SANTA CLARA, Calif. —
Remember that Aaron Gordon
gent? The highlight-reel kid from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
, who led the Monarchs to three straight Northern California titles and two state titles and was compared to Blake Griffin as a prep.
We even featured his last stand in high school
Well, Gordon graduated in June – he's now starring at Arizona for those who haven't noticed – and a 6-foot-8 sophomore named Ben Kone
has come in and replaced him.
And with a lot of teaching from one of the best big-man coaches in California Tim Kennedy, Kone is giving a pretty good imitation of Gordon.
He sure did Friday night with 26 points and 16 rebounds in a 68-60 win over Serra to capture the Central Coast Section Open Division title at the Leavey Center on the campus of Santa Clara University. Kone kept Mitty in the game with 16 first-half points after Serra opened the game with a 29-13 lead.
The Monarchs (26-4), winners of five straight CCS titles, closed to within 35-34 by halftime and then Kone scored the first two buckets of the third quarter. Mitty never trailed after that and he had more folks than this reporter thinking Gordon.
"He looks a lot like Gordon as a sophomore," Serra coach Chuck Rapp said. "I wish I had a kid like him transfer in. He's just so big and strong down low. He opens everything up for their guards and they can all shoot."
Kone transferred from nearby Salesian, a perennial state and regional power, during the summer. He said that besides Kennedy, a 6-7 wing who starred at Serra, Loyola-Marymount and played several seasons overseas, Gordon himself has come by Mitty the last several months and offered pointers.
"I'm getting a lot of help here," Kone said. "And my teammates just open up everything for me."
Indeed, the Monarchs are jelling with the terrific trio of point guard Matt McAndrews
, Connor Peterson
and J.P. Rindfleisch
. McAndrews had 14 points and five assists, Rindfleisch 12 points and Peterson eight points, 12 rebounds and six assists. They'll likely challenge Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland)
for the Northern California Open championship. O'Dowd has a pretty good big man in its own right, 6-10 Ivan Rabb
, considered one of the top five juniors in the country.