Basketball season is roughly five months away, however, anyone avid fan knows that simply because the season ended it does not mean that the ball stops bouncing. With the summer in full effect, AAU season is upon us, as the Nike EYBL, Under Armour Association and Adidas Gauntlet are approaching their championship season. With the homecoming of 2021 ESPN ranked Nathan Bittle (Crater HS) and Ben Gregg (Clackamas HS), the nation was introduced to two national prospects from the Beaver State. Today, we look at five other prospects that would bring their respective skill set along with determination and grit to the basketball program here at Oregon State.
1. Micah Garrett (Jefferson HS)
Micah starred at the one and only West Linn High School for the first three years of his career before making the full pledged decision of taking his talents to Northeast Portland in that of the regional powerhouse Jefferson High School. He impressed the city with his second to none mid-range game during the 2018 Les Schwab Invitational, averaging a staggering 23.5 points during the tournament, with a 26 point effort against Jefferson and a 34 down pour versus the eventual 6A State Champions Jesuit in what was a one point loss.
West Linn and Garrett also visited Hawaii for the ‘Iolani Classic, where his team played the likes of national powers Westchester (CA) and La Lumiere (IN), where Garrett was named to the All-Tournament team. This season, the sharpshooter looks to team up with the storied Jefferson Democrats alongside freshman sensation Marquis “Mookie” Cook, as the program has its sight in making the 6A State Title game for the fourth time in a row and avenging its last two losses in the last two years. He currently plays on the Nike EYBL circuit alongside Seattle Rotary, whom recently made an at large bid to Peach Jam.
2. Isaac Gabriel (Corvallis HS)
The 6’2” wing for the Corvallis HS averaged an impressive 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans, whom were bounced in the first round of the 5A State Playoffs by 2018 eventual champions Thurston. Gabriel’s game has an uncanny resemblance to another lefty in that of Tres Tinkle, as they both can score within anywhere on the floor and have a knack to get a bucket on any possession. He’s a versatile player that can score outside the three-point line if needed but can drive to the lane or post up smaller guards if necessary. Also like the aforementioned Tinkle, he utilizes his body very well when out of dribbles and employs his pivot feet to create space when it seems like all hope is lost.
Gabriel was named All-Mountain Valley Conference his junior year and after only two seasons, he already stands as Corvallis High School’s all-time scoring leader. He plays for Hoop Salem and this past spring, put up a solid 16 point effort in a loss to ML20, a team from the Adidas Gauntlet circuit that showcases the talents of MarJon Beauchamp and Tari Eason, two high major athletes that have received interest from Oregon State. Currently, Gabriel has gained interest from Washington State, Regis (CO), and Western Oregon and has ties to Oregon State, as he is a Corvallis product that has spoken and practiced with Tres himself.
3. Jesse White (Barlow HS)
The super guard from Barlow helped lead the Bruins to a 19-8 record but ended the season in a disappointing loss to Tigard, not making it to the final eight at the Chiles Center in the University of Portland. White punished opponents all season, showing why he should be respected as amongst the state’s elite and in an early season battle against the Jefferson Democrats, he exploded for a ridiculous 37 point outburst, with five three-pointers in what was a thrilling 99-95 double overtime victory.
White controls the tempo of the game, whether its grabbing rebounds, pulling up from anywhere on the court, or dazzling you with his ability to pull up from left or right. He can finish off the dribble easily and displays his prowess to show and snug the ball away. If he keeps progressing as expected, there’s a chance that he could end up on the Beavers radar in the near future. Right now, he suits up for Team Fly, where he has been punishing opponents all season long.
4. Silas Bennion (Churchill HS)
The 6’0” guard helped lead the Lancers to a magical season in what ended in a loss to Wilsonville in the 5A State Title game and a 23-5 record overall. Bennion is a traditional point guard whom can create shots and open looks for his teammates with his deft ball handling skills but can put it on the floor and get a bucket when needed. He can speed past the defense in a flurry with his agility and either dump it off for an easy score, pass it off to a perimeter shooter, or take it to the rack himself.
Bennion is a sound shooter and will punish you if left open, displaying this in full effect when he had a season high 30 points versus Williamette. Although he lacks size and build, he makes up for it with his grit and determination to get to the basket and create plays and opportunities for his team. Bennion was named first team Mid-Western League, as well as Player of the Year and also earned the distinction of 5A All-State Second Team. A member of the school’s football squad, where he lines up at free safety and wide receiver in the fall, his spends his spring running with Team Fly on the AAU circuit.
5. Kruger Edwards (Crater HS)
Kruger Edwards starred alongside five-star Nathan Bittle for the Crater Comets, whom finished with a fourth place finish in the 5A State Playoffs. Edwards is a 6-5 wing who plays tough defensively, with a nose for the highlight defensive play. He uses his height well, positioning himself in the right spots defensively and often, grabbing tough rebounds in traffic. The younger brother of Kiefer Edwards, who plays collegiate basketball for Southern Oregon University, Kruger has the bloodlines to compete at the next level and he’ll get his chance at some needed exposure as he teams up with Bittle for his senior campaign, hoping to help small town Crater to a big time achievement in that of the 5A State Title. His current AAU squad is Hoop Salem.