When we release our new player rankings this week, there will be numerous prospects that will benefit from their strong play this summer.
Here are the top prospects from the 2016 class in the state that will benefit the most from their performances this summer . . .
Elijah Thomas 6-6 SR SF Sunrise Mountain HS (Glendale, AZ)
Thomas is a high-major athlete that probably would be looking at a future pro career in football as a tight-end if he chose to go that route, but instead, he is a versatile wing prospect that is capable of scoring from inside and out and excels in the open floor. What is most impressive is his ability to shoot the basketball from the perimeter and make shots with excellent range and consistency - something that I was not aware that he could perform. When the defense figures out that Thomas can make shots from the perimeter, he blows past defenders for layups and dunks. Has an excellent body with loads of athleticism. Runs on his toes and has excellent energy. A very good defender with excellent length on his athletic frame. Disappears at times offensively, so he will need to improve his ability to stay involved in the play. If he can improve his ability to make plays at a higer rate, he would become a high-major prospect. This young man is a sure-fire big-time talent for the future.
Wyatt Lowell 6-9 JR SF Williams Field HS (Gilbert, AZ)
A long and skilled wing prospect with a superb shooting stroke – making him an attractive looking prospect. The cousin and also very similar as a player to former BYU forward Stephen Rogers. A talented performer with upside as a player. Shoots a high percentage from the field, and is able to score inside and out. Still needs to develop as a low post player, since he enjoys the perimeter, but he is definitely skilled enough and big enough to create match-up problems for most opposing forwards. A solid rebounder. A good ball handler and passer. OK defender.
Chris Bowling 6-6 SR SG/SF Gilbert HS (Gilbert, AZ)
Bowling's length and athleticism are nice attributes that he possesses, but when you consider his nice ability to shoot the basketball and stretch the defense with excellent range on his shot, he becomes a formidable prospect. Bowling is still really thin physically, but is still very young for his age and should fill out nicely over time. As he matures physically he should develop nicely at the next level. He is a good ball handler and passer – a fundamentally sound performer. A solid rebounder, but as he gains more physical strength and size, this is an area of his game that should pick up. A solid defender that uses his length to get his hands on balls and deflect passes. A very good overall prospect that is currently underrecruited. A nice sleeper prospect.
Brock Gardner 6-7 SR SF Tri-Christian HS (Chandler, AZ)
Gardner has many skills to like. He can handle the ball well, pass to his teammates, drive the lane, defend fairly well and shoot the deep ball. He can put points up in a hurry as a result of his tremendous versatility. Has very good size and is able to make plays for himself or others. He has really developed a solid all-around game. An active rebounder with good length of body. Capable of making shots from mid-range or from deep. Has played in a much smaller high school league, so his numbers are deflated. Put up huge numbers as a junior. A good athlete. Solid ball handler and passer. Attracting much Division-1 attention as of late. Sleeper prospect.
Tim Fuller 6-9 SR PF Highland HS (Gilbert, AZ)
Fuller is a very nice find for Arizona’s 2016 class, and has emerged among the top overall prospects in the class. Fuller is coming off an excellent showing last season as a junior, and had a solid spring and summer. Fuller is a big, wide-body post talent that rebounds strong on both ends of the floor and finished strong at the basket. He has good toughness and a nice looking body for a post player. He uses his body nicely and has good overall toughness. Runs the floor. Good finisher inside. Sleeper post prospect.
Brendan Rumel 6-11 SR C University HS (Tucson, AZ) - (Committed to Portland State)
Rumel was the find of the spring and my top surprise performer. A large post prospect with excellent size and some strong potential for the future. Rumel is a big bodied post talent with some upside for the future. At 6-11, Rummel is a 5-man that plays like it. He runs the floor hard for his size and is a mobile post talent. A good low-post scorer that uses his tremendous size to finish plays strong at the rim, and also make plays inside the paint. Will need to develop his low post skills to reach his maximum potential in the future. Has solid low-post footwork. A good rebounder. Solid passer out of the low-block. Capable shotblocker. Has the potential and upside to develop nicely over time.
Bryce Cheney 6-5 SR SF Moon Valley HS (Phoenix, AZ) – (Committed to Texas Rio Grande Valley)
Cheney is a very good sleeper prospect that has emerged as of late, and has very good size and a good overall skillset, which allows him to play inside and out. A good low post offensive threat that is also capable of stepping outside and making shots from the perimeter. Has a good overall basketball IQ. Will see the majority of his time inside the paint for Moon Valley, but he should be able to blossom into a small forward at the next level. Still needs to get quicker laterally to defend wings at the next level. A good offensive rebounder and finisher inside the paint. Definitely one to watch - a sleeper prospect.
Nick Mains 6-9 SR SF/PF Pinnacle HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Mains is a talented and skilled forward prospect with very good size and length. He has a nice overall feel for the game, and also has the size and skill level to play both forward positions on the floor. He is a good shooter with range on his shot and also has good footwork in the post - able to score with either hand. At 6-9 in height, Mains stands out on the floor and moves like a guard. While he still needs to mature physically a great deal, he has serious upside as a player and nice potential for the future. Mains still needs to get much stronger and add some serious size to his thin frame to reach his full potential as a player. He will struggle against stronger more physical players at this point, but, over time, physical maturity should benefit him nicely. Look for Mains to develop a great deal with a lot of continued hard work. A sleeper prospect for a smaller college program.
Aaron Weidenaar 6-5 SR SF Horizon HS (Scottsdale, AZ) – (Committed to Central Arkansas)
Weidenaar was regarded among the top prospects in Montana before moving to Arizona. He is a good-sized wing prospect with a very nice shooting stroke with range - his best asset. He is able to score inside and out, but becomes a mis-match on the perimeter for players his size. He also looks very comfortable on the wing, although he will probably see much of his time next season in the post for Horizon. Weidenaar has a good looking body, with solid athleticism. He competes hard and plays with good intensity. He is also a good low post scorer and active rebounder, also a solid finisher. Weidenaar is a rare find today - a big wing with a shooting stroke.
Brandon Whitaker 6-6 SR SF Campo Verde HS (Chandler, AZ)
Whitaker has excellent potential for the future. He has an ability to shoot the basketball very well from three-point distance, and also has showed an improved mid-range game. He has excellent length and athleticism and thrives in the open floor. He also now makes better decisions with the basketball, and looks to get his teammates involved. He has the length, athleticism, sheer potential and upside to become a serious player over time. Active rebounder. Good shotblocker. OK ball handler. Has serious potential for the future.
Tarik Cool 6-1 SR PG Desert Vista HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Cool is just that - cool in his demeanor on and off the floor. He has a very developed offensive skillset that allows him to make plays for himself and others, while also being a nice threat from the perimeter with unlimited range and consistency on his shot. He plays with a high level of confidence on both ends of the floor and has command presence on the basketball court. A very good ballhandler and passer with unlimited range on his shot. Pushes the ball up the floor. A solid on the ball defender. Needs to add more physical strength to raise his potential for the next level.