Head coach Paul Brown has his best team ever this high school season led by the play of star 6-foot-7, 200-pound senior forward Brock Gardner (Liberty University) and top-rated 6-foot-9 junior post Nigel Shadd. Arizona Preps was in attendance this week to watch this impressive duo dismantle Leading Edge Academy 74-34.
After a somewhat competitive first half, Gardner would completely take over the game for Tri-City Christian (3-0) in the second half - pouring in numerous exciting baskets, which included several monster dunks and jump shots, an impressive performance. Shadd was strong on the glass and drew much attention inside the paint.
Gardner is a very underrated prospect in Arizona's talented 2016 class. He has had a tremendous career at Tri-City. Last season as a junior, Gardner's best season to date, he poured in 25.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.1 blocks per/contest. What has been most impressive about Gardner is that he also averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds as a sophomore, and 19 points and 8 rebounds as a freshman. Gardner has had an amazing career already for himself, and should have another huge senior season.
Gardner's pledge to Liberty University came after a strong relationship developed between him and new head coach Ritchie McKay. While Gardner had numerous scholarship offers, Liberty got in on Gardner very early in the recruiting process and seemed to recruit him the hardest. Gardner chose Liberty University over other offers from LeHigh, Dartmouth, UC Davis, Columbia, Air Force and Central Arkansas.
Shadd has quickly emerged among the top prospects in the class, and also is among the top overall performers in the state. For his efforts, Shadd has received loads of college interest already and has seen high-major college recruitment by such schools as Washington State and West Virginia. Shadd should get many more scholarship offers in the future, as he is a sure-fire recruiting target in the class - a long and athletic power forward that plays big and does not venture far away from the basket. He just turned 16 years of age, which suggests that he is still growing and maturing a great deal. He has a lot of room to grow still and could get to 6-10 or 6-11 when it is all said and done.
Last season as a sophomore, Shadd averaged 15.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per/game.
These two performers will soar this season underneath the watchful eye of most basketball enthusiasts in the state, while they compete against much smaller schools in the state. If you have time this season, I do suggest that you go watch them play.