The Southwest Showcase Main Event was held this weekend at numerous locations across the valley and was filled with each of the state's top aau/club programs. The most anticipated club event of the year always kicks off the club season in the state, while also allowing for bragging rights among the state's top club programs.
Organized by basketball aficionado, Ron Coleman, each of the state's top club programs for the 16U level participated this weekend - providing Arizona basketball enthusiasts with a pre-club season opportunity to see which teams will be the top programs in the state this spring and summer.
While there were numerous teams from the state of Arizona in this weekend's event, in a field of more than 185 different club teams (in all age groups), an Arizona-based club program loaded with players from all over the country would win the top division in the 16U age group, as the I-10 Celtics would blow past all of the Arizona competition in the event.
Organized by former Mesa JC basketball product Raheem Oliver, the I-10 Celtics were led by the play of West Ranch HS (CA) 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Austin Galuppo, Shadow Mountain's 6-foot freshman guard Jaelyn House and 5-foot-11 freshman guard Javon Blackshear, Cesar Chavez HS 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Mike Rogers and South Pointe HS 6-foot-9 freshman post Emmanuel Kabasele Tshimanga this weekend - proving to be too much for their competition.
Galuppo was the catalyst for this team, as he scored from everywhere on the floor - whether in transition or in the half-court set, where he proved to be too much for opposing teams and players. Galuppo is a high-major, high-energy guard prospect that seems to play on another level than everyone else on the floor with him at all times. Galuppo is capable of making shots from anywhere on the floor, and he enjoys shooting from longer ranges, which he is consistent at doing. His shooting prowess opens up the floor for him and his teammates, as defenders look to try to contain him. Galuppo was unstoppable this weekend.
Shadow Mountain's superstar freshman duo of Jaelyn House and Javon Blackshear is almost unstoppable in the state of Arizona, as these two amazing young prospects can get a shot whenever they want, and can also get a shot for a teammate whenever they want as well. House is the son of former NBA star guard Eddie House, and he looks like he will be just as good over time. While he plays with a superior level of self-confidence at all times, House backs it up consistently with his play. Blackshear is an excellent complement to House, as he is a pure point guard that enjoys making the extra pass to a teammate, while House does the same, but is the better scorer of the two. These two prospects will dominate the state over the next three years, and it showed why this weekend.
Cesar Chavez HS 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Mike Rogers is among the elite guard prospects in the state - regardless of class. A native of New York, Rogers is a big-time talent with a wide variety of offensive skillsets. A strong, well-built point guard prospect with a college-ready body, Rogers is a handful for opposing guards, as he is able to create off the dribble almost at will, while also being able to shoot the basketball with excellent range from deep. Rogers is at his best off the dribble where he gets into the lane and make plays for himself and others. His ability to draw contact and finish is very impressive. Rogers is a very nice guard prospect on a team that is loaded with high-major talent.
The state's basketball talent got much better this high school season when South Pointe HS 6-foot-9 freshman post Emmanuel Kabasele Tshimanga moved to the state of Arizona. This rather large young post prospect is a handful, as he has a good skill level and plays with very good confidence in himself. As a result, he is much further along than his age suggests, and looks to be a serious high-major division-I recruiting target over time. He runs the floor and finishes well in the lane amidst defenders. When he doesn't score, he often gets to the free-throw line. This young man has a very bright future ahead of him.
Overall, the I-10 Celtics, coached by New York legendary head coach Paul Suber, turned in a dominating performance this weekend - proving why they should be considered among the top 16U teams in the country. This team is loaded enough that they will make a lot of noise this spring and summer, especially when you consider that they didn't even have all of their top prospects this weekend.
After numerous strong performances last spring and summer on the 15U level, this weekend was a coming-out party for what we can expect this spring and summer from this team at the 16U level.
Recruiting Update: Arizona Preps caught up with West Ranch HS (CA) 6-foot-4 sophomore Austin Galuppo at this weekend's event after his terrific performance, and he advised us that he is currently generating loads of division-I interest. While he does not have any offers as of yet, Galuppo indicated that he is currently being recruited by Arizona, Arizona State, Harvard, UNLV, Boise State, San Jose State, USC, Cal, Oregon, Montana and Pepperdine.