We evaluated all of the video games at Hoophall West in Scottsdale, Ariz. and these are probably the most outstanding issues we took away from the three-day occasion.
1. Perry Will Go away Us Wanting Extra
We didn’t begin the Pumas within the preseason FAB 50 as a result of Arizona Interscholastic Affiliation (AIA) faculties haven’t fared nice on a nationwide degree these days and Perry isn’t taking part in in a nationwide degree event. We want Perry could be taking part in in additional nationwide video games, however regardless, it was a mistake to not slate the Pumas larger within the preseason than No. 11 in our West Area High 20. There are few groups within the nation which have a 1-2 punch like Perry’s Cody Williams and Koa Peat. Williams is a terrific all-around expertise who can guard a number of positions at 6-foot-7. He can even provoke offense and has a reliable exterior shot and is Colorado’s most extremely regarded recruit since Chauncey Billips within the 1995 class. Peat is simply too robust, huge and athletic for almost each highschool participant he’ll go up in opposition to at this level. Peat’s second soar and skill to complete the play rapidly leaves even good defenders flat-footed and his face up recreation will get higher each time we see him. Ability however, Peat can even overpower defenders and will get to the entrance of the rim sufficient to place groups in fast foul bother. Peat dominated the motion (21 factors, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 blocks) in a 78-47 win over FAB 50 No. 24 Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) and is true within the dialog with fellow sophomores Cameron Boozer of Columbus (Miami, Fla) and Cooper Flagg of Montverde Academy (Fla.) as three of the most effective gamers within the nation, no matter class. It was attention-grabbing to see Cardinal Hayes soar out to an enormous lead over No. 6 Duncanville (Texas) earlier than shedding the night time earlier than, as a result of Perry dominated the sport from begin to end. Perry, which has two unsung skills in 6-foot-3 2023 Ben Egbo and 6-foot-5 2025 D’Andre Harrison, might not face a workforce pretty much as good as Cardinal Hayes (which already has three losses) the remainder of the season. Perry isn’t taking part in a vacation event and not one of the three groups the Pumas will play on the VisitMesa Basketball Problem are regionally-ranked. It stays to be seen how excessive Perry can climb within the FAB 50, however there’s a good probability it is going to be unbeaten heading into the AIA open division state title recreation on March 4. Puma might definitely obtain a rankings increase ought to it take part within the second annual State Champions Invitational, slated for April 6-8.
2. IMG Academy Will Be Terrific in 2023-24
Throughout COVID-19, IMG Academy coach Sean McAloon was taking a year-by-year strategy to constructing his groups due to the uncertainty. This 12 months, his membership has 5 underclassmen taking part in a serious position that will likely be constructing blocks for subsequent season. It begins with Bryson Tucker, the 6-foot-6 2024 who’s the workforce’s greatest all-around participant. Tucker does every thing on the courtroom effectively, is affected person and assertive in his actions and hardly makes errors as a result of he doesn’t get sped up. He has a legit probability to be a two-time highschool All-American. Amier Ali, a 6-foot-7 2024, is a excessive main prospect with size and agility. These traits make him an excellent defender and he’s additionally terrific in his second and third soar and is a prepared passer. Khani Rooths, a 6-foot-7 2024 ahead, is an effective shot blocker and succesful inside defender who can shoot the deep ball effectively. Extremely-regarded Jamier Jones, a 6-foot-5 2025 wing who was a freshman All-American final season, didn’t play a lot in Phoenix due to damage however he’s one other key cog who could make a distinction on the Nationwide Interscholastic Basketball Convention (NIBC) degree. IMG Academy, which got here into the occasion No. 5 within the FAB 50, defeated No. 25 Lengthy Island Lutheran (N.Y.) on Friday, 68-62, as Tucker led the best way with 24 factors. On Saturday night time, the one-loss membership served discover it is going to be a serious NIBC contender this season with a 67-61 victory over No. 1 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.), as Maryland-bound Jamie Kaiser Jr. had 18 factors, Tucker had 16 and Ali had 13.
