The annual Area Codes Frosh/Soph Showcase took place last weekend on the campus of Arizona Christian University. Organized by tournament director Chad Groth, this one-day event was action-packed and filled with each of the state's top prospects for the 2018 and 2019 classes (freshman / sophomores).
Former NBA star Isaiah "J.R." Rider gave a terrific speech to the participants of this year's camp - one to remember. Rider spoke about academics and how they played a major part of his athletic/academic career. Rider also spoke with about his high school, college and NBA career. Rider was one of the top players in the country, and a former NBA dunk contest.
Tournament director Chad Groth put together an excellent collection of talent, allowing me to get a very good grasp of the state's top prospects for the freshman and sophomore classes. Here are the very best performers and prospects that I observed throughout the day . . .
Top Individual 2018 Prospects
Ousmane Ndim 6-10 SOPH C Hillcrest Academy - 2018
- Ousmane is a big-time post talent that is unlike anything we have seen in the state of Arizona. Recently moved to Arizona to attend Hillcrest Academy, where he will team up with legendary sophomore Marvin Bagley Jr. to create the best young frontline in America this season. Ndim is still very raw offensively, but he has an excellent motor and competes on both ends of the floor. Has good footwork and hands. Has limited offensive moves, but has a good jump hook and attacks the rim. An active rebounder. An excellent shotblocker with terrific length and athleticism. Runs the floor hard. Excellent finisher. Has superb potential for the future.
Jaden Lee 6-3 SOPH SG Hillcrest Academy - 2018
- Lee was the best individual offensive talent at this year's event. He is a big-time offensive performer with a superb skill level and terrific athleticism for his size. Able to create for himself or others with the basketball in his hands at a high rate. Excellent in the open floor where he is an explosive finisher with the basketball. Still needs to become more active without the basketball in his hands. OK rebounder. Good defender. Very good ball handler and passer. Has the potential to become a high-major prospect with continued hard work.
Bryce Meadows 6-3 SOPH PG/SG Coronado HS - 2018
- Meadows has very good size for a guard prospect already and a strong, well-built body. He is a very good ball handler and passer that sees the floor very well. A good finisher in the lane and a good penetrator. A good mid-range shooter and scorer. Still developing perimeter shot from longer ranges. Overpowers smaller guard prospects with his physicality. A very good defender. A very good prospect over time with a bright future.
Elijah Burden 6-3 Sophomore SF/PF Sabino HS - 2018
- A very athletic and strong frontcourt player with a knack for the basketball. Overpowers most players his size and definitely his age around the paint area. Strong and active rebounder. Excellent finisher and does not mind physical contact. Explosive dunker when he makes up his mind to throw it down. OK ball handler and passer. Will need to develop perimeter skills over time to maximize his potential as a player.
Patrick Kelly 6-6 SOPH SF/PF Pinnacle HS - 2018
- Kelly has really improved quickly since I first met him. Has terrific work ethic and loves the game as much as any kid I have met. Wants to be a player, which I love. He has grown a great deal and looks to be really growing still a great deal. Has nice length and athleticism. A good finisher in traffic. Has a nice jump hook and can score inside and out. Still developing his perimeter skills but he is good in the post and from mid-range. Active rebounder and shotblocker. Has very good potential for the future.
Mason Johnson 6-5 SOPH SF Pinnacle HS - 2018
- Johnson is a nice looking wing prospect with nice length and good size overall. He has a very good skill level overall and is a very good finisher. Has very good upside as a college prospect. Good looking prospect.
Trey Wood 6-6 SOPH PF Anthem Prepatory Academy - 2018
- Wood is a nice looking talent that has excellent length and size and looks to be still growing a great deal. Has a good skill level and is able to score around the basket with either hand. Still very thin physically, so he will need to add much more size to his frame to reach his potential as a player over time. A very good finisher around the basket. Runs the floor hard.
Jordan Green 6-1 SOPH PG/SG Cienega HS - 2018
- Long, athletic guard prospect with a nice handle of the basketball. Capable of getting his own shot. Good skill level. Has good potential as a player.
