Las Cruces High star Isaiah Carr, left, was one of the state’s top players last year, and even this crazy COVID-19 campaign can’t mask the fact that he is one of the best once again (Russell Gurule).
For Enchantment Sports Fan-Demonium
Hello high school basketball fans! It has been a long time since the last season. It’s good to be back!
Unfortunately, this season will end soon after starting.
Saturday is already the final day of the 2020-21 season — make that 2021 season — and has gone along smoothly, despite COVID-19 restrictions and no fans.
We will be crowning new state champions come May when graduation starts all around New Mexico. The regular season was just about a month long, and there are no district tournaments.
Eight boys and eight girls teams will qualify for state in each of the five classes.
Only the championship games are planned for the Pit, but schedules are still to be determined.
Last year’s state tournament started with the usual wild atmosphere, but finished in the eerily empty Pit as the coronavirus out of China was spreading across the U.S. during the week of the event.
But at least it was able to finish, and left fans and media plenty to talk about.
Prior to the state tournament last year I listed my top-10 players.
It sure turned out to be a controversial — and gutsy — thing to do here in New Mexico. Many had their opinions on who should have been on the list.
One thing is certain, it brought much discussion.
So let’s see how the list looks a year later.
1. Ricky Lujan of Las Cruces Oñate was my top player, much to the displeasure of others in the media. But after his brilliant performance in state, I had a number of coaches asking me to help them scout.
Kiddingly, I trust. We all know recruiting isn’t allowed in high schools, right?
Anyway, Lujan went to NCAA D-II Dallas Baptist University where he earned freshman of the year in the Lone Star Conference. Perhaps New Mexico State missed one in its own backyard.
He is well on his way to becoming one of the top players in all of D-II.
2. Deraje Agbaosi of Eldorado went to Southern Prep in Phoenix out of high school where he then committed to New Orleans for the 2020-21 season. He decomitted from there.
Agbaosi, who has the talent to someday play professionally, just committed to North Alabama.
3. JB White of Santa Fe High is a story that’s difficult to write. JB was set to become a New Mexico
Lobo until his life was cut short by a shooting at a party.
White’s memory lives on by those who played with him and against him. He leaves behind a legacy and a chapter in New Mexico basketball history.
4. Jude Tapia of Albuquerque High spent the past year at Trinity Pawling Prep school in New York. Jude is now a prospect in the class of 2021. College coaches better take note on this high scorer. Be on the lookout for a commitment by Tapia this summer.
5. Elijah Davidson of Bosque Prep spent his freshman year at Western Colorado University. Davidson received considerable time his first year.
I expect him to have a bigger impact in the future. Keep your eye on him.
6. Joziah Ramos of Atrisco Heritage is in the process of transferring from Western New Mexico
to Northern New Mexico College. Joziah could be a game-changer for the Eagles.
He’s still listed on the roster at Western, but here’s an article from Northern New Mexico College stating that he’s transferring. Northern New Mexico College Athletics – Official Athletics Website
7. Tre Watson of Cleveland High School picked his sport, and made a commitment to Fresno State to play football.
Now Watson appears ready to have a strong finish to his high school hoop career. A state championship is the goal for Watson and the talented Storm.
8. Isaiah Carr of Las Cruces High is again one of the state’s best players, and is only a junior.
Carr received a Division I offer from Western Illinois University. This season he
will be going for back-to-back state championships.
9. Owen Olney of Magdalena is waiting to begin his career at New Mexico Highlands University.
Due to COVID, Highlands canceled its season.
The future is bright for Olney and the Cowboys.
10. Jose Murillo of Highland High is back for his junior year, which has given the Hornets a big boost to their state title aspirations.
Murillo and Carr are the two top big men in the state.
So what about this year’s top 10 list?
It’s going to be a lot tougher to judge in this shortened season, so it will probably be even more controversial.
For now, let’s wait until after state.
And see if I have the guts to try it again.
Russell Gurule was born and raised in Albuquerque. He graduated from Highland High and also attended Hope Christian. Russell is a long-time observer of New Mexico Lobo and high school athletics. Logistics is his day job. Basketball and politics are his passions. To contact Russell with comments of tips, please email EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com