AZ 2020 Guards Loaded With Talent
July is officially over. We are now transitioning from AAU basketball to fall ball while most players that just spent the entire month showcasing their talents in front of college coaches during the live period, most will now get into the lab and start working on the holes in their games. For the class of 2020, those guys will try to touch up on some things so that they can do this AAU thing all over again, though it is rumored that the format of the next AAU session will be drastically different.
Nevertheless, the state of Arizona's basketball talent will take the floor again after high school season and lace them up to compete against national competition. Hopefully, they will continue to represent the state as well as they did this past spring and summer.
During the live period I heard countless Division I college coaches compliment the state of Arizona's 2020 class. Some of them noticed just how deep the class was at the guard positions.
A few weeks ago, nationally ranked 6-foot-3 Pinnacle High point guard Nico Mannion (West Coast Elite) announced that he would be moving the clock up a year and re-classed up into the 2019 class. Thus, this past weekend in Las Vegas at the Under Armour Finals marked his last time ever playing an AAU basketball game.
Arizona currently has nine guards in the 2020 class with Division I offers already under their belt. Those guards include...
6-foot-6 long and talented combo guard Dalen Terry, who had a huge spring and summer with the Compton Magic 16U squad. He also made his debut for Hillcrest Prep in June after deciding to transfer in from Corona Del Sol. Few players in America have boosted their stock as much as Terry in the 2020 class. Not only did he see a rocket boost in the national rankings almost across the board but he went from holding one offer from Grand Canyon to multiple high-major offers. Cal, UNLV, Arizona State, Marquette, Nevada and Utah have all offered since April after watching him slice through most of the competition on the Adidas Gold Gauntlet.
6-foot-3 super shifty point guard Evan Nelson jointed the Powerhouse 16U Elite (Ortega) team in July. The nationally recognized talent from Salpointe Catholic (Tucson) made an instant impact on a team that was already very solid and talented as it was. He added another element to that team with his playmaking and ability to score from the perimeter and off of penetration. His ability to fly around defensively blended right in with the culture and mindset of the team. His ability to change directions so fast and split defenses is so impressive. There are times where he looks for the home run pass instead of the one that might be the pass to the pass that leads to the bucket, but it is usually because he is trying to deliver and easy scoring opportunity for a teammate. As his game matures, it is very likely he will end up playing the game at the next level at a very high level. Nelson went into the summer with existing offers from Rice, Portland State, Grand Canyon, UC-Irvin, UC-Davis, New Mexico Portland State, and Utah Valley. He would add offers from Duqesne and Houston Baptist after a big July with many more on the horizon. Do not be surprised to see those offers reach another level.
I am not sure if there are many that had a more productive spring and summer and got more out of the 2018 AAU season than the ultra athletic 6-foot-4 combo gaurd, Kiimani Holt. Holt proved himself to be a straight up, flat-out walking bucket. His athleticism and strong and stout body make him a problem when he takes it to the rack. He might have finished off more and-1 plays than anyone I saw all spring and summer. Since I first saw him in late March, he has improved in almost every facet of the game. He has become a problem on the defensive side of the ball, he rebounds a little harder, his handle has tightened up some and he is starting to hit some shots from the perimeter, an area which most coaches wanted to see him start to hit. He has also added a nice little post-up fade-away move that made him look close to unstoppable at times. His impressive summer earned him offers from Portland State, Northern Arizona, Montana, UC-Santa Barbara, Idaho State and Houston Baptist. Furthermore, his name is still ringing amongst D1 staffs across the country.
Nobody wow'd the crowd in Vegas at the Big Foot Classic like Powerhouse 16U Elite's 6-foot-1 point guard Tay Boothman (Buckeye Union). He was one of the strong driving forces behind the teams success in the month of July. It is easy to see on the basketball court what he does so well. He gets hot from deep in a hurry. He defends on the ball at a high level. But it is the intangibles that college coaches love. Despite his light frame, he is super long with arms that end somewhere around where his shorts end. He is a leader on the floor and on the bench when the second unit is in. He plays the game so passionate and confident. there is just something different in his DNA. He is a dog on both ends of the floor that steps up higher when the game gets bigger. It is those intangibles and his play during that month that earned him offers to Central Arkansas, Denver and Houston Baptist. His name is also buzzing around many college coaching staffs.
