San Ysidro Head Coach Terry Tucker for the past three years has used a short quote from Game of Thrones when talking about looking ahead to the 2019-2020 season.
“Winter is coming.”
“Winter” in this case was the anticipated arrival of 2023 G Mikey Williams, one of the most highly touted incoming freshman ever in San Diego.
The build up to this season has been nothing short of epic from a social media standpoint, as Williams has amassed a following that rivals many professional athletes.
Leading up to the start of the season, however, Williams has done nothing to suggest that he can’t live up to the promise that precedes him, and appears on track to be one of the best prospects San Diego has produced — ever.
At 6-3, Williams possesses world-class athleticism and a finishing package off the dribble that is equally as impressive. He is rapidly evolving into a plus threat from the perimeter, making teams pay for going under ball screens. In transition, he is one of the most exciting players in the country.
Williams headlines a 2023 class in San Diego that is not short on talent. We take a look at this year’s incoming crop of freshmen and look at who will have an immediate impact on the varsity level and who are prospects to keep an eye on later in their high school careers and beyond.
Who are the classes Top prospects
If Mikey Williams is the consensus top prospect in 2023 in San Diego, his teammate, 6-4 G Jurian Dixon, is No. 2. A long, crafty scoring guard, Dixon made a big name for himself at middle school camps and tournaments with huge scoring outbursts.
Torrey Pines W JJ Bartelloni is another 6-4 wing who has blossomed into a high-level prospect. Bartelloni is an assertive scorer who is constantly attacking, and plays hard on both ends.
Mission Bay has its point guard of the future in 6-0 PG Angelo Rodriguez-Gil, a crafty, quick lead guard with nice size, excellent playmaking instincts and the ability to slash to the basket and finish through contact.
At Foothills Christian, there is another Carter-Hollinger in the pipeline, and 6-3 W Derrius Carter-Hollinger has a head start on both of his older brothers in terms of skill set and athleticism. A long, lanky positionless player, Derrius impacts the game on both ends with his defense and assertive slashing.
Army Navy has a long history of foreign-borne standouts, and adding to that tradition will be 6-8 F Garang Teng. Teng has the length and budding face-up skills to be a breakout player later in his career.
And finally, while he might not be as ready to impact the varsity level as some of his counterparts, 6-5 ½ forward Jacob Barnnabie possesses more upside than any player in the class. The Alaska native has shown flashes of downhill scoring, passing and playmaking but is at this stage still quite raw.
Others: Ty Hendler, Mikael Pink, Kristian Gonzalez, Christian Brown, Drey Fox
Which programs have the best freshman classes
San Ysidro’s freshman group has the most name recognition, and includes a pair of intriguing prospects in 6-3 F Princetin Metu and 5-10 G Papa Mbengue.
But in terms of depth, Torrey Pines might have one of the best collections of 2023 prospects anywhere in Southern California. Starting with Bartelloni, the group includes guards Luke Ball and Drey Fox, Bannarbie, forward Warren Notrica and guard Alex Cabulio.
Another South Bay school with a bevy of talent in its freshman class is Bonita Vista. In addition to Mikael Pink (more about him later), guards Gavin Hormachea, Jesus Figueroa, Jared Pamintuan and wing Michael Barragan will all be varsity contributors sooner than later.
Mater Dei Catholic has a solid freshman class led by dual sports star Jeremiah McClure, 6-2 shooter Kristian Gonzalez, dual sport athlete Dominic Nankil and Mexican-borne guard Ian Cruz-Colin
Mission Bay has its inside-outside duo of the future in 6-4 F Thomas Metcalf, an athletic specimen, and Gil. Both figure to play prominent roles on the new-look Bucs varsity roster.
And La Costa Canyon has a pair of building blocks in G Ty Hendler (see below) and F Christian Brown, one of the classes most skilled prospects.
Which players will contribute to their varsity teams right away?
Some players, due to their team’s level of performance and need, might see the floor in a varsity game earlier than other classmates.
