Monday, March 21, 2016

Sacred Heart's Mustapha Heron is best CT high school player I've seen

I've seen some pretty good high school basketball players through the years.
I have never seen anyone like Mustapha Heron. He is the best high school player I have seen.
I didn't get a chance to see Waterbury greats like Phil Lott, or state standouts like Marcus Camby. I only know about them and players older than them because of stories I've read or overheard.
I only recall seeing Ryan Gomes once, but that was in a memorable double overtime game in The Pit against Mark Konecny and Holy Cross. Gomes hadn't developed his physique at that point, but you could easily see the talent he had.
I did get to see star NVL players like Damian Saunders, Jordan Williams, Desmond Williams, Anthony Ireland and B.J. Monteiro. Outside the NVL, there were players like Dave McClure (Duke), who played for Trinity Catholic, and Michael Moore, who suited up for Hillhouse. I can thank my dad for taking me to so many games and sharing my interest in high school basketball.
Sacred Heart standout Mustapha Heron is the best high school
player I have ever seen in person.
Heron is the best I have ever seen. Period. End of discussion.
The southpaw Heron made two plays this season with his off hand that left me in awe.
In a regular season game against Holy Cross, Heron got the ball, dribbled the length of the sideline with his right hand. He went to the basket and rammed the ball with his right hand. He only handled the ball with his left hand for a couple seconds at most while grabbing the rebound. He moved the ball to his right hand, then he was off to the races. Here's video of that dunk
The second play was during a state tournament game against Granby Memorial. Heron rebounded an air ball and threw a three-quarter court pass -- with his right hand -- to fellow senior Charles Fisher for the slam. Here's video of that pass.
Heron had many more memorable plays in his three years at Sacred Heart, where he scored over 2,000 points. I'm sure you can find plenty of highlights on The Zone (Waterbury Republican-American) or even with just a YouTube search. Go for it. You will be entertained.
Heron said this about his three years at Sacred Heart when interviewed by CPTV Sports after Saturday's win over Notre Dame-Fairfield.
"It means the world," Heron said of winning three straight titles. "Once I came to Sacred Heart, I told the coaching staff that I wanted to win three, and that's exactly what we did."
I was there for his first two state titles, against Valley Regional, and you could see the budding superstar in him. Debate Sacred Heart's out-of-NVL competition -- with the exception of schools like Foothills Christian and Long Island Lutheran -- all you want. That doesn't take away from what a special player Mustapha Heron is. 
Heron isn't built like most high school kids you see. He's 6-foot-5, but a chiseled 6-5. He has terrific range, can dribble to create his shot, be it a mid-range turnaround or a hard drive to the basket. And oh yeah, he can finish around the rim. Heron could get his when he wanted in high school, but he could also set up teammates. He was also a good rebounder, even though he didn't have to be with players like Tyrn Flowers and J.T. Riddick roaming the paint. Heron is the kind of player who can lead the fast break himself after grabbing a rebound.
Heron is headed to Auburn to play for Bruce Pearl. He's already a strong kid with great athleticism, and I can't even begin to imagine what he will be like after the Tiger staff gets him in a Division I weight room. Heron has the drive to be great, and I look forward to watching him in SEC games.
There will be other great players to take the courts in Waterbury, but none will be like Mustapha Heron. I'll close this post out with Heron's last dunk ever in a game in Alumni Hall.

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