Prolific Prep may be housing the NBA's next big superstar


Prolific Prep may be housing the NBA's next big superstar

The next big thing in basketball might be right under our noses.

Raise your hand if you watched a game last year in Napa at Prolific Prep High featuring 6-foot-7 Josh Jackson. Some hoop prognosticators call him the next Kobe Bryant and a likely No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He is now a freshman at Kansas.

If you follow high school basketball in northern California, the household power names are Archbishop Mitty, Bishop O’Dowd, St. Joe's of Alameda, Jesuit, Monte Vista, De La Salle, St. Francis and Modesto Christian.

You probably never heard of Prolific Prep in Napa because it isn’t an actual brick and mortar school. Its founder Jeremy Russotti called it a PO box. It exists as a home for 13 hyper-talented high school hoopsters though many actually attend classes at Justin Siena High School in Napa. 

Business has been so good for Prolific Prep that they are expanding internationally to Canada. Prolific Prep will add two new basketball teams this fall, both in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. One will be a high school team called Prolific Prep North and the other will be a post-graduate team called Prolific Prep Post-Grad. The original team in Napa will go by Prolific Prep West whenever two of its programs are in the same event.

"We chose Canada because it allowed Prolific Prep to expand internationally," Russotti said. "There are a lot of talented players around the world that want to come to Prolific Prep and expanding to Canada allows us to help more kids."

For the second year in a row, Prolific Prep will be involved with “The Grind Session” and all three teams will be a part of the national circuit.

“The Grind Session” is an international high school basketball showcase that lets the best teams and players in North America compete against each other. Last year, out of 33 teams, Prolific Prep fell just shy of the championship game after an upset loss in the semifinals to eventual champion Victory Rock Prep of Florida.

There are a number of “pop-up powers” in high School throughout the U.S. These schools come and go and put their talented graduates in jeopardy of NCAA sanctions. In the class of 2017, three of the top 15 players are attending high schools that did not exist five years ago.

These schools are similar to premier travel soccer and baseball programs for grade school kids.

Since AAU programs are not well regulated, their coaches are open to all levels of enticements by any number of factions, including the battle for the soles of the next big thing from the shoe companies.

Pop-up school growth is a hard nut for the NCAA to regulate since they morph so quickly. It’s difficult to investigate which schools provide the proper educational guidelines. Many of the players’ families and advisers want to make the jump to the NBA for a payday as soon as possible.

That jump from high school to the NBA is much shorter than it used to be. From 1990 to 2000, the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft spent an average of three years in college. Since 2010, every No. 1 pick has been one year and done with their college experience.

The greatest downside is that many hometown high school programs and their fans may never get to see the best players from their community. Those high flyers are moving to other parts of the country to get ready for a career in the NBA. 

What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'


What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'

The Warriors were the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

That is probably going to change this season, as they trail the Rockets by three games (although it's really four because Houston has the tiebreaker) with 12 games to play (and only lead the Raptors by one game).

What does owner Joe Lacob think about his team right now?

“We’ve had our best team we’ve ever had this year,” Lacob recently told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group (read the full story here). “We have to go prove it on the court, but we have enough to win it.

"It doesn’t mean we will, but we are certainly set up to have the opportunity potentially to do that. That’s about all you can ask.”

Things can change in an instant and Lacob understands that.

That's why he's constantly discussing scenarios with Warriors GM Bob Myers and the rest of Golden State's decision-makers.

“We’ll build around that core until we decide maybe we shouldn’t," Lacob told BANG. "But right now it feels pretty good. These guys are all performing at a great level. We love them as part of our organization.

"I don’t really see doing anything major. But you never really know. We have to evaluate when the season is over. It’s very hard when you’re in the middle of it all to see it objectively.”

What happens if the Warriors don't win the championship this year?

We will leave you with this quote Lacob gave BANG.

“Maybe we will emphasize continuity. Or maybe we will make a big move. We’re looking at different options, given different things playing out in different ways.

"I think you should always be doing that.”

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Pat McCaw will return vs Spurs; Draymond Green vs LaMarcus Aldridge


Pat McCaw will return vs Spurs; Draymond Green vs LaMarcus Aldridge

In 43 seasons battling the Spurs, only once have the Warriors swept a season series, a feat they will accomplish again with a victory Monday night in San Antonio.

Winning at AT&T Center will be a tough task for the depleted Warriors (53-17), who for the third consecutive game will take the floor with three of their four All-Stars -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson -- unavailable. Guard Pat McCaw, however, will be available for the first time in five weeks.

After the Spurs (40-30) lost nine of 11 games over a 30-day span and seemed to be fading from the playoff race, they’ve posted three straight wins and are very much in the race, despite the continued absence of star forward Kawhi Leonard.


Spurs by 7


Draymond Green & Co. vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge is a load for any defender and has carried the Spurs this season. Expect the Warriors to stick to their routine when facing a single pivotal player and send a variety of defenders. Green is sure to be one of them. Others likely to take turns include Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee, David West and maybe even Kevon Looney. The Warriors will consider it success if they can keep Aldridge under 30 points.


Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle tweak), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) and listed as out.

Spurs: F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3. Spurs: 5-5.


James Capers (crew chief), Bennie Adams, Karl Lane


The Warriors won the first three of four meetings this season: 112-92 on Nov. 2 in San Antonio, 122-105 on Feb. 10 in Oakland and 110-107 on March 8 at Oakland. They were 1-2 against San Antonio last season and are 9-7 against the Spurs in the Steve Kerr era.


COOK’S ROLL: Two-way PG Quinn Cook was terrific in the last two games, scoring a combined 53 points on 21-of-30 shooting. That was against lottery teams. The Spurs traditionally make life tough for guards and will pose a much bigger challenge. If Cook stays hot under this pressure, the Warriors will be beyond ecstatic.

MCCAW RETURNS: The return of McCaw, out since Feb. 12 with a L wrist fracture, gives the Warriors a fourth guard and some welcome flexibility. Cook played 80 minutes in the recent back-to-back set, and Nick Young played 78. McCaw will be on a minutes restriction (less than 20) but can perform on or off the ball.

THE BENCH GAME: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has virtually trademarked liberal usage of reserves; only San Antonio has had eight players score in double figures in three different games this season, and 13 different Spurs average at least 10 ppg. Their depth will be a problem for these very thin Warriors.