The 15th Annual Arizona Preps Fall Showcase was recently held on Saturday, October 26th at Scottsdale’s Jewish Community Center. Both boys and girls top-rated prospects in the state participated on the day in front of numerous local, regional and national scouting services in attendance.
As the state's top pre-season event just before the start to the 2013-2014 high school basketball season, each of these top-rated prospects will be ones to watch this up-and-coming high school season. Here is Part I of my top boys performers from this year’s event, beginning with the 2014 senior class . . .
Arizona Preps Fall Showcase Top Boys Performers - 2014 Class (In No Particular Order)
Zylan Cheatham 6-8 SR SF South Mountain HS (Phoenix, AZ) - 2014 (San Diego State commit)
- Cheatham is at his best in these types of events, where his superior length and NBA athleticism allow him to flourish at a high level. While he still needs some serious work on his perimeter jump-shot, it does not show in these types of events with Cheatham able to overpower opposition. Cheatham handled the basketball like a guard and made the right play for himself or his teammates - playing with a love for the game that is exciting to watch. Cheatham was the top performing prospect on the day - earning the event's Most Valuable Player award. Cheatham also won this year's Slam-Dunk contest for the second year in a row, finishing the contest with a between-the-legs 360-degree dunk. A NBA level athlete that has a bright future ahead of him, especially if he can add consistency to his perimeter jump-shot.
Payton Dastrup 6-10 SR PF/C Mountain View HS (Mesa, AZ) - 2014 (Ohio State commit)
- Dastrup showed up to this year's event much thinner physically and looking much quicker and more athletic. As a result, he was lighter on his feet and much more explosive at the rim. With the Showcase format of this year's event, it opened up the game a great deal for Dastrup to show off his versatility and skill level in the open floor - something he will not get much opportunity to do in a true game. Dastrup showed a much improved perimeter jump shot, and also electrified the crowd in attendance - finishing runner-up to Zylan Cheatham in the event's Slam Dunk Contest after jumping over two girls participants. Dastrup has a bright future ahead of him, and he looks to be on a mission to prove that he is worthy of a much higher national ranking.
Andre Adams 6-9 SR PF Westview HS (Avondale, AZ) - 2014
- Adams looked much stronger physically as he looks to have matured some over the last several months - something that will benefit him over time if he can continue to get stronger and add more size to his thin frame. While Adams was not the high-motor post player that once played with wreckless abandon, he still blocked numerous shots and competed hard in the event. Showed an improved mid-range jump shot, but he still needs to leave the floor when he shoots it, rather than shooting a relaxed set shot. Has a high ceiling still and should only continue to develop over time, so his best year's are well ahead of him. Adams is currently working very hard in the classroom, and is he can improve his academic performance, he will become a tremendous recruiting target over the next 1-2 years.
Pablo Rivas 6-6 SR SF/PF Cesar Chavez HS (Phoenix, AZ) - 2014
- This weekend's event was a coming-out-party of sorts for Rivas, as he performed at a high level in this year's event. While he has been regarded by our staff among the elite prospects in the state for some time, Rivas has flown well below the recruiting radar. He proved in this year's event that he is worthy of some serious division-I college recruitment from just under the high-major level. A high-motor athletic forward prospect that has excellent bounce off the floor and a nice ability to finish around the rim. Also showed a very improved perimeter jump shot with range in this year's event. The best sleeper prospect from this year's event.
Spencer Nicolds 6-7 SR SF/PF Gilbert HS (Gilbert, AZ) - 2014
- If Pablo Rivas was the best sleeper prospect in the event, Nicolds was the runner-up for the honor. A high-energy, athletic forward with rapidly developing perimeter skills and a knack for the basketball. Always around the ball, Nicolds attacks the rim with regularity and aggression. Soaring high above the rim, Nicolds is a defensive nightmare as he has very good size, mobility and is very active. An active rebounder and a very good shot-blocker. Plays with excellent instensity. Runs the floor like a guard. Has the potential to become one of the most sought after recruiting targets in the state during the spring signing period.
Ellis Dozier 6-8 SR SF Sherwood HS (DC) - 2014
- Dozier participated in this year's event after traveling from Washington D.C. and looking to gain some West Coast college recruitment. A very long, athletic wing prospect with a nice shooting stroke with range. Dozier is a nice talent that is just beginning to learn just how good he can. Has excellent bounce off the floor, and makes the game look easy. Would like to see him get stronger physically and plays more aggressive to maximize his full potential as a player. An excellent sleeper prospect for the mid-major division-I level.
Lyrik Shreiner 6-4 SR SG/SF Westwind Prep Academy (Phoenix, AZ) - 2014
- Shreiner has improved a great deal since last season - growing physically and mentally in preparation for a big senior season for himself. Shreiner is a big-time athletic talent with excellent lift off the floor and an ability to finish strong over defenders. He has a serious knack for scoring the basketball and is always around the basketball. Excellent in the open floor and while slashing to the rim. Will have a big scoring senior season and should become one of the top recruiting targets this spring. Coming off a strong spring and summer performance.
Hunter Thomas 6-3 SR PG Desert Ridge HS (Mesa, AZ) - 2014
- Thomas has quickly developed into one of the state's elite guard prospects over the past year - possessing superior athleticism and good overall quickness. He is a high-scoring threat with the basketball in his hands and plays the game with passion. Has a very slick handle of the basketball and a nice overall feel for the game. More of a scorer at this point in his young career, and is a human highlight film with the basketball in his hands. Very thin physically, but has nice upside for the future with excellent length of body. Over time, Thomas will only continue to develop and should really see his game flourish as he gets stronger physically and adds more size to his thin frame. Should become one of the better recruited guards in the state this spring.
Tate De Laveaga 6-3 SR PG/SG Pinnacle HS (Phoenix, AZ) - 2014 (Northern Arizona commit)
- De Laveaga is currently taking class in his senior season at Pinnacle HS after recently leaving Westwind Prep Academy. The Northern Arizona commitpicked up her he left off in this year's event, scoring the basketball at a nice rate and showing his usual toughness and gritty offensive approach to the game. Shot the basketball with range and also drove hard to the lane, finishing strong at the basket. Absorbed contact nicely and is one of the bigger physical guard prospects around. It will be a tough year sitting out this season for a prospect that has played basketball every day for many years.
Chris Davis 6-6 SR PF Mountain Pointe HS (Phoenix, AZ) - 2014
- Davis is a very long and athletic undersized four-man that plays much bigger than his size suggests. He has a very strong body and excellent lift off the ground - making him a very good finisher around the basket, where he is able to finish well above the rim. Competed well in this year's Slam Dunk competition - showing just how athletic he is. Davis has a solid shooting stroke but does not possesses much range. He is at his best from mid-range and around the key area. As he learns to embrace the four position, he will see his game develop and prosper.
Luke Smith 6-9 SR PF/C Mountain Ridge HS (Glendale, AZ) - 2014
- Smith recently emerged this fall and since has began to receive serious attention from college programs. While he is still raw physically, he has some solid skills and a nice approach to the game. He has worked hard and is beginning to come into his own as a player, although his very best years are well ahead of him. Has improved a great deal recently and possesses very good upside as a college prospect. A nice sleeper post prospect.