March 25, 2011

Priest gets to the point

Kevin McCarthy

Basketball players and trains? Together in an analogy? Yes, such may be a stretch but hang on for a few more lines. Santa Teresa High's Trevor Priest was a sophomore load carrier, if you will, during the 2008-2009 Mount Hamilton Division of the Blossom Valley Athletic League season. It was more performing his assigned role rather than being a critical component. With the announcement of the recent BVAL annual awards, Priest was named the Junior of the Year—a moving much closer towards being the primary engine. Come next season, the 6-foot-5 senior-to-be is changing from playing the post and wing to the point—the position of making everything happen as planned—a combination twining engineer and engine.

photo of Trevor Priest

Priest's numbers tell the tale of his progress: 13.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 blocks a game in this very successful 23-8 season. In dramatic contrast, his primary numbers in 2008-2009 were 8.0 points and three boards per contest.

It's also worth noting how Priest and Santa Teresa closed out 2010-2011:

The younger Priest is coached by his father, Mitch, who has graced the high school coaching ranks for close to 25 years. So when asked why it was hoops and not another sport for him, the junior said, "I played other sports when I was younger but basketball has been in my family since I was little. I've been in gyms forever and basketball just clicked for me."

There was talk of Priest attending Bellarmine College Prep (his father's high school alma mater) come high school "but I felt comfortable playing for my Dad."

When queried about what growth he has seen in himself, Priest offered "there’s definitely been some changes. As a freshman, I would float around outside and shoot the three-pointer but I started going to the basket more as a sophomore. I worked on my ballhandling and used that as a junior. I think my first step is my best skill."

Colleges are looking at him as a two or a three and his participation this summer will be an important period of evaluation. Priest will be playing for Bob Bramlett's West Valley Basketball Club after a couple of seasons with the Silicon Valley Vipers.

Here's Bramlett on his newcomer: "Trevor is a long athletic player, who can get his shot in a variety of ways. He is a superb passer, has great court vision and has one of the best crossovers I have seen in a while, plus his mid-game is strong. As he continues to matriculate as a shooter, he will be one of the best players in Nor Cal. He is receiving strong interest from a host of mid-range schools, but at this point considering his growth and potential, it makes sense to play out and see where he ends up at. Trevor is a warrior who hates to lose."

As for next season at Santa Teresa, a pair of prominent seniors will have departed but Priest is optimistic. "We should be fine if everyone steps up." It will be his Saints team to lead.

The Saints have two notable football alumni in Rich Campbell (a successful Cal quarterback who later played with the Green Bay Packers) and Joe Nedney (the all-time leading scoring leader for San Jose State and currently the kicker for the San Francisco 49ers) but the slate is barren on the basketball side. Will Priest be the breakthrough in basketball?