By Jeremy Balan
As the high school basketball season winds down, last season’s stars are making solid contributions to college programs from coast to coast. Here’s a look at what last year’s crop of seniors has done as college freshmen this season.
Johnny Mrlik (St. Ignatius), Vassar College men’s basketball
Last season’s City Player of the Year has shown he can light up the scoreboard in college, too.
Mrlik only started 11 games for the Division III Brewers (9-16), but led the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game and earned a spot on the Liberty League’s All-Rookie team last week.
The 6-foot-3 guard scored in double figures 15 times and over 20 points four times, against St. Joseph’s (Vt.) (33 points), Rensselaer (32), City College of New York (23) and Bard (22). He also showed a familiar flair for the dramatic, with a game-winning 3-pointer against St. Lawrence and by scoring Vassar’s final seven points in a win over the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Mrlik’s statistics went further than scoring, as he finished second on the team in rebounding (4.9 per game), led the Brewers with 45 steals and was ninth in all of Division III in free-throw shooting percentage (88.8 percent).
Noah Springwater (University High School), Columbia University men’s basketball
The City’s only Division I recruit has seen reduced minutes in Ivy League play for the Lions (14-14), but got solid playing time in non-conference play and scored a season-high 10 points in a road win over Loyola Marymount on Dec. 2.
Springwater is averaging 2.7 points per game, but has scored five or more points six times this season and his 14 steals are tied for fifth on the team.
India Pearce (Convent of the Sacred Heart High School), Cornell College women’s basketball
Last season’s City Player of the Year on the girls side has come off the bench in all 24 of her appearances for the Division III Rams (10-15) to average 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Pearce averaged just over 15 minutes this year and had a season-high 11 points in games against Culver-Stockton and Coe College.
Aaron Anderson (Archbishop Riordan High School), Academy of Art men’s basketball
The do-everything guard has started three games for the Division II Urban Knights (4-23), is averaging 4.6 points per game and has scored in double figures four times, with a season-high 14 points in a loss to Chaminade on Jan. 23.
Raquel Avila (St. Ignatius), Santa Clara women’s basketball
The first-team All-City point guard from last season wasn’t guaranteed a place on the Broncos’ (12-17) roster, but earned a spot as a walk-on and is the only female player from last season’s senior class in a Division I program.
Avila has only appeared in five games, but has been productive in limited time, with four points, a steal and two rebounds in 13 minutes of game time.
Alec Tatum (Mission), Pasadena City College men’s basketball
The 6-foot-5 forward went south to play community college ball and was a solid contributor for the Lancers (16-12), mostly off the bench.
Tatum started in nine games, averaged 4.6 points per game and 5.7 rebounds, the second-highest rebounding total on the team. He had a season-high 16 points against Pierce College on Dec. 23 and 17 rebounds against Long Beach City College on Jan. 20.
Geena Giovannetti (Sacred Heart Cathedral), UC Santa Cruz women’s basketball
The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 3.5 points per game and 3.3 rebounds in 24 games with the Division III Banana Slugs (11-12).
Giovannetti has started four times and led Santa Cruz in scoring with 14 points in an overtime loss to Menlo College on Jan. 14.