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Posted On: 06/18/18 12:06 PM
Jalen Williams (6-foot-4/Guard/2019/Perry High School-Blue Chip Nation Elite)
-Williams was the best and most consistent player I saw all weekend. Head Coach Sam Duane Jr. has found his horse in Jalen. He is just so crafty and smart with the ball in his hands. While his outside shot is his calling card, he gets in and finishes inside with ease. And you don’t lose much with him on the other end of the floor where he uses his long arms to defend at a high level on the perimeter. While he was rock solid from behind the 3-point line, he had some great effort buckets in the paint that helped his team win the championship of an event with most of the top high school programs in the state. He dropped 45 points in the championship game in one of the better scoring battles I have seen in a long time on the Arizona high school hardwood, as he and Trent Brown provided us with one for the ages.
Trent Brown (6-foot-2/Guard/2019/Pinnacle High School-Jamal Murray Elite)
-Brown put on one of the more impressive shooting performances I have seen in a while, as he poured in 53 points with 10 3-pointers in the contest. While he is known for being a sharpshooting guard, he looked as if he could not miss in this one. It seemed like everything he threw up was going in. It did not matter if he was set, off-balance, or even fouled. I just kept repeating to myself “penny in the ocean.” While Brown was great throughout the whole event, he was insane in the championship game. Though his Pinnacle Pioneers fell short (they were playing without 3 starters), Brown put them on his back and took them to a weekend where they went 3-1. Trent looks to be back in the full-swing of things.
Jalen Graham (6-foot-9/Power Forward/2019/Mountain Pointe High-Team Why Not)
-Graham was the best big man in the event over the weekend in one that was loaded with them. It was impressive to see so many guys in Arizona AIA schools playing north of 6’7”. Graham had a countless amount of highlight reel dunks and played tough inside on both sides of the ball for Head Coach Duane Eason. Graham is a catalyst for that team on both ends. His Mountain Pointe Pride played all weekend without their starting point guard, Khalid Price, but Graham was a big reason why they didn’t miss too much of a step. He seems to be getting more dominant every time I see him. His spin move is big time and his ability to finish above the rim is as strong and good as anybody. I am foreseeing some poster dunks this upcoming season over at the Pointe.
DaRon Holmes (6-foot-8/Forward/2021/Millennium High-Powerhouse 15U Elite)
-Holmes upside just shines through more and more every time you see him. While I have had the privilege of watching him grow as a player and prospect all spring on the AAU circuit, I am enjoying watching him be the Mr. Do-It-All for Head Coach Ty Amundsen and the Millennium Tigers. While playing with some sharpshooting guards, Holmes is often used as the initiator and distributor of the high-powered Millennium offense. They had a great showing over the weekend with a couple come-from-behind victories while playing with mostly underclassmen that is led by Holmes. His length and ability to finish off the glass and on the move is so advanced and impressive. DaRon and Millennium are starting something special in the far West Valley.
Kyle Patterson (6-foot-5/Wing-Forward/2019/Perry High-Jamal Murray Elite)
-The two-sport athlete was as so reliable and rock solid in this event for Perry High. While Jalen Williams is their go-to guy, Patterson has served as the perfect compliment to him and does a little bit of everything on the court while their young big’s try to catch up to the speed of the high school game. He is just so strong and so physically dominating. He rebounds so well on both sides and plays so hard. He can guard 3-4 positions on the floor in almost any game and is relentless on the offensive glass. He dropped a 30-piece in the championship game against Pinnacle and filled up the stat sheet in every game.
Kiimani Holt (6-foot-4/Guard/2020/Rancho Solano Prep-Powerhouse 16U Elite)
-Holt has got to start being recognized as an elite scorer in Arizona. He has become a certified bucket. While he has always been known for his high-wire act and athleticism, he is adding an element of aggressiveness and physicality to his game. He penetrates and finishes through contact as good as anyone in the state. He had a two-handed put-back dunk that brought the gym to their feet on Friday night. He was the leading scorer on Head Coach Aaron Trigg’s team, as they went 1-3 as the only 2A team in an event filled with much bigger schools.
