On Saturday, October 25th at Sandra Day O’ Connor High School, Anthony Ray held his 16th annual Fall Showcase. Anthony’s Fall Showcase event has been one of the most successful showcases on the West Coast because of the high level of talent on the court every single game. Such notable scouts as Gerry Freitas from the Hoop Review, Gregg Rosenberg from Arizona Varsity.com, Lucas Ramirez, and many others were in attendance to catch the games from beginning to the end.
Here are my picks for the top performers from the showcase, based on my personal observations:
2017 6-1 CG Jake Lieppert: Saguaro (Scottsdale) High: Arizona Heat
Lieppert was a nearly unknown prospect before this event but played his way into my top performers with his offensive abilities. Lieppert has a smooth jumper that can extend out to 25 feet. He gets his shot with relative ease with a nice release point and knocked down multiple shots on the day. He also has a very tight handle on the ball and uses his long strides and arms to get by the defenders and finish at the rim. Lieppert also runs the floor very well in transition and can finish well above the rim. (Which was a surprise to me due to his size.) Lieppert is a nice looking 2017 prospect and I expect him to have a big high school season this year for the Saguaro Sabercats.
2016 6-7 PF AJ Elliot: Pinnacle (Scottsdale) High: Arizona Magic U16
Elliot was one of the most productive post players that I watched on the day. A smooth lefty, Elliot scored at a high clip once he got the ball on the block. He showed that he has a large variety of post moves to go along with a soft touch around the basket. Elliot can also pop out and hit jumpers from 15 feet and in. He also shot the ball very consistently from the free throw line all day. On the defensive side, he used his long frame and active arms to alter many of the shots that came his way. He also showed that he is a very capable rebounder by grabbing multiple rebounds on the offensive and defensive side. Elliot looks to be one of the better posts in the 2016 class and I am intrigued to see how he looks this high school season after limited playing time this summer.
2015 6-7 SF Nick Allen: Willow (Phoenix) Canyon High School: Arizona Magic Elite 2015
Allen played, on both ends of the court, with one of the best motors that I saw out of any player on the day. Allen gets a majority of his points in transition due to his very active hands on the defensive end, in which he forced turnover after turnover. Allen also gets points in the halfcourt set by posting up smaller defenders, hitting 15 and out jump shots from the corners, and relentlessly attacking the offensive glass until he scores, or draws a foul, which he then converts at a high rate from the free throw line. Allen looks to be one of the better available prospects in the 2015 class and has interest from UIC, GCU, Wyoming, UTSA, and others.
2016 6-1 PG Terry Gates: Copper (Glendale) Canyon High School: Arizona Magic Elite 2016
Gates continued to show well after a very productive summer on the AAU circuit with the Arizona Magic Elite. The best aspect of Gates’s game is his smothering on-ball defense. In the two games that I watched, Gates used his long arms and strides to cut off players attempting to go around him, and then would take the ball from them with his lighting quick hands. Gates is also a very confident point guard in the half court set, telling his teammates were to be at all times and finding the open player who has the best chance to score the ball. Gates also has cat-like quickness off the dribble and was tough to stop once he got into the lane, where he used a floater, or would pull up for the mid-range jumper. Gates currently has interest from San Diego, San Francisco and Point Loma University.
2017 6-5 PG Caleb Simmons: Desert (Phoenix) Vista:
Simmons was one of my favorite players to watch on the day. Simmons led the charge on the offensive and defensive side for his Arizona team. Every time he entered the game, he proceeded to do whatever it took for his team to get the lead back or to put them ahead for good. Simmons used his great build to bully defenders on the block if he need to score that ball or he could step out to the 3-point line, where he hit at a more consistent rate as he got more into the rhythm of the game. Like Gates, Simmons also was a very active on-ball defender, getting steals and forcing turnovers when they were needed. Simmons currently stands at 6-5, but looks like he could potentially grow a few more inches before it is all said and done. Simmons looks to be one of the best prospects in Arizona’s loaded 2017 class and lists interest from most of the PAC-12 schools, St. Mary’s, Denver and many others.
Other Notable Performers:
Arcadia (Phoenix) High School 2015 SF Avonte Nelms is a very versatile prospect. He can post up, score well in transition, or draw his defenders out to the 3-point line, where he knocked down shots at one of the betters clips at the showcase. He should be the leader for Arcadia Titans’ team, which looks to go deep into the playoffs again this season.
McClintock (Tempe) High’s 2016 5-11 PG Amiri Chukwuemeka is one of the best point guards in the state. He displays a confidence while running the point that was not seen at the Showcase, and it is nearly impossible to keep him out of the lane once he gets a full head of steam. He also can hit the open jumper from the 3-line and in. Has a very good looking season ahead of him.
Boulder (Anthem) Creek’s 2016 SG Nick Johnson displayed one of the best shooting strokes on the day. He knocked down jumpers from the 3-line with or without a hand in his face.
Flagstaff High’s 2017 6’5 PF George Faull was very effective on the block all day long and has lots of room to grow. He should be one of the best young post players in Northern Arizona this upcoming season.
Dysart (Avondale) High’s 2016 C Malik Ondigo improves every time I see him. Malik attempted or dunked nearly every ball that he got on the low block. Hand-eye coordination also looks to be much improved from this summer.
Pinnacle (Scottsdale) High’s 2016 Seth Mason was arguably the best athlete in the entire event. He caught numerous put back dunk attempts and sucked down nearly every offensive and defensive rebound that came near him. Seth, AJ Elliot, and Randy Brooner look to be a very tough one-two punch for this upcoming season.