La Costa Canyon G Ty Hendler looks to be in the mix for playing time early in his career. The 6-1 scoring guard is a knockdown shooter from the perimeter and can break his man down and create off the dribble.
At La Jolla Country Day, two freshmen — 5-8 PG Jake Altman and 6-1 G/F Anthony Aruffo — will get their numbers called for Ryan Meier’s young Torreys squad. Both have had good moments playing with the varsity during the fall preseason.
Bonita Vista 6-2 guard Mikeal Pink has also gotten lots of reps with the varsity squad, and Don Dumas really likes his length, craftiness and budding athleticism on the perimeter.
Escondido has a freshman with a very familiar surname to Cougars faithful, 6-0 G Khalil Keeler, the nephew of former Escondido great Lorenzo Keeler. Head Coach PJ Baldwin raved about the younger Keeler’s athleticism and defensive intensity.
Victory Christian will call the number of 6-3 F Josiah Fellows early and often. A stocky wing, Fellows is a volume scorer.
Ramona G Dalton Norvell also figures to be a varsity contributor for Ramona on both ends, as he plays hard and possesses versatility offensively.
And at Classical Academy, 5-10 G Presley Bruskotter, one of the most prolific shooters in the class, is arguably the most varsity-ready player the program has had in recent memory
Morse has its PG of the future in 5-9 Darnell Green, a strong, explosive guard who loves to get downhill and score and create for others.
Who are some of the more intriguing talents?
The Vista Panthers have a long-term project worth the investment in 6-8 F Cyprian Hyde. Blessed with a long, lanky frame, Hyde has only played basketball for three years, and is improving with each viewing.
Calvin Christian has a recent South Sudanese transplant that will turn heads this year in 6-10 Martin Gumwel. He's raw, but improving rapidly.
Mission Bay 6-4 Thomas Metcalf has athleticism to spare, but it will be whether he develops the other facets of his game that will determine his ceiling.
San Ysidro freshman Papa Mbengue is 5-11, but has a 6-5 wingspan. Defensively, there might not be a more gifted on-ball defender in the class. If his perimeter shooting comes along, he will be one to watch.
Vincent Ricchuiti, a 6-4 wing at La Jolla High, gives the Vikings a building block for the future. Slow of foot, Ricchuiti is a confident shooter with deep range and a quick release. If he continues to grow, he is the big shooter that colleges covet.
San Diego High has a trio of guard prospects that have a ton of upside. 5-11 G Miles Harris, 6-0 G Noah Marte and 5-11 G Osagie Airewale give the Cavers one of the best young cores in the city.
After its banner class of 2020, St. Augustine has had several low-key freshmen groups. But 2023 gives them a pair of intriguing prospects in 5-10 (and growing) G Jaden Matingou and 6-5 willowy wing Patrick O’Leary. The intriguing part about Matingou: He was 5-4 a year ago, and looks like he’s not close to finished growing. O’Leary has the touch, skill and length and should add the strength in the Saints weight room.
2023 Names to Know
Jeremy Love - Love has the athleticism, quickness and flash to be one of the most exciting players SFC has produced, and become one of the classes top prospects.
Cole Murray - Long, crafty 5-11 point guard is one of the classes best passers, shooters. He suits up for Carlsbad
Jeffrey Temcho - 5-10 playmaker gives Montgomery and Ed Martin it’s lead guard of the future.
Xavier Ogle - Rancho Bernardo guard makes up for lack of size (5-6) with quickness, court vision and the ability to finish amongst the trees.
Baron Noble - Morse has yet another quality guard who has the confidence and the handles package to match.
Cam’Ron Bellamy - Diminutive, yet crafty point guard is a heady competitor and can shoot with deep range. He’s at Christian
Steve Pangilinan - Stocky, high IQ Eastlake scorer and playmaker makes up for pedestrian foot speed with an understanding of how to use his body and excellent footwork.
Quaylon Bryant - El Cajon Valley has its face of the future in this 5-10, athletic combo guard.
Nolan Reuter - Confidence oozes from this crafty floor general, who is a great vocal leader on the floor and playmaker. The Kansas City transplant attends Coronado.
