Top Prep Players To Watch This Season

by Anthony Ray | Posted on Monday, October 8th, 2018

With the start to the 2018-2019 high school basketball season upon us, let's take a look at the top prep school prospects to keep an eye out for this prep season.  The prep schools in Arizona are on absolutely another level currently and they have transformed the state for the better.  As a result of the high level of national and international talent that has come to Arizona as a result of the prep schools, the state has risen to new levels in it's recruitment of prospects.

Here are the top individual prospects to look for this season as the prep school season begins to get underway (in no particular order & regardless of class / not including post-graduates) . . .

Chol Marial  7-3  SR  C  AZ Compass Prep (2019 Class)

Chol is the top overall prospect that everyone wants to see this season.  He was once regarded as the nation's top overall 2019 prospect and a definite future NBA Lottery pick, after quickly emerging on the national basketball scene as a mere 8th grader.  Marial has been one of the nation's premier prospects for some time, but he has had nagging injuries over the past couple years, causing him to miss a lot of action on the basketball court.  A native of Sudan, Chol spent last season at IMG Academy in Florida, after spending two seasons at Chesire Academy in Connecticut.  He has not really played in two full seasons, so it is very important that he gets back on the basketball court for his future, and the AZ Compass Prep program will definitely need him this season to make some noise nationally.  If he can return to form this season, it will be very fun to watch as he will dominate in every game he performs in.

Kyree Walker  6-5  SR  PG/SG  Hillcrest Prep (2020 Class)

Kyree Walker is a man among boys physically, and is considered among the nation's elite prospects and has been for some time.  Walker loves the game and plays with considerable passion whenever he steps on the floor.  Unlike many elite prospects in the country that sit out most events of this kind, Walker looks forward to the challenge and compete consistently.  Walker is among the elite overall prospects in America's 2020 Class - regarded by everyone as a Top-20 national prospect in the class.  Walker is a big-time talent that is physically very strong and has very good athleticism.  He has a nice handle of the basketball and a strong feel for the game, which allows him to make plays off the dribble and finish strong at the rim, while also being able to set up his teammates for scoring opportunities.  He is a good penetrator and a very strong finisher at the rim.  He has a good shooting stroke with range on his shot, and is able to make plays off the dribble to make plays for himself and others.  He is capable of making players around him better, as a result.  Very good in transition and in the open floor, and is a good slasher.  A good rebounder as a result of his sheer size from the guard position, although I would like to see him concentrate on this area of his game more.  A good one-on-one defender with good lateral quickness.  Has a very bright future ahead of him.  Walker recently de-committed from Arizona State University and now will re-open his college recruitemnt to the country.  It should be a very interesting season.

Terry Armstrong  6-7  SR  SF  Bella Vista Prep (2019 Class)

Fresh off a commitment to the University of Arizona, Armstrong is set to have a big senior season, now that he doesn't have to worry about his college recruitment any longer.  Armstrong is a big-time wing prospect that once was rated among the Top 25 prospects nationally in Arizona's 2019 class.  He is a long, ultra-athletic and bouncy wing prospect that plays well above the rim and has good overall versatility.  He likes to handle the basketball in the open floor and make plays for himself and others off the dribble.  He is especially gifted in the open floor where he is a threat to make plays above the rim, and over and around defenders.  His superior length allows him to catch alley-oops passes and finish from almost anywhere on the floor.  He has a very good handle of the basketball and is a solid passer, and is able to put of points in a hurry and is almost unguardable with the basketball in his hands.  He has excellent range on his shot and is difficult to defend off the dribble as a result.  An active rebounder, but he needs to focus more in this area.  A solid defender.  Plays passing lanes very well though.  Has excellent potential for the future.

Rick Issanza  7-1  SR  C  Bella Vista Prep (2019 Class)

Issanza is a rare find as a result of his tremendous size and length.  He received numerous offers for himself this fall, but has elected to wait until the spring signing period now to make his college decision.  He will have many suitors as a result.  Issanza is a game changer on the basketball court, as very few prospects nationally have his combination of pure size and agility.  Issanza runs the floor extremely well, and is an excellent finisher in transition, where he gets to the rim and finishes above it.  He is a good low-post scorer that spends his time in the post to make shot attempts, and also finds the open man on the floor when double-teamed.  Also an active rebounder that rebounds outside of his area.  He is also a terrific shot blocker as well.  He has unlimited potential and upside as a player.  A sure-fire pro prospect for the future, and if he continues to work hard, the sky is the limit for him.  Has really improved overall and will be on of the hottest prospects in the country this spring.

