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Column: Gilbert Arenas' son, Alijah, showing impressive maturity as high school sophomore

Alijah Arenas is averaging 30 points per game as a sophomore at Chatsworth High School in Southern California

CHATSWORTH, CALIFORNIA - Pro potential in a high schooler rarely comes without the teenager inside of them. A lack of focus, a sour attitude, head hanging, or worst of all: indifference.

Players that don't exhibit the aforementioned attributes are the ones you see make it to the NBA. I've covered some of those players in high school. De'Anthony Melton, Duane Washington and Jaime Jaquez Jr. were specifically good at that ... to name a few.

Frustration — sure —but never bad body language.
Demanding — fine — but never degrading teammates.
Challenging — OK — but never disrespectful to their coach.
Losing — it happens — but always with grace.

Chatsworth High School sophomore Alijah Arenas is already touted as a 5-star recruit and averaging more than 30 points per game, yet his mature demeanor shines brighter than anything he does with the basketball.

"If I get down or hang my head, my teammates see that," Arenas said after his 33-point performance in a West Valley League loss to Cleveland Monday night. "I just stay as even-keel as possible."

Arenas, the son of former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas, has grown to 6-foot-5 with unlimited and effortless shooting range, crisp mechanics and ball-handling, and is already a dynamic high-flyer with his wiry frame.

Chatsworth High's Alijah Arenas, son of former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas, is averaging 30 points per game as a sophomore.

Chatsworth High's Alijah Arenas, son of former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas, is averaging 30 points per game as a sophomore.

“He’s an NBA lottery pick,” Loyola coach Damaine Powell told the LA Times earlier this season. “I’ve seen Baron Davis, DeMar DeRozan. I saw the Holiday brothers. He’s better than all of them, and he’s a sophomore.”

It's high praise, but Arenas has challenges unlike most big-time players. Most top players are playing at the best programs with other big-time players. That's not the case for Arenas.

The Chatworth Chancellors are currently 12-12 overall and 4-2 in the City Section's West Valley League after knocking off Birmingham Charter Wednesday night. Arenas had 31 points.

Arenas faces double and triple teams every night that force him to give the ball up, which often leads to a teammate dropping a pass, air-balling an open shot or turning the ball over.

Most would get frustrated. Not Arenas.

"I just think about what's next. I do my best to not get upset," Arenas said. "I've always been a mellow player, and actually, I need to bring more energy sometimes. I know it can help."

After Monday's loss to Cleveland, Arenas was polite and friendly while answering questions. That's not always the case for young athletes, who tend to let the result dictate their mood.

Arenas comes into each game with a specific focus in the first half.

"I try and get my teammates going," he said. "If I can get them feeling good, I know it helps me. I can get a shot anytime I want."

At first, Arenas looks disinterested. Passive. Buts the game goes on, he begins to take over. In his last game against Birmingham, he scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half, including the game-winner.

Arenas' older sister, Izela, is a senior point guard at Sierra Canyon. The Trailblazers are defending ESPN girls basketball national champions. Izela, who's headed to Louisville, has played with Juju Watkins and is a co-star with McDonald's All-American Mackenly Randolph. 

Izela knows a thing or two about playing high-level hoops, but she believes Alijah is right where he's supposed to be.

"I don't like that teams triple team him," Izela said laughing. "But I understand why they do. Maybe, one day he'll play at a bigger program with other talented players, but I think he's learning other things right now that are important, too."

Arenas already holds offers to Kansas, Texas, UCLA and Arizona. His Youtube highlights garner 100,000-plus views. His Instagram is up to 42 thousand followers. The word is out ... Alijah Arenas is very good at basketball. 

But what might be more important, is his precocious demeanor of a savvy veteran. For some, that never comes ...