Come Downtown: San Diego's 2025 class headlines the FTH Freshman Preview
After winning three CIF championships in four years, San Diego High School is seeing an influx of talent that it hasn't seen since the mid 2000s.
The Cavers class of 2025 boasts four varsity caliber players, and was buoyed by the transfer of highly touted freshman guard Gavin Guinn from nearby St. Augustine.
The four SDHS freshman are part of a large group of 2025 players who have a chance to have an immediate impact throughout the county, much larger than their 2024 contemporaries who endured a COVID-19 shortened campaign last spring.
In this article, we look at some of the names you need to know this year, and some names you should bookmark who will have a chance to shine for their respective programs later down the road.
Who's on Top?
The Class of 2025 boasts no fewer than 12 players who will start or play immediately for varsity teams across the region.
Of that group, Guinn, 6-2 Carlsbad G Jake Hall, 6-5 San Diego W Jayden Wade, 5-9 Madison PG JoeAngel Cruz and a trio of freshman from Montgomery -- 6-3 forward JJ Sanchez and 6-2 guards Xair Mendez and Alek Sanchez -- come in with the most name recognition.
Hall is a sharpshooter and creative scorer who had big games throughout the spring and summer playing with Multilevel Basketball and the Lancers summer and fall league teams.
Wade has a great blend of length, functional athleticism and the ability to knock down shots from the perimeter and off the dribble in the paint.
Madison head coach Mike Stutz has raved that Cruz - a hyper athletic, shifty guard - is the best freshman in Madison program history. Not many guards his size can finish above the rim, lock up the opponent's best guards and score and distribute with equal aplomb.
The Sanchez brothers - twin brothers of former Mater Dei Catholic standout Melo Sanchez - have their older brother's feel and basketball IQ in two very different packages: JJ is a big-bodied forward who can creates mismatches all over the court and Alec is a slender lefty combo guard who can score it and create for others out of ball-screen action.
And finally, there is Mendez, a wiry, athletic slasher who gets downhill and into the paint seemingly at will, drawing fouls at a very high rate for a freshman. He's also a capable three-point shooter.
Which schools have the strongest freshman classes?
This is a two-headed race between San Diego and Montgomery.
The Aztecs have five freshmen on the varsity roster. In addition to the aforementioned trio, there's 6-5 post Jayden Cannon and 6-1 G Devin Hamilton. Hamilton, a very athletic slasher, is a big sleeper in the class overall.
Davaughn Hueitt, a 6-7 pogo stick, and 5-10 guard Treyshawn Degrate, a fiery lockdown defender, are San Diego's two other freshman on the varsity. But their class includes several other high level freshmen, including 6-2 G Isaac Webb, 5-9 G Isaiah Marte, 5-11 G Ezekiel Hollingsworth and 5-5 guard Pierre Anderson, all of which head coach Bazz Fontenot said could probably contribute for other varsity programs.
If there was a sleeper freshman class in San Diego, it would be Oceanside. Second-year head coach Ryan Smith has two potential varsity starters in 5-11 guard David Turner and 6-2 guard Ashaun Mitchell (very high upside prospect), as well as freshman guard Garry Dillard, who Smith says is on the cusp of making his varsity roster.
Which prospects have the most upside?
While some of the top prospects also are among this list, there are a couple of players who haven't been mentioned and might not play a varsity game this year who could very well wind up being atop this list by the time we reach 2025.
That list begins with Hueitt, who at 6-7 has the length, defensive timing and corner-three shooting ability that projects well to the Division 1 level.
Mission Bay freshman guard Kevon Fitzpatrick has a strong frame at 6-3, and has the ability to score from midrange and in off the bounce. He won't play much this year, but by his sophomore year should be a varsity contributor for the Buccaneers.
Calvin "CJ" Coleman is another player who might not play a lot of minutes but will appear on a varsity roster, namely San Marcos. Coleman, who is related to former NBA Rookie of the Year Derrick Coleman, has nice size and length at 6-3 (and growing), and has had some standout moments during the fall with the Knights. His long-term potential is immense.
