RICHMOND, Calif. -
A new Jabari arrived at Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
High School in the fall and boys basketball coach Bill Mellis doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.
The recent arrival is one of the nation's top sophomores,
, a long 6-foot-5 wing who plays well above the rim and possesses a Grade A mid-range game.
He leads the state's No. 9 team, which entered Monday's Martin Luther King Classic at Cal's Haas Pavilion with a 15-0 record.
The Pride hopes to repeat the feat of the 2009 Salesian team that won the CIF State Division IV championship thanks largely to another sophomore named Jabari (Brown), who has since transferred twice and is a senior at Oakland (Calif.)
, also a 6-5 wing, is the nation's No. 14 recruit according to MaxPreps Basketball Editor Jason Hickman and headed to Oregon. He played a half-season at defending mythical national champion Findlay Prep before transferring to Oakland.
"What are the chances of that?" Mellis said of the double-Jabari infusion. "We're just very happy to have (Bird) in our program. He's as fine a young man as he is a player and that's saying something."
His former coach Al Attles III was feeling a little melancholy Friday, and who could blame him?
The Rodriguez (Fairfield)
boys basketball coach and son of the former Golden State Warriors' great was watching Bird warm-up before Friday's nonleague game with visiting Salesian.
"He's good enough to be one of the best talents in the Bay Area the last 25 years," Attles Jr. said after Bird scored 18 in a 60-58 Salesian victory. "I'm going to miss coaching him but I'll be there to support him as his young life continues to soar."
And, as his already well-gawked YouTube highlight reels attest, this Bird can fly.
With big hops, the 16-year-old plays well above the rim and loves to slash to the basket. He's the son of former Cal standout Carl Bird, a 1976 fifth-round draft pick of the Warriors who played professionally overseas.
"(Jabari) can hang and he can float and he can definitely dunk," Mellis said.
Said Attles: "The apple obviously didn't fall far from the tree."
But there's much more to this five-star recruit than flash and flush. Continue reading