On Sunday, September 27, Arizona Preps was in attendance for Ryan Silver’s West Coast Elite All Star Camp- Arizona, which was held on the campus of South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. Many said that this was one of the best showcases that has been held in the state of Arizona in recent years. High level talent was present on every court during all the games and mostly every game was competitive from start to finish.
Of all the players who competed at this event, here are the top performers from the day (In no specific order) . . .
PF 2016 Mitch Lightfoot 6-9’’ 205 lbs. Gilbert Christian HS: AAU: Arizona Power Black U17
Lightfoot was one, if not the most dominant player, every time he stepped on the court throughout the day. Displaying a more cut body since the summer circuit, Lightfoot used his massive frame to bully and battle down low on the block with the bigs that guarded him. He was able to feel out where his defenders were playing him, and he made his posts moves and scored at a high rate - due to his great hands and soft touch around the basket. Lightfoot also looked very good shooting the ball, as he knocked down many open jumpers from 23 and in all day long.
Defensively, Lightfoot altered or blocked almost every shot that came his way during the day, and rebounded the ball very actively on every play. Lightfoot is an outstanding prospect and will have a great senior year, as he looks to defend his state championship from a year ago.
Lightfoot recently named his final 5 schools: Arizona, Kansas, Stanford, Utah, and St. Johns. He recently visited Utah and Kansas and has upcoming visits to St. Johns and Arizona.
SF 2016 Brandon Whittaker 6’7 170 lbs. Campo (Gilbert) Verde HS: AAU: Arizona Magic Elite U17
Whittaker was extremely productive for his team each time he stepped on the court and looked much improved since the summer evaluation period. A long, lengthy wing, Whittaker is at his best when he is transition, in which he usually finishes with a dunk or score over defenders, and when he is around the basket, as he uses his soft touch to score the ball or draw the foul. Whittaker also shot the ball consistently from 3, and also hit a few mid-range jumpers when he was left open.
Whittaker used his length to his advantage on the defensive end, as he blocked shots around the rim due to his long arms and awareness of where the ball and other players were. Look for Whittaker to have a breakout season for Campo Verde and for him to put up large scoring numbers as well. Whittaker currently has interest from Southern Utah, UTSA, and many other schools.
SF 2016 Elijah Thomas 6’5 200 lbs. Sunrise (Peoria) Mountain HS: AAU: Arizona Magic Elite U17
Thomas has been one of the hottest prospects in Arizona, as well as the West Coast, since performing so well at camps and numerous live period events last spring and summer. The first thing that stands out about Thomas is how physically advanced his frame is at the guard position. He uses his wide shoulder and solid core to either get by defenders off of the dribble and keep them on his hip, or bully defenders down low once he is near the basket. Thomas is also a great athlete as he finished many fast breaks and transition plays with either a huge dunk or an and-1 as he scores well thru contact. Thomas is also a capable shooter when left open from 3 and is able to also put the ball on the floor and hit a pull-up.
He is active on the defensive end, as he uses quick hands and lateral quickness to cut off defenders and stop them before they go where they want on the court. Thomas will have a huge senior campaign for Sunrise Mountain High School and will do nothing but get better as he continues to compete.
Once considered a sleeper prospect, Thomas now holds numerous offers from Grand Canyon, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Colorado State, Saint Mary’s, Fresno State, Memphis, Nevada and has interest from USC, Minnesota and many others.
PG 2017 Jemari Baker 6’3 170 lbs. Roosevelt (Los Angeles) HS: AAU: Earl Watson Elite U17
Baker was one of the best looking guard prospects on the day and one of the better guards on the West Coast in 2017. From Los Angeles, Baker possesses a very similar, smooth shooting stroke to former Centennial (Corona, CA) and current Cal Baptist Guard Gelaun Wheelwright. Baker is a very alert shooter as he consistently hit shots from all over the court from stand still 3’s, to hitting shots off of screens and curls, to creating for himself and hitting shots off of the bounce from mid-range and out.
Baker is also quick off of the dribble and blew by defenders multiple times on the day were then he either finished thru defenders or over them with a floater. He is also a good passer in a half court set and in transition as he found open teammates cutting to the basket or got them the ball in a place that was best for them to score. Baker is also a tough, active defender as he used his hands to deflect many passes and get steals which lead to buckets for him and his teammates.
Baker currently holds offers from San Diego State, Cal, Rice, USC, Oklahoma State, Nevada and Providence, and will gain a lot more offers and interest from schools as the high school season begins.
SF 2017 Gabe McGlothan 6’6 180 lbs. Basha (Chandler) HS: AAU: Arizona D-1 Nation U16
McGlothan was very productive this spring and summer and is one of the best 2017 prospects in Arizona’s class. McGlothan possesses a near college-ready frame right now, and knows how to use his weight down low on the block to post up and score over smaller defenders, if necessary. He is also a solid shooter as he knocked down a few open 3’s when he was left open. One of the best assets of McGlothan's offensive game is how athletic he is, both in the open court and in half-court sets. He finished many plays on the day with either a dunk or used his superior athleticism to finish over any defender that stood in his way.
McGlothan has a lot of upside as a prospect and look for him to have a huge junior season for the Basha Bears, along with 2016 Montana State-commit Devin Kirby. McGlothan currently has offers from Northern Colorado and Montana State.
