Some amazing talent from north, south, east and west came to Chaparral high school this weekend for the Hoophall West Showcase. While a lot of the attention was on some of the national level prospects that came into state from all over the country, there were also some take-aways I had from the local teams who participated as well.
Tommy Kuhse is one of the more impressive point guards I’ve seen so far this season. Has great court awareness and a very good ball handler. He spent a lot of time in the weight room this offseason and is really a confident player. His passing is solid but it is how he create passing lanes for his teammates which I find rare in most modern day point guards. Head coach Gary Ernst said he needs to continue to gain trust in his teammates to lead their offense.
You don’t see Coach Ernst play sophomores very often, if at all, but he has put that notion aside for sophomore Cooper Richeson who made his first career start during the hoophall on Saturday. It is easy to see why. He has a great looking stroke from the outside and provides a threat to space the floor on offense. Ernst told me after the game that they are just looking to get some offense going early in games which has been an issue so far this season. Richeson wears the number 52 which is the number worn by the last player that started at Mountain View as a sophomore, Payton Dastrup.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Badger point guard P.J. Trujillo play. A young man who has been offered by Eastern New Mexico has a great first step. He is a study and powerful guard with a quick pull up jumper and can also show off some range.
Possibly the most intriguing story on the team is senior Deondre Eason. He has had a couple older brothers come through Tucson, one of which is currently playing at Tohono o’odham community college. Deondre grew from being 6-1 to 6-4 in a year and in the same time frame has an improved jump shot. He is getting attention from some JUCO’s around the state and looks like he is not done growing yet.
Colten Kresl of Chaparal has the best looking jump shot in the state even when it is not falling. Every time the ball leaves his hands, it looks like it is going in. Kresl struggled to score against Salesian from California but what you have to admire about him is that he he continues to attack and play his game despite having an off game. That shows a lot of growth for a young player. Fellow junior JT Thoman and Kresl compliment each other on the outside and off the bench Jalen Foster is another good looking shooter. The Firebirds can be a very dangerous team come playoff time if these three are knocking down shots.
I had my first chance this year to see 6-10 sophomore KJ Hymes against a very good Rainier Beach team from Washington. Its pretty impressive to see how well Hymes moves and can handle the ball for a kid his age and his size. As he gets older and adds some muscle to his long frame, he could wind up being one of the more dominant players in Arizona by the time he is a senior. Junior transfer from Vegas, Deshawn Wilson, was impressive against this tough opponent as well. A very talented player who isn’t flashy but does all of the little things. I think this Knights team is only going to get stronger as the year unfolds because there are a lot of new faces that have come and gone but this team is too talented to not have some success this season.
Corona del Sol:
Alex Barcello is already a premiere player in this state from what he has done in his first two years. But what he is set to accomplish in 2015-16 will begin to put him in the same conversation as some of the best to play in this state in history. He put on a show with some of the shots he hit from the field Friday night against St. Anthony from New Jersey. This Corona team is different as it has been in years past. They are not necessarily as deep but the talent they have with Barcello, Tyrell Henderson and Saben Lee in the backcourt is must-see basketball. Lee is an explosive player who also has the ability to take over a game on a given night as well.