By Ace Thakore
The state of Nevada is not known for producing elite college basketball recruits, but Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas is becoming one of the nation’s powerhouse programs. Head coach Grant Rice is no stranger to success. Over the past four seasons, Rice’s Gaels have amassed a staggering 109-18 record and produced a bevy of highly talented players. That kind of talent is something that Rice is no stranger to either, as the 2011-12 Bishop Gorman squad will be absolutely stacked with Division I prospects.
Of course there are junior forwards Shabazz Muhammad and Rosco Allen, who both have garnered the attention of the best college coaching staffs in the country. Allen’s unique combination of size, skill, and intelligence are coveted by college basketball’s elite programs, and Muhammad has emerged as a top 5 player in the class of 2012.
Muhammad has been all over the national radar from a young age. At 6’6″ and a solid 200 lb frame, Muhammad’s elite scoring ability and natural talent have college basketball programs drooling. He’s as surefire of an NBA player as you will find at his age, and he still has plenty of time to develop too. With Muhammad’s physical gifts and skill set, the sky is truly the limit for him.
First offered by BYU when he was a 6’2″ freshman guard, Rosco Allen sprouted into a 6’9″ forward with the ability to score in the paint while maintaining the skills and intangibles of a guard. Allen has range out to the three point line and can take advantage of mismatches in the post, but his understanding of the team mentality is his biggest offensive weapon. When Allen decides what school he plays for, he will have his pick of the best teams in the country.
The key to Bishop Gorman’s success next season will rest largely on the shoulders of Allen and Muhammad, and bringing out the best in each other’s games will be the key to success next season for Rice and the Gaels. But Bishop Gorman has much more talent beyond just those two.
6’7″ power forward Ben Carter is turning a lot of heads with his play. Carter can face up and hit the jumpshot, but his continued improvement finishing in the post is what has really elevated his game. Carter holds offers from UNLV, New Mexico, BYU, Nevada, and Santa Clara and is actively being recruited by Pac-12 schools such as USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona St, and Washington. Duke’s Coach K was very impressed with Carter and told him to take his time with the decision because he would be getting even more offers from the best teams across the nation as his game improves.
Then you have the high flying Demetris Morant, who has a terrific frame at 6’8″. Morant is best known for being an athletic forward with great timing and feel on the defensive end, and has earned a reputation as a shot swatting machine. Morant’s great athleticism and length allow him to challenge and alter shots by even the craftiest of offensive players, which is why he is being pursued by the programs like Memphis, San Diego St, and USC.
Rice has also developed sophomore Rashad Muhammad, who is creating a name for himself outside of his relation to older brother Shabazz. Rashad is rising in the class of 2013 rankings and is a very intriguing prospect because of his length and perimeter skills. He has a solid all around game for a point guard and is becoming more adept at running a team offensively. As an upperclassman, his role for Bishop Gorman will only take on more responsibilty.
Rice also adds to that core the #1 player in the class of 2015, Stephen Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who stands at 6’10”, will give the Gaels a huge boost as a freshman next year and will bolster an already talented roster. Blueblood coaches such as Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and UNC’s Roy Williams have already made the trip to Bishop Gorman’s gym to watch the talented youngster play.
High level coaching must run in the family for Rice, who’s brother Dave was recently named head coach of the UNLV Men’s Basketball program. Both Rice brothers played for UNLV and have become fan favorites in the southern Nevada community. Just look at the droves of UNLV fans and alumni that come to Bishop Gorman to show support for their local players.
And while you might expect some sort of pipeline to emerge from Bishop Gorman to the west coast, don’t. Quite simply, Bishop Gorman is producing players so talented that they are demanding attention not just from the premier schools in the west, but from the premier schools all across the country. That won’t be changing any time soon either, because the Bishop Gorman Gaels have truly become established as a talent factory in the high school basketball world.