GEICO Nationals: Breaking down the eight-team field

Photo: AP/Gregory Payan

GEICO Nationals: Breaking down the eight-team field

Boys Basketball

GEICO Nationals: Breaking down the eight-team field

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There’s no heavy favorite among the eight teams headed to New York City to compete in the GEICO High School Nationals April 4-6.

Last season, Montverde (Fla.) Academy came into GEICO Nationals riding an undefeated record and featuring the No. 1 player in the country, R.J. Barrett, and they went on to win their fourth GEICO Nationals title.

This year the consensus among players, coaches and experts is that anyone from the top seed to the No. 8 seed could be hoisting the national championship trophy come Saturday.

We break down each of the eight teams in the field and analyze everything from how they can win to how they can fall.

Dec 7, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Bishop Gorman guard Will McClendon goes up for a layup against Denton Guyers forward JaKobe Coles during the first half at Chaparral High School. (Photo: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
GEICO Seeding: 8
Super 25 Rank: NR

Key players: Isaiah Cottrell, Will McClendon, Zaon Collins, Noah Taitz

Why they’ll win: The Gaels are had to stop because their scoring is spread out; eight players have led Bishop Gorman in scoring this season. Cottrell (15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds 4.2 blocks), McClendon (12.1 points, 4.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 steals), Collins (9.6 points, 6.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 steals) and Taitz (15.6 points, 2.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds) lead the way, but toward the end of the season the Gaels got a big boost from Mwani Wilkinson, who posted multiple double-digit games during the playoffs. If Wilkinson can continue his strong contributions on the offensive end, the Gaels will be significantly stronger.

Why they may slip-up: The Gaels may have a tough time contending with the size of La Lumiere’s front line. This season, Bishop Gorman has outrebounded its opponents, but haven’t faced a frontcourt loaded with NBA bodies and multiple McDonald’s All Americans.

The bottom line: It’s quite the understatement to say that the Gaels have a tall order in front of them trying to knock off a team that went unblemished all season; Bishop Gorman will have to contend with the Lakers star frontcourt and talented wing players, but it has the type of versatility and balance that could get the job done. All hands will need to be on deck.

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