5 Takeaways: AZ Club League


Posted On: 07/7/18 11:26 PM

The AZ Club League is back underway with a weekend tune-up tournament prior to the live period. There was a lot of good basketball underway during the first day of action. Here are my 5 takeaways from the 1st day.

1. Cedric Bridges is the Real Deal

Bridges had the most dominant performance of any prospect on the court today. The closest competition was Dominic Gonzalez who dropped 29 in a 16U game. However, Bridges stole the show with bucket after bucket down the stretch of a highly competitive game with Factory against Alvin Gentry Elite.

Bridges has improved his ability to shoot, which has been a question mark in the past. With that said, he is as athletic as ever and plays extremely hard. As a 2018 prospect. it is still yet to be determined as to what he will do next. As far as on the court is concerned, he is more than capable of playing at the next length.

2. Lengthy Shooters

Cameron Katal, Shaun Wahlstrom, Meekness Payne, Emmanuel Taban, and Ajang Aguek all demonstrated an ability to shoot the basketball from deep on the first day of the AZ Club League tournament. Their size makes them intriguing. Add to it that they can all shoot, and it makes them even more interesting to next level suitors.

Payne and Katal were the two who stood out the most to me today. Payne has transitioned from a 4 to a true 3. He has a much more confident handle and a smooth stroke from deep and mid-range. This transition upped his stock greatly.

Katal has great size at 6’11 and has clearly been working on his shot. His touch and form looked much improved. He knocked down three 3s and a nice mid-range jumper while showing improved speed and motor. He could have a very bright future.

3. Top Shooters

Carter Murphy and Dominic Gonzalez stole the show in this category for the AZ Club League first day. While Murphy missed a couple late that he would normally cash in, he hit a couple of key threes that added Alvin Gentry in their comeback pursuit of Factory 17U. Further, he shot the basketball well in Alvin Gentry’s win over Powerhouse UAA.

Gonzalez started the game against AZ Legends 4/4 from 3. In fact, he would finish the game with six threes and only one miss from deep. In total, he had 29 points and hit a couple of nice mid-range jumpers. He has expanded his game and is still working on more explosion with his first step. However, there is no question that he is one of the top shooters in the state.

4. Benjamin Franklin Duo Can Hoop

Adam Martin and Cam Bender are a tough duo at any level, especially in 3A. While it looks like Paradise Honors will rule the world in that classification, Benjamin Franklin should compete at a high level.

I love Martin’s game as he is a scorer from all 3 levels on the court. Martin’s build enables him to play on the perimeter or on the block. On the block, he has good footwork and has a nice face-up mid-range jumper. From behind the line, he has a good first step and is a more than capable shooter.

Bender was another top tier shooter who was willing to let it fly from anywhere on the court. He is confident in his release from nearly anywhere on the court. He has a smooth release and good speed on his shot. Between these two, Benjamin Franklin should be very excited at their potential for next year.

5. The Rebels Duo

The Rebels may have had the two biggest stock risers of the day: Colin Carey and Anthony Gilberto.

Carey did a little bit of everything well. First, he has good length. Further, he has a good feel for the game offensively and defensively. He moves well laterally and understands angles well despite his youth. Also worth noting, he is a more than capable shooter from deep.

Gilberto, 6’6 PF/C from Paradise Valley, is smooth. He is patient on the offensive end and finishes the ball well with both hands. Further, he has a good basketball IQ and rotates well defensively while seemingly always putting himself in position to get loose balls and rebounds. Gilberto will play a big role for Paradise Valley next year, and rightfully so. He is skilled and has a great feel for the game.