Best basketball players are in Prince George's -- Gazette.Net



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Roddy Peters went to support Kris Jenkins. He found himself watching BeeJay Anya.

Peters, a guard at Suitland High School, played for D.C. Assault, an Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, this summer with Jenkins, a Gonzaga College High School forward. So, Peters joined his Assault teammates in attending a summer league game between DeMatha Catholic High School and Gonzaga.

Peters had heard so much about Stags center BeeJay Ana, he couldn’t avoid seeing whether the DeMatha center deserved the lofty praise.

“He played like I thought he would,” Peters said. “Everybody said he was a big body and he finishes and he blocks shots. So, he did what they say said he did.”

Peters also has played an A.A.U. game against Princeton Day point guard Aquille Carr. Matched up with each other, Peters scored about 28 points and Carr scored about 23 — at least according to Peters’ memory — though Carr won the game.

Whether it’s that game or the hypothetical game against Anya that Peters reflexively scouted for — “I’m going to play my game, because I’ve played against bigs with size just like him,” Peters said — playing such talented competition brings out the best in Peters. That Anya and Carr also play in Prince George’s County only makes the feeling more intense.

“Whenever I play somebody who everybody thinks is highly ranked, I always try to prove something,” Peters said. “I consider myself the best player in the county, but the state also.”

This year, that might be a distinction without much difference.

With Peters (University of Maryland), Anya (North Carolina State University) and Carr (Seton Hall University), Prince George’s County boasts not only three of the state’s top players, but three of the nation’s top players.

All three make the top 100 class of 2013 players at the four major recruiting sites, and collectively, only four other Maryland players rank ahead of any of the Prince George’s trio — three instances of Montrose Christian forward Ishmail Wainright and one instance of Mount St. Joseph’s guard Kameron Williams. Here’s how each site ranks Peters, Carr, Anya and any Maryland player ahead of them with national rankings in parentheses:

247Sports: Peters (20), Carr (36), Anya (52).

Rivals: Peters (42), Anya (49), Wainright (52), Carr (75).

Scout: Anya (45), Wainright (51), Peters (56), Carr (61).

ESPN: Wainright (28), Anya (32), Peters (45), Williams (55), Carr (98).

“There’s a lot of very good basketball players in this area, but there is every year,” DeMatha coach Mike Jones said. “We’re blessed.”

Of course, Jones is partial to Anya.

“There’s nobody else in the county that does anything anywhere close to what he does,” Jones said.

But Jones and Peters agree: Carr is, without a doubt, Prince George’s County’s most exciting player.

Playing for Patterson Mill in Baltimore before transferring this year to Princeton Day, Carr earned the nickname “Crimestopper.” As the story goes, crime stopped in Baltimore when he played, because everyone was at his game, watching the 5-foot-7 point guard make unbelievable move after unbelievable move. Is there such a buzz in the county about him?

“If there isn’t, there will be,” Jones said. “He’s worth the price admission. If you want to see something you may not have an opportunity to see without paying big money for it later on in life, you better catch him now.”

When it comes to the county’s best player, Potomac junior Dion Wiley also has plenty of backers. The guard is ranked 43rd nationally in the class of 2014 by Scout and 58th by Rivals — both sites placing him behind only St. Frances forward Dwayne Morgan in the state of Maryland.

Though Wiley clearly has upper-echelon potential, the Potomac guard — because he’s a year younger than Peters, Anya and Carr — might not be quite as good as the other three, at least not yet.

But Peters and Wiley present an interesting possibility: A public school player winning The Gazette’s Player of the Year in Prince George’s County. For the last three years, private school players — DeMatha’s Jerami Grant in 2012, Bishop McNamara’s Marcus Thornton in 2011 and DeMatha’s Quinn Cook in 2010 — have had taken the honor.

For now, though, the debate — who is Prince George’s County’s best basketball player? — will remain hypothetical. For one, Anya, a center, Peters, a big guard and Carr, a small guard, each play very differently. More importantly, their teams aren’t scheduled to face each other this season.

But maybe the question will be answered — just not this year.

“We’re all going to college,” Peters said. “I’ll see BeeJay in college.”

dfeldman@gazette.net