Corey Stern, Patrick Simon and Brett Kingma.  With the high school basketball season right around the corner, here are some of the players to keep an eye on for the classes of 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Class of 2009:
Abdul Gaddy (Bellarmine Prep) – Gaddy, a recent Washington verbal commit and Scout.com's national No. 2 point guard - has an uphill battle this season for Bellarmine Prep.  It will be interesting to see how his season goes with the departure of Top-25 prospect and Texas verbal commit Avery Bradley, who has moved to a prep school in Nevada.  The offensive loss of Bradley will be felt, but Gaddy's offensive skills and passing ability should offset some of that loss.   The only knock on Gaddy's game is a lack of commitment on the defensive end, which can be corrected.  Gaddy can step onto any campus right now and make the point guard position his own.  He is seasoned and ready for the next level.

Peyton Siva (Franklin) – The Quakers' high-motor combo guard is expected to have a highlight-filled season.  'Pepe' verbally committed his services to Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino earlier this year.  A versatile talent, the big question for Siva is whether he will be running the point or if will he be once again play the two.  There is some debate over Peyton's ability to run the point at the high school level, and by extension the college level.  An early season try at the point his junior season was short-lived.  A devastating loss early in the state tournament led to a disappointing end to his junior campaign.  Siva is on a talented Franklin team and is poised to have a very solid season: Just making state would be a major disappointment.

Aaron Dotson (Rainier Beach) – It's amazing what can change in a year.  Dotson went from being an unknown quantity to a national top-75 recruit in short order.  No offers turned into many from the likes of Washington, Louisville, LSU and SMU - among others.  It took Dotson some time to adjust to a new school and new AAU team, but the results could not have been better for the Rainier Beach star.  Dotson went from a defensive-minded player with little offensive skills into a quick, aggressive player almost overnight.  Getting comfortable with his AAU team Friends of Hoop catapulted Dotson into elite status.  This past summer he took his offensive game to a whole new level on the perimeter.  On top of that, he developed a swagger that translated into a player that was not afraid to attack the basket.  Dotson parlayed his growth as a player into a verbal commitment to play for new head coach Trent Johnson and LSU.

Corey Stern (Rainier Beach) – There is a lot of unknowns about the 6-foot-7 swingman, other than we know he moved to Seattle from the state of Colorado.  Playing on the Northwest Panthers this past summer did not do much to improve his stock.  That was mostly due to a lack of offensive flow and being behind Panthers' teammates Avery Bradley and Abdul Gaddy.  Stern is a big kid with a great mid-range game who isn't afraid to go in and crash the boards.  He should make an immediate impact with the Vikings this winter.  D-1 interest has picked up for Stern and offers are on the table.

Others of note – Sterling Carter (Franklin), Colton Christian (Bellevue), David Stockton (Gonzaga Prep), Eric Hutchinson (Mark Morris), Steven Bjornstad (Columbia River)  
Class of 2010:
Josh Smith (Kentwood) – If it seems like people have been talking about Smith's game for a long time, it's because they have been.  The expectations for the big man from Kentwood have been high for a long time and this is the season to live up to the lofty billing.  A strong sophomore season preceded a monster AAU campaign that led to national attention and a top-5 national ranking by the Scout.com team.  The next step for Smith is to show that his game is more than just dunks and two-footers.  He will not be the biggest man on the floor at the next level, so developing a baby hook or a four-to-six foot jumper would be the next step, in my opinion.  Smith is being recruited by every elite program in the country; UCLA, Duke, Texas and Washington are among them. 

Simi Fajemisin (Lynnwood) - The 6-foot-9 big man from the north end of Seattle definitely passes the look test.  Fajemisin is rather rough around the edges, but continued work on his inside skills will make things a lot more comfortable down low, banging with the bigs. Most importantly, he needs to continue work on his poor conditioning.   His stock continues to rise and a solid junior season could lead to some prominent offers.

Aaron Bright (Bellevue) – If Bright was three inches taller he would be getting a lot of attention on the recruiting front.  The Wolverines' floor general is solid in every aspect.  He has great leadership abilities, good floor vision and a deadly jumper. Bright's range is pretty much unlimited. He is also great at anticipating the defense's next move.  In short - he has the ability to beat you with assists or with points.  His quickness and ball-handling skills allow him to keep defenses on their toes and dribble penetrate when the opportunity presents itself.

Joe Harris (Chelan) – A relative unknown from the east side of the mountains, Harris is a lengthy guard at 6-foot-4 and is still rather skinny.  Filling out his body will allow Harris to be more aggressive on the offensive end instead of floating on the perimeter for the majority of the time.  Playing with Friends of Hoop and their great coaching staff will continue to help his game.

Dominic Ballard (O'Dea) – An extremely talented guard from downtown Seattle, Ballard seems to be getting better with every game and continues to grow into his 6-foot-3 frame.  A solid low-to-mid-major talent, Ballard could potentially be a Pac-10-caliber recruit.  The question is whether he has reached his ceiling or not.

Others of note – Patrick Simon (Ephrata), Zach Fogerson (O'Dea), Aaron Dunn (Shadle Park), Cole Dickerson (Federal Way) 
Class of 2011:
Tony Wroten (Garfield) – If you have not heard of Tony Wroten by now, you must be living on Mars.  Many services have Tony listed as the No. 1 overall national recruit of the 2011 class, and Scout.com has him as their top shooting guard.  Wroten has created an amazing buzz around the country: Simply put, he is a high-flying human highlight reel, an amazing athlete who wows opponents and fans alike with his posterized dunks.  The son of two former star athletes at the University of Washington, Wroten has the genes and athletic ability that people would die to possess.  Only in his second year at Garfield, he has a ways to go with his on-court decision making.  Ill-advised shots and passes are the norm, but the steep learning curve will continue to eliminate mistakes.  Wroten's shot started out very flat in high school but has progressively gained trajectory in recent months.  Many colleges are on Wroten, and as of now he says that Tennessee is his dream school.

Brett Kingma (Jackson) – The young point guard out of Mill Creek is a guy to definitely keep an eye on.  While some say that he is overrated, they fail to realize that Kingma has only played one year of high school basketball.  The biggest thing he needs to work on is his decision making with the ball and his shot selection.  His upside is very high and should be in the recruiting mix after this coming year.

Other players of note – Anthony Bowden (Franklin Pierce), Dallas Smith (Mt. Si), Salim Gloyd (Garfield), Donald Gaddy (Bellarmine Prep), Christian Behrens (Tahoma), Gary Bell Jr. (Kentridge), Glenn Brooks (Garfield)


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