If the Bishop O’Dowd Dragons are anything like the monsters portrayed in the movie “How to Train Your Dragon,” than Ivan Rabb is a night fury.
Rabb leads the No. 11-ranked team in the USA Today Super 25 Expert poll with a versatile game most other big men don’t possess. Rabb stands 6-foot-10 with a slim build like Kevin Durant, but plays with a high skill level like Anthony Davis.
Rabb can shoot layups with either hand, block shots on defense, breeze by defenders with his crossover and shoot from long range. And, yes, he can rock the rim with dunks.
He has scholarship offers from UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, California and Arizona.
Bishop O’Dowd coach Lou Richie describes Rabb as a good rebounder and all-rounder.
“He’s an even better kid than he is a player,” Richie said.
Bishop O’Dowd’s star power goes beyond Rabb with 5-foot-11 senior guard Paris Austin, who signed with Boise State.
“(Austin) has done a really god job of running our team this year. He’s focusing on getting better in every aspect of the game,” Richie said.
Isiah Thomas, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, draws recruiting interest from California and Weber State, and the California Golden Bears are also interested in freshman guard Elijah Hardy from O’Dowd.
The Dragons are 5-2, but the two losses came to Montverde, Florida, a nation powerhouse with back-to-back national championships and the current No. 1 ranking in the USA Today Super 25, and Oak Hill Academy, a fellow Tournament of Champions entrant.
Bishop O’Dowd makes its Bass Pro Tournament of Champions debut Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. against Waynesville at JQH Arena. Richie is a Bishop O’Dowd alumnus who says he looks forward to experiencing the Tournament of Champions with his team.
“Every college coach, every high school coach said remarkable things about the venue, about the hospitality, about the fans,” Richie said. “We’re just very excited and very honored.”
When it comes to their playing style, the Dragons are like the night fury, fast. Opposing teams often sit back in zone defenses to combat O’Dowd’s speed.
“We’ve got to get out in transition,” Richie said. “Most teams want to slow it down, they don’t want to play as fast as we do.”
Bishop O’Dowd Dragons fast takes
Location: Oakland, California
Colors: black and gold
Coach: Lou Richie
T of C history: none
Previous season win/loss record: 28-5
Notable alumni: Denver Nuggets coach and three-time NBA champion Brian Shaw, Counting Crows founding member and bass guitarist Matt Malley, three-time NFL Pro Bowl tackle Tarik Glenn