Reese McGuire Ready For MLB Draft

Before Reese McGuire can think too much about the MLB Draft, he wants to lead Kentwood High School to another state championship. The highly touted catcher helped the Conquerors win the 4A (Washington’s largest classification) title last year, and another trophy would cap an unforgettable senior season.

Reese McGuire | MLB Draft

Reese McGuire (center) with Kentwood teammates

“The season is great,” McGuire told me. “We got first in league, so it was awesome. Our pitching stepped up and everyone has done their part to make the team better.”

Even though he’s focused on “the now,” McGuire isn’t afraid to look ahead to the MLB Draft in a few weeks.

“This next month is going to be pretty sweet,” he said.

There’s plenty of reason for excitement. McGuire, listed at 6’1″ and 195 pounds, is considered one of the best high school players in the country. He was named a preseason All-American and was also tabbed the USA Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .400 with 4 doubles and 11 runs batted in for Team USA at the IBAF 18U World Championship in September.

“This game is everything I’ve known,” said McGuire. “This was my favorite sport as a kid. I was playing basketball and football, but just always had that extra love and passion for this game. I’m truly blessed to come out to the field every day. I don’t take it for granted.”

Reese McGuire | MLB Draft

Reese McGuire taking batting practice in the cage

Baseball America ranked McGuire as the fourth best draft-eligible high school prospect (and the top prep catcher) in the nation before the season started. Some experts have him going early in the first round (as high as 6th overall to the Miami Marlins), while others have McGuire pegged late in the first round. One thing is in common — he’ll be snatched up quickly.

“As a kid I was like, ‘Man, I want to be a professional baseball player,’ McGuire told me. “I never really thought it could come after high school. Just growing up and getting that exposure, it opened up my eyes to a different route.”

McGuire’s original plan was to go to college. That’s why he committed to the University of San Diego. The Teroros would love nothing more than for McGuire to head south next season, but now he has a tough decision to make. Will he play college or professional baseball?

“It’s a win-win situation either way,” McGuire said. “As of right now, I have an awesome school lined up, and that was the path. If something special happens during the draft, which I hope so, then it’s going to be my decision with my family and my advisor. We’re going to do what’s best.”

Reese McGuire | MLB Draft

Reese McGuire taking infield at Kentwood

Scouts rave about McGuire’s tools. He has speed, he can hit for average and power (he hit .417 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI in 24 games at Kentwood this year), but nothing tops McGuire’s skills behind the plate. His high school coach Mark Zender, who’s been coaching for 30 years, says McGuire is the most talented player he’s ever had, and he believes Reese is “major league ready defensively right now.”

“When I’m behind the dish, I feel like I’m at home,” said McGuire. “I just think I have good leadership back there. I’m the only guy facing the field, and I get a good bond with the pitcher. That reverts to offense and being a leader with the bat too.”

There’s no arguing the future is bright for Reese McGuire. A defensive-minded catcher who can swing the bat is one of the most coveted jewels in the game. McGuire is humble, he has a good head on his shoulders, and more than enough talent to have a long, successful career in professional baseball.

Have you ever watched Reese McGuire on the baseball field? What did you think of him? Where do you think he’ll go in the MLB Draft? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You should also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and more!

P.S. This is a story I put together on Reese McGuire for my television station. Take a look for more on the MLB Draft prospect:

High School Halfcourt Game-Winning Buzzer Beater

It’s not quite college basketball’s March Madness, but high school hoops provide plenty of excitement in February. State championships hang in the balance throughout district, regional and state tournaments all over the country. Sometimes an entire season comes down to the final seconds of a game. In this instance, Kentwood (Wash.) High School star Jackson Huerta kept his team’s dreams alive with an amazing overtime halfcourt game-winning buzzer beater against Emerald Ridge High School.

Like the beginning of the video explains, Kentwood trailed Emerald Ridge 51-50 with 2.5 seconds left in a loser-out South Puget Sound League tournament game. Jeremy Harris calmly pushed the Emerald Ridge advantage to 52-50 after he made his free throw, but Kentwood wasn’t done. They gave the ball to Jackson Huerta, who quickly sprinted up the left side of the court. With two guys on him, Huerta fired off a halfcourt prayer before the buzzer. After a lucky bounce off the backboard, the front of the rim and the backboard again, the ball fell into the hoop for an unbelievable game-winning buzzer beater.

After his game-winner, Huerta told the Tacoma News Tribune that he felt good about his halfcourt shot the moment it left his hand:

“I am comfortable from the left (side),” Huerta said. “I spin it a little bit.”

That spin (or whatever it was Huerta did to make the game-winning buzzer beater) means Kentwood earned the final seed to the district tournament, while the miraculous shot ended the season for Emerald Ridge. It was a heartbreaking demise for the Jaguars and a thrilling victory for the Conquerors, and it shows just how much 2.5 seconds can actually mean in the game of basketball. I guess that’s why they call it madness.

What do you think of the halfcourt game-winning buzzer beater by Jackson Huerta? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can also check out more from the world of sports, music and food right now on http://allaroundtim.com!

Jackson Huerta Game-Winning Buzzer Beater

Jackson Huerta just moments before he launched his game-winning buzzer beater.