The NCAA evaluation period began this weekend around the country, and numerous Arizona teams this weekend traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to take part in the Pangos Spring Spectacular. Organized by recruiting expert Dinos Trigonis, the event featured many top-rated club programs from around the West Coast. With more than 120 different club teams from around the West in action this weekend, and loads of division-I college coaches in attendance , the competition was fierce and exciting.
The Arizona Magic Elite 17U team came up big this weekend - blowing out much of their tournament competition, before finally losing their first game of the event in the tournament semi-finals. Another final-four finish for the historic Magic program. The Magic would fall by a mere 5-point margin in the semi's to the Compton Magic Red (CA) - two major rivals, although both programs were former sister programs in the early 2000's. Both programs competed at a high level in a really entertaining match-up, although the Compton Magic featured former Oregon State signee, Cameron Oliver - a 19 year old prospect with pro potential for the future.
Another exciting match-up for the event, included a Saturday night contest between the Arizona Aces and the eventual tournament champions, Belmont Shore (CA). While the Aces would eventually lose the contest, they would get out to a quick 14-2 lead and hold on until late in the game. Led by the ridiculous play of Findlay Prep (NV) superstar 6-foot-9 senior post Horace Spencer (University of Auburn commit), Belmont Shore would come from behind to win the game, and, eventually, the tournament. The Aces team definitely made Arizona proud though with their effort.
Here are my top individual performers from the weekend's tournament action . . .
Malik Ondigo 6-10 JR C Dysart HS (El Mirage, AZ) - 2016
- Ondigo (pictured) has really developed over the past year, and now he has become a consistent threat and top performer in each game he competes in. Still developing, Ondigo has the length and athleticism to change the game on the defensive end, and he is improving offensively - showing much improvement in his post moves and ability to finish at the rim. Outplayed a future pro in Cameron Oliver on Sunday, proving that he is also a force to be wreckoned with in the future. Raised a lot of eyebrows from college coaches this weekend. Look for his college recruitment to begin to soar. Already has two offers from UTEP and Cal Poly.
Elijah Thomas 6-6 JR SF Sunrise Mountain HS (Peoria, AZ) - 2016
- Thomas absolutely blew up this weekend, as he played superb basketball in the event. Thomas shot the basketball exceptionally well and with consistency from long ranges. I was not aware that he had the tough that he showed this weekend, but he proved that he can score from anywhere on the floor. When the defense figured it out, he blew past defenders for layups and dunks. This young man is a sure-fire big-time talent for the future that will have many college programs salivating this club season. Has an excellent body with loads of athleticism. Runs on his toes and has excellent energy. A very good defender with excellent length on his athletic frame. A superb sleeper prospect that will make a lot of noise over the next few months.
Kaveon Moore 6-4 SR SG/SF Independence HS (Glendale, AZ) - 2015
- Moore was one of the elite unsigned prospects in this weekend's event, as he proved why he is considered as a mid-major division-I talent. Moore dunked everything this weekend - something I have not seen from him in recent events. He had several dunks in the tournament that had everyone in attendance roaring - including a monster, one-handed alley-oop dunk over two defenders. Moore also made perimeter shots this weekend, although he still needs work on his mechanics. An ultra-athletic guard prospect with very good lateral quickness defensively. A potential lock-down defender at the next level. Should find something good for himself this spring, especially if he can continue his strong play.
Brandon Whitaker 6-7 JR SF Campo Verde HS (Gilbert, AZ) - 2016
- This weekend was Whitaker's best performance of his young career, as he proved that he is more than just potential for the future. Whitaker played with a purpose - something I have not seen from him often. He shot the basketball very well from three-point distance and also showed an improved mid-range game. He also made good decisions with the basketball and looked to get his teammates involved. Whitaker showed good leadership for his team and wanted to win each game. If he can continue this trend - watch out. He has the length, athleticism, sheer potential and upside to become a serious prospect over time. Raised his recruiting stock as much as any player in the tournament this weekend.
Klay Stall 6-9 JR PF/C Basha HS (Chandler, AZ) - 2016
- Stall was a force this weekend on the glass - rebounding the basketball very strong and with focus. While he did not look to score much, he did show some good potential as a low-post scorer - something he has developed into over the past year. An active rebounder and shotblocker. Good finisher, although his hands may be questionable at times. Runs the floor. Has the potential to develop nicely and become a serious recruiting target by many mid-major division-I programs this club season.
Chris Bowling 6-7 JR SG/SF Gilbert HS (Gilbert, AZ) - 2016
- Bowling was coming off a shoulder injury that kept him out for 2 weeks, so this was his first true action since the Main Event. Bowling's play was inconsistent as a result, but when he was good, he was great - knocking down shots with regularity and from deep. He also showed his unique athleticism and versatility. This club season will be huge for Bowling, who will look to gain high-major attention this club season.
