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All-time Northern Nevada high school boys basketball team

Luke Babbitt
Luke Babbitt is one of two locals to make it to the NBA along with Armon Johnson. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Last week, we created the all-time Northern Nevada football team, including an offense, defense, special teams and coaching staff. This week, we'll look at the all-time Northern Nevada boys basketball team to be followed by an all-time girls basketball team. Each player's entire playing career was considered, including college and pro. Relatively equal weight was given to prep accomplishments and post-high school accomplishments. We're going with a traditional 12-player team, with five starters and seven reserves.

All-time Northern Nevada basketball team

Starting five

PG Armon Johnson: Born in Chicago, Johnson moved to Northern Nevada in his youth and became a standout for the Reno Ballers before starring for the Hug Hawks. Despite playing only three seasons of varsity ball, Johnson set the state scoring record with 2,616 points while pushing the Hawks to a 50-11 record in his final two seasons, including 26-2 in league play. Hug lost to the eventual state champions in both of those seasons (Reno in 2006 and Galena in 2007) in the postseason, which included a state semifinal appearance during his junior season. As a senior, he scored a North record 1,005 points (33.5 per game). Johnson played college at Nevada and was the WAC freshman of the year and a two-time all-league honoree. He is 12th in scoring and fifth in assists in program history. He turned pro after his junior season and was a second-round draft pick (34th overall) in 2010 by the Trail Blazers. Johnson is one of two locals to play in the NBA, playing for two years in Portland and New Jersey. He also played overseas and is currently the head coach at Excel Christian High in Sparks.

SG Jerod Haase: The first national recruit in local basketball history, Haase was born and raised in South Tahoe and led the Vikings to back-to-back state title games, winning it all in 1992 with a victory over back-to-back state champs Western, led by Prince Fowler and Daryl Christopher. Hasse's battles with Christopher live on in local lore. Haase was the Northern Nevada player of the year his senior season and had his pick of colleges. He opted for Cal, starting alongside Jason Kidd his freshman season, before transferring to Kansas where he won three straight conference titles, was the Big Eight Conference Newcomer of the Year, earned all-conference honors and finished top 10 in program history in assists, 3-pointers made and steals. He started 99 of 101 games at Kansas, averaging 12.5 ppg, and led the Jayhawks to a 34-2 record his senior season (the losses came by a combined five points). Post-playing career, Haase has been a successful college coach, going 148-114 over eight seasons at UAB and Stanford (four years at each) with two conference championships and one NCAA Tournament berth.

SF Luke Babbitt: The greatest male basketball player in Reno's history, Babbitt was a historically great high school player who also had the best college and pro career of any local. Babbitt averaged 25.6 ppg in his prep career and broke Armon Johnson's state scoring record with 2,941 points (Johnson would point out Babbitt played one more varsity season than he did). Babbitt was a three-time Northern 4A player of the year, a two-time Gatorade state player of the year, was the area's second McDonald's All-American and led Galena to the 2007 state title in his junior season. A five-star recruit, the 6-foot-9 Babbitt verbally committed to Ohio State before signing with Nevada, where he played for two seasons, setting the single-season scoring record while being named WAC player of the year as a sophomore (he's the only local to be a D-I conference's player of the year). Babbitt then turned pro and was the No. 16 pick in the 2010 draft. He played eight NBA seasons for four teams, averaging 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game while making 40.2 percent of his 3-point attempts (35th best in NBA history).

PF Olek Czyz: Born in Poland, Czyz began playing basketball at 10 and moved to Reno at 14 before starring for Reno High. Czyz won two state titles with the Huskies (in 2006 and 2008), serving as a role player in 2006 (his sophomore season) before starring on the 2008 team (his senior season). The Huskies went 77-18 in his three varsity seasons, including 38-4 in league. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Czyz averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game his senior season and was named all-state. A top-100 national recruit, Czyz signed with Duke where he played sparingly for 1.5 seasons before transferring back home to Nevada (the Blue Devils won the national title in Czyz's second season with the program). Czyz, who is the best dunker and one of the most athletic players to come out of Northern Nevada, averaged 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds on 54.1 percent shooting as a senior in 2011-12 when Nevada went 28-7, won the WAC and advanced to the NIT semifinals. Czyz had a successful pro career in the G League and overseas, where he was the Polish League's rookie of the year in 2015 and a PLK champion in 2019.

C David Padgett: A 6-foot-11 center, Padgett had a great but injury-plagued high school career at Reno High. He averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds per game as a senior and was the area's first McDonald's All-American as well as being a Parade Magazine All-American. He averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds as a junior and 12 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks per game as a sophomore. Padgett also earned a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U20 Championship and a bronze at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The 2003 Gatorade state player of the year, Padgett was a top-15 national prospect who signed with Kansas, where he spent one season, leading the Jayhawks to the Elite Eight, before transferring to Louisville, where he was a three-year starter, averaging 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocks per game on 61.3 percent shooting in his career. While he played a couple of seasons overseas, lower-body injuries kept from an almost certain NBA career. He served as Louisville's interim head coach in 2017-18 and was recently inducted into Reno High's athletic Hall of Fame.

