SW SHOWCASE SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIP NEWS & NOTES
The first day of the Southwest Showcase Summer Championship is in the books and we now move into Sunday with bracket play. First off I would like to start with the fact that tournament director Ron Coleman deserves some props for A) making a super pool in this event and B) shelling out a couple extra dollars, where most will not, to get an extra referee in those games to handle the bulk of the tournaments top talent.
In that super pool the Arizona Firestorm went 2-0, defeating both the Factory and Blue Chip Nation Elite behind the play of 6-foot-3 2019 guard Tyrek Chambers and 6-foot-5 unsigned senior guard Rashad Smith. The rest of the team is made up of some talented guys from Compass Prep and they really get after it. The ball moved on offense so much better than what I though it might and the Firestorm were hitting shots. Chambers lit up the scoreboard as good as anyone on Saturday. Their 6-foot-7 unsigned senior forward Karon Bailey was impressive with several athletic finishes and some tough play inside. Smith was a defensive menace and created countless transition scoring opportunities for his squad.
Blue Chip Nation Elite split in pool play, defeating the Factory in a hard-fought win before dropping one to Firestorm. 6-foot-4 2019 guard Jalen Williams was impressive as usual. Fresh off the news that he was considered one of the top 130 players in the '19 class in the nation by 247 sports, he proved that was not all hype today. He is a heat wave from outside and has a pull-up game that causes defenses headaches. 6-foot 2019 guard C.J Nnorom was impressive once again. Nothing he shoots from deep ever looks off. He had some stretches where he put the team on his back offensively. 6-foot-2 2019 guard DeShawn Strover had some scoring stretches himself and finished very well out in the open court all day. On a side note, Head Coach Paul Suber is the most entertaining coach to watch on the sidelines in the State.
The Factory, armed with a top-100 ranked 2019 recruit in 6-foot-7 wing Emmanuel Taban and super-talented guard 6-foot-4 D'Maurian Williams, struggled today, going 0-2. On the bright side, the two didn't play like their usual selves today and they could be the most dangerous teams in bracket play if they get back to form. 6-foot-4 2019 wing/forward Cedric Bridges looked great throughout the day with his usual grit-and-grind play and some athletic play on both ends. He is an absolute dog. They need to get more out of their lone true big-man, 6-foot-9 2019 Cameron Katal.
The Factory's 16's went 2-0. That team just plays so hard. They are a little undersized but they really get after it defensively and finish well in the open court. They run an offense that always puts one of their guards in a situation to go 1-on-1 and do his thing to get the bucket. The player that stood out the most to me today from that team was 6-foot 2020 guard Sunday John. He had numerous athletic plays off of transition and in the open floor where he had multiple dunks and attacked the rim.
Jamal Murray 16U Elite edged out Powerhouse 16U Elite in points scored, as two of the better 16U squads in AZ both went undefeated in routes of their opponents. That JME squad has so much firepower. They have multiple guys that can knock it down from the outside. 6-foot-3 2020 point guard Jalin Anderson is as talented as they come in that class. He can get buckets at will, but sets up teammates like a waitress sets up silverware on a dinner table. I enjoy watching him a little more every time I watch him play. 6-foot-10 2020 high-major prospect Shon Robinson was impressive as usual. He popped 3's like they were on sale and finished with some dunks that made you cringe. Their 2-guard, 6-foot-3 2020 Alem Huseinovic, shoots the logos off the ball and has a sneaky ability to create that shot for himself from the outside. He looked great today for them.
Powerhouse 16U Elite is loaded with next level talent. It is the discipline it takes to buckle down at times and playing through when the few shooters they have aren't knocking down shots. Their 6-foot-2 2020 guard Brycen Long looked great in their second win with multiple 3-pointers and making the smart and right pass, as per the usual for him. 6-foot-8 2020 forward Anthony Garza's activity is a difference maker for any team, but especially for a team that has the firepower to kill you off of the second-chance scoring opportunities that Garza creates. 6-foot-4 2020 guard Kiimani Holt had some stretches where he took over from a scoring perspective against competition that couldn't match his strength and athleticism.
Tomorrow, bracket play will kick off with some really good match-ups. Two of the top 17U programs in the state will square off against two of the top 16U squads as Jamal Murray Elite 16's take on the Factory and Powerhouse 16U Elite draws a red-hot Arizona Firestorm team.
In other Gold bracket games, Blue Chip Nation Elite will go into a match-up with Team M'Phasis as a heavy favorite. But don't count M'Phasis out, that team plays really hard. Factory 16's will take on Zone 6 Elite as well.
BIG S/O TO CHAPTER NEXT MEDIA FOR THE PHOTOS. BIG TIME!