Video: Nathan Hale 2016-17 highlightsA year after going 3-18, Michael Porter Jr. led Seattle school to unbeaten season.
Prior to the arrival of head coach Brandon Roy and senior transfer Michael Porter Jr.
last summer, Nathan Hale hadn't reached the state tournament since 1994 and last broke the .500 barrier in 2012-13.
The Raiders went 3-18 in 2015-16, taking thrashings of 71, 50, 47 and 46 points along the way.
The makes the Seattle public school the unlikeliest national champion since MaxPreps started handing out that recognition in 2009.
Behind the play of Porter, Nathan Hale ran the table to a 29-0 record, winning the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational, the Metro League regular season and tournament titles as well as the Class 3A state championship.
The Raiders won 11 games over teams ranked among the top 150 nationally by the MaxPreps computer, including key victories over then-No. 1 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) at the Les Schwab Invitational and perennial power Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic.
Porter and younger brother Jontay
along with sophomore guard P.J. Fuller
, Tre'Var Holland
, Keegan Crosby
and Freddy Brown III
were all scoring threats, helping the Raiders put up nearly 85 points per game. Eighteen of the team's victories came by 20 points or more.
Despite playing in Seattle for just one season, Porter will go down as perhaps the greatest high school basketball player ever in Washington. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged over 37 points and 14 rebounds per game.
Fast forward a decade or so and it will be interesting to see how this team is remembered. Was it the start of something special at Nathan Hale under first-year coach Roy or an odd chain of events aligning perfectly for one magical season?
Past MaxPreps National Champions
2016 – Chino Hills (Calif.)
2015 – Montverde Academy (Fla.)
2014 – Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2013 – Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
, Montverde Academy (Fla.)
2012 – St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
2011 – St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
2010 – Yates (Houston, Texas)
2009 – Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)* Recognized separate high school and independent national champions.
MaxPreps High School Top 25 Boys Basketball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard1. (No. 1 last week) Nathan Hale (Seattle), 29-0
WIAA Class 3A state champions. 2. (2) Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.), 33-3
TSSAA Class AAA state champions. 3. (3) Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia), 31-2
PIAA Class AAAA state champions. 4. (4) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.), 31-2
CIF Open Division state champions. 5. (5) Jonesboro (Ark.), 32-0
AHSAA Class 6A state champions.6. (9) Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.), 34-4
NCISAA Class 3A state champions. Dick's Nationals semifinalist. 7. (6) Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.), 29-4
NJSIAA Tournament of Champions winner. 8. (7) Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 32-5
WCAC, DCSAA and Alhambra Catholic Invitational champions. 9. (8) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 33-3
CIF section and regional finalist.10. (10) Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.), 30-2
TSSAA Division II-AA state champions. 11. (11) Trinity Episcopal (Richmond, Va.), 35-1
VISAA Division I state champions. 12. (12) Tift County (Tifton, Ga.), 29-2
GHSAA AAAAAAA state champions. 13. (13) Webster Groves (Mo.), 29-2
MSHSAA Class 5 state champions. 14. (14) Shadow Mountain (Phoenix), 27-1
AIA Class 4A state champions. Dick's Nationals participant.15. (17) Cypress Falls (Houston), 35-3
UIL Class 6A state champions. 16. (18) Basha (Chandler, Ariz.), 31-1
AIA Class 6A state champions. 17. (20) Chino Hills (Calif.), 30-3
CIF Southern Section semifinalist.18. (21) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), 27-3
CIF Southern Section semifinalist.19. (NR) Clarkston (Mich.), 27-1
MHSAA Class A state champions. 20. (NR) Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.), 28-3
PIAA Class AAAAA state champions. 21. (NR) Jackson (Massillon, Ohio), 28-2
OHSAA Division I state champions. 22. (NR) Apple Valley (Minn.), 30-2
MSHSL Class AAAA state champions. 23. (23) Jefferson (Portland, Ore.), 27-1
OSAA Class 6A state champions.24. (24) L.C. Bird (Chesterfield, Va.), 27-1
VHSL Class 5A state champions. 25. (NR) Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.), 27-3
MSHSAA Class 4 State champions.