April 02, 2011
For the second consecutive year, there were no California players selected to the McDonald’s High School All-American game. There is no denying that there has been a recent talent swoon in California but the class of 2012 is about to change that trend. Dynamic guards, talented swingmen and dominant big men highlight an incredibly deep class and Cali High Sports looks at the best of the best in our countdown of the top 30 players for 2012.
We continue our countdown with Harvard-Westlake small forward Josh Hearlihy, an incredibly fundamentally sound player who’s growing body and refined skill make him a solid Division 1 prospect.
#20 Josh Hearlihy
Position: Small Forward
Schools Considering: Arizona State, Stanford, Notre Dame, Portland (interest but no official offers)
Josh Hearlihy has a feel for basketball that can’t be taught. His mom is the coach for Harvard-Westlake’s girls’ team and it’s clear Josh was groomed to be a basketball player.
Hearlihy always seems to make the right decisions on the court. He is an incredibly deft passer who knows how to rotate the ball effectively and find guys cutting to the basket. He makes solid entry passes and is excellent at leading a fast break, especially for a guy his size. He rarely turns the ball over and has good instincts when it comes down to tracking down loose balls.
Josh is a strong rebounder who uses his long wingspan and surprising hops to get an edge on the glass. He has a low base and is good at boxing out bigger men in order to grab rebounds and crashes the boards hard after missed shots. He doesn’t shy away from contact, never afraid to take a beating down low. He is a good on ball defender and alters plenty of shots at the basket thanks to his lanky arms.
Hearlihy is one of the most efficient offensive players in California. A lefty, Hearlihy has an incredibly smooth jumper with consistent range all the way out to the three point line. He is great at hitting jump shots from the corners coming off baseline screens and has a solid 18-footer that he hits regularly from the shoulder. However what makes Hearlihy such a fun player to watch is the way he attacks the basket with reckless abandonment. He has very solid handles for a big man and can take his man to the basket if the defender tries to pressure the ball and once there can finish with either hand. He does a remarkable job drawing contact when he attacks the rim, sending him to the free throw line where he is a very solid free throw shooter.
Hearlihy is a real hustle player and gets lots of easy points off of offensive rebounds, tip ins and put backs. He had a few electric put back dunks for Harvard-Westlake this year and when watching him play in person, you really understand that he is an extremely athletic forward. Hearlihy needs to tighten up his release a little bit and improve his lateral quickness, however, expect offers to start coming in bunches this summer for this multi-dimensional forward.
The next level?: Hearlihy definitely fits the profile of a big time Division 1 player. Between his pedigree, fundamentals and surprisingly strong athleticism he has all the tools necessary to be a successful wing player in college. He is a legitimate 6’7 and is still growing into his frame.
Arizona State is pursuing Hearlihy the most intensely but expect late offers for Josh as he is the type of player who can have such a dominating senior high school season that big time programs can't continue looking the other way.
Cali High Grade: 81