Sadraque Nganga  6-9  FR  SF  AZ Compass Prep (2022 Class)

- Sadraque recently moved to the United States via Angola and now attends AZ Compass Prep.  He has made a tremendous impact since moving to the U.S. and now has quickly become one of the nation's premier talents in the 2022 Class.  Nganga is a big-time future prospect with a serious skillset and nice length and size already at such a young age.  He has an advanced skillset that allows him to play as a guard, and also play very effectively around the paint.  A prospect with loads of potential for the future and among the elite overall prospects in America's 2022 Class.  Will have a big inaugural season this year for himself and should keep AZ Compass in the hunt every night out.

Addison Patterson  6-7  JR  SG/SF  Bella Vista Prep (2020 Class)

A native of Canada, Patterson moved to the state of Arizona this summer to attend Bella Vista, and it was a major get for the Scottsdale-based program.  Patterson is a superb talent that is well beyond his years in his play.  A skilled 2/3 prospect that also is capable of playing the point position as well, as needed.  He seems to do everything well, as he is an excellent shooter of the basketball with range on his shot, and also has a very good mid-range game - a lost art form.  He is a very good ball handler and passer that sees the floor very well, and is capable of making players around him better - something he should develop a great deal over the next year.  He is deceivingly athletic as well, which is a very nice attribute.  An active and good rebounder for his size, and a strong finisher at the basket and in the lane.  This young man has it all, and looks to be a serious national prospect in America's 2020 Class.

Dalen Terry  6-5  JR  PG  Hillcrest Prep (2020 Class)

Terry has seen his college recruitment soar over the last year, and recently he chose to transfer schools and land at Hillcrest Prep.  He is a long, rangy prospect with a huge upside and a bright future ahead of him.  He has excellent length of body which allows him to make plays, and an advanced feel for the game from the point guard position.  While possessing very good height for the point guard position, Terry is a true-point guard with a pass-first mentality.  He is fundamentally sound and has a nice overall skillset and feel for the game.  A bigger point guard prospect that loves to have the basketball in his hands and make plays for himself and others off the dribble.  An excellent passer of the basketball that sees the floor very well, and pushes the ball up the floor to the open man.  He has a solid shooting stroke with range.  Has excellent overall versatility as a player.  Very good in the open floor.  An active defender.  Plays passing lanes.  Runs the floor well.  Has serious upside and potential for the future, with a high basketball IQ.  A budding young prospect that will receive loads of recruiting attention.

Jimmy Bell 6-11  SR  C  Bella Vista Prep (2020 Class)

 Bell is an absolute force in the paint and around the basket.  After losing loads of weight for himself and refining his approach to the game, Bell had a very strong spring and summer performance for himself, and, as a result, he earned numerous offers for himself.  Bell is a true wide-body post prospect with amazing size already for the collegiate level.  He has a nice overall skillset and knows how to play the game, and is a good low-post offensive talent that scores effectively with his back to the basket.  Also able to face up to the basket and make moves either direction and finish strong around the rim.  A strong finisher around the basket.  Runs the floor well.  A strong rebounder and a good shot blocker.  A good passer out of the low post.  His added fitness to his once large frame, has improved his ability to play the game a great deal.  A nice sleeper prospect that will only gain much more recruiting interest as time develops.

Dischon Thomas  6-9  SR  PF  Hillcrest Prep (2019 Class)

Since re-opening his college recruitment this summer, Thomas has developed as a player, and, as a result, has seen his college recruitment begin to soar as of late.  Thomas is a long and lengthy forward prospect that is able to stretch the defense, but is at his best around the paint.  He has an ability to score inside and out.  He has a good length of body and a nice wingspan, which will help him a great deal over time.  Thomas always seems to take good shots within the offense.  A good passer out of the post.  An active rebounder and shotblocker, Thomas utilizes his length to make plays.  An excellent offensive rebounder.  Thomas' wingspan also makes him a good shotblocker.  He also has good timing as a shotblocker and changes shots of players around the paint.  He should really improve in this area over time.  He is a strong rebounder, especially on the offensive end where he is able to effectively rebound and get put-backs for his team.  He runs the floor and finishes in transition.  A good sleeper prospect.  Will be one of the more sought after recruiting targets this spring.

