50 States in 50 Days: Arizona
As the high school basketball season draws nearer, anticipation grows. Five-Star plans to add to that fever pitch. It's unveiling an all-encompassing new preview package: 50 States in 50 Days. Until Nov. 23, it will examine a different basketball state, breaking down its top teams, players and rivalries.
Which schools are title favorites? Which players are flying under the radar? All the answers are yet to come. The package -- which can be found in its entirety
Mountain View put on a defensive clinic in last year's Class 5A title, limiting Brophy College Prep to 20.5 percent shooting in a 50-29 win. But the Toros are far from one-dimensional. Senior forward Camyn Boone (12 points, 10 rebounds in the title) should lead a balanced offensive attack, as Mountain View will attempt to replicate its mid-decade success. The Mesa-based squad won three consecutive state championships from 2005-07.
The Aztecs have a bona fide star in point guard Calaen Robinson, a 6-2, 175-pound pure shooter. But coach Sam Duane and Co. are deeper than their backcourt leader. Expect Casey Benson (13 points per game), Avery Moss (10 points, 9.2 rebounds per game) and Andrus Peat -- also a five-star offensive tackle -- to help Corona contend for the Arizona 5A crown.
Few players are more well-rounded than Amphitheater guard Tim Derksen. His stats abet that: He averaged 17.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.7 steals last season. If seniors Tony Lillard (6.3 points per game) and Ryan Farhat (7.5 points per game) can increase their production, the Panthers -- 29-2 in 2010-11 -- could have the scariest backcourt in the state.
Don't take last year's 29-point title performance as an indication of Brophy's offensive potential. The Broncos are stocked with scoring options, including guards Frederick Gammage and James Harper, a three-star recruit. Brophy came on strong at the end of last season: Prior to the 5A championship loss, it won its previous seven games by an average margin of 11.3 points.
Pinnacle was successful last season, going 24-5 (10-0 at home) and averaging more than 68 points per game. It should be even better this year. The Pioneers lose just two seniors (Scott Manecke and Jordan Weyrauch) and return their top four scorers in Drew Bender, Kevin Bowman, Dorial Nelson and Cody McDavis. Bender is especially dangerous. The three-star shooting guard averaged 17.5 points, tallying more than 20 in nine of the team's 29 contests.
Senior, Westwind Prep International (Phoenix)
Originally from Pontiac, Mich., Johnson has matured into one of the most versatile recruits in the class of 2012. He can slash to the basket, using his 6-6 frame to outmuscle smaller defenders. He can spot up from three, shooting nearly 44 percent beyond the arc (78-of-178). He can serve either as the two or three, and led the Warriors to a 30-2 record and state 2A title. Recruiters are hot on his trail: Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga and UNLV are among programs that have offered him to date.
Senior, Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.)
Mentioned above, Robinson is a prolific scorer, averaging 20 points in Corona's 23-6 campaign. That's not all he can do. The lefty combo guard also notched five rebounds, five assists and four steals per game, and should continue to torch Class 5A competition in his senior effort. He committed to Arizona State over BYU, St. Mary's and UNLV, among others, in August.
Senior, Raymond S. Kellis (Glendale, Ariz.)
Though his size and unruly hair remind many of Adam Morrison, Martin possesses a far different skill set than the former Gonzaga great. He's a double-double machine, averaging 12.9 points and 10.9 rebounds, and a defensive menace, collecting at least five blocks in 12 games last season. Like Robison, he'll soon wreak havoc in Tempe. Martin committed to the Sun Devils over Long Beach State in July.
Senior, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
The third member of Arizona State's local recruiting haul, Jacobsen adds to the Sun Devils' frontcourt of the future. He's fundamentally sound, has impressive post moves and boasts polished foot work, a combination of skills that should spell a smooth Pac-12 transition. He averaged, 12.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game as a junior at Hamilton.
Senior, Casa Grande Union (Casa Grande, Ariz.)
Milligan is attracting attention from USC, Clemson and Oregon State, among others. For good reason: The 6-2 guard can do it all. He averaged 14.9 points despite incessant double teams for last year's 6-19 Cougars, and had a terrific summer at various recruiting events and camps. He turned some high-profile heads in the process. Dallas' Jason Terry praised his ballhandling, and John Wall invited him to Reebok's training facility in Canton, Mass., to train against NBA-level talent.