Nigel Shadd 6-8 SOPH PF Tri-City Christian HS (AZ) - 2017
- Shadd is a force to be wreckoned with already and he is just turning 15 years of age. A long, athletic and strong post player with huge upside for the future. Shadd is an athletic post talent that already plays well above the rim and is tough to keep off the glass, as he has excellent length of body with a tremendous wingspan. An active rebounder and shotblocker. Runs the floor hard. Very good finisher already and he should only continue to improve a great deal over time, as he matures physically. Shadd is a sure-fire stud for the future, and is a high-major division-I prospect.
Nick Mains 6-8 JR SF/PF Pinnacle HS (Phoenix, AZ) - 2016
- Mains continues to show excellent versatility on the floor and a nice overall skill level which makes him very intriguing to college coaches. Has an ability to score effectively inside and out - from the wing or in the low post. While Mains is very thin physically, he gets a lot done and is not afraid to mix it up with bigger, stronger players. His skill level for his size is very unique - suggesting that he will only continue to improve a great deal over time as he matures physically. A good offensive rebounder that keeps the ball up high on put-backs. A definite sleeper prospect with excellent potential for the future.
Greysn Rogers 6-5 JR SF Casa Grande HS (Casa Grande, AZ) - 2016
- Rogers is a talented wing prospect with good overall athleticism and solid feel for the game. A team player, Rogers likes to play in a team-concept and get others involved. He does not force the action, but is a glue-guy of sorts. Has a strong well-built physique, combined with a good overall motor. A good shooter with range, but at his best from mid-range. An active rebounder and a hard-nosed defender. Solid ball handler and passer. Has the potential to become a division-I prospect with continued hard work.
Saikou Gueye 6-5 SOPH SF Mountain Ridge HS (Glendale, AZ) - 2017
- Gueye is a long, athletic wing prospect with a nice overall skill level and a nice touch from the perimeter. A left-hander, Gueye is almost a mis-match for opposing defenders, as he is skilled and athletic and tough to defend. For bigger players, he can take them out to the perimeter, and for smaller players he can shoot over them in the post. Gueye has strong potential for the future, so it will be very interesting to see just how much he develops over time. He has the upside and potential to become a serious college prospect.
Tarik Cool 6-2 JR PG Desert Vista HS (Phoenix, AZ) - 2016
- Cool played just like his name this weekend - showing that he can play against the best in the West. A heady and confident guard prospect with a nice overall skill level. An excellent shooter with nice range on his shot. A very good ball handler and passer. Has a nice overall feel for the game. Pushes the basketball to the open man on the floor. Played very big in his team's near upset of tournament champion Belmont Shore (CA). Still needs to get physically stronger to maximize his potential as a player. Looking forward to watching him more this club season.
Curtis Hodges 6-8 SOPH PF Mountain View HS (Mesa, AZ) - 2017
- Hodges is a nice-looking post prospect for the future, as he already has very good size and length on his tall frame. Hodges is a good low post scorer with good low post footwork and a good ability to finish inside the paint already. As Hodges continues to develop over the next two years, he should become a much better finisher and a force inside the paint. Runs the floor. Active rebounder and shotblocker. Has excellent potential for the future.
Kenneth Arrick 5-11 JR PG Saguaro HS (Scottsdale, AZ) - 2016
- Arrick recently returned to the state of Arizona, and it is good to see him back. A crafty and confident point guard prospect with an excellent feel for the game and a nice shooting stroke with range. While Arrick is not overly athletic and does not possess superb quickness, he knows how to play the game and gets by with his fundamental approach. A good ball handler and passer. A solid guard prospect that has a mature personality.
Holland Woods 5-10 SOPH PG Apollo HS (Glendale, AZ) - 2017
- Woods played consistent and very strong for his ballclub this weekend - runnign the show and distributing the basketball to the open man on the floor. He was a floor general even though most kids his age and position want to score. Plays well beyond his years. A well-coached and developed guard prospect with excellent poise and confidence. An excellent ball handler and passer with superb vision of the floor. Has excellent potential for the future.
Lavonne Davis Jr. 6-7 JR PF Hillcrest Academy (Phoenix, AZ) - 2016
- Davis has good size for his frame and looks to be still growing. A skilled four-man prospect with a soft touch from mid-range and solid low-post moves. An active rebounder and shotblocker. Good finisher. Runs the floor very well. Has good potential for the future. A sleeper prospect.
Christian Hakilimali 6-3 SR SG Cortez HS (Phoenix, AZ) - 2015
- Hakilimali is a very athletic guard prospect with pop and very good explosiveness. He is a fierce competitor that plays hard on both ends of the floor. He is a very underrated prospect that should make a smaller college program or a juco very happy. An excellent defender. A solid ball handler and passer. Has very good work ethic and a strong motor. Very good shotblocker. Good scorer. Sleeper prospect for someone looking add depth late.