The 2018 Spring Tip-Off hosted by Gerry Frietas got underway today at the Next Level Sports Complex today. Arizona had 15 AAU teams in the event with all three shoe programs taking part in it. Some of the state’s top local talent played on out-of-state teams.
Shadow Mountain’s 6-foot-4 2019 wing Jalen Williams suited up for Team Lillard and had some of the great, athletic finishes that anyone who has watched some Shadow games have become accustomed to. The State’s top prospect, Nico Mannion, suited up for his West Coast Elite team and looked like the elite-level prospect and talent he is.
Powerhouse’s 17U Elite team came out of Saturday at .500, winning their first game in an impressive, come-from-behind game against a very good California Stars team. That game was a great team victory with everybody pitching in. 6-foot-4 2019 point guard D’Maurian Williams looked rock-solid as usual, mixing in his skill of facilitating with his ability to get to the rack and finish at will. 6-foot-4 2019 super bouncy guard/wing Jackson Raui had some plays that showed off his athleticism at it’s finest. One of them he caught himself a body on a back-door play in which Williams found him cutting, as Raui flushed it down on a defender with 2 hands. 6-foot-7 2019 forward Andre Harris had a gream game inside, using his bulk to muscle up interior defenders. 6-foot-5 2019 nationally ranked prospect Majok Deng looked great. 6-foot-5 2019 guard/wing Otis Frazier III showed off his athleticism and range from deep. 6-foot-2 2019 point guard Isaiah Marin looked like a solid Division-I point guard. 6-foot-6 2019 wing Jordan Mains regained his shooting stroke and cashed in on some 3’s for Powerhouse.
However, in their second game it would be another story against Hillcrest Prep’s elite-level prospect Kyree Walker and his Dream Vision team that is absolutely loaded with talent, size and athleticism. Not only were they outmatched, but they were outplayed. For the most part, the team as a whole did not play well at all. With the athleticism and talent that team has, they will need to respond better when they get punched in the mouth by elite competition.
Head Coach Jerome Joseph was without the services of his talented 6-foot-3 2020 point guard Evan Nelson for the weekend and for the near future, as Nelson is nursing a hand injury.
Team Powerhouse had another 17U team in the event with their Schumaker team that stars 6-foot-1 2019 guard Josh Ursery and one of the state’s top unsigned seniors in 6-foot-4 wing Amarion Cash. They had a rough start to the weekend, dropping their first game to BBC Elite by 6 points. However, they would turn it around in their second game against West Coast Elite Black and won by a considerable double-digit margin. Ursery would show up big in that game for Head Coach Mark Schumaker. The thing that surprised me about this team in the limited action I saw was the tough inside play of 6-foot-9 2019 big man Miles Houston and the defensive pressure and intensity that 6-foot 2019 point guard Zach Poloma. His ability to lock up as soon as a point guard crosses half-court is impressive.
Team Powerhouse 16U Elite squared up against Team Harden’s 16U Elite. The match-up was a much-anticipated one, with two of the premier 16U teams in the state going at it. The game was sloppy, for the most part, from start to finish. Harden’s trio of backcourt underclassmen guards, 6-2 2021 TyTy Washington, 5-11 2021 Ricardo Sarmiento, and 6-4 2020 Xavier Dusell all mad some timely shots. 6-foot-8 2020 big man DeAndre Henry played hard inside and their 6-foot-4 2019 wing Malik Smith had some fast-break dunks that gave Harden some momentum. Powerhouse’s 6-foot-8 2020 forward Anthony Garza played hard, as usual, throughout the game and had some great scramble plays and offensive boards to keep them close. At times, 6-foot-4 2020 guard Kimani Holt looked un-guardable. His upside paired with his athleticism is intriguing but he needs to stay consistent throughout the game and keep his dog mentality throughout. The game got a little bit on the emotional side that usually comes along with in-state programs squaring up with each other out of town on a neutral court. Team Harden would come away with a 6-point win.
However, tides would turn drastically for Powerhouse 16U Elite in their next game against The Truth 16U Elite. Powerhouse was on fire! 6-foot-1 2020 point guard Tay Boothman led the way, snapping nets from deep and getting buckets at will, at times. Garza continued to play well and got help from his front-court mate, 6-foot-9 2020 big man Hunter Ruck. Holt brought it and was the dog he was capable of being as he pitched in to help his team avenge a disappointing performance in their first game.
Team Harden 16U Elite would come out of the day with a 1-1 record themselves after dropping their first game against the Las Vegas Prospects 16U team.
I was in the facility for the first Blue Chip Nation 17U Elite game as their 6-foot-8 2019 forward Stephan Gabriel (Hillcrest Prep) turned in some highlights with some grown-man slam dunks that had the neighboring crowd buzzing. Unfortunately, their 6-foot-10 2020 big man Fallou Diagne went down in their first game with an apparent ankle injury that might have him sidelined for a while. Their 6-foot-3 2019 sharp-shooting guard Jalen Williams did what he does at a high level, score! As did their 6-foot-2 2019 combo guard Tyrek Chambers who has the ability to be a walking bucket.
Powerhouse 15U Elite went into their first game in a heavyweight bout with West Coast Elite 15U, two of the better teams on the West Coast in that age division. It was not a good showing for the long and talented PHH team. Their 8th grade, 6-foot-10 big man Dylan Anderson led the way with 14 points and 7 rebounds, but they got beat by a good margin to a much quicker team that knocked down shots and went on runs. Powerhouse went spurts without scoring or being able to get a stop.
However, like the program’s 16U Elite team, they would turn it around in drastic fashion in the second game against Dream Vision 15U Elite team. The game was tight in the first half, however, they would go on a good run in the second half to pull them away behind Anderson and 6-foot-4 2021 wing Jovan Ruffin. 6-foot-8 2021 forward DaRon Holmes has showed some signs of what has him regarded as one of the top underclassmen in the state, but needs to be more consistent moving forward into tomorrow.
Action will pick up tomorrow, bright and early. Relentless Recruiting will be on hand for all the action amongst the Arizona teams and players. #NoSurrender #No Retreat #BeRelentless