This weekend many of Arizona's top prospects in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 classes traveled to the state of California to take part in this weekend's 2012 Double Pump Best Buy Challenge Hoop Fest. The event took place at four different locations with the headquarters of the event being hosted by Cal-State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA.
I was in attendance for Saturday and Sunday's action at this weekend's event and caught much of the action, including the final day's championship games.
Here are the top individual junior performers from the state of Arizona from this weekend's event.
2012 Double Pump Best Buy Challenge Hoop Fest Top Junior Performers
Tim Kempton 6-9 JR PF Brophy Prep HS
- Kempton is a rapidly developing low-post presence that has become a nice presence on the low block over the past year. While still developing as a player, Kempton has a very mature style of play that includes patience around the basket, a nice shooting stroke from the perimeter and good movement without the basketball. Kempton has an excellent body for the position and does not mind physical contact one bit. He is very strong physically and is a very good finisher around the basket, where he is able to get to the free-throw line quite often - where he is a very good free-throw shooter. Has very good low post footwork. A strong rebounder. Runs the floor very well. While not overly athletic, Kempton makes up for it with his high basketball IQ and ability to make plays. Still growing and has some upside. An excellent student. Will get a lot of high-major interest this spring and summer. Son of former NBA player Tim Kempton.
Jalen Richard 6-3 JR SG Poston Butte HS
- Richard had one of the best performances in the event on Friday evening - going off from almost everywhere on the floor. A high-major athlete, Richard is a serious athletic talent with an excellent motor and a nice overall skill level. Needs to become more aggressive offensively though, so he can disappear at times on the offensive end. Once he realizes just how good he can be, look out as he is a mid-major plus talent. A very good ball handler and passer. Excellent defender and rebounder for his size. Has a bright future ahead of himself. Drew serious interest from Arizona State after his day one performance.
Conner Helvig 6-3 JR PG Gilbert HS
- Helvig was the surprise performer from this weekend's event, as he led his Arizona Reign club program to the Silver Division's Consolation Championship of this weekend's event. While a relatively unknown prospect, even in the state of Arizona, Helvig proved his worth this weekend, as he showed a very high skill level in the event. Helvig is an excellent ball handler and passer that is capable of creating his own shot at any time in the offense, and is also able to make plays for others. He sees the floor very well and gets the basketball to the open man on the floor. A very good shooter with excellent range on his shot. A good defender with good lateral quickness. Also a good scorer from the off-guard position - capable of playing both guard positions on the court. Very good in the open floor. A decieving athlete with high-major athleticism for his size. A big-time sleeper prospect in the class that is worthy of low major division-I interest.
John Marshall 6-1 JR PG Desert Vista HS
- Marshall has been a player possessed thus far this spring and has helped himself with his performances this spring as much as any prospect in the class. His value to any team is glaring, as Marshall is as tough and hardnosed a player as you will find - on both ends of the floor. Plays with major heart and grit at all times, and accepts challenges. The top pure-point guard in the 2013 class, Marshall has a strong and excellent handle of the basketball and gets the basketball to the open man on the floor. He also pushes the basketball at all times and looks to get easy scoring opportunities for his team. A strong penetrator and finisher at the basket. Has developed his jump shot a great deal and now is a threat to score off the dribble, as well as from the perimeter. Shares a striking resemblance as a player to former Stanford University standout guard Chris Hernandez.
Kye De Laveaga 6-2 JR PG/SG Horizon HS
- De Laveaga has really come into his own as a player over the past year - capable of playing either guard position on the floor. Among the best pure shooters of the basketball in the West, Kye has excellent toughness as a player and also has a refuse-to-lose attitude on the court. A fundamentally sound player that is hard to keep off the floor. Makes shots consistently with range and a quick release. A left hander, De Laveaga is also a good scorer off the dribble and likes to convert floaters in the lane. A good on-the-ball defender. A solid passer but trys to make the big play sometimes too often. As he continues to get physically stronger, we will see his game really blossom.