Since the start of the summer, Hillcrest Hoops found new digs in Phoenix and brought in state Player of the Year Marvin Bagley III.
On Tuesday, Hillcrest received a commitment from 7-foot-1 DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 prospect in the nation for the 2017 class.
Suddenly, the newest prep academy might have the best high school basketball team in the country.
With 6-11 Bagley, the top 2018 prospect in the country, and Ayton, this could be a force coming onto the national scene that nobody expected.
“It’s a blessing that I never saw coming,” said Nick Weaver, director of basketball at Hillcrest.
Whether it is coincidence or not, national powerhouse Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep informed Hillcrest on Sunday night that it was backing out of the four scheduled games it had with the Bruins this coming season, according to Weaver. It came on the same day Ayton arrived to Hillcrest to visit the facilities. Ayton had previously visited Findlay.
“Sunday night, I got a call they weren’t going to play us this season,” Weaver said. “The coach said, ‘Maybe next year we can talk about it.’ I don’t really understand why.”
Weaver said having Ayton and Bagley will attract more national prep academies to play Hillcrest.
Ayton is listed by all of the top recruiting services as the No. 1 prospect in the nation for the 2017 class, possessing a strong post game and the ability to go outside and knock down shots. He averaged 21 points and 16 rebounds last season playing for Balboa City School, another prep academy in San Diego.
Weaver said that Ayton will start school this week. Hillcrest is affiliated with Starshine Academy, an NCAA accredited school.