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Posted On: 06/11/18 11:26 AM
The Powerhouse Hoops Showcase took place at Chandler Prep this past weekend with three of the top teams in the state taking part in the event, along with Centennial High School out of New Mexico. Centennial would make the trip to the East Valley, only to run into three schools with superior talent and went 0-3.
Legendary Arizona Head Coach Sam Duane and the Perry Pumas went undefeated over the weekend with two hard-fought, impressive wins over Mountain Pointe and Paradise Honors, while blowing out Centennial. The weekend would mark the first action 6-foot-10 incoming freshman phenom forward Dylan Anderson would take part in for Perry. The 2022 talented and versatile big man showcased a little bit of everything that has him considered one of the top incoming freshman in the country.
6-foot-4 2019 superstar guard Jalen Williams was phenomenal over the weekend. I would consider him to be the MVP of the event, hands down. His ability to put the ball in the bucket is so impressive. He also does a very good job of matching that effort on the other end of the floor, where he gets after it defensively.
The Puma’s got a great day out of 6-foot-9 2021 big man Carter Van Hammond. The defensive end is where the sophomore big fella thrives. A great shot blocker and great at providing help side on defensive rotations. He also rebounds at a high level and is not afraid of contact down in the trenches. He finished with a few dunks as well, including one where he took off of two feet going baseline and flushed it down.
Perry’s 6-foot-5 2019 wing/forward Kyle Patterson was on the floor and played well for them on Friday night but was not there on Saturday. He is a great physical presence for a team that has state championship aspirations. 6-foot-9 2019 big man transfer Miles Houston provides depth in the front court and finishes off possibly the biggest front courts in the state.
Head Coach Zach Hettel had his Paradise Honors team looking in full form over the weekend. After blowing out their New Mexico opponent on Friday night, they hung with one of the most talented and well coached teams in the state, Perry. Paradise Honors will walk into the 2018-19 season as the favorite to win it all in the 3A conference. They are as deep as anyone in Arizona with a collection of young talent.
6-foot-6 2020 wing Jerry Iliya looked great all weekend long. With a team that likes to pressure and get out into the open floor, Iliya is a certified bucket. His explosiveness and athleticism is so effective in this system and his motor really revs up for a team that scrambles around the floor on the defensive end. To my surprise, his shot on the perimeter looked good in the event as well, as he knocked down numerous shots from deep and out on the perimeter. I am predicting Iliya to make a strong push for 3A player of the year.
The other player that will give him a run for that award might be a coming-of-age 2021 6-foot-2 point guard Jalen Scott. Scott flourishes wider and brighter with better talent around him. A true, pass-first point guard that plays with his head up and is always looking to advance the ball down the floor for easy scoring opportunities. He really does have an impressive and advanced feel for the game and his length is impressive at his position.
Their bigs were getting the job done over the weekend as well. 6-foot-8 2020 power forward Roy Eze is a Mac Truck in the paint and finishes really well with that floating jumper. His presence on the offensive glass provides a lot of second chance scoring opportunities for a team with a bunch of firepower. 6-foot-10 2021 center Matur Dhal is still very raw but really looks like he is on the brink of coming along and making a huge difference for this team with his length and ability to cause headaches around the rim. He is a presence on the defensive end down low and is starting to figure some things out on the offensive end with impressive footwork and an ability to get interior defenders to bite on shot fakes.
Their senior presence comes out on the wings with super-athletic 6-foot-3 2019 Josh Hawkins, who had the highlight of the weekend after he took off and flushed one down on a defenders head coming off the perimeter. The other is a little bit of a do-it-all type of player in 6-foot-4 2019 wing Jon Jackson. The lefty has some craft to his game and is a great glue guy for a team that is still learning to play together. He will probably be this teams X-Factor this season.
New transfer, 6-foot-1 2021 guard Wyatt Bell, provides some young depth in the backcourt with his activity and competitive spirit. If he is able to find his groove with a much more talented roster, he will be a great addition for this far West Valley squad.
Last year Head Coach Duane Eason and Mountain Pointe had a really good run on their way to the state championship game. They lost two of their most productive players in guards Amarion Cash and Ryan Pate. They will have to find a way to replace their production. While playing a 5-in/5-out system over the weekend they went 1-2, though both of their losses were extremely competitive against Perry and Paradise Honors. Like the other two, they blew out Centennial.
6-foot-9 2019 big man Jalen Graham proved why he is regarded as possibly the top big man in the state amongst AIA schools. He was so effective down low and altered the game on both ends. In their first game against Perry he finished with 5 dunks and 17 points. His footwork and ability to put it on the deck has improved drastically since last season, while his length and athleticism hasn’t went anywhere. Look for him to have a huge season for the Pointe.
His frontcourt mate, 6-foot-7 2020 power forward DeAndre Henry will play his first season for Coach Eason as strictly a basketball player after deciding to give up football during the spring. While last year, he and Graham spent a lot of time being subbed out for each other and on the floor at separate times, they will need to be on the floor and flowing together a lot this season. Their success against good teams will lie heavily on what they will be able to do together as a unit. The good news for the Pride is that the two of them make up possibly the most talented front court in the state with two 6’7”+ guys in a state that lacks a lot of length and size.
5-foot-11 2019 point guard Khalid Price is still the dog and floor leader of the team. It usually looks like he is just moving and grooving out there like he is playing pick-up ball but he really does knock down some big shots for them. Over the past weekend he knocked down some timely buckets that kept Mountain Pointe within striking distance. He had himself some spurts where he was committing some turnovers, which will have to cut down during the season for them. He will be their most effective scorer off the perimeter.
6-foot-6 2019 wing Jonah LaBranche is their Mr. Do-It-All. He initiates the offense at times, rebounds and is used to guard multiple positions, especially on switches. If he can find his shot from deep this up and coming season and keep his motor running on high, it will help this team drastically. He has to be the X-Factor for a team that has plans to return to the same big game they were playing in last season.