Who is going to make the All-Arizona boys basketball team and who will be named the Big Schools Player of the Year? Richard Obert breaks down some of the leading candidates (in alphabetical order):
With the state tournament getting started, it’s make or break time, not only for teams but for players trying to gain one of the five coveted All-Arizona spots.
Better yet, the field still is wide open for one player to emerge as the Big Schools (Divisions I and II) Player of the Year.
Who is it going to be?
Here is a look at some of the leading candidates (in alphabetical order):
Marvin Bagley III, Tempe Corona del Sol, 6-11, Fr.
After missing the first five games to begin his high school career, the big guy took off. He immediately made an impact, scoring 18 points in the first half at Phoenix North, showing off his great skills and authority around the basket. The 15-year-old has emerged as Scout.com’s No.8 rated player in the nation, regardless of year in school, with his ability to take over a game at both ends of the court for a team that is trying to win a fourth consecutive Division I championship.
Alex Barcello, Corona del Sol, 6-1, So.
This point guard has played huge in the biggest games with his fire and efficiency. He was the coaches’ pick for Player of the Year in a section that included some of the state’s best players, including Bagley. Barcello had a career-high 50 points in a win against Gilbert Perry, taking only 25 shot. He is a strong point guard who can get in the lane and score and who is very good from outside, knocking down shots. He sets up his teammates very well. A consummate point guard.
Jorge Carrasco, Tucson Cholla, 5-10, Sr.
He leads a 24-1 Division II team with 22 points and nearly five assists a game. He is making 59 percent of his shots. He made eight of nine shots and didn’t even attempt a 3-pointer and had five assists in a 58-44 win over Oro Valley Canyon del Oro in a sectional final. Smart floor leaders who doesn’t force the action.
Brandon Clarke, Phoenix Desert Vista, 6-7, Sr.
Make huge strides since his junior season under new coach Tony Darden. A high-flyer who might be a better defender than he is offensive player, and he can fill it up. He has had close to 10 triple doubles this season for points, rebounds and blocked shots. He is the key to Desert Vista making a run to the Division I final, especially if guard Quincy Taylor isn’t able to play after the elbow injury suffered against Phoenix Central in the Super Sectional.
Markus Howard, Perry, 5-11, So.
A remarkable scorer, Howard will put it up from just about anywhere, and will go on long stretches of simply taking over the game. He leads the state in scoring with 32 points a game. The Arizona State commit is given the green light to shoot from coach Joe Babinski, who rarely gives one of his players that light. But Howard is capable of going off at any time against anybody. He had 47 points against Corona del Sol, three nights after scoring 50 points against Gilbert Highland.
Dane Kuiper, Corona del Sol, 6-7, Sr.
A lock-down defender who has sacrificed points for wins. He sometimes ignites Corona del Sol’s vintage fast break with his defense, dunking at the other end. He can spot up and drain the 3. He is good at finding open teammates, giving the ball up for an easier basket, knowing he is surrounded by go-to guys. He has signed with New Mexico.
Obi Megwa, Central, 5-11, Sr.
Nobody heard of this guy before the season began. But he has been a catalyst on one of the most cohesive and athletic teams in the state. Great clutch scorer and passer, Megwa has been lights out down the stretch this season for the surging Bobcats, who put a scare into top-ranked Corona del Sol in a Super Sectional semifinal.
Famoun Miller, Central, 6-5, Sr.
Very unselfish player who gets the ball in his hands during crunch time. He can play the point guard position on a team with talented point guards. Miller has the physical strength to take the ball inside and create a basket. If it isn’t there, he quickly gets the ball off to teammates for easier baskets. Clutch player who had big games against two of the top Division I teams in the Super Sectional – an overtime win over Phoenix Desert Vista and a three-point loss to Corona del Sol.
Kaveon Moore, Glendale Independence, 6-3, Sr.
Didn’t have the supporting cast that the others on this list has. But he led the Patriots to a winning record. He averaged 25.6 points and 11.4 rebounds. His efforts were rewarded by the Division I, Section IV coaches, who made him co-Player of the Year with Phoenix St. Mary’s guard Marcus Shaver. He scored a school-record 47 points in his second-to-last high school game, a 71-61 victory over Phoenix Trevor Browne.
Kenzo Nudo, Scottsdale Chaparral, 6-4, Sr.
This guard has transformed himself from being a spot-up, 3-point shooter to a slashing type player who makes an impact on the boards. He made a point of developing himself into a total player this season and it has shown with his assertiveness and leadership abilities helping Chaparral to an 18-0 record in power-points games during the regular season. He will play his college basketball at Grand Canyon.
Craig Randall, Phoenix Shadow Mountain, 6-3, Sr.
This left-handed guard is one of the best pure shooters in the state. He creates off the dribble as well as anybody. He has been the key to Shadow Mountain staying No.1 in Division II after last year’s All-Arizona point guard, Michael Bibby, suffered a season-ending knee injury in December. He had one of the best individual efforts down the stretch this season against Corona del Sol.
Nate Renfro, Tucson Sahuaro, 6-7, Sr.
Some believe he is the best player in Southern Arizona with his ability to change a team’s game plan. He creates so much havoc in the paint because of his wing span and athleticism. Great first step who can take over the game with his low post moves. Good at facing the basket, and when Sahuaro needs a stop or a basket, Renfro usually comes through. He has signed with Grand Canyon University.
Cameron Satterwhite, Gilbert Christian, 6-3, Jr.
The guard kept the team together while big men Mitchell Lightfoot and Tony Licavoli were out. He averaged 18.5 points and hit the game winner with two seconds left to beat Tempe for the Division II sectional tournament title. He has committed to Colorado. A silky smooth shooter whose first step to the basket is dynamic.
Marcus Shaver, Phoenix St. Mary’s, 6-1, So.
Another amazing underclassman who has come back strong in the second half of the season after missing the Visit Mesa Challenge because of a hip injury. He has become a more unselfish player this season, trusting in teammates, and yet taking over when the team needs him most. His outside shooting has improved and his razor-sharp instincts have always been intact. His speed sometimes leaves defenders scratching their heads wondering how he got by them.