The state of Arizona's level of basketball talent continues to grow immensely, and has taken serious strides over the past couple years. One of the best overall shooters of the basketball in the country now has decided to change homes and has landed in the state of Arizona as well, as former Verritas Prep (CA) 6-foot-3 senior guard Ismael Cruz now will attend AZ Compass Prep.
Cruz is among the best pure shooters of the basketball that I have ever seen, and, while it is a definite surprise that he has changed programs during the middle of his senior season, he is an excellent addition to an AZ Compress Prep program and team that has had many changes to the program recently.
Currently, Cruz has offers on the table for himself from Colorado, New Mexico and Siena. He does not seem to have a clear leader for his services at this point, and much of that could be as a result of his academic situation. Cruz does still need to get a lot of work done in the classroom to become academically eligible for NCAA Division-I standards.
Cruz played in his first game on Friday evening in a contest against Trinity International (NV) - a game in which Compass lost by a narrow margin, 2 points. Cruz looked very good and did what he does in the game, make shots from deep.
Cruz has a quick release on his shot and is able to get it off almost at will against longer defenders, as he has unlimited range and a pure shooting stroke. He is a smaller shooting guard prospect but is a specialist as a shooter. He is an OK defender and, while he is not overly athletic, he makes up for it with a serious basketball IQ and prowess offensively.
If Cruz can improve his academic performance a great deal and become academically eligible, it will be interesting to see shich schools look to get involved late.
I will continue to follow Cruz closely to see how he progresses during the second half of his senior season, and bring you any updates as they continue to develop.
Notes: AZ Compass Prep 7-foot-3 senior post Chol Marial played in his first game this high school season, and his first game in almost (2) years on Friday evening against Trinity International (NV). Marial started the contest for AZ Compass Prep, and had (6) blocks in his team's narrow loss. Most importantly for him, he looked good running the floor and playing overall in his first game. While he does not have his explosiveness back as of yet, and his overall endurance maybe, it will take him a few games to really get back going. It will fun to see how he progresses over the next few weeks at the program . . .
AZ Compass has also added the services of 6-foot-11, 210-pound senior post Lazar Nekic (Loyola Marymount signee) to their porgram's roster this season. Nekic is a longer post prospect that has good mobility as a player and is able to shoot the basketball from the perimeter. The addition of (3) seniors in Nekic, Marial and Cruz to the Compass program this season will give Compass Prep a formidable lineup for the second half of the season.
AZ Compass will face a loaded Hillcrest Prep North team today in Las Vegas at 2:45PM.