Backcourt of Semetri Carr, Andrew Hilman lead Riordan into Cali Live 24 Pool 1-2 championship game

The newly-formed Thunder and Lightning tandem have meshed immedately with wide variety skills
Four-star junior guard Andrew Hilman is considered the swiss army knife of the Northern California power Archbishop Riordan Crusaders, who will play Damien in the Cali Live 24 Pool 1-2 championship Sunday in Roseville.
Four-star junior guard Andrew Hilman is considered the swiss army knife of the Northern California power Archbishop Riordan Crusaders, who will play Damien in the Cali Live 24 Pool 1-2 championship Sunday in Roseville. / Photo: Todd Shurtleff

ROSEVILLE, CALIFORNIA — The talent is everywhere on the Archbishop Riordan high school boys basketball roster.

But the backcourt of senior Semetri Carr and junior Andrew Hilman, a pair of four-star prospects is truly special.

Special enough to help the Crusaders to a 3-0 record through two days of the Cali Live 24 event at Roebbelen Center.

The collection of 168 of the top California teams along with adjoining states Arizona, Nevada and Oregon is a showcase during the Live period for college coaches to evaluate and make offers.

Carr, a 6-foot lightning rod, gained five college offers last week at a similar event, Section 7 in Phoenix Ariz. at cavernous State Farm Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play football.

Like State Farm, Roebbelen fit 12 courts where games are played simutaneously for roughly 10 hours three days straight.

Hilman, a rugged 6-3 all-around guard, not as flashy but equally productive, has seven college offers thus far including Cal, Washington and UCSB. Carr, with an extra year of play, has 12 offers, including Cal, Washington, USC and SMU.

Both of their college stock will continue to rise as they play together — they've only done so for about a month though they joined forces for the AAU Oakland Soldiers program — and win.

The Crusaders, the defending Central Coast Section Open Division champions, won two more games Saturday over Roosevelt-Portland (Ore.) 81-54 and Sunnyslope (Ariz.) 55-48, vaulting them into Sunday's Pool 1-2 championship game against Damien, which defeated Redondo Union (71-68) and De La Salle (39-37).

Riordan coach Joey Curtin has been thrilled with the play of his team, the includes three transfers after losing eight seniors off last season's 25-5 team. The backcourt of Carr and Hilman is so solid and at times spectacular.

Carr has almost doubled his college offers  — now at 12 — since transferring from Branson to Riordan.
Riordan senior Semetri Carr walks the ball up court during his team's 80-50 win over Destiny Christian in the Boys Cali Live 24 event Friday in Roseville. / Photo: Todd Shurtleff

Of Carr he said: “He’s such a pure point guard. He can create for himself and others. And he’s a great defender and rebounder.” 

Said Hilman of Carr: "Semetri is really important for us offensively and defensively. He's helping me to lead the team when he and Jasir (Rencher) and Steven (Emeneke) leave next year."

Said Carr of Hilman: "He's such a swiss-army knife. I think we compliment each other really well. With him and I and the rest of the guys I really think we have the best team in California and definitely the backcourt.

"(Hilman) does all the little things that don't always show up on the stat sheet. Diving for that loose ball, getting all those 50-50 balls, rebounding, guarding the other team's best player. He's a special player for sure."

When asked about their athletic idols and NBA players they like to pattern their games after, both came up with different players.

Being a Bay Area product, Carr has always loved Stephen Curry, but also tried to pick up the "footwork of Jalen Brunson, the ball-handling and shot-making of Kyrie Irving and game mentality of Anthony Edwards."

For Hilman, it's always been about Donovan Mitchell. "I really like his game, his intensity, his defense," Hilman said. "I need to work on my offensive side to be like him, but one day I hope to be at his point."

Hilman said though Cali Live 24 is a place to showcase his skills for college coaches, more of a focus is get better for the high school season and build chemistry. The Crusaders are accomplishing that in waves both last week at Section 7 in Phoenix and this week in Roseville.

"It's important to communicate and build chemistry," he said. "You can beat a team of players, but you can not beat a team of friends. It's something you can't break."

Curtin said Hilman has displayed leadership and unselfishness since the first time he saw him in an open gym setting as a freshman.

Andrew Hilman has seven college offers including Cal, Washington and UCSB.
Riordan junior guard Andrew Hilman is a 4-star prospect who will lead the Crusaders into Sunday's Cali Live 24 Pool 1-2 championship game against Damien. / Photo: Todd Shurtleff

"Everything we ask him to do, whatever roll we ask him to play in any game, he's willing to do and he does it at a high level," Curtin said of Hilman. "When you have a swiss army knife like that, as a coach, it makes your life that much easier. The first time we saw him in open gym as a freshman, we knew he was special. Just the energy he plays with, the intensity, the competitiveness, that's the stuff you can't teach."

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Mitch Stephens