Although the preseason schedule has been going on for a while now, league play began this week for high school boys basketball teams in San Luis Obispo County. And things are already getting interesting.
As teams battle it out in the PAC 8 and Los Padres League with the hopes of bringing home a title, here are five local players that you should keep your eye on.
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Kyler Warren, senior, Atascadero
At 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, Warren is hard to miss, but his size isn’t his only attribute. Warren has nice touch and is the driving force for the Greyhounds (5-9, 1-1 PAC 8). After averaging 15 points per game last season, Warren is scoring just fewer than 20 points per game (19.8) through the first 13 games of the season to go along with 13.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He’s capable of putting up point explosions, too. He had 35 points and 17 rebounds in a win over Templeton last week and a 40-point, 21-rebound game against Kingsburg earlier this season.
Assani Berkeley, freshman, SLO High
Berkeley is a freshman transfer from Wisconsin and one of the most dynamic players on the Central Coast. At 6-foot-2, Berkeley has emerged as an elite defender and solid shooter, averaging more than 10 points a game for the 13-3 (2-0 PAC 8) Tigers. In a game against Dos Pueblos (one of the top ranked teams in the Southern Section) earlier this season, Berkeley had 18 points. Against Paso Robles on Thursday, he had 14 points to give SLO High its fifth straight win.
Kyle Colvin, senior, Mission Prep
Colvin was in the mix for County Player of the Year last season and is the favorite to take the title home as a senior. The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter already has a handful of 30-plus-point games, including a 38-point, 17-rebound performance at a tournament in Arizona and a 33-point, 15-rebound game at the Mission Prep Christmas Classic. Colvin had another monster game Thursday in a win over Arroyo Grande, scoring 28 of his 32 points in the second half for a come-from-behind 57-52 win in the first big test for Mission Prep.
With a core group of seniors gone, Colvin will need more big games like that if Mission Prep (8-5, 2-0 PAC 8) wants to repeat as league champion.
Gage Gomez, sophomore, Arroyo Grande
Gomez is arguably the best 3-point shooter around. For proof, look no further than his game against Frontier earlier this season. Gomez hit nine 3s in the game, including six in a row in the first half, and ended up with 38 points. The 6-foot-1 lefty has a sweet stroke and is surrounded by a bunch of teammates who can really shoot, too, making Arroyo Grande (8-6, 1-1 PAC 8) a dangerous team that no one wants to play.
Carson Leedom, sophomore, SLO High
Leedom came on strong at the end of his freshman season and has shown big improvements early in his sophomore season. He added 25 pounds to his 6-foot-6 frame (now 200 pounds) and can do a little bit of everything — hit 3s, handle the ball and score in the paint. So far, he’s averaging a double-double. With Leedom, Berkeley and the emergence of junior Addison Wright as the team’s leading scorer, the Tigers are looking like the early favorite to take the PAC 8 title and are ranked No. 2 in the latest CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA poll. But there are still plenty of games to go.