SG 2016 Bryce Cheney 6’6 200 lbs. Moon (Phoenix) Valley HS: AAU: Arizona Power Black U17
A late bloomer onto the AAU scene, Bryce Cheney was one of the most explosive and entertaining players to watch on the day. A Texas-Rio Grande Valley commit, the newly developed program looks to have gotten a steal with a player of Cheney’s caliber. Cheney displayed a very solid shooting stoke that extended out to around 23 feet, as he hit shots off of the dribble and off of the catch very easily all day. Cheney is at his best though when he is in a half court setting, and he can take his defender off of the dribble and punish the rim or hit a mid–range pullup.
Defensively, Cheney is very active and used his solid core and frame to stand his ground very well versus a much taller Mitch Lightfoot. This showed that Cheney is a very versatile defender and can guard nearly any position on the floor. After averaging around 10 points and 9 rebounds a game last high school season, look for Cheney’s numbers to increase tremendously this upcoming season in both categories.
PG 2016 Michael Bibby Jr. 6’1 170 lbs. Shadow (Phoenix) Mountain HS: AAU: Team Bibby
After coming off an knee injury that sidelined Bibby Jr. for a greater majority of his junior season, Bibby Jr. truly looks better and better every time that I see him compete. Bibby has a very similar game to his father, Mike Bibby Sr., in which he is cool, calm, and collected during all times of the game and runs a very smooth operation when the ball is in his hands. He is a good point guard who always keeps his head up and looks for open players in both a half court set and when he runs in transition.
Bibby also ran the pick and roll very well all day with elite big 2016 Mitch Lightfoot. Bibby also knocked down numerous jump shots from 3 on the day, and also used his shifty handle to get by defenders and finish at the rim where he converted at a high rate, or drew the foul.
Bibby Jr. currently has offers from Texas Christian University, Gonzaga, Memphis, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, Florida State, UC Irvine and Georgia State, and will gain more as the high school season begins for him and his loaded Shadow Mountain team.
PG 2017 Saben Lee 6’0 165 lbs. Corona Del (Tempe) Sol HS: AAU: Arizona Power Black
Lee was one of the biggest stock risers his summer during the summer evaluation periods and he looked outstanding during all of his games on the day. Lee was able to break down his defenders due to his speed off of the dribble and able to handle the basketball. Lee also had great vision as he got his teammates involved when he was unable to beat someone off of the dribble and get to the hoop. His jump shot from the 3 and midrange is still a bit of work in progress, but he knocked down shots at a much higher clip during his games than he did during the summer evaluation period.
Lee was also one of the most active defenders on the day, as he got numerous steals due to his quick hands and ability to cut off defenders and put them in unconformable positions to cause turnovers. What stood out to me about Lee was how athletic he is for his size. He finished many fast breaks with huge dunks or finished well above the rim over and around many defenders in the half court setting.
Look for Lee and fellow 2017 backcourt teammate Alex Barcello to have huge seasons for Corona Del Sol. He currently holds offers from New Mexico, Idaho State, Northern Arizona, Portland, Portland State, Weber State, San Diego, Grand Canyon and Northern Colorado.
SG 2016 J.J. Rhymes 6’4 180 lbs. Shadow (Phoenix) Mountain HS: AAU: Team Bibby
After watching Rhymes numerous times, he is one the toughest player in Arizona’s 2016 Class. Rhymes used his body and muscular frame very well all day to bully defenders and get to the basket and finish plays. Rhymes is also a much underrated athlete, as he finishes many transition opportunities with a dunk or use his superior athleticism to finish around and over defenders. Rhymes shot the ball a lot better than I have seen him in the past from 23 feet and in, and looks more capable of putting the ball on the floor and pulling up from anywhere in the mid-range area. He looks to have gained muscle since I have last seen him and he used that to his advantage by getting a lot of second and third-chance put-backs around the rim and fighting when he was down low or in moving in the lane toward the hoop.
Defensively, he looked very similar, as he is always active and takes pride in not letting the offensive player go where they want to go. He currently holds offers from Grand Canyon University, San Jose State, Northern Colorado and Louisiana Tech.
Arizona’s class of 2019 looks to have two future stars in 6-4 PG Josh Green (Mountain Ridge HS/ Oakland Solders) and 5-10 PG Jaelen House ( Shadow Mountain HS/ Team Bibby). Both played very well on the day and should play huge factors in their high school team’s success this upcoming season.
Green is a long point guard who plays with a confidence beyond his years, and has a great handle on the basketball and really excels in transition. House has a similar game to his father, former Arizona State and NBA standout Eddie House. House can fill it up in a hurry from anywhere on the court and should be a special player down the road . . .
Apollo should have one of the best backcourts in the state this year with 5-10 PG Holland “Boo Boo” Woods, and 6-1 SG Dre Marin (both Arizona Magic Elite U17). Boo Boo displayed the best handle of the basketball all day, as he got wherever he wanted to on the court and any time. He is also a solid point guard who thrives off of transition settings, as he always looks up and finds open cutters and players. Marin was arguably the best shooter in the gym and he can knock down shots on the court from anywhere and hit multiply 3-pointers . . .
One of the best sleeper prospects on the day was 6-4 SG Desmond Carpenter ( Cibola/ New Mexico Power). A great transition athlete, Carpenter finished many plays with either a dunk or found an open teammate. He is also a solid shooter of the Basketball from 3, and was able to get by many defenders with a quick first step and get to the rim.
Arizona Magic Elite teammates 6-6 SG Chris Bowling and 6-10 Malik Ondigo both had very productive days. Bowling shot the ball very well from 3 and excelled in transition, as usual, and Ondigo showed that he has a much improved shooting touch from the mid-range area . . .
2017 6-1 PG Donald Carter and 2018 5-11 PG Michael Rogers will both be very productive for Cesar Chavez HS (Phoenix) this high school season. Both have very high motors and love and thrive off of contact in the lane.