“PHOENIX FUTURES TOURNAMENT PREVIEW”
Last year my partner, Gregg Rosenberg, and I attended an incoming freshman camp with many of the top 2022 players under one roof at the KROC Center. The event was put on by longtime local tournament and event coordinator, Ron Coleman. The event was an eye opener for us. We were able to see some young guns that we never had the chance to watch play up until that date and gave us a preview as to who to look for that was coming up the ranks.
The event will give us and the other local media that will be in attendance a chance to gather some information and evaluate the young talent for future references.
The Just Us Powerhouse team is widely considered one of the top teams for their age group on the west coast and will bring the majority of their original team to this event. Guards Tru Washington (Cesar Chavez), Andrew Camacho (Peoria High) and Mark Brown (Mountain Pointe) lead the way for them with some other very tough and talented guards. While 6-foot-3 guard/wing Emery Young (Centennial) possesses some of the most upside in his class. One of the top 8th graders in the state, 5-foot-8 guard Gabe Pickens, will also suit up with Head Coach Rodney Brown’s squad.
The 2023 Elite team is a “free-agent” team of sorts, led by talented 6-foot-6 forward Landon Schumaker (Basha). Schumaker is one of the few players in this class that have been on our radar for quite some time at a very young age. 6-foot-5 Malik Rasul could have some of the most upside of any player in this event and has reclassified into the 2024 class. 5-foot-11 point guard Aadem Isai (Valley Vista) is a battle tested guard that has spent the majority of the spring and summer playing up into the 16u and 17u divisions. The sharp shooting guard is one of the smarter players you will find at that age. 6-foot-4 Kevin Patton (Mesa) is a name that keeps circulating as one of the top players in the class. We are very excited to see what he brings to the court. Longtime high school coach, Paul Suber, will be coaching the team, which is always an entertaining experience.
Another player that has made himself a staple in gyms all across the valley is Legion of Hoops 5-foot-9 true point guard Leonard Romayor (Brophy Prep). The tough and very intelligent guard has a real nice feel for the game that only a true student of it can pick up. They also have one of the bigger players in the event in 6-foot-6 big man Christian Depue (Centennial) that is said to be oozing with potential. 6-foot-3 wing Ben Egbo (Perry) is one of the more athletic kids in the class and is one of the very few kids at this age that can play above the rim already.
Blue Chip Platinum’s 6-foot-2 guard Jason Fontenet (St. Mary’s) is said to be one of the better scorers in the 2023 class. The talented bucket getter is the son and nephew of St. Mary’s greats, the Fontenet twins, that were so highly regarded in the early 2000’s. He is one player I am anxious to see play. Call it a bit of nostalgia.
Divinity Hoops is said to have a stable of guards that can come at you in waves. The one guard I have seen already on the roster participated in our Southwest Basketball Camp a few weeks back and stood out to us enough to put him in the Underclassmen All-Star game. 5-foot-10 Matthew Henry-Harrison (Buckeye Union) is about as aggressive as they come at that age and attacks the rim with a purpose. Should be interesting to watch him play against his own age group this weekend.
One of my favorite players I have already seen up until this point is GGB’s 5-foot-9 point guard Demarion Anderson (Youngker). A true and high IQ lead guy that can run a team and makes good things happen with the ball in his hands. He plays well beyond his years, which is a refreshing thing to see out of such a young player. 5-foot-8 Guard Javarion Hogan (Tolleson) brings some toughness and confidence to the table and can get some buckets on the offensive end. I can’t say I have seen him on the hardwood just yet, but I have seen 6-foot-3 wing Deric English (Mountain Ridge) on a football field, going toe-to-toe with my then-8th grade son who is a pretty good corner on the gridiron. English is the real deal and will be an exciting player to watch on Friday Nights for the next few years but I am curious as to how he translates his size and athleticism from a wideout with the pigskin to a wing on the court.
Arizona Swish and Team REAL’s roster are constructed of a lot of the young west side talent that we are excited to see. They will square up with each other on Saturday at 11am before both having to take on the Just Us Powerhouse team. We will be able to see some real tests from both squads.
Team Harden Legends is the sole 2024 team in this event, made out of some of Arizona’s top 2024 prospects. They have competed at a high level all spring and summer and want the test of playing up against some of the state’s top players and teams.
We hope everyone else is as excited as we are to get this event kicked off this weekend. It should be a very competitive and eye-opening two days of basketball at Apollo High School. Let’s get it AZ!