It was not too long ago that we saw superstar, 6-foot-9, 200-pound senior forward DaRon Holmes (University of Dayton signee) leave the state of Arizona - transferring to national basketball power Montverde Academy (FL). While it was thought that the Arizona basketball community had seen their last glimpse of Holmes playing for an Arizona-based program, and it was a sad fact to imagine, Holmes is now back and has joined an already juggernaut AZ Compass Prep program that is currently ranked as the #4 overall prep program in America, and having one of the best seasons in the country.
During his short absence from the state of Arizona, Holmes gave a nice, but very surprising verbal pledge to the University of Dayton, where he will expect to step in immediately and produce at a high level for the strong Division-I basketball program.
Reasons for why Holmes left Montverde are not clear, although Holmes was sharing major minutes on a loaded Montverde program that is currently rated as the #1 overall program and team in America. While the AZ Compass Prep program is just as loaded with talent, if not more, the opportunity to come back home and be around his family had to make much more sense for Holmes, especially with an unusual season created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Why be all the way in Florida, during this pandemic, and sharing minutes among a team of prospects where Holmes was an outsider, when you can play for a similar loaded program right here in your backyard, and with numerous prospects that you are more comfortable with.
Since returning to Arizona, Holmes has jumped right into the mix and helped raise the AZ Compass Prep program to even higher heights, as he gives Compass a unicorn now - a very long and rangy and extremely athletic forward that can defend multiple positions, block shots and rebound on both ends of the floor at a high level. What coach or program would not want that gift underneath their Christmas tree? AZ Compass did and, as a result, Holmes now anchors their terrific lineup, that has been imposing for every opponent they have faced to date this season.
Holmes originally left two-time 5A State Champion Runner-Up Millennium High School for Montverde, and now returns to Arizona to help lead AZ Compass Prep win a National Championship. While Holmes has teamed up with a load of Division-I prospects at AZ Compass, most importantly, the combination now of superstar senior guard Ty Ty Washington (Creighton signee) and Holmes, is the highly anticipated combination that basketball enthusiasts in the West had hoped to see last spring and summer on the club circuit. Instead, we now get to see this dynamic duo on the Grind Session - an even better venue for top national competition.
Since joining AZ Compass, the program has not missed a beat, and has continued to flourish during their undefeated campaign. Holmes and Washington have been as good as ever, and it has been an instantaneous highlight reel for Ballislife and other highlight social media outlets.
Sometimes less is more, and sometimes the same is more. For Holmes, staying right here in Arizona at AZ Compass could have been the earlier move for him. Today, there is absolutely no need for top-rated prospects to leave the state. The growth of Arizona prep programs is absolutely dominant and on another level, and able to compete with any other nationally ranked prep program in America. While Holmes previously left our state, many other elite prospects were coming here to join Arizona prep programs, and continue to do so. Arizona has become a hotbed for the nation's top basketball's top prospects, and the days of out-of-state programs poaching our best prospects are over. Instead, those same programs are losing their players to us. A welcomed sight for me and any other basketball heads that have worked hard to develop the Arizona basketball culture.
Welcome back DaRon from the Arizona Preps' staff. I for one am delighted to be able to see him play his final high school season in my backyard and in close visibility, rather than just on the internet or on national television.
Notes: AZ Compass was previously absolutely loaded, but the program continues to reach new heights, as they have also added the services of 6-foot-10 senior post Carson Basham (Pepperdine signee), a transfer from Sunnyslope High School.
Compass also recently received the addition of strong and ultra-athletic 6-foot-6 junior A.J. Storr. Storr is one of the elite junior prospects in America's 2022 Class, transferring from Nevada's Bishop Gorman HS. Storr currently has a long list of offers, which includes offers from such schools as Illinois and Virginia Tech.