Gilbert adds a big man and other boys hoops notes
Gilbert was arguably the most surprising boys basketball team last year, finishing 21-7 and making the Division I state quarterfinals.
With the loss of players such as Freddie Lash, Cody Martin and Erik Crawford there is some rebuilding to do, but don’t sleep on the Tigers again.
Gilbert defeated Gilbert Christian and Alta (Utah) on Friday at the Best in Basketball Summer Invitational and has the parts in place to be competitive for awhile. Guards Conner Helvig and Anthony Bryant are the top returners, but the team’s most intriguing player is sophomore Truman Moore.
Moore, a power forward standing about 6-foot-7, played for Bradshaw Mountain last year before transferring to Gilbert. He blocked several shots in each game I watched and should be an immediate defensive presence. Moore is a bit raw on the offensive end but should be an impact player for the next several seasons.
* Highland small forward Jake Toolson played well against Red Mountain on Thursday, but the Hawks are still trying to jell as a team. The addition of Austin Witherill, who transferred in from Mountain Pointe, will help, but Highland needs a couple more scoring options to ease the burden on Toolson, who is being counted on to do too much right now.
* Gilbert Christian coach Jerome Joseph hopes to move up to Division I beginning in the 2013-2014 season. The Knights won the Division III title last year and will be the preseason No. 1 again this year. Roberto Reyes and Sam Jones will be seniors in 2013-14 and the team should be able to compete at the highest level because it continues to draw talent from the area. The drawback is that the girls basketball program at the school would also have to move up to Division I. For now, it seems like Gilbert Christian will petition up.
* Mountain Pointe guard Jalen Brown isn’t playing with the basketball team again this weekend, and the two-sport star may decide to focus primarily on football next year. Brown is a BCS-level football recruit and has been on the Pride varsity football team since his freshman season. He has also played varsity basketball since his freshman year and has high-level potential in that sport, as well, but football looks like it has won out, at least for now.