On March 19 and 20th, Michael Clark put on his anual AZ Finest’s Top 20 Showcase at Inspire Courts in Gilbert, Arizona. This event was top-notch from start to finish, as a greater majority of the state’s top talent, from all classes, was in attendance. These top prospects competed at a high level in every game. This was the first chance as well to see many of the state’s top players and new faces, since the high school season ended a few weeks ago.
Of the games I personally observed, here are some of my notes and observations about current individuals in this showcase:
2019 6’2 PG Michael Rogers of the I-10 Celtics (Cesar Chavez H.S.) - Played at a very high rate all day and was very impressive to me. Rogers has great lift on his jumper and can consistently knock down jumpers when left open. He also has a very strong frame, which he uses to get into the lane and bully defenders around the basket to score the ball. Rogers is surprisingly athletic for size, as he finishes a few transition baskets above the rim. He also has great vision in a half-court and full-court setting, as he made many precision passes that resulted in scores for his teammates. Look for Rogers to have a very good spring and summer, as he has all the tools to be a special guard in the 2019 class.
2016 6’1 CG Myles Thompson of Powerhouse Hoops (ALA H.S.) - Thompson is one of the best available unsigned prospects still on the board in the 2016 class. Thompson knocked down several jumpers during his first game on the day. He has a very clean and quick release on his jumper which makes it tough for defenders to get a hand up to block it. He is also very quick off of the bounce to the basket, and has a great ability to pass the ball once in the lane. He found many of his teammates for wide open dunks and scores. The most impressive part of Thompson’s game is his unique athletic ability. At 6-foot-1, Thompson finished many of his fast break points with a variety of dunks, which was very impressive for his size. Thompson should pick up many offers playing with Powerhouse Hoops during this spring evaluation period.
2018 6’0 PG Raheem Oliver of the I-10 Celtics - Oliver was the quickest player that I saw on the day. He has a great burst of speed off of the dribble, and no defender was frankly able to stay in front of him. He also finished well thru contact at the rim.
The surprise player of the day was 2017 6’8 PF Tyson Beringer of Poston Butte H.S. in Queen Creek. A relatively unknown player before this event, Beringer quickly made a name for himself at this event. Beringer is a very long, defensive specialist who blocked numerous shots on the day. He also ran the floor very well in his 2 games and finished many of his plays with big dunks on transition or in the post.
2017 6’7 SF Gabe McGothlan was one of the most athletic prospects on the day, as he finished nearly every play with a highlight finish. McGothlan also possesses a college ready frame now, and uses that to his advantage on the defensive end, as he blocked and bodied many of the players who came his way. McGothlan will play with the AZ Power Basketball Academy this summer.
2018 6’0 PG Amari Hudson of Powerhouse Hoops (Skyline Prep H.S.) looked very good throughout the day. He shot the ball at a very good clip from outside and showed improved athleticism from the last time we saw him during the H.S. season. He has great body control at the basket and finished thru contact with ease on several occasions.
One of the best available prospects in the 2016 class is 6’4 SG Channel Banks of Hillcrest Prep. Banks possesses a Devin Booker like release on his shot, and is one of the best shooters on the day. He is also a very seasoned player, as he has played on some of the biggest stages in the U.S. this high school season. He will be a steal for any program who is looking to get a tough guard late in the 2016 class.
2018 6’2 PG Jaden Lee of South Pointe looks better and better every time I see him play. Lee showed an improved shooting stroke and plays with a very high level of confidence on both ends of the court. He is most defiantly one of the best guards the state of Arizona has to offer in the 2018 class.
2017 6’1 PG Holland “Boo Boo” Woods of Phoenix Phamily (Apollo H.S.) was by far one of the best prospects on the day. Woods (pictured) possesses a very elite handle of the basketball, and it is very hard to stay in front of him due to his blinding speed and ability to maneuver wherever he wants to go on the court. He also showed a new athletic ability to his game, that I did not know existed, as he finishes fast breaks with dunks now instead of layups. Look for Woods to have a very productive spring and summer playing alongside 2018 6’11 PF Marvin Bagley III of the Nike-sponsored Phoenix Phamily.
2016 6’0 PG Michael Bibby Jr. of Team Bibby ( Shadow Mt.) is one of the sturdiest and most veteran guards in Arizona. Bibby shoots the ball at a great clip all day long, and even showed improved athleticism as well. He has great vision and truly makes others around him better. Will have a great 4-year career at the next level.
6’6 CG Chris Bowling of AZ Power Basketball Academy is one of the most athletic wings left on the board in 2016. Bowling played at a high level as always, knocking down numerous outside jumpers and finishing strong at the basket. A proven winner at the high school and AAU Circuit. Look for Bowling to be very productive at the college level when he finds the right fit and situation for himself.