Camelback League: Tuesday - News And Notes

Tuesday night at Camelback...

Current Stories About Top High School Basketball Players and Coaches

$$$ I wandered over to Camelback last evening (Tuesday.) to check out what looked to be some really hot action based on the schedule I'd received.  Butwhen I arrived I found out one of the teams (North) has dropped out and another didn't show up to play their game.

This forced Camelback to play back-to-back games against Apollo.  Actually, this ended up an ideal situation because both clubs are going to be solid contenders next season.

Apollo ended up winning the first game by a narrow margin and Camelback won the second in a similar manner.  Both games were close the whole way.

$$$ Camelback is a young team, as I don't think they had a single senior on the floor.  Three Spartan players really stood out.

Joe Middleton, a sophomore 6'4" forward really impressed.  He proved he has hops on one breakaway slam.  Middleton is going to be an excellent player once he learns the nuances of coach Brad Pinter's system.  Joe has a nice shooting touch and can play on the wing or down low...a very versatile athlete.

Terry Riley, another sophomore forward, will make his mark next season too.  He goes about 6'3." Riley is also finding himself a student of Pinter's courtside teachings.

The man who makes the Camelback machine run is point guard Joe Smith, a 5'7" junior.  Smith was in constant hot water with his coach last night..but in a good way.  Pinter demands a lot from his floor general and Smith is rapidly learning on the job.  The lightning quick waterbug scoots around the court in a flash and gets into the lane as quick as any AZ point guard.  Excellent ball handler too.

$$$ Apollo, like Camelback is a relatively short ball club.  The Hawk's tallest player goes only about 6'4" but the team is scrappy and plays well for coach Mark Nold.

Triston Wilson, that 6'4" kid mentioned above, is clearly a talent.  He has exactly the kind of body college coaches dream about....kinda reminds me of Deer Valley's Eli Davis.

Wilson can take over a game at will.  The junior guard is strong and explosively quick.  He has no apparent weaknesses in his game except one..and it's glaring.  Wilson doesn't play hard at both ends of the court.  I spoke to him about this and told him you never know who's sitting in the stands watching.  I expect his effort will significantly improve and when it does, you better run and hide.

Don Shintaku, a senior forward played very well for Apollo.  Every team needs 2-3 guys just like him.

Sophomore point guard Prince Akuuraua (sp?) looks like a potential star.

$$$ The evening's third game pitted new school Desert Edge against Agua Fria.

For those who don't know, Desert Edge is located in the far southwest Valley on Estrella Foothills Parkway south of I-10.

I could only stay for a half but wanted to check out a couple teams I've never seen before.  One player became the instant focus and I couldn't take my eyes off him the entire time.

His name:  Chase Brunick, a junior 6'4" all-around athlete.

Brunick dominated in the paint on both ends.  He absolutely loves contact and intentionally looks for it.  Most young players are a bit gun shy about flexing their muscle but not Brunick.  The kid is not real cut but his long arms and legs give him great leverage and he uses this advantage to finesse his opponents out of the picture.  There's no way you'll keep Brunick off the way!

Brunick will score at will off offensive rebounds and he cleans the glass on the other end holding opponents to one shot.  That's not all.  He can play out on the wing too.

This is not the complete story on Brunick.

It so happens he's the school's starting quarterback and at a recent AZ Cardinal's camp, Brunick was rated the top junior QB out of 50 attendees.  And the funny thing is, he doesn't really like offense as much as he does defense.  I already told you the kid likes contact and would rather hit people than pass for touchdowns.

I see a lot of soft big men in high school basketball.  If you're one of these guys, please go watch a Desert Edge game.  You'll instantly recognize Brunick.  Watch him, imitate him, play with passion like he does....and watch your stock soar through the roof.

$$$ David Grace just might be the most popular figure in all of AZ high school basketball.  He's warmly and enthusiastically greeted everywhere he goes.  He knows someone in every crack and crevice he finds himself in.  And Grace covers more territory than you can imagine.

Last night, Grace was at the Camelback Summer League scouting opponents he'll face as the new head coach at South Mountain. Many, many folks congratulated him on his new job.

Coincidentally I left the gym the same time as Grace.  As I was exiting the entry lobby Coach Grace was finishing a chat with some of his admirers.  One young lady good naturedly called out to Grace, "Hey Grace, if you suck, we gonna tell you."  This obviously was in reference to the new coach's performance at South High.

On my way to the car, I laughed the whole way.  David Grace will not suck.  That's why the young lady's comment was so hilarious.

