State

Boys Basketball Preview: Plenty of twists and turns await

Reeves Nelson averaged 26 points per game for the Modesto Christian boys basketball team last season. Allen Huddleston went for 25.4 points per game for Merced.

The two players are expected to be key components for their teams as the boys basketball season heats up.

But both players have adjustments to make.

Nelson is recovering from a torn meniscus suffered during the football season, and isn't expected to play until the prestigious Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic after Christmas. The focus will be solely on Nelson this season, as the Crusaders' other top player from last year, D.J. Seeley, is now playing college ball at Cal. Nelson, one of the state's top forward college prospects, is signed with UCLA.

Huddleston was also part of a potent 1-2 combo. He and backcourt mate Jarrett Sparks combined to average over 45 points per game. Now, Sparks is playing football for Cal and Huddleston -- who has signed to play basketball for Pacific next year -- will be the Bears' main focus.

Nelson and Huddleston are among several story angles for the boys basketball season:

  • The Modesto Metro Conference appears to be wide open, especially with the absence of top players Nate Jackson (Modesto) and Malachi Batt (Johansen) from their teams' rosters. Enochs is off to a fast start behind 6-foot-9-inch post player Marcus Banks and Beyer will contend with 6-6 center Bryan Garbez.
  • The Central California Conference features two of the area's top guards in Huddleston and Turlock's Travis Souza. New Buhach Colony coach John Bliss has the Thunder running and gunning to the tune of 84.1 points per game and a 6-2 start.
  • And watch out for Livingston in the Western Athletic Conference. The Wolves beat Division I teams Laguna Creek, Enochs and Armijo to win the Armijo Tournament last week, and 6-5 center Harnarinder Johal went for a near school-record 46 points in the victory over Laguna Creek on his way to tournament MVP honors.
  • Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at wdeboard@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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