It’s common to see elite college basketball recruits throw down monster dunks in traffic, elevating high above the rim.
Just not when they’re 6 feet, 8 inches tall and growing before their senior year of high school.
"It is unique. I don’t see that many power forwards who can jump like me," said Demetris Morant, who will be a senior at Bishop Gorman next year.
Morant, a late bloomer who transferred from Mountain View in Tucson, Ariz., to Gorman for his junior year, plays sparingly for both Gorman during the high school season and his Dream Vision 17s (Calif.) team in this week’s adidas Super 64.
But that hasn’t stopped UNLV, Memphis, San Diego State, Texas A&M and others from offering scholarships to the lanky leaper with a 7-foot wingspan.
"He’s going to be a better college player than he is a high school player," Dream Vision coach Clayton Williams said. "He’s just now coming into his own. As he builds up his basketball IQ, Demetris will just be a phenomenal player."
Still raw offensively, the 190-pound Morant grabbed 7.3 rebounds per game as a junior, and Gorman finished 25-6 and won the Sunset Region title.
But Morant’s true breakout performance came in track and field, in which he took third in the triple jump at the Class 4A state meet at 44 feet, 2 1/2 inches and was fifth in the high jump at 6-2.
It’s easy to see how those qualities translate to a promising basketball future after Morant put down three dunks Monday on his way to nine points in an 86-50 rout of EBC Elite (Wash.) in a quarterfinal game, Dream Vision’s third of the day, at Rancho.
"It helps, it helps a lot," Morant said of his leaping ability.
Featuring rock-star prospect Shabazz Muhammad of Gorman and Winston Shepard of Findlay Prep, Dream Vision has become the biggest attraction in the summer tournament landscape.
Muhammad totaled 73 points in three games Monday, including 39 in the nightcap.
UNLV coach Dave Rice was joined by assistants Stacey Augmon and Heath Schroyer to watch Morant’s second and third games, along with UCLA coach Ben Howland and Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski.
Williams said Morant’s unselfishness in coming off the bench for his team has not gone unnoticed.
"He can go to any other AAU team or high school and play a whole lot, but it’s about the development for him," Williams said. "He understands that it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon, and he wants to get it right."
Morant said he wants to improve his game "all over" heading into his senior year in hopes of helping the Gaels to a state title after last season’s stunning loss to Bishop Manogue in the state semifinals.
"I’m just working on my game with Shabazz, mostly wing stuff," Morant said. "I also want to grab more rebounds and block more shots."
One thing Morant doesn’t have to work on is his dunking. He won the Les Schwab Invitational dunk contest in Hillsboro, Ore., in December by jumping over three people with a tomahawk dunk. The jam has become a YouTube sensation.
Dream Vision will play in the semifinals at 9 a.m. today at Rancho. The title game at 5 p.m. will air live on CBS College Sports Network (Cox 333).
■ NOTES — Today’s Las Vegas Live Platinum Division title game is set for 12:20 p.m. at Durango. After winning its first five games, Las Vegas Dogcatchers Elite saw its underdog run through the Super 64 end with an 81-55 loss to Urban DFW Elite (Texas) in the second round of bracket play. Valley post player Caleb Carter led Las Vegas with 14 points, and Western forward Kentrell Washington scored 11. Former Duke star Nolan Smith celebrated his 23rd birthday Monday as friends and family sang to him in the Rancho gym lobby. Smith, a first-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers, is in town coaching with D.C. Assault (Md.).
Contact reporter Tristan Aird at (702) 387-5203 or email@example.com.In-depth high school sports coverage