The 7th Annual Arizona Spring Showcase took place on the campus of Arizona Christian University on Sunday, and the event kicked off the spring evaluation period and also the event season in the state. With just a few high school programs still looking to compete for state titles this week, Area Codes Basketball and Tournament Director Chad Groth decided to put on the first event of the spring - getting a jump on the event schedule.
The event was filled with some nice unheralded talent for local college coaches to take a hard look at - many underclassmen and also some top available unsigned senior prospects. Much of the top basketball contributors in the state were in attendance for the event, and also many junior college and small school college coaches.
There were many prospects on the day, young and older, that helped themselves with their performance on the day. Here are the top individual performers that I saw compete on the day. Here are my top individual performers on Sunday . . .
Top 2018 Prospects
Stephen Gabriel 6-7 SR SF/PF Planet Athlete Academy - 2018 Class
Gabriel has indicated that he will attend a post-graduate program next fall - making him a 2019 prospect. He is not clear though yet which post-graduate program he will attend. Gabriel was also a man among boys on the day, as he physically is imposing as a result of his tremendous strength and athleticism. He was dominant in his ability to make plays off the dribble and finish at the rim, and also set up his teammates off the dribble, which was good to see. Dunked strong with either hand in traffic, and played well above the rim on put-backs and strong finishes. Still needs to improve his perimeter shot to be effective as a wing player. Will need a post -graduate year to improve his overall feel for the game and decision making, but he is a tremendous talent with a bright future, if he can get it done academically.
Jared Perry 6-8 SR PF Paradise Honors HS - 2018 Class (Adams State commit)
Perry has improved a great deal over the past two years - as much as any high school prospect in the state. Has developed physically into a serious college prospect. He has really improved his body and has gotten much stronger physically, which has benefited him a great deal. A very strong and athletic post talent with good length and broad shoulders. A solid shooter from mid-range and a very improved and good overall low-post scorer. Has good low post moves and a nice jump hook. An excellent finisher that plays above the rim. Runs the floor hard and is an excellent finisher while slashing or in the open floor. Has quick lift off the floor. An active rebounder and shotblocker. Has excellent work ethic. A nice looking post prospect for a smaller college program. Committed to Adams State University.
Josh Hawkins 6-3 SR SG Paradise Honors HS - 2018 Class
Hawkins was a surprise performer on the day. A long, rangy guard prospect with a thick frame physically and very good athleticism, which allows him to finish well above the rim. Has very good bounce off the floor and is a strong finisher in traffic. A good finisher and open court player. A good shooter with range. A good ball handler and passer. Has good overall versatility on the floor. A good sleeper prospect that helped himself a great deal on the day.
Devin Booker 6-3 SR PG/SG Planet Athlete Academy - 2018 Class
Booker is a very good and versatile guard prospect that is capable of playing both guard positions on the floor. A good ball handler and passer that sees the floor. Plays with very good aggression and is a good defender with quick hands and feet, and plays passing lanes. A good driver and finisher with the basketball in his hands, and moves without the basketball. A good shooter with range on his shot. A good rebounder for his size. A complete guard prospect that is fundamentally sound. A good sleeper prospect that will make someone proud this spring, as he is tough and competes hard - a no nonsense guard prospect.
Isaias Pineda 6-8 SR PF Faith Christian HS - 2018 Class
A large, wide-body post prospect that has a good overall skill level. Runs the floor hard and is a good finisher in the open court. Surprised me with his athleticism and fluidity. An active rebounder. Has good hands and feet. A good finisher around the paint. Has good footwork. Has some upside. A good sleeper post prospect that is physically ready to play.
Top 2019 Prospects
Ibrahima Camara 6-3 SG JR Bella Vista Prep - 2019 Class
A skilled guard prospect with a nice shooting stroke with range on his shot. Has a very athletic build and a live body. While he didn't get the ball much on the day, when he did, he looked good with the basketball and made basketball plays. A fundamentally sound prospect. A good ball handler and passer that is capable of playing the 2 or 3 positions on the floor. A good rebounder. A good sleeper prospect for a smaller college program.
Jalen Johnson 6-5 JR SF Bella Vista Prep - 2019 Class
A long and skilled wing prospect with good overall versatility. A good finisher in the open floor. A good ball handler and passer for his size. A good shooter with range, but needs a quicker release on his shot to be more effective against better opposition. A solid rebounder. A solid defender. Needs to add serious physical strength to maximize his potential as a player. A good overall athlete.
Top 2020 Prospects
Jerry Illiya 6-6 SOPH SG/SF Phoenix Christian High School - 2020 Class (Pictured left)
Illiya was the top overall performer on the day, showcasing his unique athleticism and displaying it front of everyone in attendance. He soared well above the rim in each game on the day, and proved why he is considered one of the elite 2020 prospects in the West already. Illiya had his sophomore season cut short when his program, CGM Prep Academy, went down recently. He has just been attending classes this season at Phoenix Christian HS, and has prepared himself for a big spring and summer for himself, where he will now play for Powerhouse Hoops. A man among boys athletically and physically, so it will be fun to watch him on the club circuit during the evaluation period. Competes very hard and plays with a very high motor.
Roy Eze 6-9 SOPH PF Phoenix Christian HS - 2020 Class (Pictured right)
Eze, like Illiya, played for CGM Prep Academy before the program was closed down in December. He has attended Phoenix Christian HS academically during the process and continues to take classes there. Will have a big spring and summer while playing for Powerhouse Hoops. An athletic and long post player that runs the floor well, and is a very good finisher in the open court. An active rebounder and shotblocker that competes on both ends of the floor. A good passer. A solid shooter with range on his shot. A good finisher around the basket. Has solid low-post footwork. Has a bright future ahead of him.
Top 2021 Prospects
Matur Dhal 6-10 FR PF/C South Pointe HS - 2021 Class
A very long and skilled post player that has good overall versatility. Runs the floor very well and is a good finisher in the open court. A good ball handler and passer. An active rebounder and shotblocker. Has a good jump hook and good low-post footwork. Has good overall versatility as a player. Still needs to add some serious size and strength to maximize his potential over time, but he is a very good looking young prospect with a lot of upside. A big-time talent over time.
Dominique Newsome 5-7 FR PG Central HS - 2021 Class
Newsome is very small in size and stature, but he flat out gets a lot done with the basketball in his hands. He will definitely need to grow a great deal over time to continue to impact the game as much as he already does, but this young man is a scoring machine and creates havoc for opposing guards - getting to the free-throw line quite often. A left hander, Newsome enjoys physical contact for his size and loves to penetrate the lane and score on a variety of floaters from many different angles. He is a very good shooter with unlimited range, and has a nice shooting stroke with good form on his shot. A very good defender with quick hands and feet. One of the better looking guard prospect in the state's freshman class.
Isaiah Freeney 6-0 FR PG South Mountain HS - 2021 Class
Freeney is a big-time young guard prospect with an excellent feel for the game and a unique ability to make plays off the dribble. He has a quick and superb handle of the basketball, with very good explosion off the dribble, which allows him to finish plays in the lane and also create scoring opportunities for others. He has a nice shooting stroke with range and a quick release on his shot. He is a natural scorer of the basketball, and is fun to watch when he gets it going, and is a good finisher. He has good lateral quickness defensively and quick hands and feet. He pushes the basketball up the floor and likes to find the open man. Has a bright future ahead of him.