The state of Arizona has seen it's level of basketball extend to completely another level over the past several years, as more and more basketball talent has moved to the state through the introduction of new prep schools in the state. This past weekend though, the state saw it's level of basketball rise to an even new level as the state introduced the Section 7 Basketball Team Camp to the valley - a tremendous success for everyone involved.
It has been quite a long time since anyone has seen a large number of college basketball coaches in the state of Arizona for any event. As a result, the opportunity to see any college coaches in this state has become a mystery, that only has been solved by coaches following around top-rated national high school prospects such as Nico Mannion (University of Arizona signee), or while watching big-time prep school match-ups on the Grind Session. As a result, the majority of Arizona's top prospects have completely gone unnoticed, unless traveling outside of the state to club basketball events abroad - a costly move that has caused the state's best basketball talent to play for many out-of-state club programs over the years to maximize their exposure to college coaches.
Introducing the Section 7 Basketball Event now, which did exactly what the NCAA set out for it to accomplish this past weekend, as the event allowed for college coaches from across the country to invade the state to observe and evaluate many of the top high school basketball programs in the West at numerous Arizona high schools.
With Brophy Prep as the main headquarters for the event, more than 300+ college coaches scoured the state to evaluate top basketball talent, which allowed for many Arizona high school basketball teams and players to have college coaches at their individual games throughout the event. While very few Arizona high school teams faired well against some of the dominant out-of-state basketball competition, since a lot of Arizona's top-rated national talent plays for local prep schools, this event could help to change this fact over time, as events such as this one now gives Arizona high school programs an outlet to market their basketball talent. With the support of regional events like this one, over time, more top-rated prospects could elect to play for local high school programs, in an attempt to build more dominant high school basketball programs in the state.
The graduation of former superstar guard Nico Mannion and also star guards Jaelen House (Arizona State signee) and Javon Blacksher (Grand Canyon University signee) has created a void among the state's top high school programs, as the last two high school seasons Pinnacle High School and Shadow Mountain were the absolute class in the state. Going forward, such top high school programs as Desert Vista HS, Sunnyslope, Brophy Prep, Cesar Chavez, Chandler, Mountain Pointe, South Mountain, St. Mary's HS and other programs will look to emerge as dominant programs for Arizona's future.
Overall, the Section 7 Tournament was a tremendous success and I welcome more events such as this one for the future. College coaches were very favorable of last weekend's event and were impressed with the organization of the event, as well as the host of teams and players that made the event enjoyable to be a part of. The event allowed for Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah's top teams and players to showcase their talent in an era where high school teams and coaches formerly were absent from the basketball court, and club teams were the main attraction.
While top-rated club programs will still have their opportunity to shine during a condensed July evaluation period (July 9 - 12), last weekend's Section 7 Event placed high school coaches and teams back in the spotlight, and it was a welcome sight for all those involved, as college coaches now have a different look - able to evaluate top basketball talent in their normal high school setting and also see them on loaded club teams that provide for a different format. Together, this is a success and more Arizona prospects should benefit over time.