On Saturday afternoon, and with many top-rated high school basketball teams in action on the day, Area Codes Basketball hosted the Arizona Middle School Spotlight Exposure Showcase at Mesa High School.
The Arizona Preps staff was in attendance for the event and were able to catch several of the games on the day. Here are my top individual performers from the day . . .
Za Ontay Bootham 5-10 SG 8th Grader Bales Middle School - 2020 Class
Bootham was the best looking prospect overall in this weekend's event, as he has excellent length on his frame and is very versatile as a player. He is a playmaker and likes to have the basketball in his hands, where he is able to make plays for himself and others on the floor. A good finisher in the open floor and also a good slasher. A solid shooter with range. A good penetrator and finisher. Active rebounder. A good ball handler. Has a bright future ahead of him. Has a strking resemblance to Cameron Satterwhite (Loyola-Chicago signee) at the same age.
Eric Blackwell 5-10 8th Grader SG/SF Simpson Middle School - 2020 Class
Blackwell may have been the best prospect from this weekend's event, as he had the best athletic body and size on his frame. A left hander, Blackwell is a very good scorer in the open floor and thrives as a slasher. He is an excellent driver of the basketball and is a good scorer around the basket. An OK shooter that needs to work on his consistency from longer ranges. A good rebounder with good physical strength. A good passer. Excellent defender.
Nahshon Harper 5-5 PG 8th Grader Collier Middle School - 2020 Class
Harper is a true point guard that likes to have the basketball in his hands. He is a very good ball handler and passer that likes to set up the open man on the floor, and has floor general qualities. A good penetrator and a solid finisher. Pushes the ball up the floor. A good shooter with range on his shot. A very good defender with quick hands and long arms. Has good length of body that suggests that he will grow a great deal over the next 3-4 years. A nice looking prospect.
Nathan Dunn 6-3 8th Grader PF Paseo Middle School - 2020 Class
Dunn had the best size of any prospect in the event. Already possessing very a very good-sized frame, Dunn is a very strong post player with a good overall skill level. He has good footwork for his age and has a nice understanding of how to score inside and out. He did not face many players his size in the event to it was difficult to evaluate his performance, but he definitely looks like a serious prospect for the future. Good rebounder. Good low post scorer - capable of scoring with either hand. With continued hard work and physical maturity, Dunn could blossom into a nice prospect over time.
Ricardo Sarmiento 5-9 8th Grader PG/SG ASU Prepatory Academy - 2020 Class
Sarmiento has very good size as a combo-guard prospect and plays with an excellent competitive spirit. He is a very good jump-shooter of the basketball with range, and is able to pull up from almost anywhere on the floor and make shots. A good ball handler and a very good passer that sees the open man on the floor. A solid defender. As fiery a competitor as there was on the day.
Dominique Newsome 5-5 8th grader PG Vista Del Sur Middle School - 2020 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 good shooter with unlimited range, although his shot selection can be questionable. A very good defender with quick hands and feet.
Logan Phillips 5-6 8th Grader Payne Middle School - 2020 Class
Has good length of body and is still growing a great deal. A good ball handler and passer that sees the floor and likes to get the ball to the open teammate. A good driver and finisher. Active rebounder. Injured his knee in the event. Has a good overall feel for the game.
Matthews Monaghan 5-7 8th Grader Highland Lakes Middle School - 2020 Class
Monaghan has good size for his smaller frame. He runs the floor hard and is a good finisher in the open court. Active rebounder. Good mid-range shooter. OK ball handler and passer. Good defender.
Zay Freeney 5-4 7th Grader PG Centennial Middle School - 2021 Class
One of the top players in this weekend's event. A very good looking guard prospect with a nice handle of the basketball and an ability to create his own shot off the dribble and finish. A good shooter of the basketball with range on his shot. A very good ball handler and passer. Good defender with lateral quickness and quick hands and feet.
Riley Fornerette 5-4 7th Grader PG Western Peaks Middle School - 2021 Class
Fornerette has good size on his smaller frame, and has good quickness of hands and feet. He is a very good shooter with range on his shot, is also a good driver of the basketball and a good finisher in the lane. Good passer. Good defender with lateral quickness.
Emery Young 5-2 5th Grader PG Oakwood Middle School - 2023 Class
Young was the youngest player in the event, but he shows excellent promise for the future, as he already has excellent size for his young age. Son of former 6-foot-11 Fresno State player Rey Young, so he should grow a great deal over time. Young is already a very good ball handler and passer with a knack for scoring the basketball. He has good quickness and plays agressive for his young age. Has a bright future ahead of him, and I look forward to seeing his continued development over time.