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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveDecember 21, 2014, 11:18am
As the games got bigger, Ivan Rabb played better.
Rabb, a 6-foot-11 senior forward for Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.), was as good as advertised in this past week's Iolani Prep Classic — and that's saying something.
ESPN rates Rabb — who has yet to make a college commitment — as the fifth-best player in the class of 2015. Whatsmore, USA Today ranks the Dragons as its No. 11 team in the Super 25 national rankings.
In Saturday's championship game Rabb poured in a game-high 27 points despite being in foul trouble for most of the contest, which Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) won 58-49.
Rabb picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter. The second — which negated a thunderous putback jam — was for going over the back of a defender. He was whistled for his third foul at the 4:40 mark of the second quarter on a drive into the paint by Oak Hill's Joe Hampton.
"It was definitely tough," Rabb said. "I don't get in foul trouble often, but this was the second time this happen this year, so I kind of knew what I needed to do."
Bishop O'Dowd coach Lou Richie sat Rabb for the rest of the first half, but he played the entirety of the third quarter and did not pick up his fourth foul until there was 2:19 left to play.
"After I got that third one I didn't get my fourth until the fourth quarter, so I think I did a good job managing it throughout the start of the second half and throughout the whole fourth quarter, too," said Rabb, who scored 10 points in the first quarter alone.
With Rabb on the bench, 6-foot-9 senior forward Isaiah Thomas stepped up, notably on the defensive end, where he had three first-half blocks.
"Isaiah Thomas played great and we expect that from him every game," Rabb said. "He basically showed his potential tonight and I'm definitely proud of him because we were telling him to step up like that throughout the whole tournament, so if he continues to play like that college coaches are definitely going to take notice and we need him to win every other game this season."
Still, there is no disputing that Rabb — who scored 22 points in a semifinal win over Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.) Friday and had a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) in a quarterfinal victory over Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.) Thursday — is the go-to-guy for the Dragons.
Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said defending Rabb took a team effort.
"We put (6-foot-9) Khadim (Sy) in there, who hadn't played much, and he stepped up. As did (6-foot-10 Ohio State-commit) Daniel (Giddens) and (6-foot-7) Joe (Hampton)," Smith said. "Some guys stepped up off the bench and played really well for us."
Richie said Rabb's foul trouble was difficult to overcome, but also provided an opportunity for other players to contribute.
"It was tough, but you ask your team to be resilient and you want them to play without them and we've got to be good enough to do that," Richie said.
The teams could potentially face off two more times this season. Both squads are participating in a January tournament in Springfield, Mo. and are slated for a Feb. 7 showdown in Santa Ana, Calif.
"I know a lot of players on the other team and I know it's going to be a battle each time we play them and we're going to play them again," said Rabb, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "I'm looking forward to it. I wish we could play again tonight. It was a fun game. We know it's going to be another battle and we're just going to get ready for it."
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