Beyond Preps Notebook: Mrlik leads Vassar in scoring, earns All-Rookie honors

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

St. Ignatius grad Johnny Mrlik led the WCAL in scoring last season and quickly showed his scoring ability at the next level, leading Vassar in scoring this season as a freshman. (Photo courtesy of Vassar Athletics)

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

Former University guard Noah Springwater is the only Division I men's basketball recruit from 2011 playing this season. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Athletics)

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

Riordan grad Aaron Anderson stayed in the City to play college ball and has been a valuable bench player this season for the Academy of Art. (Photo courtesy of Academy of Art Athletics)

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

St. Ignatius grad Raquel Avila, now at Santa Clara University, warming up before a game. (Photo courtesy of Santa Clara Athletics)

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

Mission grad Alec Tatum (right), now playing for Pasadena City College, blocks a shot against Moorpark College. (Photo by Richard Quinton)

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.

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  1. GCJ 01 says:

    Congrats to all in this post. Keep representing the City well (both on and off the court).

  2. running out of banner room says:

    town school for boys holding it down

  3. sammy says:

    Played baseball with Johnny, I feel like he would’ve been good enough to play D3 baseball, does anyone know if he plays at Vassar, or is just focusing on basketball?

  4. SF NATIVE BnR says:

    as of what i herd he plans on playing both baseball and basketball from reliable sources.

    • WCAL Alum says:

      The beautiful thing about DIII schools is the de-emphasizing of single commitment. If youre good enough, you are encouraged to play multiple sports. All this talk about DI, kids with multiple talents are allowed to play to their passions. Lots of opportunities at well-rounded DIII and NAIA programs that kids should not overlook.

  5. IC Stars says:

    Can’t wait for Ari Gold’s take.

  6. bballobserver says:

    Completely expected that Johnny Mrlik would be a leader (in scoring, in work ethic, in character). Watching him for years setting the building blocks for him to be a stand out player and person. I’ve watched Johnny dive for loose balls (risking) in Sunday games and I’ve watched Johnny (and his dad) practice shooting using a lacrosse stick as a big man simulator…..hundreds of shots. He is a quiet leader who shows who he is on and off the court. He is a winner.

  7. TM76 says:

    Mrlik looks like a young Val Kilmer. Glad to see all of them doing well at the next level.

  8. sammy says:

    Yeah, I just looked up the baseball roster and he is on the team, along with his older brother, Zander. Should give a shoutout to Dom Schwartz tho, Lowell class of 2010, starting shortstop at D3 Brandeis University.

  9. KG says:

    You forgot one senior. TJ Miller is playing for the University of San Diego. Which is also a Division 1 school. She is a walk-on who has appeared in 3 games and scored 4 points.

  10. Ari Gold says:

    BALAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…. the love crush continues!

  11. Dre Peritos says:

    What about Ikenna nwadibia from stuart hall who is playing at kenyon college and is doing really well …

  12. AAA fan says:

    Hey jbalan how about Brenden Glapion who is a walk on at Seattle U

  13. Wet-Dogg says:

    thank you jeremy balan!

  14. tenor1 says:

    jbalan can i change my name to this and stick with it? gotta love alec tatum out there at pasadena city college, 1/2 the alma mater of our favorite high school sports reporter. also: more impressive right now, springwater ballin at the d1 level or mrlik tearin it up at vassar?

  15. afan says:

    Great feature.
    Interesting to read about SF athletes that have moved on and have success at the next level. It gives the prep athletes something to aspire to.

  16. SI Sports Radio says:

    And to add from St.Ignatius: Audrey Gibson (Class of 2011), soccer player at Duke which lost to Stanford in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship to Hannah Farr’s (Class of 2011) Stanford Cardinal.

  17. no name says:

    can we get an update on the football players as well?

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