Preseason Top Ten
1) Desert Vista: Travis Gabbidon and Xavier Kilby combine to make up the best front line in AZ. Add 6'4" Chris Martinez to the mix and DV should be unbeatable, regardless of who handles the guard duties. SR. Josh Jolin, JR. Dutch Perryman, and SR. Adam Richardson, DV has the makings of being unbeatable. Throw in JR. 6'6" Johnny Pinto, football star Chris Gray and super soph Julliaan Irvin, and this spells Champions. Coach Doug Harris will install his disciplined system, and college level intensity to mesh this group to not only reach the Final Four, but WIN IT!
2) Mesa: Lee Cummard can play, Matt Komenda is the Kurt Rambis of AZ Prep hoops, Michael Crowell is the quiet zone buster nobody knows, Graham Hatch can flat out play, but the reason Mesa has a high % on winning the State Championship is Coach Shawn Lynch. Lynch is one of the top coaches in the Southwest, and this year will prove it.
3) Trevor Browne: Ty Morrison. The best player in the state? Morrison could be, and with Daren Jordan & Kaleo Kina this could be the year for Coach Mike Ellsworth. Ellsworths rep has been knocked around after last years loss to Gilbert, but his ability to keep things "together" at TB, things most coaches don't have to deal with should be applauded.
4) Gilbert: Stas Chomokos leading the Tigers, Art Donzella busting 3's, Ty Turbenson busting opponents and Coach Tom Bennett out coaching most, Gilbert will find away in 2004.
5) Highland: Coach John Burns career at Highland started out...well... you could say... interesting. Former NBA Coach Danny Ainge helping out, parents calling for his head, players looking at Ainge when Burns yelled out intructions. Just arriving from the midwest Burns had to be in shock. He responded by leading the Hawks to back to back Final Fours (gotta love that). This year will be no different. Riley McCormick and Ryan McCurdy lead this program for Burns.
6) Paradise Valley: Calvin Chitwood has something to prove. Expecting mid major colleges knocking on his door, nobody showed up. Why? No one knows, but Chitwood will prove everybody wrong. The most athletic wing in AZ will elevate his game another notch, and bulked up PG Steven Neese will show he belongs in the "elite" status as PV has their first legit chance at cutting down the nets in AWA.
7) Deer Valley: Lawrence Hill and Christian Polk have something to prove. They have been elevated to "big time" status by many "recruiting gurus" this past club season, but what comes with that is the ability to win. Coaching has been questioned at DV and blame will always fall back to that. But if you are at the level people say these kids are, there are no excuses. Big Time players "just win baby". We will see!
8) Dobson: Are they a top ten team? Most think so but this team of future stars has to prove it early on. 6'6" Wil Donahue is a future star, and the Mustangs need to beat teams together. No stars this year, just a group of talented youngsters waiting their chance.
9) Marcos de Niza: The "I can't get no respect" team of 2003-2004. Duboise Williams is potentially the best player in AZ this year, and with Kal Bay the Padres have the making of the best backcourt around. Throw in transfer Michael Broom and MdN will beat some people. Coach Dave Stark has to mesh all this together to spell "roles" for eveybody.
10) Brophy: Guards, Guards, Guards. SR.
PG Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos can win games with his
pure shooting 3's. SR. G Kevin Schneider is experienced and both make
up the combo to beat anybody in AZ. Coach Granger has a bench full of
guards who would start for almost anybody. JR. Rodney Brown earned a rep in LA
this past summer and was listed as a top guard in the west. And sophomore
guard David Schneider will have a breakout season. If the Broncos get
inside help Look out!
Knocking on the
Mountain Ridge-Robert Quaintance & JD Biddl will upset many this year, and if their "J" is falling, could make a run in the State Playoffs-Mesa Mountain View-Coach Ernst has a future star in Freshman Harper Kemp-Corona del Sol-Seniors TJ Benson, Dan Winterbottom and Craig Borengasser lead the Duane Jr. era-St. Mary's-6'4" Sr. Michael Baker has gotten no respect over his career, but the athletic shooter is about to show everyone his time has come-Sahuaro-JJ Hilling and Chris Cook look to battle Salpointe for top dog in SOAZ-Salpointe-Texas Tech bound Damir Suljagic will battle for "Player of the Year" honors, but his team has to earn respect in the Valley- Desert Mountain-UC Davis bound Chad Goldstein will try to carry the load in the toughest region in AZ-North-Daron Stafford never gets mentioned in the "top players" conversations, but this PG delux will elevate his status to Top 10 status in 2004.