Recently, the Southwest Showcase Main Event took place - kicking off the start to the 2018 club season in fine fashion. With the majority of the state's top club programs in participation, from many different age groups, and also many teams from outside of the state, this year's event was very exciting for players, fans, scouts and media to attend. Our complete Arizona Preps' staff was on hand throughout the entire event to watch much of the action in the 16U and 17U Divisions. While there were simply too many teams and players to cover throughout the weekend, we were able to cover a lot of the action in the older boy's divisions throughout the weekend.
Here are some of the top sleeper prospects that participated in the event, as seen by staff writer Derek James . . .
Xavier Dussel 6-4 SOPH PG/SG Chaparral HS - 2020 Class (Team Harden 16U)
Xavier had a really successful tournament. He led his team to the championship, as his 16U team won the 17U Platinum bracket. The game that impressed me the most was the 17U championship game vs The Factory. The Factory was up 20 points and Xavier, with the help of his teammates, made a comeback to win the game. Team Harden executed on defense and Xavier executed on offense. He hit some clutch shots, including the game winning shot to win the championship. He executed scoring in every way possible - jumpers, layups, combo-moves and drawing fouls. I was really impressed with his performance, as he was also named by our staff as the MVP of the event.
DeAndre Henry 6-8 SOPH PF Mountain Pointe HS - 2020 Class (Team Harden)
DeAndre was another standout during the Southwest Showcase Main Event. He has a nice college-sized body, right now. He used his size to an advantage. He was a tough match-up physically for every big at the event. He was a beast on the glass - both offensively and defensively. He ran the court well, set good screens and played with a high motor. I didn't see too many offensive moves, but I did see a lot of intensity and passion to win the ball game.
Cedric Bridges 6-5 SR PF Westview HS - 2018 Class (The Factory)
I truly feel this player is a steal for a program that takes him. Cedric Bridges (pictured) has a wide range of talent. He can do a little bit of everything at 6-5. He rebounds well, is very physical, very athletic, strong, a really good defender and finisher and is capable of making shots. He plays with a lot of heart and is really strong around the rim. Cedric is great through contact. He finishes a lot and is the motor on The Factory. I really hope he goes to a system that will utilize his abilities. I think every team needs a player like Cedric.
Makael Rainbow 6-2 JR PG/SG Fairfax HS - 2019 Class (RHJ)
I had the privilege of scouting Team RHJ this weekend. This team is filled with talent across the board and is well coached by Coach Erik Hood. One of his standouts is Makael Rainbow. This kid is a well-rounded player that can flat out score. He takes what the defense gives him without forcing the issue. Makael is a very controlled player who can get to the rim in multiple ways. He uses his speed, strength, body and athleticism to beat you, while finishing in different ways, and is also under control. He can break his defender down using effective combo-moves. The kid has really good ball control. He uses his shot/ball fakes very effectively. He is really good at changing his speed and direction. Every time he used a ball or shot-fake, it worked. He can play the point or the two-guard position and can help a team. He seems to be a good shooter. He hit the majority of his shots, but did not take many 3’s, which is not a bad thing. I noticed he used all of his ability to finish around bigger players. He uses his body really well around the rim. He also showed his basketball ability to make good basketball decisions. An active player on defense. You can tell he plays with pride. I personally think he was the best scorer at the entire tournament. He can just score in so many ways. He has really good court vision and IQ. He is also a lefty. I can see him playing D-I for sure. I'm not 100% which level, but he for sure can play at that level.
Tyrial Carrethers 5-9 JR PG Cesar Chavez HS - 2019 Class (RHJ)
Another one of Coach Hood's players is Tyrial Carrethers. He is a wizard with the ball. A really quick guard with incredible basketball vision and IQ. He can break his defenders down easily. What made him catch my attention was the decisions he made before his next move. There were at least six plays when I for sure thought he was going to get a turnover, but he found his open man. The more I observed the more I noticed how good he is at seeing an opening before there is one. He’s a good defensive player and caused several turnovers by simply turning his guys, which is the smart way to play defense. He hit all of his open shots and showed great signs of being a team player. I didn’t really see too many turnovers from him, which is also really good as a guard. What I fear is that Tyrial may not get the respect he deserves - only because he is a small guard, but he can handle his ground. I’m not sure which level he can play. I would say NAIA or D-2.