Typically, a sophomore is lucky enough to earn significant playing time on the varsity. Even more rare, is the sophomore who can not only play but star. Kent (WA) Kentridge's sophomore star Gary Bell takes things even further. Averaging almost 19 points per game, the 6-foot-1 point guard is preparing to lead his squad into the state tournament on Thursday and has already earned scholarship offers.
"It feels great," said Bell. "I don't want to say that I'm lucky because I've worked hard for it. But, everybody dreams for this, to go to college and get a scholarship and it feels good."
Athletic and poised, Bell can break defenders down off the dribble and get into the paint where he's equally capable as a scorer and finisher. He shoots well enough to demand respect from the outside but knows that he's at his best in a specific type of system.
"I'd say uptempo suits me the best," said Bell. "My high school team that's all we play and with Rotary (summer club team) that's all we do too. Just run and gun."
Like most young guys, Bell looks to guys in the NBA when dreaming of his future. He does his best to create his own style and draws off his two favorite players. One isn't a surprise, the other is one that you don't hear so often from kids discussing their favorites.
"I like Kobe Bryant and Jameer Nelson," Bell said of his NBA favorites. "Kobe Bryant has been my favorite player since him and Shaq won those championships. I've liked Jameer Nelson since he was at St. Joseph's. Now he's kind of an up and comer in the league. He can score whenever he wants and he's real strong with ball. Plus, he's got Dwight Howard so he gets a lot of assists."
While other schools have been in contact, Bell is the most focused on Washington and Cal at this point. While the Huskies look to have been in contact the most, the Golden Bears aren't far behind.
"Well they haven't been talking to me as much," said Bell of Cal's approach. "But they've been sending me letters and coming out to watch me a lot."
According to Bell, he's quite interested in Cal and sees them and Washington as early favorites.
"They are a good school," said Bell of Cal. "I like them just as much as I like Washington, so they are about same"
For the time being, though, Bell remains focused on Thursday's foray into the state tournament. Not only that, he's still quite young and up in the air about when he'll get serious about making a decision on his future.
"I don't really know," Bell told Cal Sports Digest of when he'd like to make a decision. "I'm just keeping my options open right now and seeing what happens."