In very shocking news this week, Millennium High School's gifted 6-foot-9, 200-pound junior post DaRon Holmes, our 2020 Arizona Preps Player of the Year, gave an announcement that would take the state's basketball community by complete surprise, as he announced that he would be leaving the state of Arizona for his senior season, and playing for national power Montverde Academy (FL).
The announcement by Holmes came this week on Twitter, when he thanked everyone he felt he needed to, and then made his announcement:
"First, I want to thank Coach Ty (Amundsen), the @MillenniumHoops coaching staff and my teammates for three tremendous years. My game has grown considerably since I first stepped onto a HS court. And, I cannot thank you enough for your investment in me as a player and teammate. Next, I want to thank the AZ basketball community and media for supporting me during my time playing AIA ball. The fact that I have the opportunity to further my game is due, in part, to the accomplishments made here in Arizona. Finally, it’s with the purpose of taking my growth to a new level of competition and development that my family and I are taking this important next step. We are announcing that I will finish my final year of HS competing for Coach Kevin Boyle at Montverde Academy @MVABasketball." (DaRon Holmes Twitter Press Release)
The decision by Holmes to leave two-time 5A State Champion Runner-Up Millennium High School for Montverde, seems to have nothing to do with Millennium's program, as much as it has to do with Holmes wanting an opportunity to play on a bigger national stage. Montverde is among the nation's very elite Nike-sponsored high school programs, and will provide maximum exposure for Holmes to the nation's best events during his senior season.
The question becomes, does Holmes really need the recruiting exposure? No, he does not, as Holmes already possesses loads of division-I offers for himself. Holmes was Arizona's top overall prospect in the state's AIA Division, and is already currently rated among the nation's elite overall prospects in America's 2021 Class. Holmes is being recruited nationally by just about every college program in America, and currently has offers from such programs as Kansas, Arizona, Virginia, UCLA, San Diego State, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, USC, Arizona State, Vanderbilt, Marquette, Pepperdine, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Cal, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Loyola Marymount, New Mexico, GCU and UTEP.
The national exposure gained from playing a superb national schedule with Montverde Academy though will add immensely to his ability to become a strong candidate for the 2021 McDonald's All-American Game. Holmes' emergence on an ultra-loaded Montverde roster next season, will almost guarantee his pursuit to become McDonald's and will also increase his overall player ranking in the 2021 Class almost immediately.
For Holmes, who has absolutely dominated the state since entering the high school ranks, this a new challenge for him - one that he definitely felt he needed to pursue. Many top-rated Arizona basketball prospects in the past have left the state of Arizona to pursue opportunities in other states, but those prospects primarily left for California to play on different club teams, not high school programs. Former Corona Del Sol HS superstar Marvin Bagley left the Aztecs after winning a state championship in his freshman season, and eventually landed at Sierra Canyon HS (CA), before eventually moving on to Duke and then the Sacramento Kings (NBA).
Holmes led his Millennium High School team to a second-consecutive 5A State Championship runner-up performance last season as a junior, and a strong 24-6 overall record on the season. (5) of the (6) total losses by Millennium on the season came at the hands of strong out-of-state competition. Millennium's only loss on the season came in the final game of the year against a well-focused Ironwood High School team in the 5A State Final.
Holmes averaged impressive numbers on the season, posting 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per/game - numbers that could have been much higher, but Holmes is an excellent teammate and looked to get his teammate involved on every opportunity, rather than look to post larger numbers for himself. Holmes did all he could personally to help lead his teammates to a state title last season.
Holmes is a tremendous talent on the court, and has a very bright future ahead of him - in college and even after that. This young man is a future pro for sure. While he is a serious talent he is an even better person - a young man with an amazing smile, a great personality and very approachable to others.
Good luck to Holmes in his future from our Arizona Preps' staff. The state's basketball community will definitely miss watching him play in his final season. This is a tremendous loss for Arizona basketball, and is definitely a colossal loss for Millennium High School, who is slated to play a serious schedule next season, now without the services of Holmes.