Gabe York turned in a York-like 26 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals performance in a first-round California state playoffs win over Dana Hills Thursday at Orange Lutheran High School. York, along with the help of Payton Banks who added 13 points, easily helped lead the Lancers to a convincing 70-46 victory.
The 6-foot-2 guard, who signed with Arizona’s Class of 2012, is one of the most dynamic combo guards in the country. Further, he’s one of the most athletic players in the country, again showing off his gravity-defying hops Friday with what is arguably the dunk of the year in high school basketball. With less than 10 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Banks found York back cutting to the basket. The alley-oop pass and flush left those in attendance dumbstruck at what just unfolded – a slam dunk for the ages.
While York has had some remarkable dunks in his career, none compare to the one he threw down Thursday in the City of Orange. In what had been a competitive first quarter, Orange Lutheran’s onslaught over the final three quarters was fueled by the alley-oop dunk that not only resulted in York slamming the ball home, but sinking an all-net free throw make to cap off the three-point play.
As impressive as the slam was, perhaps more impressive was the spot up trey York hit in the closing seconds of the second quarter, a trey that swished through the net from about 26-feet out. What made the trey special was how natural the shot looked to York who’s known around the high school basketball scene as having one of the smoother strokes with absolutely no limit to his range.
York is a tremendous basketball product, but for those in the know his play on the court is perfectly complimented by his infectious personality that draws fans into his corner. Before, during and after games, York makes every fan in attendance feel welcomed. He’s hugging family members, high-fiving the parents and relatives of his teammates, waving to the student body in the stands, even stopping on his way to the water cooler in timeouts to hug and pat the heads of the small children at the game brave enough to approach the high school superstar.
His passion for life is as high as his passion for the game, and it’s on the court under the bright lights of competitive basketball where it becomes obvious that York is not only a special player but a special person. There’s no doubt York is at home in the gymnasium, a place where his smiles are as big as his roars.
During Thursday’s first-round, Class 5A victory, I had the opportunity to meet the nurse that helped ‘nurse’ York back to health following his appendectomy surgery at the mid-season mark. Desiree told me that when York first awoke following the surgery, once he got his bearings straight, the first thing he asked her was if he could play in Orange Lutheran’s basketball game that Saturday.
Desiree’s account of York’s first minutes following surgery describes how much of a competitor he is.
I remember talking to York following his verbal commitment to Arizona. He told me then that one of the things he liked most about Arizona was the ability to walk across campus at midnight to the McKale Center to get in some extra shots and practice.
There’s little doubt that Sean Miller & Co. signed a great one in York, and while many will remember tonight’s dunk, this writer will remember that Gabe York is more than just an incredible athlete, but an incredible young man with a bright future because his priorities are in order on and off the court.
Gary Randazzo is a national basketball analyst for 247 Sports, and the Publisher of WildcatSportsReport.com.