ANAHEIM, Calif. — The common theme among the players gathered for the Open Gym Premier Orange County high school senior All-Star Game was to make the most of their one last prep hurrah.
Twenty of the top OC players from the class of 2017 will meet in a North vs. South clash at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Santiago Canyon College before departing for their respective post-high school destinations and endeavors.
Orange County Player of the Year and state champion KZ Okpala of Esperanza, who’ll be taking his talents to Stanford this fall, said that he’s looking forward to teaming up with Villa Park point guard and Northeastern-signee Myles Franklin after many years of competing against him in the Century League and Century Conference.
“The one guy I’m really looking forward to playing with is Myles,” Okpala said Thursday. “We’ve always played against each other and I’ve never really gotten the chance to play with him, so it’s going to be exciting.”
Franklin, who led Villa Park to an appearance in the CIF-SS Division 2AA championship and the Division III state championship, was proud to look back on his high school career despite suffering tough losses in both of those games.
“It was a great season and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Franklin said. “We had some great accomplishments being the first Villa Park team to reach a state championship and we made history for our school and I was glad to be a part of that.”
In his preparation for Saturday’s game, Franklin picked out a certain Trinity League guard and former AAU teammate as someone he’s planning on exposing.
“I’m gonna dunk on Kaden,” Franklin said while interrupting Santa Margarita shooting guard Kaden Rasheed mid-interview. “I’m dunking on Kaden in the game.”
Rasheed quipped back quickly, saying he was the one winning the one-on-one battles during Dream Vision practices over the last four years.
“He’s too weak and he’s got no bounce,” Rasheed said. “I’m gonna pin that dunk on the backboard.”
Rasheed’s teammate at Santa Margarita, 6-foot-8 forward Adrease Jackson who is signed with Dartmouth of the Ivy League, has never been one to shy away from a challenge which lends to his confidence in picking out the top dog as someone he’d like to go head-to-head with.
“I think it’s going to be a good matchup between me and KZ,” Jackson said. “We went against each other in the state playoffs, but we just want to give the crowd what they want and put on a show. Honestly, our team wants to win and put up as many points as possible.”
For those wanting to come out and watch KZ, Adrease, Myles, Kaden and all the other talented players put on a show Saturday night at Santiago Canyon College, tickets will be priced at $10 for adults and $5 for children and students with I.D.