By RENALDO DORSETT
THE Bahamian public will have an early season opportunity to witness the top local basketball talent and a rarity of seeing one of its own Blue Chip prospects playing at home.
DeAndre Ayton and his Hillcrest Prep Bruins out of Phoenix, Arizona, are expected to participate in the “Sand Between Your Toes Showcase,” to be hosted November 18-19 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium and presented by Provenance Insurance.
The showcase will be a part of the widely renowned Grind Session Tournament series.
Local teams participating in the showcase include the defending Hugh Campbell and National Champion – CC Sweeting Cobras, the GI Gibson Rattlers, the Tabernacle Baptist Falcons and St George’s Jaguars.
In addition to the Bruins, other visiting schools set to compete include Prolific Prep (Napa, California), Victory Rock (Brandenton, Florida), The Conrad Academy (Orlando, Florida), The Tech Academy (Portland, Oregon) and 22 Feet Academy (Anderson, South Carolina.).
Prolific Prep is arguably the most highly touted of the group featuring an elite backcourt of Gary Trent Jr and Paul Scruggs.
Trent, the recent Duke commit, will play in the Bahamas for the third time after participating in both editions of the Nike EYBL Bahamas exhibition series.
A five-star recruit, the 6’5”, 200-pound guard is ranked No.8 in the ESPN 100 and has been listed as a USA Today Preseason All-American.
He averaged 25.9 points per game last season for Apple Valley, Minnesota, and helped lead Team USA to the title at the Under-17 FIBA World Championship, averaging 12.7 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.
Scruggs, the 6’3” 190- pound guard, is a four-star recruit, ranked No.28 in the ESPN 100, who has signed to Xavier.
Conrad Academy features the No.17 player in the ESPN 100, Auburn signee, Austin Wiley - a 6’9” 250- pound five-star centre.
Victory Rock features four-star recruit Mayan Kir, ranked No.95 in the ESPN 100 and headed for Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ayton chose to end his recruitment process before his senior season ever began when he announced his decision to attend Arizona, in a press conference broadcasted live on ESPN’s SportsCenter this summer.
The No.1 recruit for the class of 2017, he chose Arizona over Kentucky and Kansas. He became the first top overall recruit to commit to a Pac-12 team since Kevin Love did so for UCLA.
The Arizona recruiting class for 2017 was listed at No.38 but since Ayton’s announcement has vaulted all the way to No.1.
The 7’0”, 235-pound high school basketball phenom, currently at Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix, Arizona had a busy summer on the circuit which included stops on the Nike EYBL, Adidas Nations and for the Bahamian national team.
“I made Arizona home at Hillcrest Prep,” Ayton said during his announcement. “My mom, my family can benefit coming to my games. We really trust their programme. I know they can help me get to the next level.”
During the course of the regular season, Ayton averaged 30 points, 19 rebounds and 5.7 blocks for Hillcrest.
On the competitive Nike EYBL Summer Circuit with California Supreme, he averaged 19.8 points and 11.6 rebounds per game this season. He concluded play at the EYBL Peach Jam where he averaged 21 points, 13.2 rebounds and three blocks per game.
At Adidas Nations, he averaged 17.4 points and 11 rebounds per game as his team went undefeated en route to a tournament title.
He also made his Bahamian national team debut with the men’s Centrobasket team that finished seventh in Panama.
Friday, November 18
3:30pm – CC Sweeting vs
5pm – Victory Rock vs
The Tech Academy
6:30pm – The Conrad
Academy vs Prolific Prep
8pm – 22 Feet Academy
vs Hillcrest Prep
9:30pm – CI Gibson vs
Saturday, November 19
3:30pm – Tabernacle vs
5pm – Prolific Prep vs
6:30pm – Tech Academy
vs 22 Feet Academy
8pm – Conrad Academy
vs Hillcrest Prep
9:30pm - CI Gibson
vs St George’s