The Meat Market * Open 24/7

Ratings (* within the stars *) are based on a 1-10 scale and reflect how a
player compares with his high school peers today.

To the right of the numerical rating is the player's projected college
destination...i.e., JUCO, SC (small college D-2, D-3, NAIA), or MC (major

For detailed information, please contact me at:
A phone conversation/evaluation can be arranged if desired.

Players listed alphabetically.

David Burrows  6'4"  2,3  Mesa Mountain View  * 7 *  JUCO
Brandon Chiarelli 5'10" 1  Coronado  * 6 *  JUCO
Jaime Crim 6'5" 4  Mountain Pointe  * 5 *  JUCO
Eli Davis  6'4" 3   Deer Valley  * 8 *  SC
Graham Hatch  6'5" 2,3 Mesa  * 8 *  SC
Jason Hearn  6'4"  4  Pinnacle  * 6 *  JUCO
Lawrence Hill  6'8"  3,4  Deer Valley  * 9 *  MC
L.J. Jones 6'6" 4  McClintock * 8 *  JUCO
Daren Jordan 5'10" 1 Trevor Browne  * 9 *  MC
Rishi Kakad 6'1" 1,2 Horizon  * 8 *  JUCO
Kaleo Kina 6'3" 2 Trevor Browne  * 7 *  SC
Matt Komenda  6'4" 3,4 Mesa  * 8 *  SC
Steve Lacy  6'6" 3,4  Deer Valley  * 5 *  JUCO
Travis LeBaron  6'2" 1,2 Mesa  * 8 *  SC
Tim Maiden 6'0" 1 Scottsdale Christian Academy  * 7 *  SC
Michael Martin  6'4" 2,3  Desert View  * 8 *  SC
Matt McConnell 5'10" 1 Dobson  * 7 *  SC
Roy McLemore 5'10" 1 Carl Hayden * 7 *  JUCO
Ray Murdock  6'4"  2,3  Pinnacle  * 8 *  SC
Nkem Obougboh  6'9" 4  Scottsdale Christian Academy  * 7 *  SC
Johnny Pinto  6'6" 3,4  Desert Vista * 7 *  JUCO
Tareq Ramirez 6'2" 2 Coronado  * 8 *  JUCO
Josh Roth 6'3" 2 Dobson * 5 *  JUCO
Joey Shaw 6'6" 2,3 Chandler  * 8 *  MC
Michael Strittmater  6'6" 4  Brophy  * 8 *  SC
Justin Taylor  6'5" 2,3  Dobson  * 6 *  JUCO
Darnell Terry 6'0" 1  Carl Hayden * 7 *  JUCO
Drew Thurston 6'5" 4  Dobson  * 6 *  SC
C.J. Venezia 5'10" 1  Saguaro * 6 *  JUCO
Justin Williams  6'1" 1,2  Paradise Valley  * 8 *  SC

Clayton Bates 6'3" 2 Corona del Sol  * 7 *  SC
Kal Bay  6'1"  1  Marcos de Niza  * 8 *  MC
Phil Benson  6'7" 4  Chaparral * 5 *  JUCO
Ricky Berry  6'3" 2,3  Paradise Valley  * 6 *  JUCO
Chase Brunick 6'4" 3,4 Desert Edge * 9 *  SC
Kevin Coble 6'6" 3,4 Scottsdale Christian Academy * 7 *  SC
Will Donahue 6'7"  4  Desert Vista?  * 8 *  SC, MC
Shane Edwards 6'5" 3  Mountain Pointe  * 6 *  JUCO
Eric Hagen 6'7"  4  Dobson  * 6 *  JUCO
Kevin Hassett  6"6" 3  Desert Mountain  * 8 *  SC
Eric Hipolito 6'3"  4  Mountain Pointe  * 5 *  JUCO
Conner Isley  6'0"  1  Mountain Pointe  * 6 *  JUCO
Justin Nelson  6'2"  2  Mountain Pointe  * 6 *  JUCO
Chris Polk  6'4"  1,2  Deer Valley  * 8 *  MC
David Schneider 6'3" 2,3  Brophy  * 8 *  MC
Lawrence Westbrook 6'2" 2 Chandler * 7 *  JUCO
Triston Wilson  6'4" 2,3 Apollo * 5 *  MC

Jerryd Bayless 6'2" 1 St. Mary's * 8 *  MC
Joe Middleton  6'4" 3,4 Camelback  * 6 *  JUCO

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