Quinton Adlesh didn't have to, but he wanted to.
Adlesh wanted to carve out his own path and make his own way.
That's why, instead of playing where his three older brothers played high school ball, Adlesh went a different route.
Ryan, Nolan and Brannon Adlesh all played at St. Joseph High School. Quinton, a native of Arroyo Grande, could've easily followed that path and starred for the Knights.
But, for one reason or another, he went north to San Luis Obispo to play for Terrance Harris and Mission Prep.
That move worked out for Adlesh, who went on to star with the Royals and eventually ended up playing big-time college basketball.
After breaking into the varsity rotation as a freshman at Mission Prep, Adlesh went on to score nearly 2,000 points (1,958) over four seasons, leading the Royals to a PAC 8 League championship and nearly 100 total wins.
As a senior in the 2014-15 high school season, Adlesh averaged 19 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals. The Royals went 25-7 that year, 13-1 in the PAC 8, and lost to Encino Crespi 61-52 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4AA title game. The Royals went 22-0 vs. San Luis Obispo County competition during Adlesh's four years at Mission Prep. The Royals went 99-27 in that same span.
Adlesh is the seventh nominee for the Times' Player of the Decade contest.
"Quinton is amongst the best this county has ever seen," Harris, Mission Prep's longtime coach, said of Adlesh. "His work ethic and drive to compete made him a very special player. Every year, Q added to his repertoire. He was relentless in pursuit of excellence. Not only was he a phenomenal player, but he made the players around him better. He certainly raised the bar for not only our program, but the area."
How did Adlesh soar to the highest levels of Central Coast high school basketball? Well, he's what some would call a "walking bucket."
Adlesh had a singular mindset on the floor: Score. Anyway, anyhow. Adlesh's biggest skill-set was his shot. He was a knock-down 3-point shooter from anywhere on the floor and not only a catch-and-shoot type. Adlesh could create his own shot off the dribble like any elite scoring guard. As his career at Mission Prep grew, Adlesh developed a lethal game, equally able to shoot from deep while possessing the ability to slash and drive through even the best defenders and finish near the rim.
That was apparent in a February 2015 game at St. Joseph, where his three older brothers played. In his final game at Hofschulte Gym, Adlesh scored 50 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists in an 86-72 win over the rival Knights.
"My oldest brother played his first game in here and I'm the last of the brothers so it's probably the last time an Adlesh will play in this gym," Quinton said after that game. "I think my brothers would be proud.
"I spent a lot of time in here for games," Quinton added of Hofschulte Gym on the St. Joseph campus. "I live in AG so not as much time shooting and stuff. But I came to all the games and even cried in the stands when they lost in CIF."
Adlesh went on to play four seasons of college basketball at Columbia. He played in 86 games with the Lions, averaging 9.9 points per contest, scoring 854 games in his career. He played last season as a graduate transfer at USC.
The Times is polling current and former coaches to develop its list of nominees for Player of the Decade. The rest of the nominees will be announced before a tournament-style voting contest will be held to determine the boys basketball Player of the Decade. Readers will be able to vote online at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com. Players from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County whose final seasons where between 2009-10 and 2019-20 are eligible.
There will be 16 nominees announced. The six previous nominees were Cabrillo High grad LeAndrew Knight, Righetti's Cameron Walker, Arroyo Grande's Brent VanderVeen and former St. Joseph standouts JoJo Walker, Keith Datu and Case Bruton.