AZ’s Top 10 Most Improved Summer Stock Risers

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Posted On: 06/20/18 9:56 PM

Adam Hamilton (6-7/Forward/2019/Buckeye Union-Team Zona)

  • Hamilton was a small piece to the puzzle for a Buckeye team that only loss one regular season game last year to an in-state opponent before their crushing overtime loss to Salpointe in the 4A semi-finals.  Head Coach Randy Bland returns the core of this team but has lost four seniors that gave him significant minutes, including 2 starters. However, they return one of the most talented duos in the state with Tay Boothman and Otis Frazier.  Hamilton looks to be the most likely to be the next man up for the Hawks, as they are chasing a state championship that has to go through not only a Salpointe team that returns almost everybody from last season, but the national powerhouse, Shadow Mountain.  While Buckeye might have gotten the most talented transfer in the state in Isaiah Marin, it will take a heavy contribution from Hamilton.  He has looked great as of late.  His athleticism has reached another notch, he looks a little stronger and 2 inches taller since last season and is so much more active inside than he was a year ago. He still has a nice stroke from deep, especially in the corners.  He will need to be consistently tough and aggressive this year, but the kid has a chance to not only make this team that much better with his play, but boost his stock for the next level as well.

Osasere Ighadaro (6-8/Wing/2020/Desert Vista High-Powerhouse Hoops)

  • Last season Ighadaro was a timid, spot-time player for Head Coach Gino Crump and the Desert Vista Thunder.  While they were one of the most talented teams in the state, he saw very limited minutes during the playoff stretch, as they reached the final four of the 6A state playoffs before falling up short to the eventual state champions, Pinnacle.  Fast forward to this year, and “Osa” looks like a completely different player all together.  He has gotten so much  more aggressive and is starting to look like one of the more fluid athletes in the states.  He has a great feel and has a great all-around skillset for the game.  He has the ability to knock it down from the outside, make plays and distribute for teammates and create for himself.  He is one of the rare kids who can grab it off the rim, take it the length of the floor and make a play with the ball in his hands at a high level.  In my opinion, he is the state’s most improved player in the last year.  His length and the fact that he is very well possibly not done growing makes him all that more intriguing.  Add in the fact he is a 4.0+ student, and we have ourselves about as much of a recruit-able player as you will find.  His work ethic and will to improve will determine what level he ends up at.  But his ceiling is starting to get scary.

DeAndre Henry (6-7/Power Forward/2020/Mountain Pointe-Team Harden)

  • While most people already know the name, it is his up in contribution on the court that has landed him on this list. Henry has always been an athlete but thought of more as a football player that played to stay in shape in the off-season rather than being a difference maker for the Pride.  However, with his recent decision to give up football, he has flourished on the court with all the extra time spent training and working on his game in his free time.  He has formed quite the 1-2 front court punch with 6-foot-9 2019 big man Jalen Graham for Head Coach Duane Eason.  He looks much more bouncy than last season and hasn’t seemed to lose much strength.  He also looks like his stamina is at an all-time high and he is starting to put some real basketball moves into his game.  As he continues to improve, he will be that much more of a difference maker and provide quite the trio with Graham and senior point guard Khalid Price.

Zach Paloma (5-10/Point Guard/2019/Sunnyslope-Powerhouse Hoops)

  • Paloma spent the 2017-18 season coming off the bench for Head Coach Ray Portela and the Sunnyslope Vikings on their way to their second consecutive state championship.  During the spring he has been a catalyst for a Powerhouse Hoops Schumaker team that has been rock solid.  He has continued to be just that in June for Slope.  This team will look much different than years past, as they have lost most of their starting 5 to graduation.  Paloma is projected to be the starting point guard and will be one of the main reasons why they will probably be picking up the pace a little bit this season.  He is, pound-for-pound, one of the best athletes on an Arizona hardwood and is lightning quick.  A fearless, pure point guard with a  nice mid-range jumper off the dribble and a lock-down defender on the perimeter.  He will be huge for his team this upcoming season and will look to have a big July to boost his stock for the next level.

