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Team surges with addition of Mexican phenom

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

How does a team go from 2-25 to a 14-1 start? As you might have guessed, getting a star from an under-17 national team never hurts.

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As reported by the Los Angeles Times and other Southern California media outlets, Montebello Cantwell (Calif.) Sacred Heart School is off to a blazing 14-win start, thanks in large part to the emergence of point guard newcomer Jose Estrada. The junior, who stands 6-foot-3 and is averaging more than 30 points per game, has truly come from nowhere, arriving in Southern California from Mexico before the start of the season.

Most recently, Estrada lit up Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon High for 47 points, the second time this season he has scored 47 points. Those stats alone should probably assuage doubts that Estrada is anything less a key component of Mexico's Under-17 national team, for whom he has already competed.

It's unknown why Estrada came north to compete at the high school level, but his emergence hasn't gone unnoticed. According to Sacred Heart's first-year basketball coach George Zedan, Estrada is already getting significant attention from top-level collegiate programs, including the coaching staffs from nearby UCLA and USC, both of whom were allegedly at his team's game on Monday.

"He's a Division I kid," Zedan told the Times. "He allows us to compete against some pretty decent competition."

That might be an understatement. If anything, there might be a legitimate question of whether it's even fair for Estrada to compete against some of the teams he faces off against. Given where he may be playing within the next two years, that's a legitimate question for a player who may soon have completed the process of going from completely off the radar to being one of the hottest prospects around.

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