This year's Arizona Preps Fall Showcase was one to remember. If not for the fans and basketball enthusiasts in the state, then definitely for the myself and the Arizona Preps' staff. While our full staff has not been there with me for each of the past showcases, many of them have been with me through the past (6) or (7) events. This year's event though was quite special, as I personally was able to spend this historic event with many people in the state that made it possible for all of the years.
This event was unique for me, as I eventually broke down emotionally as the event began, knowing the tremendous tole that it had taken on me and my life organizing this event for 20 years. While it is definitely a milestone, and I savored the idea of reaching 20 years of operating events, I remembered what it took to get there. It took my health, my finances and eventually my family over the years. While it was not just this event that did all of that. It was Arizona basketball. This event reminded me of just how much I have given Arizona basketball over the years. While Arizona basketball has definitely given a lot to me as well, this year's event reminded me that of what the cost was to reach 20 events.
I have given all that I can give to Arizona basketball, and this year's 20th annual event was my last of it's kind. I have organized my last event.
Arizona basketball has changed a lot since I began in 1995. That was a long time ago, and now I fully realize just how much has changed over the years, and it is time for me to just focus on what I do best - evaluating players and making the Arizona Preps' site what it has always been, the voice of Arizona high school and junior college basketball. While there are definitely many other social mediums available that are now utilized to report information regarding players to the public, this website will continue to provide up-to-date information regarding top players in the high school and junior college ranks.
Personally, I will be taking on other major endeavors over time in the sport of basketball as well, but will maintain this website as my foundation for the future.
The Arizona Preps Fall Showcase was created in 1998 as a pre-season event that allowed the state's top players to come together before the high school season, and compete against one another in fine fashion - making statements of who the state's best players were. The event also gave myself and any staff members a glimpse into who to watch for during the up-and-coming high school season. The Showcase was hot and the place to be each fall for the state's top players and aspiring players to make a name for themselves.
Over the years the Showcase remained a hot item annually, but over the past several years, the event began to lose luster as more and more events like it developed, and top players opted out of the event. This year's event was hot once again though, as the event went out with a bang and showcased a lot of the state's top talent. The addition of nationally ranked Lincoln Academy Prep (GA) to this year's event set it off, as the competition in this year's event was at an all-time high and mirrored division-I level basketball.
The high school division was fierce as many of the state's top high school programs took center stage. Mountain Pointe, Desert Vista, St. Mary's and Liberty, four of the state's top high school programs, faced off against one another in a very competitive manner, while AZ Compass Prep and Hillcrest Prep teams matched up with Liberty. Planet Athlete, Taylor Made Prep, Just Hoops Prep and Chandler-Gilbert Junior College each faced off in this year's event as well.
A new charter school program Eduprize had their coming-out-party in this year's event - winning both of their games in the event against storied programs, St. Mary's and Desert Vista. Eduprize is loaded with talent this season, and will be ultimately led by the play of stud 6-foot-10 junior forward Shon Robinson this season. This year's performance in the event proved that Eduprize is a force to be reckoned with for the future in the state.
After all of the years of running this event, I want to give a huge thanks to all of the people that made it possible over the years. Harry Cannon for all the times you presented the academic information and eligibility standards to the participants. Lee Bradley, "The Dangerous MC" for being the DJ at so many of the events, 18 out of 20 I believe. Wow! You made the atmosphere always amazing and raise it up 10 notches every year, while making it fun as well. To Don Logan for providing the referees every year, at all 20 events, no matter how late I informed you of your responsibilities, you always made it happen. To Keith Greer who lost his wonderful son over the years, the Greer family is my family and I pray blessing on their family. Keith, you have been a blessing to my life and I will always love you for it my friend. To Chris Hurst, my brother in Christ, you always had my side and offered your assistance wherever we needed it, and never complained. To my family and friends who always helped me organize the event - thank you from the bottom of my heart and I can never repay you all.
Thank you especially to all the players and parents that made this event possible for 20 years. More than 3,000 kids over the years have come through this event and I love everyone of you for it. Each one of you came to this annual event - looking to gain maximum exposure and to get your name out there. This event was the way to do it for many years, and now there are many more like it. Please continue to support these events, as they look to improve the basketball community. While I can't say that all of them will accomplish what they promote, use sound judgement in your discernment of the events to play in and which ones to avoid.
I for one will be watching from the stands - looking to write about the next worthy prospect. Leave me out of running and operating events in the future. Those days are gone for me.
Thank you Arizona.