The Showdown in The Desert

by Tye Jacobs | Posted on Sunday, July 7th, 2019

As defined by “An all-star game is an exhibition game that purports to showcase the best players (the "stars") of a sports league.” All-star games are usually organized like regular games, but are often played with less emphasis on victory. With the brilliant event put on by Justin “The Show” Vargas and Gregg Rosenberg, they lived up to showcasing the best players, but somehow convinced these players that victory was the main emphasis of the event.

Most event organizers have a hard time getting talented teenagers to take a game, put on in mid-September, seriously, but because of the relationships these two built with each individual kid and the social media push they put behind it, each game became a barn-burner loaded with personal vendettas. This event was one-of-a-kind because of the atmosphere, the stories that played out between the lines and the amount of sheer talent that was on the court.

The atmosphere of The Grind Show in the Desert was incredible. To have almost all of the Arizona basketball community under one roof to celebrate the rise in talent, that has taken place over the last few years, was a blessing. It gave scouts the chance to interact with coaches, and parents the opportunity to celebrate the hard work over the summer.

The use of a team competitive three-point contest and dunk contest was the perfect appetizer to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats for what would eventually be two main event games. Once the games began, the storylines taking place on the court were key to the excitement.

In the first game, some of the best of Arizona's 2022 class competed against one another. With a class so young, each opportunity to compete against each other gives each player the chance to prove they are among the best of their class. This brought out the best effort possible, as jockeying for supreme status in front of Ballislife cameras isn’t an ordinary opportunity for incoming sophomores.

In the next game, which featured some of the state's top prospects from the 2021 Class vs AZ Compass Prep, it was a chance for more established players to prove if one prep school was more superior to the talent from many of Arizona’s public schools. It was the Arizona debut of a powerhouse AZ Compass team and their barrage of newly acquired weapons, vs standouts from all over the Valley. With the rare amount of games Prep schools play against public schools, it was fun to see this very unusual match-up.

All in all, The Grind Show in the Desert was a can’t miss event that will be talked about for a while. According to Justin Vargas’s Snapchat post, “I want The Grind Show in the Desert to be going on 20 years from now and people are still talking about the first event.”

Justin, thanks to your genius, that will not be a problem!


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