South Mountain Junior College is back this junior college season to compete for a Division-II title in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC), and have retooled with numerous new prospects since the 2019-2020 junior college season, after sitting out the season last year due to the COVID pandemic. I have observed the SMCC program several times this season, and here are the top overall prospects thus far that have stood out to me.
Elijah Melendez 6-2 SOPH PG/SG South Mountain JC - 2022 Class
The top overall prospect for this year's team - Melendez is a very athletic guard prospect with long arms and strong hands. He is a superb offensive talent that can score the basketball in a variety of ways with a nice offensive skillset that allows him to score off the dribble or from the perimeter. He has a nice shooting stroke with excellent range, and is a jump shooter with nice lift on his jump-shot. He has a strong ability to create off the dribble and make plays off the bounce, over and around defenders. A slick ball handler and passer as well. He is very good in the open court where he thrives and finishes very well. A slick defender that applies nice defensive pressure on opposing guards, and plays passing lanes quite well. Melendez is a transfer from Benedictine University Mesa, but has definitely developed into a potential Division-1 prospect. A very skilled guard with superb athleticism and a scorer’s mentality and ability. He should benefit nicely after a stint in the junior college ranks. He is also a very good student with a 3.0 CUM GPA.
Fahad Tarjali 6-8 SOPH SF/PF South Mountain JC - 2022 Class
Tarjali is a native of Amman, Jordan and transferred from DME Sports Academy. An intriguing prospect with good size and length and good overall versatility as a player. A left hander, Tarjali has a high motor and competes hard on both ends of the floor. He has a solid overall skill level that allows him to make plays off the dribble and create scoring opportunities for himself at the basket. A strong driver and a good finisher around the basket. He runs the floor hard. An OK shooter, that has some range on his shot, but is at his best from mid-range and off the dribble, where he able to overpower smaller defenders en route to the basket. An active rebounder. A capable shotblocker. A solid ball handler. OK passer. A very good smaller school prospect.
Demonte Demore 6-4 SOPH SF/PF South Mountain JC - 2022 Class
A strong well-built physical presence that can play inside and out, and has very good overall versatility on the court - able to play several positions as needed. A native of Cleveland, Ohio. Has excellent toughness as a player and is the vocal leader for the team. Competes hard and is inspirational for his teammates. A good shooter with range on his shot, and also able to post up and score on strong moves and finishes around the basket. Has a good mid-range game. A good ball handler that is able to play as a 3 or as a 4, due to his ability to defend bigger players. A strong rebounder that rebounds outside of his area on the floor. Runs the floor hard. Good scorer in the open floor and in the half-court set. A solid athlete. A good passer that gets his teammates involved. A good sleeper prospect.
Darien Allen 6-5 FR PF South Mountain JC - 2023 Class
A native of Missouri, Allen is a strong and well-built post player that has a 4-year college-ready body. Has a strong lower body especially. Capable of scoring inside and out, and has a soft touch out to 15 feet, and is capable of scoring from longer ranges, although he is at his best from mid-range and around the basket. Has a good jump hook and is a strong finisher around the basket. Runs the floor hard. A solid athlete. Strong rebounder. A good low-post defender. As he adds more offense to his arsenal, he will maximize his potential as a player and prospect.