The wizardry, and the imponderable, of Brock Ravet

The first time Brock Ravet cast up a shot Monday at the King Showcase in Kent, it was from near-Steph Curry territory on the right wing.

“Oh, my God,” muttered a guy a couple of rows behind me.

Ravet missed. In fact, in a rough start for his Class 2B Kittitas High team against 4A Kentlake, Ravet forced things, going 0 for 5 with three first-quarter turnovers. Then he settled in, and when the afternoon was done, he had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Kittitas had broken from a 13-13 second-quarter tie to a 77-52 walk in the park.

I don’t claim to be the most sagacious at projecting what might be ahead for high school basketball prospects. There are eyes much more trained and discerning than mine at that.

But I’ve seen high school games of a good many future Gonzaga players over the years – Dan Dickau, Adam Morrison, David Pendergraft, Steven Gray, Josh Heytvelt, Gary Bell Jr., Cory Kispert, Anton Watson – and I’d have to say of all of them, I found Ravet’s game most intriguing. That doesn’t make it the best, or the most promising, but it certainly seems flush with possibilities. (For the record, although I liked Morrison, I didn’t foresee the huge national splash he created, but I don’t know if anybody else did, either.)

First, in the grand tradition of Gonzaga guards (and a virtual must in Mark Few’s system), Ravet (say Ruh-VAY) can shoot. His pet shot appears to be a step-back effort, and he drilled maybe three of them from 25-foot range.

He went 11 for 25 from the field, but don’t be alarmed by the percentage. A good many of the misses were from mid-range or in traffic. He can fill it.

Right away, you can see some of the things that caught Gonzaga coaches’ eyes: He has great court vision, he has a feel for tempo and he’s an exceptional passer. Time and time again, he gunned 35-to-40 foot passes to open teammates. Listed at 6-1 and 175 pounds and widely termed a combo guard, he’s at least a capable ball-handler.

Kentlake tried some box-and-one against Ravet. As he’s now within 129 points of the all-time state scoring record (Lance DenBoer, Sunnyside Christian, had 2,851 in the early 2000s), you’d have to figure the guy has pretty much seen it all.

His dad and coach, Tim Ravet, ascribed the slow start to adjusting to a different level of competition.

“I felt he forced it a little at the start of the game, not knowing how quick they are compared to what we play,” the senior Ravet said. “If we have a step on somebody in our division, usually they’re going to outrun the guy. I felt we got that to where he played quarterback a little longer (with the ball) in his hands until it opened up.”

After those initial rocky moments, you were left with a feeling of what’s-he-gonna-do-next? Once, he blew into the lane and did a tight spin-dribble. But he missed the shot and fouled at the other end. On the last two possessions of the third quarter, he called for the ball outside the left block, took a dribble back and swished a 16-footer, and then, with the clock running out, nailed a deep three to push the lead to 65-36.

On one 2-on-1 possession, he drove, hung the ball on his hip as if to go behind the back to a teammate and instead laid it in.

At times, there’s a hint of reckless abandon in Ravet’s game, probably the result of having his way with things against mostly inferior competition. The trick will be for Gonzaga to curb carelessness while preserving the creativity.

Few is pretty good at that.

The persistent question is whether Ravet has enough quickness, especially to guard on the perimeter. On this day, against a 9-9 Kentlake team that doesn’t have great size, he spent most of the time defending the post.

Ravet says the GU coaches would like him to work on quickness and develop a floater. He says he’ll be doing frequent Vertimax cable-resistance work at Kittitas to improve quickness. As with most high school players, he can add strength, but you wouldn’t consider him slender right now, either.

Can he play up? Can he make the move from dominating the game in a town of 1,500 that he’s led to two state titles to a program whose caliber is now national-championship contender? The Zags recently missed on a player of Ravet’s exact size, Jesse Wade, although that might have had something to do with Wade’s two-year interruption on a church mission.

“That’s up to him and Few and the coaching staff there,” Tim Ravet said, referring to the jump in competition. “He’s got to continue to build skill and get stronger, to work and improve. At least the opportunity is there.

“Seeing the floor and being a willing passer, I think that’s what they like about him. And that’s not going to change at the next level. He’s going to be able to do more of that. The harder shots he takes sometimes (now), he’s going to be able to take the right shots, and see the right (open) players. So I think he’s got a chance.”

On a languid Monday afternoon in January enlivened by his son, there was nothing to suggest otherwise.