Isaac Monroe (6-0/Guard/2020/Peoria High-Team M’Phasis)

  • Monroe was solid for a Peoria team that was very senior-heavy last season.  They had a solid season.  This years Peoria Panthers will rely heavily on Monroe and his ability to score and create for others.  He has emerged in the spring as one of the top scoring guards and shooters in the state.  He plays very composed and is difficult to speed up.  While he doesn’t get a lot of notoriety while playing mostly local and not on a national level, he is a player that is very capable of playing there.  He possesses a nice handle and plays very aggressive and with a lot of confidence.  He will get some help out of one of the tougher teams in the state, but the scoring load will fall mostly on Monroe’s shoulders. I have a feeling he is set up for a big time junior season.

 

Nyjier Andrews (6-5/Wing-Forward/2020/Cesar Chavez-Team Harden)

  • You will be hard pressed trying to convince me there is a tougher player in the state than Andrews. He plays so hard and so aggressive that you can’t help but be a fan of what he provides a team on the floor. I am not sure if a soft kid could possibly be on the floor with him. He infuses toughness and is a factor on both ends of the floor through sheer effort and will. He rebounds so well for his size and is starting to develop some nice post moves inside to go with a nice fade-away jumper. He plays on an undersized, guard-dominant Chavez team with year-round teammates TyTy Washington and Ricardo Sarmiento, and needs to be a presence in the paint for Head Coach Gary Lee and the Champions if they have any hope of going farther than they did last year. They have a young squad, but the core of their guards and Andrews have been battle-tested not only on the high school scene, but the AAU circuit as well. Andrews will be a catalyst for Chavez as they hope to make a deep run in the 6A playoffs.

Carter Van Hammond (6-9/Center/2021/Perry High-Powerhouse 15U Elite)

  • Van Hammond played primarily on the JV team last year for legendary coach Sam Duane Jr., as the Perry Puma’s went on a run late in the season.  Fast forward a couple months and Hammond looks like the likely starter on one of the most talented teams in the state, as they pursue a 6A state championship.  They look to be on the right track as their star senior guard Jalen Williams and two-sport standout Kyle Patterson.  However, Van Hammond’s contribution on the defensive end and on the boards has been huge in a very busy summer for Perry.  He is starting to get comfortable with being aggressive and plays long inside.  He is starting to become an elite level shot blocker and gets better and better as he starts to understand defensive rotations more.  He has spent all spring playing alongside his new high school teammate, 6-10 national standout freshman forward Dylan Anderson.  The two will probably end up shaping up to be a one of the more talented and effective front courts in not just Arizona, but the West Coast.

 

Jalen Scott (6-2/Point Guard/2021/Paradise Honors-Powerhouse 15U Elite)

  • Scott had a role on a Paradise Honors team that went 28-2 in 2A last year before falling up short of a state title.  However, this year Head Coach Zach Hettel and the Panthers will move up to 3A and have an infusion of talent and a returning human highlight reel in Josh Hawkins.  With Scott, their starting line-up ranges from 6’2″-6’10” and are one of the most athletic teams in Arizona, regardless of division.  They have already spent June defeating some of AZ’s top 5A and 6A teams.  A big reason for that has just as much to do with the playmaking ability of Scott.  A throwback, pure pass-first point guard who values his assists more than his buckets.  Plays long and in control which allows him to find guys all over the floor.  It should be a big season for Scott and his loaded Paradise Honors squad.

Paris Woods (6-foot-3/Guard/2021/Apollo High-Arizona Future)

  • Woods is one of the top incoming sophomore in the state.  It is not breaking news to hear his name.  However, what is, is the fact that he could be taking things to the next level this upcoming season for Head Coach Jac Marin and Apollo.  Woods forms quite the combo on the wing with top-100 ranked prospect Emmanuel Taban.  His ability to knock down shots is getting to an elite level.  His range has pushed back a couple feet from last season and he is starting to get buckets consistently off of penetration.  If he has the year I am projecting him to have, Apollo could be there in the running for that state championship.

 

John Olmsted (6-10/PF-C/2019/Morenci-Powerhouse Tucson)

  • Nobody will have to do more with less this season than the skilled big man that is starting to catch the attention of some college coaches as of late.  He will project to be more of a stretch-4 at the next level with his ability to knock down the outside shot and make good passes from the perimeter, but he will spend this year playing on a team that does not have another player taller than 6’1″.  Nevertheless, Olmsted is intriguing and will probably be a straight up stat-filler.  If you don’t know his name or have never seen him play, you should make it a point to do so.