The Border League event took place in Gilbert, Arizona, this weekend for the first time, and it was a very exciting event to cover. While there were many top-rated programs from around the country in this event, the performance of the Arizona high school and prep programs brought the fans and also raised the overall value of the event. No game was more exciting this weekend, than the exciting match-up on Saturday evening between two Arizona prep powers - AZ Compass Prep and Hillcrest Prep. While it had been sometime since we have seen these two programs match-up, this year's AZ Compass Prep program proved to be ready for the challenge, as the two teams gave us one game to remember.
AZ Compass Prep, led by one of the best pure point guard prospects I have ever seen in my 25+ years of scouting, 6-foot-4 senior point guard Ty Ty Washington, would have an amazing weekend - going undefeated in the event. In the process, AZ Compass would knock off two Arizona Prep powers in the process - defeating a loaded Hillcrest Prep team on Saturday evening, 65-56, and then defeating another loaded Dream City Christian Prep team on Sunday afternoon, 69-64. AZ Compass would also knock off Trinity Prep International (NV) in their first game on Friday evening, 55-35. It was an absolute huge weekend performance for the AZ Compass Prep program, their players and their coaching staff.
The AZ Compass Prep program has worked really hard over the past several years to build themselves into a national prep power, and the organization has done so through countless hours of hard work and recruiting of players from around the country. I have most valued and marveled at the programs hard work in the gym with individual and team development. This year's team has really worked hard on skill development, but also has played many more games already early in the season, as the program hosted their own league, which helped them and many other high school and prep programs get games in for the delayed season, caused from the COVID pandemic.
The hard work and game preparation showed up this weekend, as the program's top National Team would go undefeated over the weekend in the West Coast Division of the Border League event. While the team was not permitted to compete in the Top Flight Division of the event, due to high school regulations, it would have been a treat to see them go up against IMG Academy (FL) in the event. IMG played as National Spotlight in the event, and won the Top Flight Invite Division.
Either way, AZ Compass Prep, as did many Arizona programs did this weekend, made the state proud in the event. While the teams they defeated were Arizona prep programs, each of these prep programs are among the elite prep programs in the country. Arizona prep basketball has consistently taken the state to another level nationally, and with the past and recent successes of different prep programs in the state, AZ Compass only improved the perception of Arizona basketball prospects and teams this weekend with their strong performance in the event.
Many of the AZ Compass players improved their recruiting stock over the weekend, as they played hard and together, and the coaching staff, which is very talented, provided excellent leadership. The coaching staff is led by Head Coach Ed Gipson, a former Division-I college coach, Director of Operations Pete Kaffey, who is a recruiting machine and Jeremy Pope, who recently joined the staff, and is one of the top up-and-coming young coaches, and also a former Division-I coach.
The AZ Compass program is on the rise and is now coming off an excellent showing this weekend, and looks to be prepared to have a big season.
Notes: The competition between Arizona prep programs this weekend in the Border League was terrific and great to see. It was an absolute delight to watch the best of the best in the state go at it, and in fine fashion. There has to be a winner and a loser by the score, but these tremendous match-ups had no losers, as the competition was fierce and only made each team better. While we talk about won-loss records, the true benefit in these games is the competition, which only brings out the best in each team and player. While each of Arizona's top prep programs play against the nation's elite prep programs, we rarely get to see them play each other. I hope we begin to see this happen more often, because these Arizona prep programs are the class of the state and a joy to watch compete, especially against one another.