Emmanuel Tshimanga  6-10  SR  PF/C  Bella Vista Prep

Even though he now holds an offer from the University of Dayton, the college recruitment of Tshimanga has yet to really take off.  This will be a big season for him as a result.  At 6-10 in height, Tshimanga is a large post talent with big hands and feet and a large frame that he uses to gain excellent inside post position inside the paint. He has good low-post footwork and a nice jump-hook, which he uses effectively to score inside the paint.  He does not mind physical contact, in fact he relishes it, and gets to the free-throw line quite often as a result.  He is a good finisher inside the painted area of the floor, and also possesses a good shooting stroke with range, which allows him to score from the perimeter.  Tshimanga's best quality is his tremendous size, which is a rare find.  He also has excellent work ethic and has worked very hard to get into better shape for himself.  He runs the floor well and gets into very good position around the basket for scoring opportunities.  A very good offensive rebounder.  A solid athlete but not very vertical off the floor, but his ability to use his body and lengthy wingspan allow him to make plays against bigger low-post defenders.  A capable shotblocker.  Has very good potential for the future, especially if he can continue to develop his body and stay in great shape.  A good sleeper low-post prospect.

Jalin Anderson  6-2  JR  PG/SG  AZ Compass Prep (2020 Class)

Anderson is a high-scoring guard prospect with loads of offensive talent in his physical frame.  He has a unique ability to make plays off the dribble and get a basket anywhere from the floor, and whenever he decides to make a play.  He likes to have the basketball in his hands at make plays off the dribble.  He has excellent body control and a change of pace and speed, which keeps defenses guessing and makes it difficult to stay in front of him.  He has a nice shooting stroke with unlimited range, which sets up his defender for strong drives to the basket, where he is an excellent finisher and also draws fouls and gets to the free-throw line.  Anderson is a lethal guard prospect with the basketball in his hands - a strong playmaker that plays with loads of self-confidence in his ability to play the game.  A very good ball handler and passer that is capable of running a team, and also carrying one offensively.  He is an excellent penetrator and finisher in the lane, that uses floaters to score over bigger defenders.  Anderson has very good lateral quickness and quick hands and feet, which make him an excellent defender as well.  He plays passing lanes very well.  Anderson has the potential to become a lock-down defender over time, a valuable asset as a guard prospect.  Currently has an offer from Grand Canyon, but is deserving of many more offers this season.

Andre Harris  6-7  SR  PF  Hillcrest Prep (2019 Class)

Harris recently transferred to the prep school ranks and Bella Vista Prep after leaving Red Mountain High School a year ago.  Now, just as fast as he got to Bella Vista, Harris decided to bolt and head to Hillcrest Prep, where he is now and play this season.  Harris is a wide-body low post player that likes to score around the basket and from mid-range.  He has solid low post skills and a nice ability to use his body to draw contact and finish around the paint.  He is also able to step outside and shoot the basketball out to three-point distance, although he still needs to add consistency to his shot.  Currently, he is a good mid-range shooter with a soft touch.  A strong rebounder and finisher around the basket.  Runs the floor.  A solid passer.  A good shotblocker.  A solid low-post defender, but needs more focus on the defensive end to maximize his potential as a player.  Has excellent potential and upside.

Nicolas Elame  6-4  SR  PG/SG  Bella Vista Prep (2019 Class)

Elame is one of the state's top available guard prospects, so there will be numerous people watching him this season, including a handful of college coaches.  The athletic combo-guard has an excellent overall feel for the game and very good versatility as a player.  He is a strong driver of the basketball and a very good finisher inside the lane over bigger defenders.  He is also a consistent shooter of the basketball with range, and has a nice mid-range game for himself, which allows him to stop on a dime and make shots.  He is a very good ball handler and passer that sees the floor, and is an effective combo guard that plays either position very well.  He is an excellent lock-down defender that has quick hands and feet and plays passing lanes.  Elam has the potential to play at the high-major division-I level, but he will be very good and an immediate impact at a strong mid-major or mid-major plus program.  One of my favorite players to watch this season.

Devan Cambridge  6-4  SR  SG  Hillcrest Prep  (2019 Class)

Cambridge is a super athletic talent that recently re-located to Hillcrest Prep.  A native of Tennessee, Cambridge is a tremendous athlete that plays well above the rim and finishes plays at a high rate in the open floor and while slashing to the basket.  He is a good overall scorer but needs to add more consistency to his perimeter shot over time to maximize his potential as a player.  A good defender that plays passing lanes.  Has serious potential as a player and is a kid that I would like to see much more of this season.

