Who's New? Reports from the Transfer Portal
Much like in the NCAA, the so-called "transfer portal" is alive in well in high school, as kids check out and check into schools for a number of reasons. Some kids move into an area, while others seek greener pastures. And others find out the grass wasn't greener and come home.
Which transfers or newcomers will have the biggest impact? We explore them in this article.
1. From Knight to Saint - Derrius Carter Hollinger, Foothills Christian to Saint Augustine
With Foothills Christian falling apart last season, it almost seemed inevitable that the last of the Carter Hollinger brothers - and arguably the most talented - was headed out. He lands at St. Augustine, giving them a long, crafty point forward who fits in seamlessly to how the Saints like to play. The rich get richer.
2. The Prodigals return - KJ and Kristian Gonzalez from Mission Bay to Mater Dei Catholic
2022 KJ and 2023 Kristian Gonzalez spent their first HS seasons at Mater Dei Catholic, before transferring last year to Mission Bay. At the Bucs, they went from seldom-used reserves to bonafide standouts. Now, they return to infuse a graduation-depleted Crusaders roster with their potent scoring prowess.
3. From the Dominican with love - Fran Valenzuela to San Ysidro
Terry Tucker has been able to reload in the wake of the Border Boyz breakup with a team largely comprised of players who hail from the Mexican National team ranks. But his latest newcomer hails from Dominican Republic - 6-7 Fran Valenzuela -a skilled lefty forward who plays hard and adds size to a team that has it to spare.
4. Grid-hoop Heaven - Jerry McClure and Rollin George III to Mater Dei Catholic
McClure's story is yet another "prodigal return" for Mater Dei, as the former Crusader comes back to the Chula Vista campus after a season at St. Augustine. He joins George, a 6-0 guard who averaged double figures for two straight years at Kearny High, as two of four football players who will have significant roles on the court as well.
5. Hoover's Haul - Jayden Barnett, CJ Brown, Ozzeno Diallo and Exavier Williams to Hoover
How do you rebound from the graduation of your best player in recent school history and three other starters? Transfers. And the Cardinals got four really talented ones during the offseason. Barnett, who played his freshman year at El Camino before two ill-fated years at El Cajon Valley, headlines a list of athletic guards, including the mystery man in Brown, a 6-4 long guard who never played at Olympian. Diallo, who was projected to start for Point Loma, adds a scoring guard who is still growing, and Williams, who played at Grossmont, adds a floor-spacing guard with a high IQ.
6. From the Island to the Valley - Zach Jackson from Coronado to Torrey Pines
One of the surprises of last season was the contributions of Jackson, then a freshman, for the Islanders. His parents moved to Carmel Valley before the end of last season, so it was known he was only going to be at Coronado for a year, but the Islanders loss is the Falcons gain. Jackson is slated to be a significant contributor right away.
7. Olympian-sized impact - DK Deon and Demond Johnson to Olympian
Olympian was way down last season, but the nadir won't be too long, as head coach Marty Ellis got manna from heaven in the form of two very different, but impactful guards. Deon is a blur with the ball and a menace defensively, while Johnson, who hails from Serbia, scores it off the dribble and through contact as good as any guard in the region.
8. What's HAP-pening - John and James Hapgood to San Dieguito Academy
There was a time when the name "Hapgood" struck fear in opponents. Twins John and James were among the top five prospects in their class heading into the ninth grade. Then, life happened. But now, the twins get a chance at redemption with the Mustangs and coach Jason Stewart.
9. Cougars set to roar - Levin Holloway and Kalil Keeler to Escondido
The Lorenzo Keeler era kicked off with a bang, as Escondido welcomed back Keeler, who was a standout as a freshman but transferred to El Camino for his sophomore season. Then, just before season, Orange Vista transfer Levin Holloway checked into campus. The athletic duo give the Cougars a throwback feel to when former coach PJ Baldwin had the team rolling during the 2010s. There could be a Broadway revival this season.
10. Trey-Day - Trey Vergenz to Mission Hills
Facing the possibility of not being a contributor until his senior year at San Marcos, Vergenz - a beefy wing with a potent jump shot - made the move across town to Mission Hills. With the Grizzlies, he pairs with fellow junior - and good friend - Kyle Neff as a strong platoon at the small forward. He's got to sit out 30 days, but when he joins, he will have an immediate impact for a team competing for an Open Division berth.
Other transfer and newcomer news:
Bekim Sykaj, 6-7 2023 F, from Las Vegas to El Camino
Gavin Guinn, 6-1 2025 G from St. Augustine to San Diego
Minab Misghenna, 6-4 2022 W, from St. Augustine to Christian
Mekhi Sutton, 6-2 2022 G, from Cathedral Catholic to Victory Christian
Jamar Haines, 5-11 2023 G (Morse), and Michael Hansen, 6-3 2023 F (Calvary Chula Vista) to Bonita Vista
Dylan Walls, 6-1 2022 G, from La Costa Canyon to Sage Creek
Josiah Panis, 5-4 2024 G, from Tri-City Christian to Calvin Christian
Eli Green, 6-0 2023 G, from Walden Grove (AZ) to San Diego
Elijah Newsome, 6-0 2023 G, to Otay Ranch
Justice Ahiafor, 6-7 2025 F, to St. Joseph Academy
Noah Ahooja, 6-2 2022 G, and Nicholas Gee, 6-0 2022 G, from Del Norte to Orange Glen
Jacob Bannarbie, 6-9 F, from San Diego to Valley Christian (San Jose)
Martin Gumwel, 6-10 C, from Calvin Christian to Rancho Christian