Osasere Ighadaro (6-foot-7/Wing/2020/Desert Vista High-Powerhouse Hoops)
-Ighadaro has come leaps and bounds since last season for Head Coach Gino Crump’s Desert Vista Thunder. He is a swiss army knife for his squad, often times grabbing the board off the rim, taking it down the floor and either finding an open shooter or taking it to the rack to finish for himself. He is so long and smooth and you can tell the game is slowing down for the talented incoming junior. Where last year he looked timid and soft, this year he looks confident and skilled. Add in the fact that he is a high-academic kid, and you have a full-package prospect. The fact that he may very well not be done growing is just scary. He will be a vital part to whatever success they will have this upcoming season.
Emmanuel Taban (6-foot-7/Wing/2019/Apollo High School-The Factory)
-Taban had the most offers of any player in the event. While he was playing sick over the weekend, he was still Head Coach Joc Marin’s go-to guy and knocked down some big shots. They rely on his scoring ability so much and he will have to have a big year for Apollo to do some damage in the 5A division. While he was struggling to breathe on the floor a little bit, his shot did not suffer much, as he was still nothing-but-net at times. While the Hawks struggled in this event, going 0-4, it wasn’t for lack of production out of Taban. The supporting cast over there will have to step up and do more for them to take some weight off of Emmanuel’s shoulders this upcoming season.
Tosh Baker (6-foot-9/Center/2020/Pinnacle High School-Oakland Soldiers 16’s)
-Baker was a saving grace of a second scoring option for Pinnalce in their successful weekend. Baker was tough inside and displayed some great big-man footwork down low and finished with some text-book hook shots in the paint. Being one of only two normal starters for his team, he was a horse for Head Coach Charlie Wilde’s team. Without Baker, a couple of those wins might have went the other way.
DeAndre Henry (6-foot-7/Power Forward/2020/Mountain Pointe High-Team Harden)
-Henry had a few struggles over the weekend on the offensive end but worked through them with his effort on the glass and on the defensive end. In his last game against cross-town rival Desert Vista, he dropped 26 points in his highest scoring performance of the night. He clears out the lane like the former offensive lineman he is and went up to contest quite a few shots at the rim.
Hunter Ruck (6-foot-9/Power Forward/2020/Rancho Solano Prep-Powerhouse 16U Elite)
-Ruck played well and strong for the most part over the weekend. Though he was not as consistent as I have seen him play during the spring, he had some games where he looked down right dominant. With some great post moves and activity inside, he dominated the paint in his better games. In his last game, he had a 2-handed put-back dunk where he could have just as easily head-butted the rim as he could have flushed the ball down through the net. I am projecting him to have a breakout high school season after a red-hot spring and a projected strong summer on the AAU circuit.
Paris Woods (6-foot-3/Guard/2021/Apollo High School-Arizona Future)
-Woods was very impressive over the weekend, especially in his first game on Friday evening against Perry where they came up just short. However, you could argue that Woods was the best offensive player in that game in a game that saw multiple D1 prospects on the floor. His shot from behind the arc is impressive and he plays so long and upright that he always gets a steady shot off when coming off the dribble. He is going to have a breakout season with Apollo while forming a good 2-headed monster with Emmanuel Taban.
Justus Jackson (5-foot-11/Point Guard/Millennium High-Powerhouse 15U Elite)
-Jackson displayed some good skill in the two days I saw him playing for Head Coach Ty Amundsen and his Millennium squad. He is reading defenses better and making the right PG pass. However, I would like to see him look a little more like the freshman version of himself with the ball in his hands and look to get his own shot off a little more without losing his ability to play within the flow of the offense and find his open shooters. When he is feeling it from deep, he is dangerous. Justus and DaRon Holmes are becoming quite the 1-2 punch. It is scary that teams will have to deal with them for the next 3 high school seasons. I am predicting a state championship in Goodyear before it’s all said and done.
Marcus Wady (Desert Vista), Dylan Anderson (Perry), Carson James (Catalina Foothills), Elijah Saunders (Rancho Solano Prep), Coleman Fields (Millennium)
BIG SHOUTOUT TO MARC BEASLEY AND MONARCH SPORTS FOR PUTTING ON A QUALITY SUMMER HIGH SCHOOL EVENT FILLED WITH A LOT OF THE STATE’S TOP TALENT AND TEAMS. GREAT COACHING, GREAT QUALITY EVENT.