No one in the state is more excited for the start to the 2012-2013 high school basketball season in the state of Arizona than Desert Mountain High School's 5-foot-10 junior pure-point guard prospect Rolando Rhymes.
After sitting out the entire 2011-2012 high school basketball season per AIA rules, as a result of transferring schools, Rhymes is ready to go and in a big way for a loaded Desert Mountain HS team this season - one that will look to contend for a Division-I State Championship this season.
Rhymes attended St. Mary's High School as a freshman and was major contributor for the Knights, before deciding to move locations and travel up to North Scottsdale, where this season he will play for the Wolves - leading the attack for head coach Todd Fazio and his well-disciplined unit.
"It was tough sitting out," said Rhymes. "I can't wait for the season to start."
In the interim, Rhymes worked hard on his game - keeping a great attitude and focusing on his future. Rhymes stayed ready and this past off-season, Rhymes flourished on the club circuit - competing on the 16U level and raising his recruiting stock.
While competing for the Arizona Thunderbirds, which are now known as the Arizona D-I Ambassadors, Rhymes saw his recruitment jump start after numerous strong performances for the talented pure-point guard prospect. As a result of his play throughout the spring and summer, Rhymes is now receiving serious interest from numerous division-I programs. Such programs as Oregon State, Northern Arizona, San Francisco, UC-Davis, UC-Irvine, UC-Santa Barbara and Grand Canyon are all pursuing Rhymes as he heads into his junior season.
Rhymes is among the state's elite pure-point guard prospects, and has a developed understanding of how to run a team efficiently. He has a great feel for the game and utilizes his extreme quickness and exceptional ball handling ability to make plays for himself and others. A pass-first point guard, a lost art among today's top-rated point guard prospects, Rhymes is able to get into the lane with ease and makes plays for cutters to the basket or open teammates on the wing. He puts pressure on the defense consistently and stays in attack mode - forcing the defense to respect him. Rhymes also pushes the basketball up the floor at a high rate and gets the basketball to the open teammate running the court - forcing the defense to get back and making it difficult for teams that lack transition defense.
Rhymes is also an excellent on-the-ball defender and puts serious defensive pressure on opposing guards. He has quick feet and excellent lateral quickness with quick hands, which allows him to force turnovers at a high rate. Rhymes has the ability to become a lock-down defender and this, combined with his ability to get the basketball to the open teammate on the floor, is his best attribute as a player.
Rhymes is also a very good scorer that likes to get into the lane and finish strong at the basket - capable of scoring over bigger defenders with good body control and a variety of floaters in the lane. As he matures physically and gets stronger, he will see this aspect of his game develop for the future - allowing him to reach his maximum potential as a player. Rhymes is a good shooter of the basketball and does not force shots often, another strong aspect of his game. While he is capable of scoring in bunches and putting up big scoring numbers, he often relishes the assist when surrounded with good offensive talent.
This season look for Rhymes to lead a well-rounded group of players at Desert Mountain HS - one of Fazio's most talented teams he has had in recent years. Rhymes will be looked upon to lead the team, but I expect him to put up big overall numbers this season, as there are very few guards in the state that will be able to defend his quickness and ability to handle the basketball in the open floor.
Rhymes looks to be the best basketball prospect from a unique family that is synonymous with basketball in the state of Arizona. While that is a huge statement when you consider the many family members that have graced the Arizona hardwood over the past 30 years, this young man definitely has what it takes to do so.