West Coast Elite/Powerhouse Hoops Summer Tip-Off Round-Up
This years West Coast Elite/Powerhouse Hoops Summer Tip-Off marked the grand opening of the brand new, state-of-the-art basketball haven, The PHHacility. It was a little surreal for a person who has been involved in Arizona hoops for a while and is so passionate about it. For someone that wants to see the state of Arizona basketball really take off and elevate to a high level, I was like a kid in the candy store watching the competition on the main floor.
While the building is still under construction and the other two AUX gyms weren't being used just yet, it was a great sneak peak at what this thing is set to become. I hope everybody who got to view it is at least close to ecstatic as I am about the possibilities of what can come out of a place like that.
There were games Friday-Sunday all day and evening on that main floor, the other games were played 7 minutes going West on Broadway Rd. at the KROC Center. The easy and fast commute back and forth was great.
Big Shout-Outs have to go to West Coast Elite founder, Ryan Silver, and his WCE staff headed by Jason Simon who made everything top-notch and A1 throughout the weekend as per the usual.
Teams were brought out from as far as Australia and Canada for this event that leads into our July Live period. Both teams came out, played hard and represented at a high level. There were also some very solid teams from West Texas, Salt Lake City and California.
As far as the action, here is some of the things I took away from all the Arizona boys taking part in the showcase event...
The Powerhouse 16U Elite Team (Ortega) is the real deal. They were pretty impressive as they went undefeated over the weekend. While the team was already playing at a high level to finish off the spring, they added 6-foot-3 2020 point guard Evan Nelson to a guard unit that is already one of the strongest guard units on the West Coast. He showed to be a great addition to a team that is starting to click on all cylinders. When Nelson, 6-1 2020 point guard Tay Boothman and 6-4 2020 combo guard Kiimani Holt are all coming at you together, it is a dangerous combination.
Boothman is the sharp shooter of the three, especially from the corner. Holt is one of the more athletic prospects in the state and is as close to a walking bucket as there is in AZ. Nelson is a variation of the two. He can shoot it from the outside and penetrate to the rack. It is a great compliment to that team.
2020 guards Brycen Long and Robby Kinnard Jr. are the other guards that round out this strong unit. Long is the best shooter of the bunch and Kinnard has the highest basketball IQ and best assist-to-turnover ration of the group. All five can flat out go.
The teams bigs were hobbled, as 6-9 2020 Big Man Hunter Ruck and 6-8 2020 Griffin Lamb both rested for this weekend before heading to Atlanta this week for the Under Armour event. However, 6-8 2020 PF Anthony Garza and 6-8 Roy Eze both played well for Powerhouse underneath all weekend long. Both were active around the rim and finished with countless put backs. They both fit with the teams guard play like a glove.
6-foot-6 2020 Wing Jerry Iliya did not play the first two days, but came out to shake off the cobwebs on Sunday before hitting the road. He looked like his usual active self and finished with some rim rocking dunks. This squad is going to be fun to watch in July.
Powerhouse 15U Elite (Compton) also added a piece to their puzzle with the addition of 6-foot-2 2021 point guard Jalen Scott from Paradise Honors. Scott is the assist machine this team could use, as they are one of the bigger 15U teams in America. They did not lose a game all weekend.
That frontcourt is highlighted by 6-foot-10 2022 phenom power forward Dylan Anderson and 6-foot-8 nationally coveted forward DaRon Holmes. Both looked great all weekend long and Anderson showed some dog in him as he answered to a couple scuffles that came his way this weekend. One of those physical showdowns led to him coming down and dunking on 2 opponents and giving a nice big man grunt for dessert. Holmes was his usual versatile self. It is starting to get scary on just how good he can become.
6-foot-4 2021 wing Max Majerle is starting to get a little more bouncy every time I see him. He is already a physical kid, when he starts becoming more consistent at putting the ball in the basket, he is going to be a great glue guy and could end up being one of the top perimeter defenders in the state.
The backcourt of 6-0 2021 guard Brett Hardt Jr. and 5-11 2021 guard Justus Jackson provides them with outside threats on the wing that can also put the ball on the deck and get their own shot off. It's going to be an interesting summer for a team that is filled with so much talent and size.
Powerhouse 17U UAA have had to endure more changed to their roster than possibly any team in Arizona. The three constants on that team will have to be the horse's moving into July. 6-5 2019 guard/wing Otis Frazier III is their best offensive option as a player who can score the ball from all 3 different levels and is one of the better athletes in Arizona. 6-6 2019 wing Jordan Mains was there best and most consistent player this past weekend and a hand that was as hot as the temperature outside. He can flat out shoot the ball and when he gets hot, this team looks pretty good. 6-5 2019 guard/wing Majok Deng was up and down for the most part all weekend long but he continued to fight and continued to battle things out. His perseverance on the court might be one of his best attributes.
6-2 2019 guard Josh Baker has been big for them since his addition to the team. His ability to shoot it from the outside and slow things down when the pressure gets turned up is a saving grace for them at times. The addition at the Point Guard spot that 5-11 2019 Zach Paloma gives them was much needed this weekend. He is the one guard that can push the ball up the floor fast that utilizes the teams athletes and he is their best on-ball defender at that position.
They also added 6-4 2019 wing Jackson Ruai back to the team, which is huge for them on the defensive side of the ball and in the open court. It also gives them another unselfish player on a team that has a problem with the ball sticking at times. I am very interested to how this team will look moving forward this month on the circuit.
However, Ruai suited up this weekend for Powerhouse Tucson and was by far the most impressive defender in either gym. His length and lateral quickness are uncanny on that side of the floor. On the offensive side he served as a great playmaker and showed off the athleticism that make most people remember his name.
6-10 2019 PF/C John Olmsted played well for them as well. He struggled at times to finish through contact and didn't get a lot of opportunities to show off that sweet stroke he has from the outside, but he had some real timely buckets for them, showed up on the defensive end and made some passes that put some "wow" faces on some people sitting courtside.
Powerhouse Schumaker looked solid over the weekend as well, led by their 6-7 2019 forward Phoenix Katz. Katz was great for them all weekend and kind of served as their swiss army knife of sorts. He rebounded well for them, finished off some timely buckets and was bringing the ball up the floor at times. This team also has two other guys that are north of 6-9 in 2019 bigs Miles Houston and Lucas Elliot that complimented a team full of shooters and outside threats well.
The Arizona Hype have them a certified baller on their roster. 6-foot-5 2019 wing Emad Elniel looks great, despite spending most halves being double-teamed. The kid can go get a bucket and comes across as so coachable with a great attitude. Plays hard on both ends of the floor and is unselfish but can score in waves. He was a pleasure to finally see in an AAU environment. I know I will be a Independence High's gym at some point this winter.
Team Harden's 15U squad is a fun bunch of youngin's to watch as well. They play a very entertaining and fast paced brand of basketball and have one of my favorite incoming freshman in the state playing with them now in 6-4 2022 guard/wing Justin Shorts. They have some raw size but you can see things coming together for them and their guards are some flat out bucket getters.
Powerhouse Camacho's 15U and 17U teams both went undefeated over the weekend and battled all weekend long. The 17U team should have had their own reality show in this event as they had back-to-back games with game-winning shots in improbable fashion. It was a refreshing brand of basketball to see. The team is very undersized but plays so hard and flies around the floor.
Relentless-Recruiting will be in Atlanta to take in some action with the Arizona boys that will be in attendance in that Under Armour event including the Elite 15, 16 and 17U teams from Powerhouse Hoops and Alvin Gentry Elite. Also there will be Arizona's own Nico Mannion who will lace them up with West Coast Elite.