The 1st annual Duel in the Desert took place this weekend on the campus of Bellavista Prep in North Scottsdale, and was well attended by many of the top scouts in the West, including numerous college coaches. With Findlay Prep (NV), Hillcrest Prep Academy, Prolific Prep (CA), Aspire Prep Academy, Trinity International (NV) and The Tech Academy (CAN) all in action, it was another exciting day of basketball on a weekend that was filled with terrific basketball players and match-ups for the state of Arizona.
Arizona Preps was in attendance for the action on Sunday afternoon. The first game of the day featured an exciting contest between Arizona's Hillcrest Prep Academy and California's Prolific Prep. Hillcrest Prep features the nation's top 2017 prospect, 7-foot-1 senior post DeAndre Ayton (University of Arizona signee), while Prolific features 6-foot-6 senior forward Gary Trent Jr. (Duke signee).
The game's first half though would belong to a younger prospect, as Prolific Prep sophomore guard Pierre Crockrell Jr. would ignite in the game's first half to keep his team in the contest. With Hillcrest taking an early lead in the game, behind the strong play of Ayton, Crockrell's three-point shooting and ability to finish in traffic off the dribble would push Prolific to a 36 to 30 halftime lead.
Ayton would continue his strong play in the game's second half - scoring on three-pointers and around the basket. A nice pick-and-roll, and pick-and-pop setup on offense would allow Ayton to flourish in the game's second half.
Overall though, the game's second half would belong to Prolific's 6-foot-7 senior forward Abu Kigab. Kigab would convert numerous three-pointers and mid-range jumpers throughout the second half, combined with excellent energetic plays, to keep his team ahead. Hillcrest would look to come back late, behind a late scoring push, but Prolific would hold on to win the game, 72-66.
In the second contest of the day, Aspire Prep Academy, in their first year of operation, would host the nation's top basketball program over the past 10 years, Findlay Prep (NV). The game would quickly become no contest, as Findlay would jump out to a 30-point first half lead behind a terrific performance from 6-foot-7 senior forward PJ Washington (University of Kentucky signee). Washington would start the game with two-consecutive long-range three-pointers, then would dunk the basketball numerous times in traffic - looking like a definite future 1-and-done NBA prospect.
Findlay Prep would cruise in this game - winning the contest 93-66 over host Aspire Prep Academy.
Recruiting Notes: Hillcrest Prep 6-foot-6 senior wing Alfred Hollins was very impressive on the day, and all weekend. Hollins scored the basketball from the wing position, from mid-range and from three-point distance on the floor. He also scored off the dribble at times, but was at his best inside the paint, where he fought hard for offensive rebounds and put-backs. Where Hollins was most impressive this weekend, was in his ability to defend. On Sunday, Hollins defended star wing prospect Gary Trent Jr. (Duke signee) one-on-one. While defending Trent, Hollins made it very difficult for Trent to be effective in the game - either in the post or from the wing position.
The defensive effort by Hollins, combined with his ability to score from the perimeter and fight inside the paint, proved to me, once again, that this young man is highly under recruited and worthy of some serious recruiting attention. Currently, Hollins has offers from Arizona State and New Mexico State.