Day 3 of this year's Double Pump Best of Summer basketball tournament in Anaheim, CA was filled with much better basketball action, as this year's event has began to wind down with tournament playoff play beginning in the afternoon. Many teams would begin to prepare to head home after losses, while the select the few would move on after wins in the playoff round.
Several Arizona teams moved on in tournament play on Friday, led by the Arizona Magic Pump N Run-2014's (4-0), coached by Jeff De Laveaga, who would continue their strong play in NCAA certified events this July. After posting a 12-1 record in the spring, this group has returned to play new and improved - adding terrific 6-foot senior point guard Rolando Rhymes and 6-foot-6 senior post Chris Davis to an already very talented group of players that share the basketball and compete hard.
On Friday evening, the team defeated a loaded group of young and future high-major division-I prospects on the Nor Cal Wildcats (CA). After getting down in the game by 4 points, the Magic PNR would climb back late in the game behind the play of talented Catalina Foothills HS 6-foot-4 senior guard Austin Nehls. Nehls has been among the best performers this off-season in the state, and while he is not a definite division-I prospect, his ability to score the basketball and make plays against top-rated competition has opened eyes of many college programs. Nehls made numerous big plays down the stretch for his club tem to lead them to victory in the playoff win - advancing the team to anther playoff game on Saturday at 4PM (PST).
Day 3 of this year's event belonged to Nehls, as he could earn several scholarship offers as a result of his performance in this event. If he can continue to play big on Saturday and lead his team late into the tournament on Sunday, Nehls could become one of the names that we could be talking about this fall when college visits begin to line up. A great division-II prospect that could become a low-major division-I recruit.
Desert Mountain HS 6-foot senior point guard Rolando Rhymes, while still soaring below the recruiting radar, has played very well in this year's event - pushing the basketball and applying pressure on the opposing team's defense. Rhymes is a cat-like quick guard prospect that knows how to run a team and gets his teammates involved. While his jump-shot, like teammate Cheatham, still needs some work, Rhymes is good enough off the dribble to raise many eyebrows of college coaches looking on.
Perry HS 6-foot-6 senior combo-forward Jake Mortensen also came up big for his team on Friday. With the score very close in the late stages of the game, Mortensen would knock down a 25-foot three-pointer after being left unattended by his defender - again showing his versatility and also his toughness in the playoff victory. Mortensen is rounding into a strong low-major division-I prospect.
Washington HS 6-foot-6 senior forward Jacob Bowman is a nice scoring forward that has flown well below the recruiting radar. Bowman played very well on Friday evening in his team's playoff victory on the evening over BTI Select (CA). While leading the Arizona Power Red-17U, Bowman proved that he is among the best scorers of the basketball in the 2014 class, although he is a very unheralded wing prospect. Bowman, while being slight of built, gets a lot done on the court and has developed into a serious college prospect. A nice sleeper prospect.
Highland HS 6-foot-2 senior guard Austin Witherill did his part in his team's loss on Friday evening. While his club team, Arizona Power White, would fall in the game, Witherill would shoot the basketball very well in this year's event - knocking down perimeter jump-shot after perimeter shot. Whether defended or not, Witherill came up big for his team as they looked to advance. Among the purest shooters of the basketball in the state, much like that of his older brother, Nick Witherill (former Grand Canyon Univ. player).
Desert Mountain HS 6-foot-4 senior guard/forward Remie Smith has raised many eyebrows with his play in this year's event. Smith has really developed a great deal over the past 2 years - as much as any player in the state. Smith is a pure shooter of the basketball with deceiving athleticism and a high basketball IQ. A great prospect for a smaller college program. Hard working San Diego Christian assistant coach Tim Cook looks to be in hot pursuit of Smith.
Queen Creek's 6-foot-4 senior guard Carter Wilson came up big again for his team, Passion For Ball-Magic, coached by Justin Allen. Wilson scored 24 points in his teams win Friday evening to help his team advance to Saturday's playoff action. The team also got excellent production from Desert Ridge HS 6-foot-2 senior guard Hunter Thomas (16 points) and also hard-core defender Anthony Bryant of Gilbert HS.