For four years, Stanley Johnson was the go-to-guy for Mater Dei High School. In that span, the Monarchs never lost a state title game.
It’s near impossible to replace a talent like Johnson, but 2016 forward and Arizona target Michael Cage Jr. will try to help Mater Dei bring home a fifth straight championship this spring.
The 6’9 junior has emerged as one of the best prospects from the west coast while guiding the Monarchs to a 18-3 start this year.
“The season’s been going pretty well,” Cage said. “We’re continuing to come together and get wins.”
With his size and length, Cage can innately get by most high school opponents. Although he’s not superbly athletic, he loves being around the basket and can also step back and hit mid-range jumpers with consistency.
Plus it doesn’t hurt that he has some good genes in his family, being the son of former NBA great Michael Cage Sr. The younger Cage said his father has helped him develop some moves to use on the court.
In the past few months, the Santa Ana native has also taken it upon himself to improve on three point shooting and crashing the boards.
Of course playing for an elite school like Mater Dei, basketball is almost a 24/7 living.
“I just go to school and then I usually have practice right after,” Cage said. “Then I’ll go home and do my homework and maybe watch some TV. Then I’ll go shoot outside at the park.”
Cage still has time to go to the beach, hang out with friends, listen to Meek Mill; the things any high schooler in southern California would do.
But it’s a little different when you have some of the nation’s top programs constantly contacting you.
Even with his decision sometime way off into the future, Cage is already experiencing full recruiting mode. Kentucky along with a number of Pac-12 programs have offered the junior, but right now Arizona is coming at him the hardest.
“Arizona is just a great school basketball wise as well as academically,” Cage said. “They can help take my game to the next level.”
Cage doesn’t have any upcoming visits set up yet but said he’ll definitely be visiting Arizona again after taking trips to a few other schools.
For now, recruiting can be put aside. With the California state playoffs nearing, all focus is on returning Matter Dei back to the state championship game.