June 15, 2015

Pridgett to the point

Kevin McCarthy

He's tall for his position, plus athletic, productive and skilled so categorize El Cerrito High/Oakland Rebels 2016 talent Sayeed Pridgett, the 8th ranked prospect in the Nor Cal Prep 2016 Top 40, as arguably possessing the most major potential for upward value in the minds of recruiters.

photo of Sayeed Pridgett

Especially so because of being positioned at the point where he has played for the Rebels during the past few springs and summers. This after averaging 17.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game during his high school season. “I like to create opportunities for my teammates by drawing defenders and kicking the ball out.”

Pridgett experienced an different entry into hoops, one that Major League baseball may at some point regret. “I started with baseball but I was so big then they always walked me.” With that action stripping away his enjoyment, his focus became basketball.

At age 14, he wasn't a guard yet but a six-foot post and with a sky hook, courtesy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and even Magic Johnson. Few recall that as the starting center, the latter also showcased just that shot during his 42 point, 15 rebound and six assist performance in game six of the Lakers championship run in 1980.

Pridgett also cites another NBA-er as influential -- Kevin Durant. “I feel we're similar in body and frame.”

However, his most impactful presence has been Oakland Rebels Coach Raymond Young. “He has always told me the truth about everything, never sugarcoating anything. He never lets me settle.” that's a refreshing take in this day and age where too many coaches want to be buddies.

As for his best moments on the court, Pridgett named two. “Scoring 25 points this season in one quarter against Kennedy High, and getting my first triple double. We were playing Grant High and I focused on rebounding and passing in the first half. I think I got assists on my first five or six touches. I finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. It all depends on what coach needs you to do.”

Here's El Cerrito High Coach Michael Booker on his all-around talent: “Sayeed is a great young man. He came in as a freshman with a lot of energy and a little bit of skill who understood how to play basketball. Last season was a culmination of all the work he put in -- he was our leading scorer and Co-MVP of our league.”

Right now Pridgett has dual interests for a college major—broadcasting and engineering. “I like Shaq right now [as a commentator] because he knows when to be funny and when to take it serious.” Engineering came about because of an affinity for fixing things. “I was in an El Cerrito High auto tech class working on cars and motorcycles and liked it.” Count him as someone who can perform oil changes, do brake repairs and more with the desire to delve into the even more technical.

Currently possessing offers from St. Mary's, USF, Montana, Weber State and Utah State, Pridgett remains wide open about a college destination. Coincidentally, some of his teammates also have offers from a number of those programs so maybe there will be a pairing up collegiately.

For viewing purposes, the Rebels will play in the July 8-12 Double Pump event in Anaheim as well as the Las Vegas-based Adidas 64 July 22-26.

Also, very few people know that Pridgett loves to dance. With his eventual college choice, he's hoping to make it on to basketball's largest stage, the Big Dance, and show his moves.