It’s time to hit the road for high school basketball players with something to prove.
July means club ball, national exposure, showcases, time to raise the bar, impress the scouts and raise your stock.
Arizona’s big two – Tempe Corona del Sol sophomore power forward Marvin Bagley III and junior point guard Alex Barcello – are pretty much set with a who’s who of colleges offering scholarships.
According to his dad, Bagley, 6-foot-11, will play in only one July showcase – at the Peach Jam in South Carolina, July 8-12, for a team called We All Can Go. Other than that, Marvin Jr., said his son, who has 20-plus offers including Kentucky and Duke, will continue to work in the gym on developing his game and getting stronger.
Barcello, 6-2, who is up to 16 offers with Wake Forest and USC most recently reaching out, will play for Team Bayless but will take July 15-17 to participate in the Adidas Uprising All-American Camp in New York.
Others still have much to prove.
Here’s a look at 10 players with the most to prove:
No. 1 Michael Bibby, Phoenix Shadow Mountain/Team Bibby, 6-2, PG, Sr.
He’ll have to prove that his twice operated-on knee is stable enough to defend and run his dad’s offense for Team Bibby at the Double Pump Summer Tip-Off in Anaheim, July 8-12; at Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Live, July 15-19; and in the top pool at the Big Hoops Las Vegas Classic, July 22-26. Bibby has tremendous court awareness and ice in his veins when it comes to taking big shots. But can he defend athletic point guards and get off his high-arching shot off the dribble? Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, Florida and Kansas will be watching.
No. 2 Mitch Lightfoot, Gilbert Christian/Arizona Power Black, 6-9, F, Sr.
He is the most recruited player in the 2016 class in Arizona with half of the Pac-12, including Arizona and Arizona State, offering him. He also holds offers from Kansas and Nebraska. But not everybody is sold on him. He will have a chance to live up to the hype in national camps, such as the Under Armour All-American Camp in North Carolina, July 8-10 and in the West Coast Elite 100 sponsored by Under Armour on July 11-12 in California.
No. 3 Brock Gardner, Chandler Tri-City Christian/Arizona Warriors, 6-7, G/F, Sr.
He has four Division I offers with serious interest from others, but he plays his high school season in the little-known and less-competitive Canyon Athletic Association, where it’s hard to get a gauge on how good he really is. Playing in the West Coast Elite 100, where he will go up against other top recruits, should allow him to state his case.
No. 4 Saben Lee, Corona del Sol/Arizona Power Black, 6-0, PG, Jr.
Everybody knows who Alex Barcello is at Corona del Sol. Lee is asked to play the off-guard position with Barcello the lead guard. But Lee is a great defender who has increased his hops already this summer. He is looking to take off and show he can be a lead guard in college. He will be allowed to run the offense for Power Black in the 17U tournaments at the Double Pump Best of Summer and the Bigfoot Las Vegas Classic, where Power will be a showcase team.
No. 5 Elijah Thomas, Peoria Sunrise Mountain/Arizona Magic Elite, 6-5, G/F, Sr.
He has suddenly become a hot name, picking up offers from Grand Canyon and Cal State Fullerton. Others are starting to take notice of this strong guard who received an invitation to the Pangos All-American Camp, where he proved he belonged. Can he keep the momentum? He could be the quickest riser in his class if he has a big July.
No. 6 Holland Woods Jr., Glendale Apollo, 5-11, PG, Jr.
Tremendous with the ball, strong, quick, makes crisp passes, can flat out break down defenses off the dribble. A streaky shooter but when he gets in a rhythm he can score in a hurry. He will be playing for the Arizona Magic’s U17 team. Coaches are going to want to see how he runs a team. He did that in the spring, leading a spring league in assists. If he can also show off a consistent jump show, he could emerge as one of the top guards in the state next season.
No. 7 K.J. Hymes, Phoenix St. Mary’s/Arizona Warriors, 6-9, F/C, So.
He could be the next Channing Frye if he keeps developing. Frye’s game didn’t really take off until his senior year which landed him a scholarship to UA. Hymes is built in Frye’s mold. He already has Clemson and Grand Canyon offers and will get more attention if he impresses at the West Coast Elite 100.
No. 8 Tim Fuller, Gilbert Highland/Power Black, 6-9, F/C, Sr.
He will play on Power’s elite team, showing off maybe the best back-to-the-basket game in the 2016 Arizona class. He is a legitimate post prospect, but a college may have to be willing to wait until 2018 to get him, because he is planning on taking a two-year church mission after graduating from high school. He has been in contact with Weber State, Portland, Southern Utah and Utah State.
No. 9 Chris Bowling, Gilbert/Arizona Magic Elite, 6-5, G/F, Sr.
He picked up his first Division I offer recently from Texas-Rio Grande. He’ll have a chance to get more if he shows he is more than an outstanding shooter. He’ll have to show toughness around the glass, that he can rebound against athletic big men and score inside.
No. 10 Malik Ondigo, El Mirage Dysart/Arizona Magic Elite, 6-10, F/C, Sr.
Injuries slowed his progress in the spring, but now he has a chance to show that he is back and stronger than ever. He has offers from Northern Arizona, UTEP and Cal Poly. If he shows he can defend and score against athletic bigs, he’ll get bigger D-I offers in no time. His offensive skills will need to improve for that to happen. Here is his chance to show he’s made progress.