The Cesar Chavez basketball program is always loaded with althletic talent, and as a result, the team is highly competitive each year - making an annual run in the Division-I state playoffs. Led by head coach Gary Lee, who is one of the nicer guys in the head coaching business in Arizona, the Champions (mascot) have failed to become the state champions in the Division-I Class, but have been knocking on the door for sometime.
This year's team is also loaded with talent, although not as much as year's past, from top to bottom. Led by the play of 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior point guard Donald Carter, Cesar Chavez has been up and down this high school season with their play. If this team can put it all together and begin to play together consistently for a full game, and not just in spurts, this team could make a serious run in the state playoffs this season.
I was in attendance to watch this team play on Wednesday evening, as they traveled to Camelback HS. The game was no contest from start to finish as Chavez (13-6) simply had much more talent on the floor than Camelback, and Camelback also struggled to run any resemblance of an offense in the match-up. After building a big 36-18 first half lead, Chavez would go on to defeat Camelback 65-45 behind a balanced offensive attack.
Here are my player evaluations from the top prospects from this year's Cesar Chavez team . . .
Donald Carter 6-1 JR PG Cesar Chavez - 2017 Class
Carter is the point man for this team and has been for the past two seasons. Carter is unlike many point guards that we have seen at Chavez over the past decade, as he is a pass-first guard with an excellent feel for the game and an unselfish demeanor. He has good court vision and advances the basketball up the floor to the open man, and also likes to push the basketball himself. A smooth operator withe the ball in his hands, Carter is a good penetrator and finisher. He is also a good rebounder from the PG position on the floor, and has a good ability to defend, although he does not focus enough in this areaof his game. With much more focus defensively, Carter can become a complete, well-rounded guard prospect. One of the elite guard prospects in Arizona's 2017 class. He is the leader of this team and will have his biggest test trying to lead this group deep into the state playoffs this season.
Dischon Thomas 6-7 SOPH PF Cesar Chavez - 2018 Class
Thomas recently moved to the state of Arizona from North Carolina, and has made a nice splash in the state, as he is one of the state's premier prospects in the 2018 class already. A lengthy forward prospect with good size and long arms, Thomas is a four-man now that knows how to play the position and is well-coached. He scores effectively around the basket and is able to also score away from the basket with a soft touch from the perimeter. Dischon should only continue to develop a great deal over time, as he physcially matures and becomes much more of a 3/4 prospect. Thomas runs the floor and is a good finisher in transition. His length and good timing also allow for him to block or change shots consistently. Thomas is a great addition to the Chavez program this season, and he has raised the overall level of talent at a program that already is loaded with it. A very good prospect for the future.
Michael Rogers 6-2 SOPH PG/SG Cesar Chavez HS - 2018 Class
Rogers is a big-time guard prospect that is originally from New York. A big, strong guard already with a 200-pound frame from the guard position - a rare find in this state. Rogers is an excellent shooter of the basketball with unlimited range on his shot - his best asset. He also has a nice handle of the basketball and plays with a high level of confidence. A leader on and off the floor, if this young man can channel his superior personaity in the right manner. it will benefit him a great deal over time. He has an ability to create a shot for himself or others almost at will. As a result, Gary Lee seems to pull the reigns on Rogers, and picks and chooses when to let him get his. Once Rogers is allowed to take over - watch out. He will need to shed some pounds to compete against smaller, quicker guard prospects in the West and nationally, but he is a superb talent for the future.
Kenny Sutton 5-9 SR PG/SG Cesar Chavez HS - 2016 Class
One of only two senior performers on this year's team. Sutton is a big-time scorer of the basketball and simply a superb talent with the basketball in his hands. He has an excellent handle of the basketball, and is able to get anywhere he wants to on the floor and at will. Sutton is a lightning quick guard prospect and has an excellent ability to make plays for himself and others. He is not much of a playmaker though - much more of a scorer at this point in his career. When he makes up his mind, he can do anything he wants on the floor. A very good shooter of the basketball, and an absolute scorer of the basketball. Sutton is also a capable lock-down defender with quick hands and feet. He does not focus enough in this area, but he is capable of being special on the defensive end. Sutton will help keep this team in every game Chavez competes in this high school season. An excellent guard for a smaller college program.