Mike White | 9:50 p.m., Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We at the Post-Gazette pick a Fabulous Five all-star team at the end of the season. It is the top five players in the WPIAL and City League.
Usually at this point of the season, the Fab Five starts coming into focus. Not this year.
It's virtually impossible to pick a Fabulous Five at this point. It's hard to pick even three right now. This is not to say there are no talented players in the area. But the overall talent in the WPIAL and City League is down, compared to recent years. There are no real standouts who are "definite" picks. Heck, there is only one senior (McKeesport 7-footer Zeke Marshall) in all of the WPIAL and City League who has signed with a Division I college.
Marshall would be a solid pick for the Fab Five. Maybe. He sometimes disappears offensively, but it's not always his fault. Sometimes, McKeesport doesn't exactly do a lot to get him a lot of touches. And sometimes, he doesn't exactly go all-out to get the ball.
There are so many others to consider for the Fab Five. If Chartiers Valley keeps winning and goes deep into the postseason, it might be hard to keep T.J. McConnell off the Fab Five. He's a junior who is committed to Duquesne. Another junior, Tom Droney, has scholarship offers from Pitt, Notre Dame and Davidson. Are they definite Fab five selections?
Personally, I think a lot of of Franklin Regional guard Nick Novak. I saw him in the spring and liked him, and saw him for the first time this season against Penn Hills Tuesday night. This isn't to say he's a big-time Division I prospect, but there isn't a better "high school" player around. He wouldn't be able to drive to the basket at the Division I college level like he does now, but he's an excellent "high school" player. He's averaging 29 a game. You see that statistic from a 6-foot guard and you'd probably think he's shooting a lot of 3-pointers. But Novak rarely shoots them. There is no one better this season at making moves to the basket, hitting pullup jumpers and drawing fouls.
There are hordes of other players who deserve consideration for the Fab Five. Beaver Falls' Todd Thomas is one that comes to mind right away. He's been a four-year starter and has a chance to reach 2,000 points. But he's not scoring as much as he did in years past. Should he still be on the Fab Five?
There are a lot of other players who are worth a look - like Keystone Oaks' Corey Bellovich, Greensburg Salem's Chris Klimchock, Perry's Vaughn Morgan, Peters Township's Nick Wilcox, Mt. Lebanon's Evan Pierce, Hempfield's Nate Perry, Plum's Andrew Cressler, Latrobe's Jeff Yunetz, Serra's T.J. Heatherington. There are countless others who might have to be seriously considered, but I'm getting a little tired of typing names. Someone might make the Fab Five and I haven't mentioned his name yet. I think there is a good chance some team in Class AAAA not seeded in the top eight for the playoffs will make a run at the title.
What do you think? Who would be your Fabulous Five right now? Let me know.
The best method for picking this team might be to use patience. Wait until the playoffs play out. That will clear up the picture some.
One thing is for sure. This Fabulous Five won't be anywhere near as good as some of the recent teams. Consider this: Two years ago, here was the Fabulous Five: DeJuan Blair, Schenley; D.J. Kennedy, Schenley; Terrelle Pryor, Jeannette; Herb Pope, Aliquippa; Jonathan Baldwin, Aliquippa. All five are now Division I college athletes. Two are starting at Big East Conference schools in basketball.
So give me your Fabulous Five right now.