Shadow Mountain High School has been the class for basketball in the state of Arizona for several years, literaly dominating the state's basketball competition. After winning another state championship last season and graduating their top prospects to college programs across the country, the program has returned again this season under head coach Mike Bibby to pick up right where they left off.
This season, Shadow Mountain (19-0) is again undefeated on the season, and blowing teams out on the regular. With an offensive attack that allowed them to score an amazing 58 points in the game's first half on Tuesday evening on the road at St. Mary's High School, this group of gifted prospects for the Matadors are special - led by the play of (3) guards - one a senior and two sophomore studs.
The senior guard, Marcus Shaver (UC-Santa Barbara signee), is a special one. Shaver who attended St. Mary's High School as a freshman and sophomore, before moving to the state of Texas for his junior season, returned to Arizona this year to play for Shadow Mountain. While many basketball enthusiasts in the state worried that there might not be enough basketballs to go around for Shadow's talented guard prospects, head coach Mike Bibby and his staff knew better, realizing that the senior performer would provide support and leadership for his young guards.
Shaver has been terrific this high school season in his play, and on and off the court leadership and work ethic. Shaver is an absolute steal for UC-Santa Barbara, and has proven that he is a high-major level guard this season - displaying excellent athleticism and an ability to shoot the basketball that is as consistent a stroke as there is in the state.
Sophomore guards, Jaelen House and Jovan Blacksher are absolutely special talents for the future, and really are as good of prospects overall, as there are in the state right now. These two young men have been almost unguardable for opposing guards in Arizona and play with a level of confidence not seen since current NBA guard Jerryd Bayless (Phildelphia 76ers) played high school basketball in the state.
House is the son for former NBA star guard Eddie House. House is among the elite prospects in Arizona's 2019 class, and, while he is still small in stature, he is a technician on the basketball court - surveying the floor and making plays off the dribble almost at will. He has a superior handle of the basketball and an ability to create his own shot, which is as good as there is in the state. House is an electric guard prospect with a lot in his bag of tricks - capable of putting on a show with the basketball in his hands.
Very few prospects that I have seen in this state over the past 20 years play with the level of superior confidence that this budding young prospect possesses. House feels like he is the best basketball player on the court each time he steps on the floor, and he also makes his defenders feel humbled for having to guard him on the floor. He uses a variety of cross-over dribbles, hesitation dribbles and head fakes to keep his defenders off balance - making him very difficult to guard with one player. He is an electric ball handler and passer that commands attention when he steps on the floor, and has excellent command presence that makes him a big-time leader for his team. House is a sure-fire scorer that can score at anytime on the basketball court.
Jovan Blacksher is also a unique talent. While Blacksher is a smaller point guard prospect, he is a unique talent in the state of Arizona - a highly skilled and talented point guard with an ability to make plays for himself and others almost at will and with flare. This young man is fun to watch perform as he possesses a superb handle of the basketball, excellent court vision and body control, which allows for him to get into the lane when he wants to and make plays at a high level level. He also possesses a nice shooting stroke with excellent range on his shot and a quick release - making him very difficult for opposing guards to defend.
Blacksher is a rare find in the state of Arizona, as he possesses a high level of self-confidence in his play as well, which rubbs off on his teammates and makes players around him much better.
This Shadow Mountain group is also led by a group of tough and athletic teammates. 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior forward Darion Spottsville leads the group, and is a tough and versatile performer that provides excellent depth - scoring and rebounding for this team in an important manner. Spottsville is among the state's top available senior prospects.
Last season, Shadow Mountain finished with a 27-5 overall record on the season. Shadow did not lose to an Arizona high school team last season, as each of the program's five losses last season came at the heands of top-rated out-of-state high school programs. Shadow Mountain would win their second state title in 3 years, and I look for this team to win another one this season.
Shadow Mountain will not lose a game this high school season, and will win it all again. The question is not if they will win it, but rather for how long? For how long will star NBA guard Mike Bibby continue to coach this program and develop some of the state's elite prospects - giving his valuable time to our basketball community. That is the true question, because as long as he is there, the amazing culture of Shadow Mountain basketball remains intact. Well, either way, they should win the next (3) state titles while House and Blacksher continue to mature. After that who knows, but it definitely has been an amazing phenomenon to watch over the past 4 to 5 years.
The Shadow Mountain basketball program, players and Mike Bibby and his family of friends and coaches have created something special in Arizona - something Arizona basketball enthusiasts should be proud of, or atleast marvel at. I definitely have enjoyed seeing it develop and unfold.