3. V.J. Edgecombe Is A Large-Time Participant
The nationwide and regional scouts in attendance clearly had an excellent learn on the highest prospects in Phoenix, however the one who turned heads probably the most from an analysis standpoint was the 6-foot-5 junior (2024) from Lengthy Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.). He’s not ranked within the nationwide recruiting community companies, however he performs like a High 50 participant in his class. The capturing guard is gentle on his ft, can cowl floor and end at a excessive main degree. He’s a succesful shooter and makes use of his athleticism on each ends of the ground to make a couple of spectacular performs a recreation. Not solely did he end offensively at a excessive degree, he additionally had a big-time at-the-rim block on IMG Academy’s Bryson Tucker that evoked pictures of Dwayne Wade. Edgecombe is initially from the Bahamas and moved to Florida in 2020 earlier than settling in New York. Mississippi St. was the primary D1 to supply, St John’s received on board this week and you may wager extra faculties will pull the set off because the 2022-23 season wears on.
4. Not Teaching Taught Robert Smith One thing
After 20 years on the helm of the Simeon (Chicago, In poor health.) program, the veteran coach will likely be stepping down as probably the most profitable coaches in Illinois Excessive College Affiliation (IHSA) historical past on the finish of this season. This workforce will get Smith over 500 profession victories and the Wolverines are the early favorites to seize each the Chicago Public League (CPL) and IHSA titles, which might give Smith eight and 7, respectively. After Simeon’s 52-46 win over Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) on Saturday, Smith mirrored on his time with this system and the good gamers and wins he’s had over time. It was one thing else, nonetheless, that made him notice it was time. “Throughout COVID-19, after we weren’t allowed to play and I’ve a while away, I realized I might do and revel in different issues,” Smith mentioned. “I’ve a son in sixth grade and subsequent 12 months my daughter (who attends Butler Faculty Prep) will likely be a senior and I’ve reached alot of my targets.” Smith changed a coach he performed for in highschool (Bob Hambric) and his substitute may also be somebody who performed on his early groups. That’s Tim Flowers, his present assistant and a 2007 graduate of Simeon, who will take over after teaming with former NBA MVP Derrick Rose in highschool to steer Simeon to a number of state titles and taking part in with him on the Meanstreets Categorical journey ball workforce. Coach Smith feels Flowers has helped him get to the place he’s at in his teaching profession and is keen to return the favor after realizing Hambric might have stayed and received extra state titles.
5. 2025 & 2026 Retains Trying Higher
If one listens to our “In The Paint” podcast, they’d know the way pedestrian we predict the 2023 class is nationally. From a prospect analysis standpoint, it’s one of many weakest courses we’ve evaluated within the final 25 years. That doesn’t imply some gamers received’t emerge on the subsequent degree into NBA prospects. The category of 2024 is healthier, however it’s 2025 and 2026 that will get us excited. We’ve talked in regards to the prime of the 2025 class a lot with its elite gamers and we like what we’ve seen thus far with 2026 and we’ll proceed to judge that group. Within the 2025 class, one title so as to add that would doubtlessly be a High 150 man down the road is 6-foot 2025 Josh Dixon of Milton (Ga.). He’s a shot maker with pace, will get by means of tight areas with a slick deal with, and is an effective pull up shooter, even from a lifeless dash. Dixon, who sports activities a 3.9 GPA, had 19 factors in a 55-53 win over Grey Collegiate Academy (S.C.) and went for 21 factors and 6 rebounds in a 61-46 victory over Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.). Two sons of well-known soccer gamers are names to look at within the 2026 class. Daylen Sharper, the son of former 2000s All-Decade security Darren Sharper, is a 6-foot-3 bodily guard who can deal with the ball effectively. He will get downhill, as anticipated, as a result of he’s additionally a big-time soccer prospect, however the Brophy Prep (Pheonix, Ariz.) does have to proceed to tighten up the mechanics of his jumper. Zach White, a 6-foot-5 combo ahead, is a vital cog to the fortunes of FAB 50 No. 37 Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), which recorded a straightforward win over Brophy Prep. White, the son of former CAL All-American operating again Russell White, has improved even for the reason that fall. He has terrific fingers, can combine it up on the boards in opposition to excessive degree groups and runs the ground to wash up performs. The extent of White’s recruitment will depend upon his offensive growth, however he’s off to a terrific begin in a loaded California 2026 class. One other freshman who turned heads regardless that his workforce (Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas) was disappointing in its 72-53 loss to Centennial (Corona, Calif.), is Jaxon Richardson. The 6-foot-5 wing is bouncy with stay legs and his elite motor will take him far. He’s the youthful brother of 2024 guard Jase Richardson and the son of former NBA ahead Jason Richardson.
Ronnie Flores is the nationwide Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He may be reached at [email protected]. Don’t neglect to comply with him on Twitter: @RonMFlores