From June 10th through the 12th, Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley and his staff hosted their first Arizona State Team Camp since taking over the program last year. Games were played in Wells Fargo Arena, Weatherup Center and the ASU Rec Center. Around 20 very high caliber teams competed all throughout the day at these different venues, and it was a great camp from start to finish. Desert Vista brought home the big school championship beating Pinnacle in the final, and Fountain Hills topped Florence to win the small school championship.
Of the games I personally viewed, here are some notes and observations from the weekend on a variety of players and teams:
Shadow (Phoenix) Mountain looks to be reloaded again, even after losing a great majority of their scoring, rebounding, and overall leadership. 2019 6-foot-1 PG Jaelen House, 2019 5-foot-11 PG Javon Blackshear, 6-foot-3 CG Jordan Pace and 6-foot-4 SF Darrion Spottsville led the way for the Matadors all weekend. House and Blackshear are special guards in the 2019 class in regards to the vision, playmaking ability and overall savvy for just being incoming Sophs.
Pace and Spottsville had very good motors all weekend long, and were able to get a lot of their points off attacking the glass and getting second-chance put-backs, as well as hitting mid-range jumpers from all over the court.
Desert (Phoenix) Vista may be the team with the most overall talent in the state. The team went undefeated on the weekend with new head coach Gino Crump, and looked great all weekend. DV received solid play all weekend from 2017 6-foot-6 CG Caleb Simmons, 2019 6-foot-7 SF Walter Talley, 2017 6-foot-5 SG Noah Baumann (San Jose State commit), 2018 6-foot-9 C Steele Bennett and 2018 6-foot-6 SF Wesley Harris.
Simmons scored the ball well all weekend in bunches - hitting the open shots and attacking the basket off of the bounce or in transition. Talley has shown improvement shooting the ball with more confidence, from the last time I saw him in the spring, and he scored the ball easily down low on the block due to his overall toughness and willingness to attack smaller defenders. A recent San Jose State commit, Baumann is one of the best shooters in the state. He used his smooth, quick release to get his shot off in a variety of situations (catch-shoot, screens, flairs etc.) He also was able to attack from the wing position pretty effectively, and did get some points in transition. While Steele Bennett did not play a lot this weekend due to knee issues, he was productive on both ends of the court, using his big frame to seal smaller players for post position, and using his length to block and deflect shots when he was in the game. Harris is one of the best athletes in the state, as he was flying up and down the court all weekend, and finished some plays with monster dunks. Once he begins to develop more of a perimeter game, he will be a very tough player to handle.
Hillcrest (Phoenix) Prep Academy has a very loaded prep team with more elite players coming in before the season starts. They were led by future top 5 NBA Draft pick 7-foot-1 2017 C DeAndre Ayton, 6-foot-4 2016 CG Jay Green, 6-foot-3 CG Josh Green and 6-foot-5 2018 PG Jaylen Fleming. The Green brothers played solid most of the weekend, as they were tough to stop in ½ court settings due to their change of speed/ direction and ability to get into the lane at will, due to them finding holes in the defense. Fleming, who recently moved to Phoenix from Chicago, has a lot of upside as a 2018 point guard prospect, as he showed spurts throughout the weekend - scoring the ball off of the dribble and used his long frame to stay active on the glass.
Pinnacle (Scottsdale) HS has a very young, but talented team and finished second to a deep and older Desert Vista team. 2020 6-foot-1 CG Nico Mannion, 2019 6-foot PG Trent Brown and 2019 6-foot-1 CG Spencer Rattler were the most consistent producers for Pinnacle all weekend. Mannion, who picked up an offer from HC Bobby Hurley after the conclusion of the championship game, is a special talent. While he did somewhat struggle with the physicality from the older players, his skill set is extremely high for someone his age. Very few people were able to stay in-front of him on the weekend, due to his elusive handle and ability to get his shot off from anywhere at any time. He seemed making the right play again and again for himself, and his teammates and had nearly no errors while in the game. Brown is a very well-coached floor general and has a very high basketball IQ, a very important trait in PG’s. Brown also shot the ball well in the championship game and looked improved from the Spring Evaluation period in this category. Rattler is an elite QB on the football field with numerous offers already. He plays the game with a football mentality and instincts. He was very active all weekend on the defensive end of the court - getting his hands on many passes that came his way and scored when he could at the basket and in catch-and-shoot situations.
While Trevor (Phoenix) Browne HS did not have many elite prospects on the court, like some of the other schools, they played the game with a passion and fire that you could feel when you walked into the gym. They played very hard every game I was able to see them and ended up having an overall productive weekend - winning numerous games.
Chaparral (Scottsdale) HS has winning teams year in and year out, and this year looks to be no different. 2017 6-foot-1 PG Colton Kresl, 2017 6-foot-6 SG/F Trey Checkett, 2017 6-foot-8 PF Kai Fletcher and 6-foot SG JT Thoman were the most overall productive players on the weekend. Kresl looked very polished as usual, as he led his team, hit shots and was everywhere on the defensive end. Checkett is one of the most improved players in the state and used his long, bouncy frame to score a lot in transition, as well as attacking the basket off of the dribble. Fletcher is a very strong post player who came into his own when I watched him play in the first evaluation periods. He has a set of solid back-to-the-basket moves, and was active on the glass and fought for loose balls every time I saw him on the court. Thoman is a volume scorer and uses his massive frame from the guard position to bully smaller players, and get to the basket. He is also capable of consistently knocking down open looks from the 3-line. Look for this team to do some major damage next fall and Winter.