"He's extremely gifted and athletic on the basketball court but I think what makes him so strong is what he does off the floor," Franklin coach Jason Kerr said. "I've never had a kid that is so well put together academically and socially. He works hard at everything he does. I think that gives him an overwhelming confidence when he steps on the basketball court because he's so in tuned with who he is as a person and that makes him a little extraordinary."
Friday, Siva hopes to lead Franklin to the league title over Rainier Beach and lock up the No. 1 seed in the district tournament.
"He brings so much maturity," Kerr said. "At times you feel like you're dealing with a 25 or 26 year old in conversations you have with him about basketball or not. He's so focused and always looking to learn and get better."
Known for his ability to score, Siva went for 30 or more points on three occasions this season and scored 20 or more six times. Siva scored in double-figures in every game this season except for one – a 68-57 win over Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park in the second round of the King of the Bluegrass.
"His ability makes us tremendous," Kerr said. "There's nothing he can't do. He can defend in multiple areas, he can take you off the dribble, hit the midrange pull-up, hit the three, make the pass. It's his maturity that allows him not to come out and force his talent. He has a great ability to read what the defense is giving him that you don't really see out of players his age. He's deadly."
Siva is the ninth player from Washington to earn McDonald's All-American honors, joining a strong cast of stars that includes Brandon Roy, Marvin Williams and Martell Webster.
"He understands what a big deal it is and I think he's proud of himself and the work he's put in to accomplish it," Kerr said. "He's had to quietly chase off a few naysayers that said he wasn't at that level and he's always dealt with it with the attitude that he's not done. It's kind of like ‘that's great but don't we have a game tonight?'"
"He just handles everything with such humility," Kerr added.
Siva has been criticized by a few west coast analysts who don't believe he can effectively run the point at the major college level. Kerr said that sort of thinking is off-target.
"Part of the issue is that he does have quite an ability to score the basketball," said Kerr. "We've used some other guys to bring the ball up the court because of his scoring ability but if you look at his overall decisions that he makes – he makes the same decisions from the wing that he would make from the top of the key. There's no doubt he has an uncanny ability to play the point guard position."
Siva will also participate in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic April 10-11.
The 32nd McDonald's All-American game will be played April 1 in Miami.
Louisville's McDonald's All-Americans
(1978) Jerry Eaves, Scooter McCray; (1981) Manuel Forrest, Milt Wagner; (1982) Billy Thompson; (1983) Barry Sumpter; (1984) Kevin Walls; (1985) Pervis Ellison, Tony Kimbro; (1987) Jerome Harmon, LaBradford Smith; (1990) Dwayne Morton, Clifford Rozier; (1991) Keith LeGree; (1993) Jason Osborne; (2001) Carlos Hurt; (2003) David Padgett; (2004) Sebastian Telfair; (2005) Amir Johnson; (2006) Earl Clark; (2008) Samardo Samuels; (2009) Peyton Siva.