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April 18, 2014

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From the Press Box:

Everyone wins when Findlay Prep plays local

Ray Brewer

Ray Brewer

Findlay College Prep's basketball team is ranked No. 2 nationally in the USA Today Super 25 national prep rankings, and its nine-player roster is loaded with major Division I talent.

Findlay, a team of select players from different parts of the globe, spends most of the winter competing in premiere tournaments across the nation. It is not part of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association and will not compete for a state title.

With Findlay Prep, a college preparatory program based out of Henderson International School in Anthem, needing to fill its 30-plus game schedule, traveling across the Las Vegas Valley for a game sure beats catching a flight and heading to another time zone.

Plugging in local opponents has been a win-win scenario for both sides. Findlay saves money while filling its schedule, and local schools get to test themselves against one of the best teams in the nation. Findlay will play eight local schools.

As expected, Findlay's margin of victory has been lopsided with a 96-35 win at Centennial on Nov. 29, a 114-81 victory against Desert Pines on Dec. 11 and a 99-33 triumph against Green Valley on Dec. 13.

But Desert Pines guard Pierre Jackson, who already was on the recruiting radar, posted 32 points in the loss to validate himself to college coaches. That's another selling point for local schools who want to book a game with Findlay.

"We get a lot of college coaches coming through to our practices and games," Findlay coach Mike Peck said. "This is an opportunity for those guys (at local high schools) to get noticed. Pierre Jackson is a nice player. He showed he is a high major guard."

Playing Findlay can help set the tone for the rest of the season. Just ask Desert Pines, which thanks to its 81-point output, feels it can play with anyone.

"That was the most anyone has scored against them, and they are playing some big-time high schools," Desert Pines coach Chancellor Davis said.

When Centennial opened its season against Findlay, its players were clearly intimidated playing the top-tier competition. But Centennial coach Greg Bohls has no regrets scheduling the game and plans to play Findlay each year.

"Those guys are Division I players. It shows your players the kind of player you need to be to make Division I," Bohls said. "Some kids nowadays are pretty unrealistic about their talent. It's an eye-opener when you play them."

Findlay's star-studded lineup is led by Avery Bradley, a Texas-commit who is rated by several services as one of the nation's best guards. Findlay's roster is so impressive that there's not much of a decline from its starting lineup and reserves — hence, the 60-plus point victories.

The third year program is 40-1 since Peck became coach last year with the lone loss coming last March against Hargrave Military Academy in the National Prep Championship title game.

"That team has the ability to make everybody look bad," Bohls said. "But it's a neat experience for our kids. They get to play against those kids at Findlay who could be the next Michael Jordan or LeBron James of the NBA."

Sports Editor Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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