I played Arizona high school basketball and since my eligibility ran out, I have followed Arizona high school basketball. The 2011-12 season was one of the more impressive I have seen pertaining to the level of play and the quality of the play.
The Division I state champs, the Corona del Sol Aztecs, were as fun to watch as any team I have seen. With Calaen Robinson going to play at ASU next season teamed up with two DI athletes in football in Avery Moss and Andrus Peat, the team displayed as much talent as you will see on the floor for two teams playing, let alone just one.
With Corona, keep your eye on sophomore point guard Casey Benson as he will continue to develop for two more seasons under Coach Duane in Tempe.
The up-coming senior class is going to very impressive. Many know of the big three at Basha being Jaron Hopkins, Torren Jones and Maurice Kirby. All three will have a lot of hype surrounding them even on a national level going into their senior season after a very disappointing junior year.
A guy that had a fantastic junior season and is starting to have major conferences calling is Drew Bender at Pinnacle. He is one of the most complete all around players in the state and a leader both on and off the floor. Oregon State was in attendance at Jobing.com Arena for Pinnacle’s loss vs. Chavez in the semi-finals. Bender’s teammate, sophomore Dorian Pickens is also a name to remember as he has already been offered by Arizona State and received a lot of interest from Arizona.
For Division II boys, Paul Watson of Paradise Valley looks to be one of the most heralded of all the 2013 class. He is apart of Scout.com’s top 100 for 2013 and is pooling offers from three Pac-12 schools, including Arizona State.
On the girls side, St. Mary’s is one of the most dominant teams this state has ever seen. The DI state champs are currently the number one ranked team in the nation, yes the nation, and only have one senior leaving the team. The one senior is Shilpa Tummala who is headed to play at Harvard next season. The Lady Knights went undefeated in 2011-12 and the smallest margin of victory this season was eight against Chandler back in January, which happened to be the only game they won that was not a double digit victory.
Also keep an eye once again on the state champions from Division II, the girls from Seton Catholic who are also returning the core of their team. Coach Karen Self explained after winning the title for the third-straight year, that she thought this past season might have been a rebuilding year. But junior Ann Marie Holter and sophomores Julia Barcello and Heather Heild are as strong a big three in the state and will be back for a run at a fourth-straight title.
Two girls looking to have big up-coming senior seasons will be Katherine Hamilton at Dobson and Sydney Weiss at Pinnacle who both have had outstanding high school careers to this point. Both just so happened to play each other in the tournament this year and Hamilton got the win.
Look for 2012-13 to keep up the momentum that this past season brought, and Pros2Preps.com will be there every step of the way.
For everything Arizona High School Hoops, follow Jared Cohen on Twitter at @JaredPros2Preps.