|Arizona Preps Fall Showcase Recap|
GILBERT, Ariz. - Many of the top prospects in the state of Arizona were in attendance for the Arizona Preps Fall Showcase. There may not have been a player who helped his national stock more than 2014 forward Zylan Cheatham.
Jaron Hopkins, SG/SF: One of the biggest enigmas in the 2013 class, Hopkins remains a really tough evaluation. At 6-foot-5, he has very good size for a guard, can really handle it and is a big time athlete. His shot has also gradually improved. With those aforementioned attributes, an event like this one was almost too easy for Hopkins, who used his athleticism and handle to get to the basket whenever he wanted, while also knocking in an open three-pointer every now and then. All that said, Hopkins forces a lot of shots and often makes questionable decisions with the ball, and the bottom line is there will be a direct correlation to his improvement in those two areas and how successful he is at Colorado.
Jalen Richard, SG: A commitment to Santa Clara, this one looks to be a steal for the Broncos. A gifted scorer with very good athleticism for the position, Richard gets a lot of lift on his pull-up jumper, making it a tough weapon for opponents to defend. Richard plays hard, uses his hops to for some explosive dunks in transition, has a smooth finger roll at the basket, defends and can get to the basket. Richard really flew under the radar but credit to Santa Clara’s coaching staff for sneaking into Arizona and stealing a good one.
Joe Boyd, PF: Boyd is very similar to Arizona native Harper Kamp, who was pretty close to the same caliber prospect but was skilled, played hard and the right way, which are key ingredients to an overachiever. Boyd is committed to Drakeand while he could have been a role player at a higher level, he should have a nice career there. Boyd plays hard, is a good passer for a big man, displayed hook shots with both his left and right hands, finished well and also knocked down the open three. Drake came into Arizona and landed a pretty talented four man.
Zylan Cheatham, PF: There may not be an unranked player out west in 2014 more deserving of emerging in Scout.com’s next rankings than Cheatham. The athletic face up four seems to make a major step forward in his game in every viewing and it’s very clear by now that he’s going in a great direction as a prospect. Cheatham is a terrific rebounder who utilizes his length and athleticism to sky above the rim to grab boards. His handle allows him to quickly push the ball up the court. He’s a very good passer, which makes him a threat to cut and dish to an open teammate or get to the basket. He’ll need to improve as a shooter, but he has gotten better there already, and made a big time stepback jumper from about 12-feet out on the baseline that he wouldn’t have been comfortable doing a few months back. There’s a lot of Mike Moserto his game at the same stage.
Connor MacDougall, C: You can always count on MacDougall to show up and play hard. The 6-foot-8 post has a strong frame and finishes well around the basket, but will also step out and hit the midrange jumper. His motor helps him on the glass on both sides of the court. An early commitment to Arizona State, this looks to be a nice pickup for the Sun Devils. Even ignoring MacDougall’s skill level, his size, mobility and effort make him a good prospect, but he’s also one of the more skilled posts out west in 2014.
Payton Dastrup, C: One of the most skilled centers in the 2014 class, a camp like this can be difficult for a post, as it’s tough to get the touches in the paint he would normally get in AAU or high school. That said, Dastrup played hard as always and had some nice moves under the basket, including an up an under that that would get his defender off balance. Dastrup is a really capable shooter for a big kid and that was on display, stepping out to hit some shots from beyond the arc. Dastrup did a nice job on the defensive glass and his big body makes it tough for guards to get into the lane when he’s in there.
Rolando Rhymes, PG: Rhymes probably had the breakout performance of the camp. The little point guard is just a lightening bolt going up and down the court. When he gets the ball, he is pushing it down the floor as quickly as possible but while he’s a capable finisher, Rhymes is also a terrific passer and made some ridiculous passes to teammates in transition. He’ll need to improve as a shooter, but the bottom line is his speed with the ball in his hands to go along with his vision makes him a promising prospect. Rhymes sat out his sophomore season after transferring from St. Mary’s, and this figures to be an important season for his recruitment.
Elston Jones, C: Over the last year, Jones has sometimes struggled with injuries and has been a little too heavy, but this was probably the best he’s looked, both in terms of his body and game. A big kid, Jones is a little undersized at center, but he’s added to his skill level and has a soft touch around the hoop, making him usually a solid finisher. Jones is a bit more finesse than power for a big kid, so the more he can use his body to his advantage in the paint, the better. He’s best with his right hand, and doesn’t commit himself to trying to score every time he gets the ball; he does a good job looking for open teammates.
* Jake Toolson’s outside jumper wasn’t falling as it normally is, but the 2014 prospect can be a deceptively difficult player to defend and did have some nice drives to the basket and did a good job of trying to create for teammates. His biggest weapon is usually his pull-up jumper.
* Keep an eye on 2016 Florence forward Devin Kirby. The brother of 2013 Virginia Tech commitment Maurice Kirby, Devin is a good looking prospect. He’s just 14 years old so he’s a year young for the class, is already about 6-foot-5 and growing, and had a smooth looking midrange jumper. There’s a long way to go, but this is definitely a player to watch.
* 2013 prospect Airen Randolph is a forward with good size at 6-foot-5 that did a nice job on the glass and around the basket.
* Another 2013 wing who had some nice moments was Desmond Ross, who shot a pull-up jumper with confidence and got to the basket.
* 2014 Tucson power forward Chaz Mack has a wide frame with long arms and looks like he could still grow. He played hard and did work on the offensive glass.
Rolando Rhymes has an offer from NAU with interest from Boise State, Weber State, U.C. Irvine, Santa Clara and Portland.