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A crystal ball forecast for high school sports in 2023

It’s time to peer into my crystal ball to see what 2023 has in store for the Southland’s high school athletes (and a few former ones), coaches and fans.

Ralphy Velazquez of Huntington Beach will hit so many home runs that he’ll be called the next Aaron Judge. …

Rodrick Pleasant of Gardena Serra will receive an NIL deal from Nike, then run the fastest 100 meters by a high school athlete in U.S. history. …

Bryce Young will be the first pick in the NFL draft and celebrate with a Dr Pepper. …

Juju Watkins of Chatsworth Sierra Canyon will be so good on the basketball court that a debate will ensue whether she should skip college and go directly to the WNBA. …

Lake Balboa Birmingham will win the City Section baseball championship at Dodger Stadium behind pitcher Daniel Flores, allowing coach Matt Mowry to break into tears. …

After going 29-0 in tennis during the regular season, Skye Belker of L.A. Windward will head to Princeton for basketball and challenge anyone on campus to a game of H-O-R-S-E followed by a set of tennis, with the winner declared best athlete on campus. …

Junior guard Trent Perry of Harvard-Westlake will sign an NIL deal with a toothpaste company because he smiles so much on the court. “That will never go away,” he said. “If I don’t have a smile, I’m not enjoying the game. And if I’m not enjoying the game, what’s the point of playing?” …

Basketball coaches Todd Wolfson (La Canada St. Francis) and Matt Sargeant (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame) will compete for NIL water representation, matching Pellegrino against Italian sparkling water. …

Jack Turner of Bellflower St. John Bosco will be contacted by a shampoo company after they see his hair is perfect for a TV commercial. …

The first greeting for a high school football recruit to a college recruiter will be, “Show me the money.” …

Marcus Adams Jr. of Harbor City Narbonne will shatter a glass backboard with a dunk. …

Newport Beach Sage Hill will be the surprise spoiler in girls’ basketball. …

The San Juan Capistrano JSerra baseball program, which has 20 players committed to colleges, will be ranked No. 1 in the nation and scrimmage the Angels. …

Quarterback Elijah Brown of Santa Ana Mater Dei will celebrate the end of his high school career with a Division 1 championship and an overall record of 43-1. …

The Arcadia Invitational on April 8 will have a sold-out crowd that goes crazy when the gun goes off for the 100 meters, featuring Serra’s Pleasant running against Long Beach Jordan’s Jordan Washington and Los Alamitos’ Devin Bragg. …

Sylmar basketball coach Bort Escoto will celebrate the New Year by picking up his 30th career technical in his 30th year of coaching, making him a perfect candidate for ESPN’s 30 for 30. …

Long Beach Poly will have the best girls’ flag football team in the Southern Section. …

Deion Sanders, Jedd Fisch, Lincoln Riley, Chip Kelly, Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin and Jim Harbaugh will become social media pals with Newbury Park quarterback Brady Smigiel. …

There will be so many fans wanting to attend the Sierra Canyon-Harvard-Westlake basketball game in Studio City on Jan. 20 that the Wolverines will implement a lottery ticket system and consult with Taylor Swift to make sure it works. …

Oklahoma-bound Ella Parker of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame will be so feared in softball that one opponent will intentionally walk her with the bases loaded. …

Gavin Grahovac of Villa Park will prove to be the best pro baseball prospect from Southern California. …

Quentin Young, a 6-foot-5 freshman baseball player at Westlake Village Oaks Christian and the nephew of former major leaguer Dmitri Young, will have people predicting “future first-round draft pick.” …

Trevor Ariza and his 14-year-old freshman son, Tajh, who scored 15 points for St. Bernard.

Trevor Ariza and his 14-year-old freshman son, Tajh, who scored 15 points for St. Bernard.

(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Someone will organize a celebrity basketball game matching the sons against their NBA fathers named Arenas, Ariza, James, Pippen and Horry, and the sons will surprise the aching, limping dads. …

St. John Bosco will finally get to play Mater Dei at SoFi Stadium in a football game that brings out more than 20,000 fans and, most important, doesn’t charge $100 for parking. …

Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills will break the City Section record in the 400 meters. …

More high school athletes will start wearing jerseys with the name Messi on the back than Curry. …

The best basketball game of 2023 will be unbeaten Etiwanda facing unbeaten Sierra Canyon for the Division 1 girls’ title. …

Anthony Hrboka of San Pedro will make 10 three-pointers in a game, then ask to practice more threes afterward. …

Gavin Taylor of Birmingham will hit for the cycle. …

Ryon Sayeri of West Hills Chaminade will break the state record with a 64-yard field goal, then do a dance that ends up on TikTok. …

Pasadena La Salle principal Jamal Adams, the former basketball coach at L.A. Loyola, will be either the next Southern Section commissioner, the next assistant commissioner in charge of basketball, the next principal at Loyola or whatever position he wants. . . .

There will be so many quarterbacks switching schools during the off season that their parents will help end the real estate recession looking for housing.



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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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