The high school boys’ basketball season is right around the corner and Trinity League fans should be in for something big. … and tall.
This season is expected to feature two of the top centers in the nation playing in the same six-team league; Bol Bol of Mater Dei and Joel Mensah of JSerra.
Bol, who enrolled at Mater Dei after transferring from Bishop Miege in Kansas last November, has reportedly grown to 7 foot 3 inches and continues to attract the attention of top college programs.
Mensah is a 6-10 post player who was born and raised in Ghana. He moved to the U.S. prior to his freshman year and played his first two high school seasons at Redemption Christian Academy in Northfield, Mass.
Mensah has already made his college choice, verbally committing to San Diego State over the summer.
Both players had to sit out the first half of last season under CIF-SS transfer rules, but had a chance to go head-to-head in February, and it was a fairly even matchup.
Bol finished with an impressive stat line of 18 points, eight rebounds and eight blocked shots in the 67-46 victory, the Monarchs’ 64th straight league win that has since stretched to 66. Mensah finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.
Bol finished the season averaging 16.5 points and 8.6 rebounds in 15 games, and Mensah 14.9 points and nine rebounds in 16 games.
Since then, their reputations have continued to blossom.
Bol is ranked as the No. 1 high school center in the nation and has been offered scholarships by every major college program. An assistant coach for national-power Kentucky was on campus at Meter Dei on Oct. 3. The assistant, Kenny Payne, played three seasons in the NBA with Bol’s late father, Manute Bol.
Bol made plans to visit Kentucky the week after Payne visited him at Mater Dei. He also made an unofficial visit to UCLA on Sept. 23 and took his first official visit to Oregon a week later.
Mensah decided not to experience the full recruiting process. He verbally committed to San Diego State in August, the next step in a dream that didn’t begin until he reached his teens.
“I grew up playing soccer like everyone else in Ghana, but I kept growing taller and everybody said I should play basketball,” Mensah told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I tried it when I was 13 or 14, and I liked it.”
One of the coaches for San Diego State, Kwaku Amoaku, is also from Ghana and he played an instrumental role in attracting Mensah to the school.
“This is big for me and for our program, to have maybe our top prospect come to a school like San Diego State,” Amoaku said. “It’s also a huge deal for the country of Ghana. Kids are going to see him playing in college and try to become the next Joel Mensah.”
Sure enough, the Aztecs received another verbal commitment from a top player from Ghana. Nathan Mensah, a 6-10 post player like Joel Mensah, verbally committed to San Diego State on Oct. 4. They players are not related, but are good friends.
Getting back to the Trinity League, a couple dates to mark down are Jan. 12 and Jan. 31. Mater Dei hosts JSerra in the first league meeting and the Lions host the Monarchs in the second.