We are halfway through the high school basketball season and 2012 ended with some great basketball with a lot of very good teams around the state. The following are some notes I have from the season thus far and how I see the landscape looking as we begin 2013.
Somehow after losing Calaen Robinson, Andrus Peat and Avery Moss, the state champion Corona del Sol Aztecs are still in the Division I post-season mix. I absolutely love Junior Point guard Casey Benson’s game. He has a great basketball IQ, a lot of skill, can shoot and beat you off the dribble and plays with a lot of energy. I thought these things about him last year but it was overshadowed a little bit with his great teammates. Now he is the leader and is coming into his own.
The Mesa Jackrabbitts might be the most talented team in the state. They took their talents to Torrey Pines, CA for the Under Armor Holiday classic and played very well. The knocked off the always tough Compton Dominguez team in the process (although it looks as if Dominguez is having a down season) and fell to Mission Hills from San Marcos, CA which is one of the top teams in the state and has a seven-foot center by the name Kameron Rooks. Rooks might sound familiar to people in Arizona because he is the son of former Arizona Wildcat and NBA player, Sean Rooks. Senior D.J. Henderson is having a great season and sophomore Jalen Jenkins is one of the fastest rising prospects in the state.
Dobson has had a head scratching start to the season. They have one of the most loaded rosters in the state with Colorado commit Jaron Hopkins, ASU commit Kodi Justice and Ryan Richardson. However, they haven’t been able to put together all of that talent yet. Justice started the season with an injury and has not yet gotten himself into game shape. Once that happens, this team could turn things around. Hopkins told me at the VisitMesa.com basketball challenge over the holidays that the team is starting to turn things around.
The Gilbert Tigers have has a roller coaster season this far. Sophomore center Truman Moore lost his father to a heart attack at the beginning of December and also junior point guard Anthony Bryant lost his grandfather less than a week prior. Despite the emotions they are dealing with as a team, they are playing very well and have a lot of promise. One player that I was impressed with when seeing him over the holidays was Truman Moore. He is a 6’8″ sophomore that has solid skill and is far more coordinated than most kids his size and his age. The future is bright for the Tigers with Truman, 6’6″ junior Spencer Nichols and a 6’8″ freshman by the name of Wyatt Lowell. In the mean time, senior Conner Helvig is holding it down for the present scoring just under 15 points a game.