Pearson Carmichael came off the bench to average 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds as a sophomore last season. (Photo by Kris Cavin)
Pearson Carmichael came off the bench to average 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds as a sophomore last season. (Photo by Kris Cavin)

The loss of five starters from the best team in school history will force Summit's boys basketball team to shift gears next season.

Fortunately for the 6A runner-up Storm – who are moving to 5A – a key foundational piece is emerging in junior guard Pearson Carmichael.

The 6-foot-6 Carmichael has come into his own this offseason, impressing in camps and the AAU circuit. He has picked up scholarship offers from Portland and Pepperdine and is hearing from some Pac-12 schools such as Colorado, Utah and Washington State, according to Summit coach Jon Frazier.

“His rise has been pretty remarkable in the last 18 months or so,” Frazier said. “It's been pretty fun to see. He's turned himself into a heck of a player. The way he's put it all together, especially in this last year, has been impressive, for sure.”

Carmichael began last season as a swing player but worked his way into the rotation, averaging 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds and shooting 57.6 percent from the field and 62.1 percent on free throws. In a state semifinal win over Mountainside, he came off the bench to score 12 points in 15 minutes.

“By the end of February, there were a lot of times where he would be playing starter minutes for us,” Frazier said. “You could see his confidence grow. And those older kids, they gained confidence in Pearson.”

Despite his size, Carmichael has the skill set of a shooting guard, Frazier said. He can put the ball on the floor and can score inside and out, possessing deep shooting range. He also is a good decision-maker in the pick-and-roll.

He creates match-up problems for opponents, backing down smaller defenders for easy baskets and taking bigger players out on the perimeter to face-up against them.

“At the high school level, he's just dynamic with his skill set and size,” Frazier said. “He's exactly what a lot of college coaches are looking for these days. Someone that can guard twos, threes and fours, that can play on the wing and shoot the ball really well. As a 3-and-D prospect at his length, with his skill set, is something that I think is pretty enticing.”

Carmichael received an offer from Portland in March, and after standing out in prospect camps in Seattle and Southern California this summer, he picked up an offer from Pepperdine in late June. He will spend the rest of July in Southern California playing for an AAU team from San Diego.

Carmichael and junior guard Collin Moore, Summit's other key returning player, will have expanded roles this season as the team copes with the loss of its two leading scorers, guard Julian Mora and forward Caden Harris.

“Last year, he was able to play a lot off those other guys, and was able to find ways to score,” Frazier said. “This year, we're certainly going to have the ball in his hands a lot more, running our offense through him. I think he's going to have a huge year.”

Strickland returns to Demos

One year after ending his highly successful run as the coach at Jefferson, Pat Strickland has returned as the coach of the Democrats.

Strickland, who went 274-71 with five state titles in 13 seasons, has been hired to replace Thomas Gardner. The Democrats went 2-21 in their one season under Gardner.

“At the time I stepped down, I thought I was going to be done for good,” Strickland said. “I was traveling around, going to NBA and NFL games. When I was home, I was bored, and I want to get back active and busy. It's not like I didn't enjoy thoroughly coaching. An opportunity presented itself, and lo and behold, I'm back.”

Strickland said he missed coaching at Jefferson “a lot.” He considered other high school jobs in Oregon that opened before Jefferson's did.

“I thought about it, and I'm like, 'No, If I'm going to coach high school basketball, it's going to have to be only at Jefferson,'” Strickland said. “Some things happened, and the Jefferson position opened up.”

Jefferson went 14-3 in the shortened 2021 season before the team's two best players, guard Lamar Washington and forward Mookie Cook, transferred to a prep school in Arizona. When three of the other top returning players decided not to play last season, the Democrats were forced to go young.

“It was hard,” Strickland said. “I knew that Thomas came in with a tough situation.”

Strickland said that one of those other three players, guard Sanborne Melson, is coming back for his senior season. The Democrats also could get a lift from transfers – senior guard Donavon Ferguson from Gresham and junior guards TJ Latu and Quincy Aranda from 3A powerhouse De La Salle North Catholic.

Two freshmen entering Jefferson this year are among the best in their class in Portland, according to Strickland.

“We'll see how it shakes out,” Strickland said. “I'm excited just to get back in the building and hopefully help things looking somewhat like they used to.”

Lyslo on the move

Erik Lyslo has stepped down as coach at Gresham to return to 2A Portland Christian.

Lyslo went 65-75 in six seasons with the Gophers, leading them to the 6A playoffs three times. The team improved greatly after finishing 2-22 in his first season in 2017.

In a message to Gresham families, Lyslo said he is “so happy” with his time at Gresham.

“I have no doubt this is just the start of even greater success at Gresham,' Lyslo said. “The talent on our varsity team next year, and the extremely talented younger players coming through, make this one of the best jobs in the state, in my opinion.”

Lyslo spent four seasons as the coach at Portland Christian, compiling a 31-48 record, before taking over at Gresham. He said that returning to Portland Christian was a “family-based decision” in that his son and daughter will attend the school in the next six years.

“This is an opportunity I could not pass up,” he said.

Portland Christian went 2-23 last season under first-year coach Richard Gassner.