It’s not uncommon to see college coaches pay a visit to the annual Bothell High School boys basketball summer camp.
Year-in and year-out, there’s consistently enough talent on the floor to justify the trip.
Several years ago, Mike Davis, then-coach at the Indiana University, pulled Cougars coach Ron Bollinger aside and asked about one of the standouts.
The unusual thing about this was it wasn’t one of the high school players.
The individual Davis was inquiring about had been attending the camp since he was a first-grader.
Bollinger knew the kid well.
“It seems whenever we had college coaches show up they’d asked about him,” Bollinger said.
The rail-thin, under-sized sharpshooter was Zach LaVine – a year or two shy from even entering junior high.
“The moment I saw him on the court,” Bollinger said about his future star, “you could tell he was going to be something special.”
Davis told LaVine he’d be keeping tabs on him.
He would not be alone.
Since first putting on the Bothell uniform, LaVine, The News Tribune All-State Player of the Year, has been one of the premiere players in the Pacific Northwest.
He burst onto the scene two years ago, averaging 26 points a game as a sophomore, and has only got better.
LaVine has helped lead the Cougars to a second straight Class 4A state appearance and a 22-3 record this season while scoring 29.2 points a game.
It marks the first time in 50 years Bothell has made back-to-back trips to state.
“That’s the big thing,” said LaVine, a UCLA commit, “heading back to state and doing some things that haven’t been done here in long time.”
Prior to last season, Bothell had not advanced to state since 1997.
The Cougars’ fortunes have changed drastically for the positive with LaVine in the lineup.
Possessing one of the best shooting touches in the nation, the 6-foot-4 LaVine, who selected the Bruins over other high-profile programs such as Gonzaga, Louisville, Memphis and Washington, can get his shot pretty much at will.
He has had 12 games of 30 or more points this season to go with a pair of 40-point outings, including a season-high 43 against Newport of Bellevue.
He has NBA range, can create off the dribble and is always looking to get his teammates involved. Throw in his heady defensive play and it’s hard to find flaws in his game.
All of it appears to come effortless.
A lot can be attributed to natural ability, but it is excelled and enhanced due to LaVine’s tireless work ethic. If he’s not in school or at practice, he’s on the court improving.
“He is just constantly trying to improve every aspect of his game,” Bollinger said. “He definitely puts in the work.”
LaVine’s work ethic can be traced to his father, Paul, a former Utah State linebacker who played for the Seattle Seahawks in 1987.
“He installed that thinking into me at an early age. You have to work hard. It’s become second nature now,” said LaVine about his intense workout schedule. “It’s the sport I’ve always loved to play. I want to do everything I can to be the best player I can be.”
LaVine plans to apply that same line of thinking next season in Westwood, Calif.
“I’m bringing my hard hat and going to go to work,” said LaVine when asked what he expects out of his first season at UCLA. “I know I will be the low man on the totem pole there so I really can’t take any days off.”
While Los Angeles is in the future, LaVine is clearly focused on the state tournament.
The Cougars didn’t receive any favors with the opening-round draw, getting top-ranked Garfield, a team that defeated Bothell by 24 points in the 4A KingCo championship game (93-69) on Feb. 15.
But LaVine is hardly one to step away from a challenge.
“It’s a whole new season,” he said. “There’s no easy games from here on out. (Garfield) humbled us last time. That game caused us to become more focused.”
And a focused LaVine is about as dangerous a player as you could possibly try to defend.
BOYS FIRST TEAM
Shaqquan Aaron, Rainier Beach, forward, 6-7, junior
Dynamite leaper took off after adjustment period; committed to Louisville.
D.J. Fenner, Seattle Prep, guard, 6-6, senior
Grew up to be man-sized contributor, and Metro League player of year.
Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Lincoln, forward, 6-6, senior
Colorado signee played like he had something to prove in final season.
Jason Todd, Jackson, guard, 6-5, junior
He’s good on inside. He’s good on outside. And he’s very good at baseball.
Dezmyn Trent, Foss, forward, 6-4, senior
No player saw his recruiting stock soar in one season like Narrows 3A MVP.
Player of the year: Zach LaVine, Bothell
Coach of the year: Nick Brown, Arlington
G Brett Bailey, University, 6-6, senior; G David Crisp, 6-1, junior; F Donaven Dorsey, Timberline, 6-6, junior; F Tucker Haymond, Garfield, 6-6, senior; G Ahmaad Rorie, Lincoln, 6-0, junior.
GIRLS FIRST TEAM
Raven Benton, Federal Way, guard, 5-10, senior
SPSL South MVP such pure scorer (26.6 ppg), she could hit fallaway 3-pointers.
Kelsey Moos, Reardan, forward, 6-0, senior
Eastern Washington’s top star also led school to third 2B volleyball title.
Brooke Pahukoa, Lake Stevens, guard, 5-9, senior
Boise State signee missed first month (finger), returned on fire (19.6 ppg).
Jade Redmon, Mead, guard, 5-7, senior
Four-year starter for No. 1 Panthers eclipsed 1,000 points for career.
Chandler Smith, Brewster, guard, 6-1, junior
Doesn’t matter what level Bears are at, she is big-time talent at point guard.
Player of the year: Brittany McPhee, Mount Rainier
Coach of the year: Leah Krautter, Bellevue
G Kourtney Eaton, Mark Morris, 5-9, sophomore; G Bethany Montgomery, Wilson, 5-9, senior; F Courtney Nelson, Kamiakin, 5-10, senior; F Makala Roper, Cleveland, 5-8, junior; G Cori Woodward, Prairie, 5-7, senior. blog.thenewstribune.com/preps todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com