While there were many different divisions this weekend at this year's Southwest Showcase Main Event, our staff spent a lot of time this weekend observing the 17 & Under Division.
Tournament Director Ron Coleman held a super event this weekend with 111 teams in participation. Teams from the state of Arizona and all over the southwest came together this weekend in some exciting basketball action. For the first time in years, the majority of the state's top teams at the 17U level participated in this weekend's event - a nice honor for Coleman and his staff.
As a result, the competition was fierce as it was the kick-off for the spring's club basketball season - a season in which many people lose their minds. Parents seem to be much more involved, the players play at their highest level, the coaches are intense, the fans are excited and tournament organizers look to cash in on such anticipation.
Of course, as far as tournament's go, Ron Coleman continues to get it done at a high level and this weekend showcased just how much Coleman cares about the state of Arizona's basketball and it's student-athletes. While working an intense full-time job, Coleman was still able to organize such a colossal event that ran with very little hick-ups or issues.
This weekend's event was a nice tune-up for Arizona's top club programs, as each of them prepare for this year's inaugural spring viewing period and look to prepare for another exciting spring and summer.
"This is a great tune-up for the Arizona teams," said Ron Coleman. "This event should really get our teams prepared for the spring."
And prepare them it did, as teams looked to see their respective teams in game action for the first time this spring.
After reaching a Top 20 national ranking last spring and summer, the 2013 version of this year's Arizona Magic Pump N' Run program picked right up where they left off last spring and summer - finishing with a perfect 6-0 record in this year's Main Event and winning the tournament's 17U Platinum Division Championship. The team won the event after defeating the Compton Magic's Arizona version of The Magic, 67-44, in the championship game of the event.
The Arizona Magic was led in the tournament victory by the play of Desert Vista HS 6-foot-1 junior point guard John Marshall. Marshall was selected by Ron Coleman as the Tournament's Most Valuable Player after the event.
The Magic, which had a great team effort in the event, was also led by the play of 6-foot-9 unsigned senior post Dalvin Brown, Brophy Prep 6-foot-9 junior post Tim Kempton, Westwind Prep 6-foot-5 prep combo-guard Gary Williams, Poston Butte 6-foot-4 junior guard Jalen Richard, Arcadia HS 6-foot-2 unsigned senior guard Larry Lewis, Horizon HS 6-foot-3 junior guard Kye de Laveaga, Brophy Prep 6-foot-5 unsigned senior guard/forward James Harper and Marcos De Niza HS 6-foot-4 junior guard Devin Smith.
In the tournament's semi-final game, the Magic had their biggest test of the tournament, defeating a talented Arizona Stars team, 78-70. In the semi-final win, two-consecutive three-pointers from Kye de Laveaga put the game out of reach late.
The Compton Magic's version of The Magic defeated the Arizona Premier in the semi-final, 53-45, and were led in the tournament by the play of Basha HS 6-foot-5 junior guard Jaron Hopkins, Paradise Valley HS 6-foot-6 junior forward Paul Watson, Pinnacle HS 6-foot-4 junior Drew Bender and Basha HS 6-foot-9 junior Maurice Kirby.
"I am really proud of our boys," said Arizona Magic head coach Jeff de Laveaga. "We might not be the most talented team this year, but we play together and have the right pieces."