August 27, 2010
Cali High Sports is coming out with the best and most accurate list of the top Cali players for each sport. We add basketball to our rankings where an extremely talented 2011 class features maybe the best crop of athletes California has seen in years.
We continue our countdown to number 1 with Price big man Norvel Pelle. Norvel was a key player on last year's state title team and figures to taken over leadership duties from departing Allen Crabbe this year.
#7 Norvel Pelle
Schools Considering: USC, Kansas, Syracuse, Connecticut
Athletic big men are a rare and prized commodity in basketball. At the high school level especially, big men are usually uncoordinated, lumbering, out of shape players who are lacking a discernible basketball skill besides size.
Norvel Pelle is nothing like the above mentioned player, and this is why he is regarded as one of top prospects on the west and has some of the most prestigious basketball schools in the country fighting for his services.
Pelle has a great frame for a center combined with impressive athletic tools. At 6'9 he has all the requisite height, especially for this level, but really has great length. His wingspan is that of somebody 7'1 and he has really big hands.
Norvel has great jumping ability, but perhaps more importantly gets off the ground extremely quickly. Most guys his size have to sort of windup for their jumps but Norvel sort of glides effortlessly off the floor. His jumping ability and wingspan combine to give him predictably great shot blocking ability. He can block shots as a trailer on the fast break, tip balls off big men trying to do post moves and is great at rotating over to block the shots of penetrating guards. At the very least Norvel alters almost all shots.
Despite his lanky frame - he is really going to need to add weight at the next level - Pelle has wiry strength. He can body up a big man one on one and guys can't necessarily overwhelm him physically on the block.
Norvel is a great athlete. Lots of big men tire as the game goes along and have trouble getting up and down the court, but not Pelle. He is always back of defense establishing himself as a post presence and routinely beats his man down on the court on offense, which leads to easy transition baskets. He is very quick and stay in front of anybody his size on the defensive end and if he develops a handle will be able to blow by guys on offense.
As other big men tire as the game goes along, Norvel stays strong and this is a huge advantage for him.
On offense Norvel gets most his points off tip ins and put backs. He has a great motor and a good knack for being around the ball and making a play happen. He is aggressive enough that he can slam it over somebody and is working on his post game. His post game as shown promise and he can hit an elbow jumper if you give it to him.
Norvel is a very solid player who has unlimited potential.
The next level?: Norvel is being looked at by some of the best basketball schools in the country. At the very least, Norvel could be an incredible defensive presence in college. His reactions, size and shot blocking ability draw Emeka Okafor comparisons and UConn is high atop the list of the big man's schools.
If he can develop his offensive game, Norvel will become a complete player. His offense has really improved over the last 2 years and it will be interesting to see what progress another summer of work brought.
The biggest question mark about Norvel is his strength. He is affectionally called 'sticks' because of his skinny frame but he's improving on it. The most important thing is Norvel has a good frame for putting on muscle. He has wide hips and broad shoulders so over time the weight should come. Once he enters a college level training program, this should be no issue.
Cali High Grade:95