They were starring at local high schools just a few years ago. Now what are they up to?
Some of the top basketball players from the South Sound have gone on to play in the NBA, and some are still there — like former Curtis star Isaiah Thomas with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Bellarmine standout Avery Bradley with the Detroit Pistons.
But here are the ones lighting up this college basketball season:
1. Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Toledo (Lincoln)
Welcome back, Tre’Shaun. The 6-foot-7 senior sat out all of last year because of NCAA transfer rules and has since started all 18 games for Toledo this year, leading the Rockets in points (18.2), rebounds (8.2) and assists (70). His fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer beat Detroit Mercy, 89-86, when Fletcher finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, and he scored a season-best 31 points against Marshall. Toledo leads the Mid-American Conference’s West division standings.
This comes after Fletcher played his first three years at Colorado, including his sophomore and junior seasons as a frequent starter before transferring.
Back when he was at Lincoln, Fletcher set the school’s all-time scoring record, finishing with 1,434 for his career. Averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists when Lincoln finished third in the state tournament his senior year, earning 3A state player of the year. He averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists his junior year.
2. Malachi Flynn, Washington State (Bellarmine Prep)
After a big freshman campaign, how did Flynn start his sophomore year? He earned the most valuable player of the Wooden Legacy tournament, when WSU beat Saint Joe’s, then-No. 21 Saint Mary’s and San Diego State for the title. He’s averaging 14.8 points, 4.1 assists and no one for WSU is averaging more minutes. He scored 26 points with seven rebounds, four assists in that win over Saint Mary’s.
He was only the third WSU true freshman in school history to start every game last year, averaging 9.7 points, 2.9 assists, 2.9 rebounds, with a season-best 27 points against Utah Valley. And he set WSU’s freshman record that game, making 11 shots.
Back when he was at Bellarmine Prep, Flynn scored 1,625 career points, ranking second in school history. He averaged 29.7 points per game his senior year, with six rebounds and four assists, with his 743 points that season setting Bellarmine’s single-season scoring record, which was previously held by now-Detroit Pistons guard Avery Bradley. Flynn earned TNT All-Area player of the year and Associated Press 4A player of the year.
3. David Crisp, Washington (Clover Park/Rainier Beach/Brewster Academy, N.H.)
The 6-foot junior and UW’s starting point guard is averaging 11.8 points (third on the team) and a team-best 3.2 assists. This comes after starting every game his sophomore year and playing in every game as a freshman. He scored a career-high 31 points against Utah last year.
Back in high school, Crisp played alongside current San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray when Rainier Beach won the state title. And that came two years after he and his cousin, Montana guard Ahmaad Rorie, led Clover Park to a state title. He then spent a year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, where they won the 2015 National Prep Championship.
4. Bogdan Bliznyuk, Eastern Washington (Todd Beamer)
From Lutsk, Ukraine, to Todd Beamer, to TNT All-Area player of the year and now staring at some of Eastern Washington University’s all-time scoring lists. He’s averaging 18.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game (leading the team in points and assists and is second in rebounds). Bliznyuk went off for 28 points, 12 rebounds in a win over Portland State and 31 points, 10 rebounds against San Francisco. He also had the school’s first triple-double in the 2015-16 season, when he had 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists against Northern Arizona. Former Kentwood star Rodney Stuckey (another former TNT All-Area player of the year) came close to that (14 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists in 2005 against Pacific Lutheran), but Bliznyuk is the first to complete it.
He also equaled Eastern’s school record with 45 points against Portland State last year.
Back when Bliznyuk, a 6-foot-6 senior, was at Beamer, he averaged 19.6 points, 6 rebounds his senior year, leading the Titans to their second state tournament appearance in school history.
5. David Jenkins Jr., South Dakota State (Wilson/Sunrise Christian Academy)
What a freshman season so far. He’s mostly been a spark plug off the bench, but he has started nine games, averaging the third-most minutes on the team. Jenkins is second on the team in scoring (15.3 points), with 3.3 rebounds per game and 1.7 assists for a team hoping for a repeat run to the NCAA tournament under former UW assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger.
Back at Wilson, Jenkins scored 1,852 points in his four years, setting the school’s all-time scoring record. He averaged 28 points per game his senior year, with two games of more than 50 points (including a career-best 55 against Tamawanis, British Columbia). That was after averaging 22 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists his junior year.
6. Ahmaad Rorie, Montana (Clover Park/Montverde/Lincoln)
Another former Lincoln player who has had to find his way a little bit in college. But he has at Montana. After spending his freshman season at Oregon, the redshirt junior is leading the Grizzlies in points (18.7), assists (3.6) and steals (1.6). Montana has won eight of its past nine games, with its only loss in that stretch coming at Washington, 66-63.
Rorie led the Grizzlies in scoring (17.6) and assists (97) last year, including a team-best 63 3-pointers.
With the Ducks, Rorie started in 15 games and appeared in all 36 when Oregon reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. Was third on the team in assists (66) and had 10 points in a win over UCLA and 11 against Illinois.
