The state of Arizona basketball is literally at an all-time high today. While the present is very bright with the emergence and development of the prep schools around the state, the future is even much brighter with the emergence of freshmen rising stars, Dylan Anderson, Sadraque Nganga, De'Vontes Cobbs and Dorell Thomas. Anderson, a 6-foot-10, 190-pound frosh from Perry High School, Nganaga, a 6-foot-9 frosh from Angola, Africa, that attends AZ Compass Prep, Cobbs, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard for state power Shadow Mountain HS and Thomas, a 6-foot-4 guard from Hillcrest Prep, are each changing the game in the state of Arizona.
The state of Arizona is well known for having young budding superstars that have developed into great players over time, and that have each changed Arizona's basketball culture in their own ways. The most recent top-rated superstar young prospect was Pinnacle HS and University of Arizona signee Nico Mannion. Mannion has most recently changed the basketball culture in the state of Arizona, because no player has received as much national attention and notoriety as Mannion, who received a large, multi-page article as a freshman in Sports Illustrated. Mannion has been a household name and internet and social media sensation throughout his career. He is on pace to become an NBA draft pick in the future.
As a freshman at Corona Del Sol HS, former high school superstar Marvin Bagley received major national attention, but eventually left the state of Arizona for Sierra Canyon HS (CA), and then went on to be a star at Duke University, before being selected by the Sacramento Kings as the #2 overall pick in the NBA draft. Bagley's career really began the social media phenomenon and internet craze - raising the overall attention nationally to the state of Arizona.
As a freshman for St. Mary's HS, former high school superstar and NBA guard Jerryd Bayless (Minnesota Timberwolves) dominated the state of Arizona, and quickly became a Top-10 player nationally in his class, and held that ranking throughout his high school career. Bayless was the first 1-and-done prospect from the state, as he became an NBA lottery pick after spending one year at the University of Arizona. Bayless brought loads of national attention to the state.
Other superstar young freshman prospects that received major national attention early include Gilbert-Highland HS star guard Matt Carlino, and also former Corona Del HS star guard Alex Barcello. Carlino eventually finished off a strong college career and is now playing professionally, while Barcello is currently a sophomore for the University of Arizona. Both players also brought a lot of respect to the state.
Dylan Anderson (pictured right), Sadraque Nganga (pictured left), De'Vontes Cobbs and Dorell Thomas are each now changing the game even more, as each prospect could and should receive Top-20 national rankings, at minimum, in the nation's 2022 Class, once the national rankings for the class eventually develop.
Anderson has already competed in USA National Team trials in Colorado during the fall, while Nganga may be the best player to ever come out of Angola, Africa. Cobbs moved to the state of Arizona this fall via Milwaukee, WI, after already receiving loads of national attention as a college prospect, while Thomas was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Junior Adidas Gauntlet during the spring (2018).
Nike has already been very evident in the present and future careers of two of these three prospects. Nganga competed in the Nike Peach Jam last summer with the Nike-sponsored Las Vegas Prospects (NV) after just landing in the United States. For Anderson, Nike has now also given the state of Arizona it's first Nike shoe sponsorship since the Arizona Stars had their deal many years ago - creating a new Nike club program in the state known as the Arizona Supreme.
Cobbs has not indicated any involvement yet with a shoe company, although it will be determined after the high school season, as he selects which club program he will be competing for this up-and-coming club season. Dorell Thomas will look to be on the Adidas circuit, as he will most likely continue to play for the Compton Magic (CA) this spring and summer.
Anderson is already an amazing 6-foot-10 in height and has very good athleticism, versatility and mobility on the floor for such a young prospect. He is very fluid in his approach to the game, and is very advanced in his approach. It will be very interesting to see just how much he continues to grow in height, since he is so tall early, but, whether he ever grows even another inch, Anderson is already excellent size and length and has a high-major skill level already. Perry HS has had their struggles this high school season, but Anderson is gaining valuable experience early.
Nganga has played a vital role on this year's AZ Compass National Team, as he has immediately stepped in and proved that he is as good a prospect as there is in America's 2022 Class of prospects. Nganaga is a very lengthy, rangy and skilled prospect with a very good feel for the game and an ability to make plays for himself and others. He is a big-time future prospect that has budding young prospect written all over him. He has a striking resemblance as a player early to that of current NBA top performer Rudy Gay.
Cobbs was regarded among the top 2022 prospects in the country before ever moving to the state of Arizona. A native of Milwaukee, WI, this season he has been inserted into a loaded lineup at Shadow Mountain, and has provided excellent depth and future star potential for the team early. Cobbs is an electric guard prospect with a high motor and advanced athleticism, and quick hands and feet defensively. He is an a very good passer with a nice feel for the game, and is well beyond his years as a player.
Dorell Thomas is also an electric young guard prospect with an advanced young ability to score the basketball and a nice shooting stroke. He has an excellent handle of the basketball and a knack for slashing and scoring the basketball in the open floor. He is a pure scorer, and also a slick ball handler and defender that plays passing lanes. Thomas has a very bright future ahead of him, and is another strong reason why the state of Arizona is absolutely loaded for the future. Thomas is the younger brother of Hillcrest Prep 6-foot-9 senior forward Dischon Thomas.
Each prospect is already receiving loads of college recruitment early, like that of their fellow young predecessors.
Anderson has already received scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona.
Nganga has received two scholarship offers already from Arizona State and Oklahoma, but his list will truly grow a great deal as more college programs learn about his advanced potential and skill-set.
Cobbs currently has big offers on the table for himself from Florida and SMU, and his list will truly grow a great deal over time.
Thomas already possesses offers from Wyoming and UC-Santa Barbara for himself, and he will definitely begin to garner high-major recruiting interest over time as well.
While Anderson will definitely play this spring and summer for his father with the Arizona Supreme program, it is still unclear as to which program Nganga will play for during the 2019 club season. It currently seems quite unlikely and almost impossible that each of these gifted 2022 studs will play together, although the four together would be immense for the future of Arizona basketball. Either way, these four frosh prospects will only continue to raise the level of college recruiting in the state, and, eventually, change the game in the state - improving the overall basketball culture even further over time.