The 6-foot-3 swiss army knife style point guard Jalin Anderson woke some people up during the spring. He left some shaking their head at what he can do on the floor in July while suiting up with his Jamal Murray Elite 16U squad in Kansas City for Jerry Mullen's High Profile Tournament. He almost single handedly took them to the championship game at times. He doesn't have any true holes in his game. He has good size for his position. He shoots it at a high rate from the perimeter. He is pretty quick with a very solid handle. He has pretty good court vision and is an exceptional passer. He runs the pick and roll like a seasoned vet. And he competes on the other end of the floor. There are times where he will take his foot off the gas peddle but that is seriously knit picking at his game. He spent his last showing of the summer in Vegas playing for the Arizona Firestorm. He earned himself his first D1 offer from Grand Canyon and has a ton of interest from multiple D1 programs.
The 6-foot-1 talented point guard Trent Hudgens played on a Team Harden team in July that was loaded with guys at his same position. Nevertheless, Hudgens shined on the Adidas Gold Gauntlet circuit with his solid and steady play. Hudgens is one of the smarter guards in the state, regardless of class. It is a rarity to see him turn the ball over and he always seems to make the right pass in the right situations. His IQ is impressive and the fact that he can really shoot it from deep. He is not much of a volume shooter but when he decides to launch it, he strokes it at an impressive clip. Add in the fact that he is a two-way player that really gets after it defensively and the fact that while he is doing it, it almost looks effortless to him. He earned himself an offer to Idaho State in July.
The 6-foot-3 sweet stroking 2-guard, Jeron Artest, is one of them two-way players that coaches love. He plays so poised and under control and has a game that is not easy to speed up. He plays the game at a competitive level year round, playing during the spring and summer for one of the better 16U teams on the West Coast, the Las Vegas Prospects, and then will go play his high school ball for one of the better prep school teams in the country, Hillcrest Prep. It is not hard to see that Jeron has played in bigger games anytime the intensity of a game picks up. I have yet to see him take a bad shot and he plays hard on both ends of the floor. He is a good athlete and has a great body at his position. Where he will land at the next level will be very interesting. He received an offer from St. John's in the summer, the same school his father, Ron Artest, built his legacy.
The 6-foot-4 combo guard from Team Harden, Xavier DuSell, can get on some spurts where he gets going offensively and makes defenders look a little bit on the ridiculous side. His length and ability to knock it down with a clip from deep is what makes him so intriguing to some college coaches. His consistency will be the key as to how high he will go as college coaches try to watch him multiple times. When he starts to put together a string of those games where he starts lighting it up offensively, the offers will probably start rolling in at a much higher clip. He received offers from both Idaho State and Northern Arizona in July and has multiple schools currently recruiting him.
The 6-foot-2 sharp shooting combo guard from Gilbert High and Powerhouse 16U Elite, Brycen Long, came out of nowhere on the AAU circuit during the spring. However, it was in July where he took things to another level and had some shooting performances that had you just shaking your head. Long could very well be the best 3-point shooter in this class. He goes on multiple game spurts where is lights out from deep. He surprised me a little bit with his ability to handle pressure with the ball in his hands and has a little sneaky bounce to his game. He possesses a high basketball IQ and a better handle than you might think. His performances in July earned him an offer from Houston Baptist.
The 6-foot-5 super athletic guard/wing picked up some high major offers when he was entering high school and had just arrived to the United State from Africa. Some unfortunate conditions probably stunted his growth as a player and prospect, but Jerry Iliya (Paradise Honors High) is in a good place right now on and off the court. He is starting to figure some things out with his game and while he is still very raw, he has some of those tools you can not train or develop. His size, body and length are impressive. His freakish athleticism has his body count during the spring and summer has him looking like a hitman. He had a great showing in Las Vegas with his Powerhouse Hoops 16U Elite (Ortega) team during their run in the Big Foot Classic. He earned an offer to Houston Baptist in July.
NEXT 5 UP...
Trey Donaldson (6-1, Combo Guard, Powerhouse Hoops/Gilbert Christian HS)
Isaac Monroe (6-0, Combo Guard, Team M'Phasis/Peoria High)
Logan Phillips (6-6, Shooting Guard, Powerhouse Hoops/Valley Christian HS)
Dominic Gonzales (5-11, Combo Guard, Arizona Factory/Ironwood HS)
Robby Kinnard Jr. (5-10, Point Guard, Powerhouse Hoops/Shadow Mountain HS)
Dayton Harris (6-2, Combo Guard, Skyline High School)