Top Individual 2019 Prospects
Jaelen House 5-10 FR PG Shadow Mountain HS - 2019
- The son of former NBA guard Eddie House, Jaelen (pictured) is a handful in many different ways. He was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the event. This young man is a superb talent that is gifted well beyond his years. He has a serious skill level that allows him to make plays for himself and others, almost at will. House is a big-time ball handler, passer and scorer. He will become a serious high-major prospect over time, and will add instant star power to an already loaded Shadow Mountain HS team this season.
Dischon Thomas 6-7 FR SF/PF Coronado HS - 2019
- Thomas is a superb young talent with a very bright future ahead of him. A native of North Carolina, Thomas recently moved to the state of Arizona. Has loads of talent for the future with excellent upside as a player. A skilled combo-forward with a nice perimeter shooting stroke with range and an ability to score inside and out. Has good length of body and a nice wingspan. Still growing a great deal, which will help him a great deal over time in his ability to develop into a serious high-major prospect. Active rebounder and shotblocker. One of the elite young prospects in the state instantly.
Walter Talley 6-5 FR SF/PF Cesar Chavez HS - 2019
- Talley recently moved to the state of Arizona, and immediately becomes one of the elite young prospects in the state. Talley has excellent size already and physical strength. While he likes to play on the perimeter, he often finds himself playing inside as a result of his physical strength and toughness. He is capable of playing either position but gets a lot done inside the paint and around the basket. Over time he will develop into a serious 3/4 prospect. Has very good athleticism and is always around the basketball. Runs the floor hard. Excellent finisher. Very good shotblocker for his size.
Blaise Threatt 5-10 FR PG Chaparral HS - 2019
- Threatt is a nice young talent at the guard position that has an excellent feel for the game already. The son of former NBA guard Sedale Threatt. Has a strong, good sized body. Has a good skill level - fundamentally sound. Very good shooter with range. Excellent ball handler and passer that likes to get others involved. Has a bright future.
Isaiah Thompson 6-6 FR SF/PF Apollo HS - 2019
- Thompson is a rare find. He has tremendous size already and looks like a senior prospect already. A man-child with a terrific body and size for a college prospect. A strong, active rebounder and enforcer around the basket. Has a solid overall skill level as well. A nice talent for the future that should be able to develop into a star performer in either sport he chooses over time. A very good finisher inside the paint. A good ball handler for his size and a good passer that enjoys finding the open man on the floor. A very defender with excellent toughness. Has a very bright future ahead of him.
Jackson Tillapaugh 6-5 FR SF/PF Prescott HS - 2019
- A long, athletic and skilled wing prospect that is very intriguing. Needs to add more physical strength and size to his thin frame, but he gets a lot done. Has the potential to develop nicely into a serious college prospect over time. A nice looking prospect with very good upside.
Joshua Baker 5-10 FR PG McClintock HS - 2019
- Baker is the younger brother of former Tempe HS star guard Jordan Baker. Resembles his older brother a great deal. An elusive, slashing guard prospect with a nice handle of the basketball and a nice overall feel for the game. A good scorer and penetrator with the basketball in his hands. An excellent ball handler and passer. Has the potential to develop similar to his brother over time and with maturity physically.
Jalen Hopkins 6-1 FR PG Perry HS - 2019
- The younger brother of former Dobson HS star guard and current Fresno State player Jaron Hopkins. Jalen is a nice guard prospect with a superb handle of the basketball and an excellent feel for the game. A good slasher and open court player. Has very good size and length for the guard position. Has a very good future ahead of him.
Top Individual 2020 Prospects
Xavier Dusell 6-3 8th Grader PG/SG Rancho Solano Prepatory - 2020
- Dusell is a highly touted young guard prospect with a bright future. Has an excellent young body with a very nice motor on both ends of the floor. Has good length of body and very good athleticism. Very good slasher and open court player. Good finisher. Good defender. Very good scorer. Good ball handler and passer. Combo-guard prospect with a nice overall feel for the game.