Marcos De Niza High School (7-9) has not been a major threat in the state's Division-II Class this season, but one prospect for the program is making a name for himself this season among the better unheralded senior guard prospects in the state. An unsigned prospect, 6-foot senior guard Anthony Varela has really improved as a player and is coming off his best performance of his high school career this week.
This week, in a road loss at Queen Creek High School, Varela carried his team in the game - pouring in a game-high 25 points, while connecting on (5) three-pointers in the second half. In the game, Varela e is a scoring threat from anywhere on the floor, while being able to play both guard positions for his team.
"I like to play the shooting guard position," said Varela. "It allows me to score and I like that."
Varela, who is looking to land an opportunity to play collegiately, understands the importance for him to play the point guard position at the next level to raise his exposure to college coaches.
"I can play either guard position, but sometimes it is hard to score for my team at the point," said Varela.
And his Marcos De Niza team needs his scoring this season, as the Padres have struggled to win close ball games. Marcos has been in every game this high school season, with a blowout loss to Perry High School in this year's McClintock Holiday Shootout as the one exception on the season.
Varela has been the catalyst for a Marcos team that is rebuilding from a strong performance last season, and after losing many of their key players to graduation in 2013. As a result, Varela has emerged as the team's leader this season - averaging 12 points and 4 assists per/game.
Varela is beginning to hear from several smaller college programs as a result, and will look to land a college opportunity for himself this spring.
Varela, at 6-foot in height, is a well-put together physical guard with excellent toughness and a strong, compact frame. He possesses a nice left-handed shooting stroke with nice range and a quick release. He also has a good ability to shoot the basketball from mid-range, and is able to create his own shot off the dribble against defenders. When he gets into the lane, he is a good finisher that is able to use a variety of floaters over bigger defenders.
Varela is an excellent ball handler and passer, and is able to get the basketball to the open man on the floor. He is a student of the game and has developed as a point guard throughout his high school career. He likes to push the basketball up the floor, and would be very good in an up-tempo style of play at the next level.
Varela is also a very good defender with nice lateral quickness and very good toughness. He has quick hands and feet, and accepts challenges on the defensive end. Varela always has his game face on and is a very intense performer that enjoys the competition that the game of basketball allows.
Marcos is a very well-coached team this season, led by long-time successful head coach Dave Stark and also former long-time head coach Mike Ellsworth as the assistant coach this season. Look for the Marcos team to continue to improve this season under this quality leadership, while also being in every game this season.
Marcos will travel to Bradshaw Mountain HS this Tuesday in their next contest.