SW Showcase Summer Tournament Round-Up
Sunday evening wrapped up the 2018 Southwest Showcase Summer Tournament hosted by long-time Arizona tournament organizer Ron Coleman with a dramatic 17U overtime championship game between Powerhouse 16U Elite and Team M'Phasis. The game was wire-to-wire throughout and a game of runs with multiple lead changes. Team M'Phasis is a team made up of primarily Peoria High School players with some other west side pieces. Powerhouse 16U Elite ultimately took home the trophy in OT, holding M'Phasis scoreless in the extra period. They are loaded with Division-I prospects from all across the Valley and had an impressive weekend overall while playing up into the 17U Division.
6-foot-4 2020 guard Kiimani Holt was impressive all weekend long. He was their most steady bucket-getter on Sunday and creates problems for opposing defenses with his mix of a handle, size, strength, burst and elite-level athleticism. He also showed off a nice step-back mid-range game as well.
6-foot-8 2020 forward Anthony Garza was impressive and rock-steady as always. His activity and motor on both ends of the floor is impressive. He is also one of the better free-throw shooters on this talented team. He just does all the little things right and is a jump shot away from reaching the next real level of his game. He helps this team immensely.
6-foot-9 2020 forward/center Hunter Ruck had the game-winning lay-up in the first round game on Sunday against the Arizona Firestorm. It was a great game between one of the more talented 16U teams and a great group of primarily unsigned seniors for the Firestorm. The Firestorm led that game for most of the way but a corner 3 by 6-foot-1 2020 point guard Tay Boothman got them to within 1 with 12 seconds left. That set the table, after a missed free-throw on the other end, for the Ruck game-winning lay-up.
The teams X-Factor over the weekend was 5-foot-10 2020 point guard Robby Kinnard Jr. Kinnard was a calming presence on a team that is full of athletes that play very fast going north and south. He was the consummate calm to the storm that is, at time, Powerhouse 16U Elite. He knocked down some timely shots and defended up top at a high level.
The break-out player of the weekend was Team M'Phasis' 6-foot 2020 point guard Isaac Monroe. Monroe was not only impressive as anyone playing at the KROC Center over the weekend, but more clutch than anyone that played in the state of Arizona all weekend. After nailing a one-footed game-winning, buzzer-beating jumper to beat a hobbled but very talented Factory team, he momentarily took the wind out of Powerhouse 16U Elite when he nailed a game-tying deep 3-pointer over two defenders to send the game into overtime.
Monroe is a sniper from everywhere outside the key on the floor. Not only is he a big-shot taker and maker, but he slayed defenses all game long, all weekend long. He has a very nice handle with deceptive quickness and can get his own shot off without breaking a sweat. He was my favorite eye-opener this weekend as Gregg Rosenberg and myself sat together watching him in awe and wondering where he has been hiding.
After struggling a bit on Saturday, the Factory's 6-foot-7 2020 wing Emmanuel Taban turned it around in his two games on Sunday. His shot looked like the one that has him considered a top-100 prospect in the country. His length and high-release just looks big-time every time you see it.
Their 6-foot-9 2019 forward Cameron Katal bounced back from some poor games on Saturday and returned to form on Sunday with some impressive games that showed off his versatility. He had some great buckets in both games that were timely for his squad.
The Factory's 6-foot-4 bouncy junkyard dog Cedric Bridges and their 6-foot-4 2019 point guard D'Maurian Williams both went out in that loss to M'Phasis early with injuries. Bridges suffered an ankle sprain and Williams caught an elbow on a play he scored on that left his eye black, blue, swollen and filled with blood. Relentless sends both talented players our best wishes on getting back right and back on the floor ASAP.
Jamal Murray 16U Elite's 6-foot-1 guard Eric Blackwell shot it at a high clip and displayed his usual high-motor in their loss to the Factory in the 1st round of bracket play on Sunday. The lefty really can stroke it from deep and plays hard for every minute he is on the floor. While their stars, 6-foot-3 2020 guard Jalin Anderson and 6-foot-10 2020 forward Shon Robinson, usually steal the headlines for this squad, he is an X-Factor for them. JME was without their 6-foot 2020 guard Trent Hudgens this past weekend.
The AZ Firestorm's 6-foot-7 unsigned senior Karon Bailey had a great game against Powerhouse 16U Elite in that game. His skillset and footwork was a problem for the young PHH bigs all game long. He had some stretches in that game where he scored at will.
Blue Chip Nation was without one of their better players in their first round loss to Team M'Phasis on Sunday and his absence showed. While 6-foot-4 star 2019 guard Jalen Williams did all he could to keep them in it, they fell short in overtime and got outscored 10-0 in the extra period. 6-foot-7 2019 forward Peyton Dickerson knocked down some 3's in the first half as Blue Chip clung on to a lead, but wasn't able to get involved in the second half.
Blue Chip Nation has a 6-foot-11 2019 big man, Latrell Swan that will be suiting up for the defending 6A State Champions, the Pinnacle Pioneers. While Swan is still very raw and his feet are still catching up to his length and the speed of the game at this level, he has some things you can not teach. Most glaringly is his height and length and word is that he is still growing. But possibly more important is his willingness to learn and be coached up. He has a great attitude and supports his team rather he is on the floor or on the bench. Has a long way to go but he might just get there.