Cathedral Catholic G PJ Jourdain has at prototypical build with great length and a smooth looking jump shot.
6-3 Bonita Vista F Aaron Owens has a 6-7 wingspan - one of the largest height-to-wingspan spreads at the Creme of the County. He looks like he's not done growing, and his game is slowly but surely coming together.
6-5 lefty Elijah Stephens of Sage Creek is another name to bookmark both now and in the future. He's started a few times for the Bobcats during the fall, and looks to be a big-time rebounder with soft touch around the bucket and out on the perimeter.
And finally, a small-school name to remember - 6-7 Justice Ahiafor. The wiry forward out of tiny St. Joseph's Academy in San Marcos has a boatload of long-term potential, and will help the Crusaders compete for a D5 title right away.
The Full-Time Hoops Preseason All-Freshman Team
Gavin Guinn, San Diego
Jake Hall, Carlsbad
Jayden Wade, San Diego
JJ Sanchez, Montgomery
Joe Angel Cruz, Madison
Xair Mendez, Montgomery
Alek Sanchez, Montgomery
Treyshawn Degrate, San Diego
Elijah Stephens, Sage Creek
Ashaun Mitchell, Oceanside
David Turner, Oceanside
Davaughn Hueitt, San Diego
Miles Anderson, Olympian
Henry Kiamilev, La Jolla Country Day
Christopher Carrillo, La Jolla Country Day
Other Freshmen to watch:
Trey Davis, 6-1 G, Bonita Vista
Jamal Kendrick, 6-3 W, Mater Dei Catholic
Atreju De La Cruz, 5-11 PG, Mission Bay
Logan Ardent, 6-1 G, El Camino
Reef Venstrom, 6-3 W, Sage Creek
Josh Thompson, 5-11 G, Rancho Bernardo
Maseyo Elliott, 6-1 G, Mater Dei Catholic
Manny Cortes, 6-3 W, St. Augustine
Pablo Balderas, 6-4 F, Mater Dei Catholic
Elijah Bragg, 6-4 F, Mater Dei Catholic
Patrick O'Brien, 6-3 G, Cathedral Catholic
Cody Myers, 6-4 F, Vista
Jimmy Lavine, 6-0 G, St. Augustine
Elias Flaim, 5-9 SG, Mission Hills
Aaron Owens, 6-3 F, Bonita Vista
Aaron Morgan, 5-5 G, St. Augustine
Nate Chou, 5-6 G, Del Norte
Isaiah Diaz, 5-3 G, Bonita Vista
Evan Woodland, 5-8 G, Rancho Bernardo
Elias Samady, 5-10 G, La Costa Canyon Devin McGee, 5-8 G, Mira Mesa Cody Shen, 5-11 G, Torrey Pines PJ Jourdain, 5-11 G, Cathedral Catholic Elyas Elegado, 5-11 G, La Jolla Country Day Jacob Baker, 5-9 G, Patrick Henry
Noah Camargo, 5-10 G, Oceanside
DeAndre Robles, 6-0 G, Morse
Parker Wickstrand, 6-1 W, St. Augustine
Maurice Turner, 6-3 F, Lakeside
Jacob Tsai, 5-9 G, Bishop's
Jordan Garner, 5-6 PG, La Costa Canyon
Owen Turner, 5-10 G, Bishop's
Jack Goodwin, 6-2 F, Mission Vista
Lincoln Zetmeier, 5-9 G, Valley Center
Darius Hueitt, 5-10 G, San Diego
Jett Kenady, 5-11 G, Carlsbad
Luke Sutherlin, 6-3 W, St. Joseph's Academy
Estevan Flores, G, Bonita Vista
Ardre Gatlabayan, G, University City
Michael Alvarado, G, Mater Dei Catholic
Emilio Rivera, Gompers
Tyler Tyszkiewicz, G, Santa Fe Christian
Cole Villaflor, G, Cathedral Catholic
Kenneth Jordan, G, Bonita Vista
Cameron Clarke, Eastlake
Amon Andrews, 5-7 PG, Cathedral Catholic