Reserves

G Austin Morgan: Morgan was a two-time state champion at Reno High and the star of the 2008 title squad when he averaged a team-high 20 points per game during his junior season (one more point per game than Olek Czyz). He was the 2009 Northern 4A player of the year and a two-time all-state honoree. His 2,046 points are the most in Reno High history and seventh in state history among large-class players. Morgan went on to Yale where he was the school's freshman of the year in 2009 before becoming a second-team All-Ivy selection, averaging in double-figures in his last three seasons in college (he scored 1,173 points in his career). He ranks first in school history in free-throw accuracy and third in 3-pointers made.

G Alex Gamboa: Before Morgan took the Reno to Yale path, Gamboa did so. A 6-1 guard, Gamboa was a two-time Northern 4A player of the year who earned all-state honors twice. He led the Huskies to two league championships and three state tournament appearances. Joining Yale in 2001, he was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in his first season on campus and led the Bulldogs to 21 wins, the school's most victories since 1948-49, and its first conference championship since 1963. Gamboa became a four-year college starter who averaged 8.8 points, 3.1 assists, 2.3rebounds and 1.0 steals per game over his career and is one of the more well-rounded and successful players to come out of Northern Nevada.

G Bobby Hunter: A 5-foot-10 spark plug at Bishop Manogue, Hunter was a two-sport star for the Miners (basketball and football). As a senior, he averaged 23 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 4.6 steals and led Manogue to the Northern 4A title and a state tournament berth. As a junior, he set the large-class state record in steals (160). Hunter's college career started at NAIA Division II Oregon Tech, where he was an All-American who led the Owls to the national title while earning MVP honors. He then moved to Santa Fe College, a JuCo, where he averaged 25.2 ppg (second in the nation). He was then off to Illinois State where he averaged 10.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.5 steals in his first of two D-I seasons.

F Mike Longero: Longero was the star of the 1975 Carson High team that won the large-class state championship (the Senators were the only team located in Northern Nevada to win the large-class state title from 1964 to 2005 if you discount California-located South Tahoe in 1987 and 1992). Carson beat undefeated Las Vegas High in the state semifinal before topping Clark, whose only two losses that year were to Vegas in OT, in the championship by one point. Longero was that team's top scorer and the Northern Nevada player of the year. He played his college ball at Nevada from 1975-79 and was a key piece to the Edgar Jones-Johnny High-Fly Gray teams. He averaged 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in his career and helped the Wolf Pack reach the second round of the NIT his senior season, the program's first appearance in the NIT. Nevada won 21 games that year.

F Matt Siebrandt: The Galena High star moved to town at age 12 and is one of three players from Northern Nevada to win the Gatorade state player of the year award (they've been handing that out since 1985). Siebrandt was the first local to do so, winning the honor in 1998. He's since been joined by Luke Babbitt and David Padgett. At 6-foot-8, Siebrandt was a good post player with a deft touch around the rim. He averaged 14.9 points (on 58 percent shooting), 7.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals as a senior and led Galena to the state tournament. Siebrandt began his college career at UNLV before transferring after two games. After a stint in junior college (and a stab wound to the groin), Siebrandt landed at Kansas State and averaged 9.5 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 51.6 percent from the field in three seasons with the Wildcats. He was one of the first locals to play major college hoops.

F Bob Hooft: Along with Nevada-bound Mitch Woods, who also could be on this list, Hooft was the leader of Lowry's dominant basketball teams in the mid-1970s. The team took home state titles in 1973, 1974 and 1975, winning 47 straight games in the process (the third-longest streak in Nevada history). A two-time all-state honoree in basketball, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Hooft also was the school's starting quarterback and ace pitcher. In college, Hooft played basketball for Harvard, where he became a double-digit scorer for three seasons and an all-Ivy league honorable mention. During Hooft's senior season, he tallied a career-high 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game while making 49.7 percent of his shots.

C Sean Paul: A rare talent for a town the size of Elko, the 6-foot-11 Paul was a top recruit lured to Nevada by Trent Johnson over offers from Oregon State and Cincinnati. He became the first Elko player to earn a Division I scholarship. Playing for the Indians from 1998-2000, Paul still ranks 10th in state history in rebounds and third in blocks (third and first, respectively, among Northern players). His 25 rebounds in a game remains a 4A record while his 10 blocks are two shy of the record. He then had a solid four-year career at Nevada, averaging 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field while being the co-captain of the 2003-04 Sweet 16 team. He gets the edge over Matt Ochs for backup center.

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.

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