The annual March Madfest All-Star game held at the Westgate Entertainment District has now become an annual event that basketball enthusiasts in the state mark on their calendars in the state of Arizona. Organized by local basketball products Gary Smith and Kenny Dobbs and the Relentless Basketball family, the event has become an annual event that is exciting and features many of the state's top basketball performers in action.
This year's event was again very exciting again, after an inaugural event last year that was one to remember. The event featured an all-star game for some of the top high school girls and boys, and the night concluded with an exciting celebrity all-star game, which featured former Apollo High School football and basketball standout Prince Amukamara of the Chicago Bears.
The girls all-star game was terrific to kick things off and featured some of the state's elite girl's basketball talent. While I have not covered girl's basketball for several years now, I was pleasantly surprised by the state of girls basketball in Arizona, as the talent for this year's event was immense - proving that girl's basketball in the state is in a very good place. The girls competed at a high level and played hard from start to finish.
The girl's game set up the highly anticipated boy's all-star game, which included some of the state's top prospects from several different classes. Paradise Honors High School's talented and athletic 6-foot-6 junior wing Jerry Lliya (pictured) would win the game's Most Valuable Player honors, as a result of his play in the event. Lliya would compete hard and throw down some serious dunks in the game. He also dunked over several spectators at halftime of the event, in the event's dunk contest. Lliya is one of the state's top junior prospects and he looks set up to have a big spring and summer for himself.
Eduprize High School's 6-foot-10 junior forward Shon Robinson was impressive in the game as well, as a result of his tremendous length and size. Robinson played big in the game and showed his excellent versatility as a player - handling the basketball and finishing strong around the rim. Robinson is a big-time talent that has immense potential for the future. He will have a big spring and summer, and should only continue to add to the many scholarship offers he already possesses.
Millennium High School had a terrific season this year, and they will be a problem for the future. Sophomore prospects, 6-foot-9 sophomore post DaRon Holmes and 6-foot sophomore guard Justus Jackson played exceptionally well in the contest, and proved why they will have Millennium HS at the top of the state's standings for the remainder of their high school careers. The two-man combination of these two is formidable and five Head Coach Ty Amundsen a lot to be excited about for the future.
Other top performers from the game included Perry's Jalen Williams (Santa Clara signee), Buckeye's Otis Frazier, Tucson Amphi's Jackson Ruai, Pinnacle's Trent Brown and Salpointe Catholic's Evan Nelson.
Recruiting Notes: I caught up with both Pinnacle's 6-foot-1 senior guard Trent Brown and Tucson Amphitheater's 6-foot-4 senior guard Jackson Ruai after the game, and both top unsigned senior prospects stated that they are slated to play through the spring evaluation periods before making a college decision. Both senior prospects are among the top unsigned available performers still available in the state. It will be an important spring for both unsigned prospects, as both are coming off good senior seasons.