Class 56 players to watch
Fedonta “JB” White, sophomore, Santa Fe High
It’s been a whirlwind offseason for this 6-foot-6 guard-forward hybrid, a player some say is a phenom, a once-in-a-generation type to come through Santa Fe. He landed unofficial scholarship offers from Utah and New Mexico this summer, adding a huge amount of pressure on a player who is as good as anyone has seen in these parts in years. He plays like a guard and has the length to dominate inside. He’s fast, can jump out of the building and plays with a sense of confidence that benefits both the team and his own game. Barring injury, he should have a huge year for a team on the verge of a breakthrough season.
T.J. Sanchez, junior, Capital
History has shown that it’s hard to scan the Jaguars’ roster and pick out any one player who stands head and shoulders above the rest because, let’s face it, the team’s strength has always been its ability to blend multiple levels of talent and mold it all into a machine. Sanchez could be one of those stand-out types, given his ability to lower his head and drive into the heart of the defense’s trees in the lane. He also has the ball skills to create his own shot from anywhere inside, say, 24 feet, not to mention absorb contact and get to the line. As a 5-9 guard, he’ll be asked to help run the show but it’s certainly something he has the skills to do — and do well.
Taylor Salazar, senior, Santa Fe High
You can pick just about anyone out of a lineup and start rooting for them on athletic ability alone. This 5-foot-7 guard is no different. When she’s on, she’s as good as anyone you’ll see. What sets her apart and, really, what makes her worthy of your attention is the fact that she’s coming off reconstructive knee surgery and is grinding through a senior year in the state’s largest classification. There’s no telling how the knee holds up, but given the fact that it’s a team leader with the dominant ability Salazar possesses, it’s a safe bet that the next few months will be interesting to watch. Can she be the quick-cutting dynamo she has been in the past. Let’s find out.
Kyannah Cole, senior, Capital
There’s a certain humility that comes with having your team get kicked around more times than you can count. This 5-8 guard/forward knows all about that, having spent her early years at Capital on teams that had no real chance at success. The tide shifted in the right direction last year with the introduction of Darren Casados as head coach, and he rounded Cole into the team’s top scoring threat. She is proficient at finding space and creating shots that fit her game — which is to say anything close enough that allows her to attack the rim without having to set up the offense as the point guard. She did miss the end of last season with a knee injury. Like Salazar, she’s working on catching up.