The high school basketball playoffs began Feb. 15 with the Bishop Gorman boys team in pursuit of its third state championship in four years. The Gaels (23-4) have lost to an in-state opponent (not counting Findlay Prep) just once since 2009, a 45-44 upset by Reno’s Bishop Manogue in last year’s state semifinals. With a talented roster led by McDonald’s All-American Shabazz Muhammad and other Division I college-bound seniors such as Rosco Allen, Ben Carter and Demetris Morant, Gorman is an overwhelming favorite to win its 14th state title.
The private school, which can offer scholarships to desired students, also has won four of the last five state crowns in football, including three straight, and six consecutive titles in baseball. With seemingly no end in sight for the Gaels, is it fair that they are allowed to compete with Nevada’s public schools for state championships?
Freddie Banks, boys basketball coach at defending state champion Canyon Springs, and a former Valley High School and UNLV star:
“I don’t think that’s fair, because no other schools can recruit unless they have a magnet program. … But I’m not afraid of Gorman; I never have been. If you want to be competitive like Gorman, you’re going to have to work hard at it. That’s just the bottom line.”
Ron Montoya, director of the Adidas Super 64 basketball tournament, a former Valley High School principal and ex-Basic High basketball coach:
“Whether they recruit or not doesn’t make any difference. If you’re going to compete against them, you just have to make your players better. I believe that everybody should be able to recruit, even the public schools. But the [Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association] has such archaic rules on where a kid can go that it’s impossible for a public school to get better.”
Michael Peck, basketball coach at Findlay Prep, a Henderson-based private program that has no Nevada student-athletes and plays a national schedule:
“Any given night, it doesn’t matter. That’s the beauty of the game. Short, tall, fat, skinny—if guys are making shots, teams have a chance. … Things probably are going to have to fall in their favor; they’ll have to have a little luck—but, shoot, it could happen.”