Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Catching up with Team Superstar

Team Superstar (TS) enjoyed another strong run this year, according to Coach LeRohn Dodson. Simultaneously, Malik Pope burst into the national consciousness, treating the spring and summer as his personal coming out party.

Dodson has assembled talent from northern California, southern California and the San Joaquin Valley and backed by Under Armour, had his guys traversing through Texas, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia and California.

It was an assemblage on the young side, with each player being a 2014 class member except for one 2015-er as the group played up in age range against 17s most of the season.

As for Pope (now ranked #12 by Rivals, #19 by Scout and #27 by ESPN), Dodson said, "Malik literally blew up overnight playing with TS."

Dodson added, "I saw him play twice [in the high school ranks] and came away thinking he had a chance to be a special player. I've coached a lot of special players like Brook/Robin Lopez, Quincy Pondexter, Luke Babbitt, Jerryd Bayless and so on. He's just as talented as any of them at this point in his career and the sky's the limit for Malik."

Now the 6-foot-8 2014 junior has 28 full-fledged suitors.

"In March, it was UC Davis and Pepperdine interested and now UNLV, Baylor,  Washington, Cal, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, USC, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Texas, Miami and so many more have offered, "Dodson said.

But Dodson has quite the collection of players even beyond Pope, including two other 2014 Sacramento area prospects in D.J. Wilson (6-foot-7 and growing, Capital Christian High) and Brady Anderson (6-foot-9, Jesuit High).

"Wilson will surprise a lot of people. He had a good spring but then got hurt and missed all of July," Dodson explained. "Cal, USC, UNLV, Georgetown, Arizona State and Notre Dame are amongst the schools already interested. He is on his way to blowing up on a national level."

Wilson was a First Team All Golden Valley League selection as a sophomore.

Per Dodson, "Skills-wise Anderson already matches up with the older players as he has good hands, soft touch and is a good pick-and-pop player. He competes and doesn't back down from anyone.  He'll put on muscle, get stronger and be just fine. He's drawing interest from teams in the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference. Brady is also a great student."

Some of the other Team Superstar players include:

* Austin Armstead, 6-foot-3, Bullard High (Fresno), 2015

* Tyler Burch, 6-foot-4, Ocean View High, 2015

* Nate Claxton, 6-foot-4, Grace Davis High, 2014

* Fatai Eke, 6-foot-8, East Bakersfield, 2014

* DB Gibbs, 6-foot-8, Hart High, 2015

* Darius Hamilton, 6-foot-5, Central High, 2014

* Murshid Randle. 6-foot-3, Central High (Fresno), 2014

He scored 19 points, including six in the last quarter, to help lead the 2014-ers to victory in the recent Nor Cal Clash.

* Taelin Webb, 5-foot-11, La Mirada High, 2014

An extremely athletic and explosive point guard and the son of legendary basketball coach Vonn Webb. He is on the radar and being touted by many high major programs including UCLA, Arizona, USC amongst others.

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