Back in high school, he finished with more than 2,000 points for his career between Clover Park and Lincoln. He averaged 15 points, six assists and six rebounds his senior year after averaging 21 points, five assists, five rebounds his junior year, when he played alongside Fletcher. As a freshman at Clover Park, Rorie played alongside his cousin, David Crisp, when it won the 2A state title and Rorie averaged 33 points per game in the state tournament.
7. Viont’e Daniels, Washington State (Federal Way)
The 6-foot-2 junior is fourth on the team this year in points, averaging 8.6 per game and is shooting 45 percent from 3-point range. Only Malachi Flynn is averaging more minutes per game (32.6 to 32.9) in WSU’s all-South Sound starting backcourt. Daniels matched his season-best with 18 points against Colorado (he also had that against UTEP).
Back at Federal Way, Daniels averaged 24 points, six rebounds, four assists in leading the Eagles to the 4A state title and earning TNT All-Area player of the year, and Associated Press 4A player of the year. WSU has recruited each of the past three TNT All-Area players of the year — Flynn, Daniels and Foss’ Roberto Gittens.
8. Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State (Todd Beamer/Federal Way)
He’s had an immediate impact as a redshirt freshman for the Aztecs, averaging 8.8 points and is tied for the team lead with 6.8 rebounds per game. No one is shooting better, either (58.1 percent shooting). And he’s been really rolling, lately – scoring at least 13 points each of his past five games, with 14 points, 13 rebounds against Fresno State on Wednesday.
Back in high school, McDaniels averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in leading Federal Way to its second consecutive 4A state title, earning TNT All-Area first-team. Federal Way finished the season 29-0. His brother, Jaden McDaniels, is a 6-foot-9 junior guard at Federal Way, and he played alongside Biznyuk as a sophomore when Beamer placed fifth in the state tournament.
And just look back at that 2016 graduating class. McDaniels was a TNT first-team All-Area selection alongside Jenkins and JaQuori McLaughlin, who started as a freshman at Oregon State last year but was granted his release from the team earlier this season because of unspecified off-the-court struggles. Flynn was the All-Area player of the year that season.
9. Bobby Moorehead, Montana (Stadium)
The 6-foot-7 junior was an immediate difference maker when he arrived at Montana. And this year it’s been a Tacoma show for the Grizzlies. He’s second on the team in minutes, right behind Rorie, and is averaging 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds, starting all 18 games so far. Moorehead’s shooting has struggled this season compared to his past two years, but there’s no question the trust coach Travis DeCuire has placed in him.
Back at Stadium, Moorehead averaged 26.5 points, 11 rebounds his senior year, earning 4A Narrows MVP and TNT first-team All-Area. That came after he averaged 26 points as a junior.
10. Ar’Mond Davis, Alabama (Lincoln/Foss)
Reports are that Davis has been out with a series of hip and knee injuries and coach Avery Johnson (the former NBA player/coach) has said Davis hasn’t resumed basketball-related activities. But after playing two years at the College of Southern Idaho, vaulting himself to the No. 6 overall junior college player in the nation, and No. 3 shooting guard, Davis then he landed in Birmingham, Alabama. He was sixth on the team in scoring last year, averaging 6.9 per game and a season-high 19 points in Alabama’s four-overtime win over South Carolina.
Back in high school, Davis played alongside Fletcher and Rorie as a sophomore on Lincoln’s third-place state tournament team in 2013. Then at Foss, he led the league in scoring his senior year, averaging 26.3 points per game and breaking the West Central District tournament scoring record, averaging 32 per game.
Roberto Gittens, Southern Idaho (Foss)
He was committed to Boise State, then was headed for Washington State, but he later found out a class just barely didn’t meet an NCAA academic eligibility requirement. So the 6-foot-5 guard is now at the College of Southern Idaho. He’s averaging 10 points and 3.3 rebounds and had started in four games for a team that is currently 18-3, and he’s been finding a rhythm lately. He’s led the team in scoring in two of its past three games.
Back at Foss, Gittens earned TNT All-Area player of the year in the 2016-17 season and was a first-team all-state selection in leading Foss to the 2A state title, its first championship since the 1999-2000 season. He averaged 22 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
Trey Burch Manning, South Dakota (Todd Beamer)
The 6-foot-6 forward is the only South Dakota player to have started in all 21 games, leading the team in rebounds (7.0 per game) and is third in scoring (9.1 per game). He was one of four players on the team who started all 34 games last year, averaging 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds per game. Back in high school, Burch-Manning averaged 14.9 points his senior year when he and Bliznyuk led the Titans to a fifth-place finish at the state tournament.
Ivy Smith Jr, Grambling State (Wilson/Rainier Beach)
Smith helped lead Wilson to the 3A state semifinals as a junior and played in the 3A state title the following year alongside Murray at Rainier Beach. Now he’s leading Grambling State’s basketball team, averaging a team-high 14.4 points and is leading Grambling with 101 assists.
Josiah Barsh, Southeastern University (Lincoln)
Isaac Barsh, Southeastern University (Lincoln)
Darius LuBom, Western Oregon (Kentwood)
Keun Palu-Thompson, College of Idaho (Wilson)
Garrett Kingman, Idaho (Peninsula)
Dom Robinson, Montana Western (Curtis)
Trevion Brown, Coastal Carolina (Lincoln)
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677