We continue our new Summer Player Rankings with our next release – the 2013 class summer player rankings for small forwards. This position is also filled with some talented prospects. Although not many division-I prospects, there are many prospects for smaller college programs to take a hard look at.
Leading the way for this summer’s rankings at the position is Paradise Valley High School’s 6-foot-6 rising senior forward Paul Watson. Watson, once regarded among the top 100 prospects nationally, has seen his national ranking take a hit since last summer. After a very good junior season at Paradise Valley, he has had a very poor spring performance for himself. Watson is still a very talented prospect with superb natural talent and is still receiving high major division-I consideration, but might be at his best landing at a mid-major division-I program. As talented as Watson is, he does not play with much of a motor and needs to do more than just score to maximize his potential as a prospect.
Pinnacle HS 6-foot-4 rising senior small forward Drew Bender checks in at our #2 spot, but could take over the top position with a strong summer showing, and if Watson does not pick up his play this summer. While Bender did not particularly shoot the basketball as well as he can this spring on the spring circuit, he is among the best pure shooters of the basketball in the state and is a very fundamentally sound prospect. Bender's recruitment is currently all over the board, and it will be very interesting to see who lands this talented prospect in the fall.
Sierra Linda HS 6-foot-5 rising senior forward Damian Mendoza has made a big jump in our player rankings after a strong junior season for himself. Mendoza is among the state's most athletically gifted wing prospects and has a lot of promise for the future. While he has always been rated among the top overall prospects in the 2013 class (since middle school), Mendoza is still a very underrated prospect with college coaches, scouts and media since he does not play for a high-profile club program. Still, a very gifted athlete with upside.
Here are our Spring Player Rankings for the small forward position in Arizona’s 2013 class. While we have not seen everyone at the position in the state, these individuals have proven to be the best at the position at this point in time.
Arizona Preps 2013 Class Summer Player Rankings – Small Forwards (In Ranking Order)
1. Paul Watson 6-6 SR SF Paradise Valley HS (Phoenix, AZ)
2. Drew Bender 6-4 SR SG Pinnacle HS (Phoenix, AZ)
3. Damien Mendoza 6-6 SR SF Sierra Linda HS (Scottsdale, AZ)
4. Diego Magana 6-5 SR SF Desert Mountain HS (Scottsdale, AZ)
5. Airen Randolph 6-4 SR SF Westview HS (Avondale, AZ)
6. Ahmad Levon 6-4 SR SF North HS (Phoenix, AZ)
7. Andy Bonner 6-6 SR SF Coconino HS (Flagstaff, AZ)
8. Michael Rabbani 6-4 SR SF Cactus Shadows HS (Cave Creek, AZ)
9. Deion Hooks 6-4 SR SF Tolleson HS (Glendale, AZ)
10. Tanner Hintze 6-4 SR SF Payson HS (Payson, AZ)
11. Brian Cervantes 6-3 SR SF Nogales HS (Nogales, AZ)
12. Brian Butler 6-5 SR SF Mountain View HS (Mesa, AZ)
Summer Player Ranking Notes: Our player rankings have been determined by a body of work from each student-athlete. Each player’s body of work consisted of performances throughout the high school season, and also performances throughout the spring and summer. A top performance throughout the high school season impacts a player’s ranking a great deal. A student-athlete’s performance throughout the spring and summer will have an even bigger impact, since our staff is able to observe Arizona players in competition against much better local, regional and national competition. The complete body of work has been taken into consideration for each of our player rankings. Player rankings are based on a particular student-athlete’s ability to play the game of basketball – not academic performance, although a player can help him or herself if he/she is an excellent student. Rankings are done to help aid college coaches in their ability to identify the top student-athletes by position and class in the state. These rankings are forwarded to college coaches at every level throughout the country. Rankings will be updated throughout the year.