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Nevada Preps boys basketball players countdown — No. 2

Coronado’s Jaden Hardy comes in at No. 2 on our list of Southern Nevada’s top boys basketball players.

To create the list, we spoke with coaches from across the valley. A couple of the base questions were: “Who is the top high school boys basketball player today?” and “Who would you pick to start a team?”

Then we grabbed the statistics from last season, looked at the player’s collective rankings on recruiting websites and used our own judgment to fill holes.

Nevada Preps Boys Basketball Players Rank: Coronado’s Jaden Hardy

Class

2021

Vitals

6 feet, 4 inches; 185 pounds

Honors

All-State First Team, All-Southeast League First Team (2018)

Recruiting

Hardy has scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas Christian and UNLV.

Last Season’s Stats

Hardy led the Sunrise Region with 25.3 points, and had 5.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

What they are saying

— “His ability to score at all the different levels at such a young age, I’ve seen his athleticism is just starting to grow off the charts. Just his innate ability to put the ball in the basket,” a Desert Region coach said. “His game is always going to translate at the next level. He’s always going to be able to put the ball in the basket because he can set everything up with his jumpshot.”

— “His body, his sheer ability, his God-given talent, I think he will end up being possibly one of the best that’s come out of Vegas and have the best upside potential to have a future in basketball, not just at the collegiate level but maybe, he’s got a shot,” a Desert Region coach said.

— “He’s probably the best scorer in town. We saw him a lot in the summer, and he just can score effortlessly,” a Desert Region coach said. “He’s a big, big guard. He’s got NBA guard size already. He’s a scorer. He’s the kind of kid that can put up 30 to 40 on any given night. It’s just natural to him.”

Nevada Preps Boys Basketball Players Rank: Liberty’s Julian Strawther No. 3

Class

2020

Vitals

6 feet, 7 inches; 195 pounds

Honors

All-State First Team, All-Southeast League First Team (2018); All-Southeast League Second Team (2017)

Recruiting

Strawther has scholarship offers from Arizona, California, Creighton, Connecticut, DePaul, Florida, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Southern California, Texas Christian, Virginia Tech, UCLA, UNLV and Washington.

Last Season’s Stats

Strawther recorded 24.3 points per game to lead the Patriots. On Jan. 23 he scored 45 points to help Liberty beat rival Coronado for the first time since 2013.

What they are saying

— “Julian’s upside is really, really big,” a Desert Region coach said. “Julian’s still growing, I think. He’s good now, but he’s got all kinds of potential.”

— “At a Liberty setting where he’s the guy and he can do everything, he’s fine. Watching him a bunch of times with the (Las Vegas) Prospects, if he doesn’t bring the ball down the floor, sometimes he struggles to get open and get the ball,” a Desert Region coach said. “I think he’s a great player don’t get me wrong, I just don’t place him as high as the other four.”

— “He’s right there in the top. He’s a knock-down shooter,” a Desert Region coach said. “I think he’s got to work a little bit on his lateral quickness and doing something without the ball. Moving the ball. Learning to come off of screens. He’s young, we’re talking about learning stuff. That’s part of the process.”

Nevada Preps Boys Basketball Players Rank: Bishop Gorman’s Noah Taitz No. 4

Class

2020

Vitals

6 feet, 3 inches; 175 pounds

Honors

All-State Second Team, All-Southwest League First Team (2018)

Recruiting

Taitz has scholarship offers from BYU, DePaul, Minnesota, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Stanford, UNLV, UNR, Utah, Vanderbilt and Washington.

Last Season’s Stats

Taitz was second on the Gaels with 17.5 points per game, and led all scorers with 27 points in the Sunset Region title game against Clark.

What they are saying

— “When you think about Taitz, everybody goes ‘Oh Taitz, he stands there and shoots the ball.’ And that’s true, he’s a very good shooter, but he a has a lot of other deceptive stuff,” a Desert Region coach said. “He has a really deceptive first step, and Taitz will pick up the basketball, go to the bucket and dunk on you. … Taitz scares me a lot of times.”

— “He seems to play the bigest in big games. He’s just ready for big games,” a Desert Region coach said. “If there’s one shot, I’m going to put the ball in Noah’s hands.”

— “You just can’t give him an inch on the perimeter,” a Desert Region coach said. “I think he’s still got to work on finishing off the dribble, although we’ve seen that get better and better every year.”

Nevada Preps Boys Basketball Players Rank: Bishop Gorman’s Isaiah Cottrell No. 5

Class

2020

Vitals

6 feet, 10 inches; 210 pounds

Honors

All-State Third Team, All-Southwest League First Team (2018)

Recruiting

Cottrell has scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Creighton, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, LSU, Marquette, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pacific, Rutgers, Southern California, St. John’s, Stanford, Syracuse, Texas Tech, UC Santa Barbara, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington and West Virginia.

Last Season’s Stats

Cottrell had 12.1 points per game for the Gaels last year, and led the team with 10.3 rebounds per game.

What they are saying

— “Isaiah Cottrell is a big guy who is super skilled,” a Desert Region coach said. “He will end up being a four man eventually because he’s so skilled. He can shoot the ball. He’s got really good skills.”

— “He’s not in control or one of those bigs that has to shoot it every time, so he will run an offense, which you do not find a lot of bigs that will do,” a Desert Region coach said. “He’s getting better on defense, he’s going to go block shots, he’s smart.”

— “I was actually impressed with his perimeter jumper, how it developed,” a Desert Region coach said. “Is the ability and the talent there? Yeah absolutely.”

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