Carlos Ramsey   6-4  SR  SG  AZ Compass Prep (2019 Class)

Ramsey is a skilled and electric guard prospect with a high motor and nice ability to put the basketball in the hole.  A lefthander, Ramsey is a tough competitor that plays hard on both ends of the floor and plays with a purpose.  He is a winner and looks to help his team be successful in any manner that he can - a valuable asset to any team.  Ramsey is a streaky shooter, but when he gets it going, look out.  A very good slasher and finisher in the open floor.  An excellent on-the-ball defender, his best asset as a player.  A solid overall guard prospect that can help any team.

Jeron Artest  6-4  SR  PG/SG  Hillcrest Prep (2019 Class)

Artest has grown a great deal physically over the past year - adding some very good size and strength to his frame and looking much more cut and athletic.  A very intriguing prospect that has an excellent feel for the game and an advanced overall skillet, that allows him to make plays for himself and others off the dribble.  He sees the floor very well and sees plays before they happen.  Has a high basketball IQ.  Has an excellent handle of the basketball.  A very good shooter with range on his shot and also a nice mid-range game as well.  An excellent defender that plays passing lanes and has very good toughness as a player.  The son of former NBA star player Ron Artest.  A player/prospect on the rise.  Received an offer from St. John's recently, but has yet to really see his college recruitment take off otherwise.

Xavier Dusell  6-4  JR  SG  AZ Compass Prep  (2020 Class)

Dusell is a special young talent - possessing excellent size and versatility as a player.  Dusell is capable of playing several perimeter positions on the floor, while having a strong handle of the basketball and a nice perimeter shooting stroke with range.  He is able to make plays for himself or others off the dribble, and is a sure mis-match for opposing defenders - able to score inside and out.  As he continues to mature physically, I look for Dusell to be able to post up more, which will make it even more difficult for smaller defenders to guard him.  Currently, he likes to score from the perimeter, where he is much more comfortable at this stage in his young career.  He is a good passer with a nice overall feel for the game, and has very good versatility as a player.  He is a good rebounder.  A solid defender.  Has a very bright future ahead of him.

Dimitrios Stragalinos  6-3  SOPH  PG/SG  Hillcrest Prep (2020 Class)

Stragalinos had a big fall, as he received several division-I offers for himself.  He is one of the best recruiting targets in the state's 2021 Class, and is a high-energy guard prospect with an excellent motor and a strong ability to score the basketball.  He is capable of playing both guard positions on the floor, but is at his best as a scorer.  He has good size and length as a guard prospect, and a strong handle of the basketball, which makes him difficult for opposing defenders to defend.  This young man has a bright future ahead of him.  Stragalinos will provide excellent depth on a talented Hillcrest Prep team this season, and gives the program a bonafide prospect for the future.

Fallou Cisse  6-7  SR  PF  AZ Compass Prep (2019 Class)

Cisse is a recent transfer to AZ Compass, after leaving Balboa Prep this summer.  Cisse is a nice talent that has a nice body and good athleticism.  He runs the floor hard and is a good finisher in traffic and in the open floor.  He competes on both ends of the floor, and is a tough kid that works hard to keep balls in play.  An active rebounder and shotblocker.  Has good size and should receive loads of attention this season, since many schools will be lookig to add some size late.  A good looking overall prospect that will keep AZ Compass competitive this prep season, which should benefit his recruitment in the process.Takari Fields  6-8  SR  PF  AZ Compass Prep (2019 Class).

Takari Fields  6-7  SR  PF  AZ Compass Prep (2019 Class)

Fields has really improved over the past year, and he has the body that college coaches are looking for.  He is a prototypical power-forward prospect that enjoys playing with his back to the basket and does not mind physical contact.  He is an active rebounder that keeps the basketball up high for finishes and offensive put-backs, and his left-handed shooting prowess is developing, which allows him to finish plays in traffic and also stretch out to 18 feet and keep defenses honest on the floor.  As he gains more consistency on his outside shooting stroke, and becomes more explosive off the ground, he will see his game progress a great deal.  Should receive some serious recruiting interest this spring, but it will be interesting to see at what level.

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