Parker Jelsing - Crafty scorer isn’t afraid to attack the basket and create plays for others. He attends La Costa Canyon.
Caleb Hofmeister - High IQ sharpshooter plays like a coach’s son, because he is - He attends Mission Hills, where his father Curtis is head coach.
Nick Salem - Tiny, but tough point guard has solid feel and gives 100% effort. He attends St. Augustine.
Jake Molinar - Good size a 6-1, the lefty slasher is a potent scorer. Dual-sport athlete at Bishop’s.
Tyler Hagan - NYC born point guard makes up for his diminutive stature with a swagger and high-IQ skillset. Bishop’s prospect.
Jerron Carter - Compact, speedy scoring guard keeps improving. He attends Morse.
Shea Fitzgerald - Cathedral Catholic scoring guard can shoot it with the best of them.
Mark Madore - Tiny, but confident shooter fits Orange Glen’s mold to perfection.
Drew Bickley - Son of head coach Chad Bickley, the 5-7 lefty is arguably the classes most accurate shooter.
KJ Chatham - Strong, physical presence at the point guard. Also a standout quarterback. Attends Cathedral Catholic.
Josiah Scott - Wiry shooter and playmaking point guard might be on the smaller side, but could wind up being the Mariners’ best prospect in recent memory.
Nathan Christmore - Stocky dual sport athlete at Torrey Pines can get downhill and score through contact with the best of them, and has a very solid midrange game.
Luke Picha - El Camino has a sharpshooter in this 5-10 combo guard prospect.
Gabriel Molina - Vista point guard is crafty and methodical, and plays hard on both ends.
Shea Rueda - Attending Bishop’s, Rueda is crafty off the bounce and shoots it with deep range.
Thomas Fleming - One of the top spot-up shooters in the class. He attends Cathedral Catholic.
Bear Golden - long, lanky 5-10 shooter is the type of floor spacer that thrives at Santa Fe Christian.
Lorenzo Hernandez - Sharpshooting combo guard handles it well, and is an assertive floor general. Attends Patrick Henry.
Jamar Haines - The final guard of the Morse foursome, Haines has great breakdown ability off the bounce and a nose for the basket.
Ethan Rochet - Scripps Ranch guard has a great motor; rare three-sport athlete.
William Haley - 6-4 face-up forward shoots it with a ton of confidence. Attends Coronado.
Daniel Greathouse - Crafty four man can score off the dribble and has solid footwork on the block. Coud be a big piece of Santa Fe Christian’s future.
Trey Vergenz - San Marcos utility forward can shoot it, rebounds and has nice passing vision.
Miller Durham - Bigger bodied four man is a bruiser in the paint. Also a star baseball prospect.
Pe’a Misaalefua - Dual sport star has great IQ, feel and skill, and is a mismatch for other bigs. He attends San Marcos.
Caden Pearlman - LCC wing has nice size and can handle and shoot it, but still raw at this stage.
Justin Lubisich - Poway wing has trimmed down and scores it from three levels. Younger brother of Titans standout Jeff Lubisich.
Kyle Neff - Younger brother of CSU Fullerton wing Kathryn Neff has a solid frame and emerging skills. Attends Mission Hills.
Nico Domingo - Forceful, albeit undersized four man can dominate a game attacking off the bounce. Westview frosh.
Zane Goldman - Do-it-all wing type is undersized, but shoots it, can score off the bounce, and has a high-end motor. One of the better two-way players in the class.
Keenan Mendoza - Long, lanky shooter and driver gives Otay Ranch a quality prospect.
Princetin Metu - Physical defensive presence is evolving on offense for San Ysidro.
Patrick Perez - Long, active four man can score it from multiple levels and defends. Attends Christian.
Misa Sandoval - Likely a D1 football prospect, Sandoval has soft hands, nimble feet and touch around the paint. Attends St. Augustine.
Sean O’Connor - Undersized scoring wing is a bruiser off the bounce. Attends St. Augustine.