The eighth-rated high school basketball player in the Class of 2013 can be seen on game nights at 100 Ireland Street. Six miles away at 1491 West Queen, you'll find No. 21. Five miles back to 522 Woodland Road, we have No. 105.
Three of the most coveted high school juniors in the nation playing in the same town. Unprecedented? Probably not. Rare? You bet.
"It's certainly not something that happens every year, not even in places like New York, California and Texas,"
recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. "When you're fortunate enough to have that kind of talent, that kind of competition, it definitely makes for a special couple of season.
"To have three guys who are possibly going to sign
scholarships, this is the last time fans will get to pay $5 to watch those guys play. Whenever those guys go head to head, you can't recreate those moments."
Phoebus' Troy Williams, Hampton's Anthony Barber, and Kecoughtan's Rodney Bullock will be having plenty of moments once the season begins Tuesday night. They were the district's top three scorers last season as sophomores — Barber at 21.0 ppg, Bullock 18.2 ppg, Williams 16.6 ppg. And they'll only be better.
The Peninsula District has seen its share of basketball starpower — Bethel's Allen Iverson, Hampton's Ronald Curry, and Kecoughtan's
, to name but three. But never has there been three national attractions like this in one class.
Recruiting analysts consider Williams, an energetic (bordering on hyper) 6-foot-6 wing, the best of the three. ESPN and Scout both rank him No. 8 in the Class of '13 and list him a five-star prospect. His offers include
Barber is rated No. 20 by Scout, 21 by Rivals and 24 by ESPN. At 6-2, he's quick, strong and mature. "He's college-ready right now," one college assistant said.
Hampton coach Walter Brower said he didn't want to say what offers Barber has "because I'm really not sure." But the known offers are Virginia Tech,
Bullock, a 6-8 forward, isn't as highly ranked as Williams and Barber. But he already has offers from Virginia Tech and N.C. State, according to Rivals. He has a better than average 3-point shot for someone of his size and is a solid rebounder, but he's also a little thin at roughly 210 pounds.
Williams, Barber, and Bullock … the Nos. 1, 2, and 3 recruits in the state.
"Williams has a chance to be a special, special player," Telep said. "All-around, his game is really tight. Barber really has an appropriate nickname — 'Cat.' It really fits. He's exceptionally fast and really hard to guard. And Bullock is the one who doesn't get as much attention and has the most to prove this year."
They all have something to prove. And there will be plenty of eyes on them.
"We've already talked about it," Brower said. "The truth of the matter is, your junior year is when they come after you. The big schools aren't going to mess around and send a thousand letters. They come see you."
Woodside's girls team also has one of the top juniors in the country — point guard Adrienne Motley. HoopGurlz.com rates her the No. 38 prospect in the nation's Class of 2013.
Her father, Adrian, said she has eight firm offers at this point. He preferred naming conferences instead of specific schools: ACC, Big East, SEC and
With this kind of talent around, expect to see plenty of coaches (even the big whistles themselves from time to time) in the stands.
Not that the kids aren't used to the attention. Playing the summer circuit, it's a regular who's who of college coaches —
, Terri Williams-Flournoy — watching their every move.
"The summer really helps because they're there game after game after game," Adrian Motley said. "You see them in all the venues. (Adrienne) handles it pretty well."
With the new rule that allows coaches unlimited texting and phone calls to juniors, Troy Williams' phone is constantly beeping or ringing.
"It's a little bit hectic," he said. "It's more than just the coaches. You have the fans on Twitter, too."
A few weeks ago, a Kentucky fan started a trend by encouraging other UK boosters to tweet Williams. He received hundreds, many of which he retweeted. Then some
fans did the same thing.
didn't have to deal with this kind of stuff coming out of Lansing Everett High.
There are other juniors who, though not blue-chip prospects, should be getting some interest.
Phoebus guard James Daniel III has offers from Holy Cross and Howard. Kecoughtan guard Nate Motley is coming off a fractured kneecap, but he was rated the No. 5 sophomore in the state by Rivals at the start of last season. Brower said Jordan Baker, a 6-foot-3 wing, is getting some looks.