Those who frequent Mater Dei’s Meruelo Athletic Center for basketball games have become accustomed to witnessing high caliber talent at the high school level. That level of play gets ratcheted up even higher during the Nike Extravaganza, and this year’s 17th annual event was no exception.
In a girls’ game, with multiple Division 1 players on the court, Imani Stafford (Texas) helped Windward to an exciting 65-62 win over a Mater Dei team led by Jordan Adams (USC) and Nirra Fields (UCLA).
On the boys’ side, a number of impact-to-be players at the collegiate level took part in the event, but no one wowed the capacity crowd more than Shabazz Muhammad. Displaying power dunks and knocking down all six of his shots from behind the 3-point arc, Muhammad scored 41 points in leading Las Vegas Bishop Gorman to a 69-50 victory over Chicago Whitney Young.
Still undecided on his college choice, there are many who think the 6-foot-6 senior would be a lottery pick in this June’s NBA draft if rules allowed him to make the jump from high school to the pros. Even one local columnist (take long, slow breaths, Steve), having seen LeBron James play against Mater Dei years ago, commented that Muhammad is “more polished” than the Miami Heat star was as a high school player. Nevertheless, it is pretty certain Muhammad will soon be joining the likes of Trevor Ariza (New Orleans Hornets), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Al Harrington (Denver Nuggets), Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers), Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks), Jason Kapono (Los Angeles Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons), and Brandon Wright (Dallas Mavericks) as current NBA players who participated in past Nike Extravaganza events.
Heading into the upcoming CIF-SS playoffs, both Mater Dei basketball teams (girls and boys) won Trinity League championships with perfect 10-0 records. It is the fifth consecutive Trinity League championship for the Mater Dei girls’ team which has now won 37 straight league games. The boys’ team has now won 24 straight league championships. Moreover, in Gary McKnight’s 30-year head coaching tenure at Mater Dei (feel free to rub your eyes after you finish reading this sentence), the Monarchs have won 29 league championships, posting a 263-9 record, an amazing .967 winning percentage.
The following Mater Dei student-athletes from the Class of 2012 have made commitments to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level:
Devin Barrett / University of Oklahoma
Alina Cheatham / Arizona State University
Megan Crosson / Santa Clara University
Samantha Fabian / Louisiana Tech University
Elizabetta Impagliazzo / University of Tulsa
Kyle Chin / Lehigh University
Track & Field
Corey Hammond / Columbia University
Water Polo (Girls)
Claire McKinnon / San Diego State University
Water Polo (Boys)
Bret Bonanni / Stanford University
Anthony Daboub / University of California, Los Angeles
Phillip Bellomo, Director of Athletics