I will take a month-long look at how some of the state’s top boys basketball players are doing across the nation in showcases.
They’re scattered all over, joining club teams to show the college coaches they’ve got what it takes to earn a scholarship.
NEW AAU FRONTIER: Top Arizona talent leaving state to showcase basketball skills
Let’s catch up:
MARVIN BAGLEY III, Tempe Corona del Sol/We All Can Go
In the first two days of the EYBL Peach Jam U16 tournament in South Carolina, the 6-foot-11 forward has shown why he is rated as the No. 1 2018 player in the country by ESPN. If you haven’t seen his YouTube video of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski watching Bagley score 33 points and grab 13 rebounds in a game, here it is:
Bagley had 68 points and 27 rebounds in his first two games.
What makes it impressive is that he is going up against some of the top players his age in the country. And dominating with an array of inside and outside moves to the basket. He continues to show nice touch around the basket and a knack for being around the rim to follow in missed shots. Bagley has been working hard on his 3-point shooting. When he starts showing consistency from out there, there will be no greater player in the country in any high school class.
Updated: Bagley had 20 points and 16 rebounds on Friday, helping We All Can Go to a 3-0 record, heading into bracket play.
July 11 update: There was a who’s who of college coaches watching Bagley go for 28 points and 14 rebounds in a four-point victory over Team C3P that put WACG into the final for of the U16 tournament. Krzyzewski, Kentucky’s John Calipari, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Arizona’s Sean Miller, Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley and Cal’s Cuonzo Martin were among the coaches in attendance, according to Marvin Bagley Jr.
Later in the night, Western Kentucky offered We All Can Go U16 entire starting lineup, including Bagley.
July 12 update: Bagley receives his 18th overall offer, this one from Tennessee.
SABEN LEE, Corona del Sol/Arizona Power Academy
Lee, who has grown to 6-foot-1, picked up five college offers in his first three games playing in the Double Pump Summer Tip-Off in Anaheim, Calif.
Lee shut it down in the spring to rest an injured hip that has since fully recovered. He has shown tremendous leaping ability and floor leadership playing the point, averaging 17 points, seven assists and four rebounds in his first three games. His play has brought offers from Northern Colorado, Portland, Portland State, Weber State and Grand Canyon University.
Stanford is keeping a close eye on him.
“I feel like my jumping has really helped me finish around the basket,” Lee said. “It’s helped with my explosiveness to come back.”
Lee said he hopes that he’ll land a major-college offer, but he is only entering his junior season, so he has plenty of time to get that.
“I think the strength for me is that when I need to get a bucket, I can get to the basket and score,” Lee said.
July 11 update: San Diego is close to offering Lee after having seen him play. Lee’s stock rises with each game.
After going 3-1, then winning the first two games in the 80-team bracket play at Double Pump, Lee went out in style, scoring 11 points and dishing out 11 assists in a 101-97 loss to Big Ballers, a loaded team featuring future UCLA guards, brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball.
MITCH LIGHTFOOT, Gilbert Christian/Power
This 6-8 senior forward is in North Carolina, drawing rave reviews at the Under Armour All-American Camp, with Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley among coaches in attendance.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 8, 2015
Eric Bossi, Rivals.com’s basketball recruiting analyst, wrote that Lightfoot “has been real problems for opponents” and “has the best motor in camp, crashes the glass, takes charges and communicates with his teammates,” after Lightfoot had 16 points and seven rebounds in one game.
Lightfoot joined Power Academy in Anaheim late Friday night to play in Saturday’s bracket games.
July 11: In the loss to Big Ballers, Lightfoot was the best player on the court, Power Academy coach John Ortega felt. Lightfoot had 28 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots.
TIM FULLER, Gilbert Highland/Power
The 6-9 forward/center averaged 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in his first three games of the Double Pump in Anaheim.
July 11: Fuller chipped in 18 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in the final game against Big Ballers.
MARKUS HOWARD, Findlay Prep/Las Vegas Stars
Howard, a 2017 point guard, who was All-Arizona his first two years at Gilbert Perry, had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists in his first game of the EYBL Peach Jam in South Carolina, a win over City Rocks.
In his next game, Howard had 20 points.
2017 G and IU target Markus Howard finished with 20 points and 2 rebounds in a 93-64 LV Prospects loss to Houston Hoops at Peach Jam. #iubb
— Stu Jackson (@Stuart_Jackson1) July 10, 2015
Markus Howard up early and ready to go this morning. Putting on a show so far against De'Aaron Fox.
— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) July 10, 2015
Arizona basketball players with something to prove:
July 11 update: In a 79-67 win over Pro Skills (Texas), Howard had 24 points, making 10 of 19 shots, 3 of 7 3-pointers. He also had four assists and four rebounds.
ELIJAH THOMAS, Peoria Sunrise Mountain/Arizona Magic Elite
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound swingman impressed in the first two days of the Pangos Summer Sweet 16 in Cerritos, Calif., according to Josh Gershon, a national recruiting analyst for ScoutHoops. Gershon writes:
“The 2016 small forward from Peoria (Ariz.) Sunrise Mountain proved himself as a prospect that deserves to be recruited at the high major level. Thomas is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds with a terrific frame. He’s got wide shoulders, long arms and is a good athlete. The rising senior played hard the entire game and showed high level anticipation as a rebounder. He played unselfish basketball due to his high basketball IQ and made some very impressive passes to teammates.
“Thomas used his ball skills to create his own shot; he hit multiple three-pointers and displayed his pull-up jumper. On defense he showed the ability to guard multiple positions due to his lateral quickness, feel and length.”
So far Thomas’ only offers have come from Grand Canyon and Cal State-Fullerton.
July 11: Thomas helped key Magic Elite to the 17U title at the Pangos Sweet 16 with a 71-67 overtime win over Play Hard Play Smart.
CAMERON SATTERWHITE, Gilbert Christian/Power Academy
July 11: The 6-3 senior guard who committed to Colorado joined Power in Anaheim on Saturday after performing well in a camp. He had a great games against the Ballers with 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
MICHAEL BIBBY, Shadow Mountain/Team Bibby
July 11: The smooth 6-2 senior point guard impressed at the Double Pump, scoring 16 of his 26 points in a 10-point victory over a team comprised mostly of Mater Dei players. Later that night, he had 19 points in a loss to Big Ballers, who eventually won the tournament.
JJ RHYMES, Shadow Mountain/Team Bibby
July 11: Rhymes, a 6-4 senior guard/foreward, showed off strong defense and a knack for making tough baskets in the paint, scoring 24 points against the Mater Dei-based team.
BROCK GARDNER, Chandler Tri-City Christian
July 13: The 6-7 senior swingman was named to the Top 20 game at the Under Armour Elite 100 Camp. He capped it off picking up his fifth Division I offer, from Dartmouth.
NIGEL SHADD, Tri-City Christian/Arizona Magic Elite
July 13: The 6-8 power forward was outstanding at the Pangos tournament in California, picking up offers from Northern Colorado and Cal State Fullerton.
KJ HYMES, Phoenix St. Mary’s/Arizona Warriors
July 13: The 6-9 sophomore forward/center picked up his recruiting significantly last weekend with a strong showing at the Elite 100 powered by Under Armour.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>2018 KJ Hymes St. Mary's Arizona very impressive this afternoon at Elite 100 powered by Under Armour. One of top prospects in West in 2018</p>— Ryan Silver (@RyanSilver1) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RyanSilver1/status/619974694905602049″>July 11, 2015</a></blockquote>
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