State Farm Stadium attracts top coaches, players for Section 7 basketball event

State Farm Stadium attracts top coaches, players for Section 7 basketball event

Duke five-star Jared McCain plays defense on the ball in the Division 7 Basketball Tournament at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The four-day event attracted players and coaches from all over the country. (Photo by Chris Nano / Cronkite News)

Carter Bryant, a four-star recruit from Fountain Valley High School in California, walks to a field inside State Farm Stadium, which usually serves as the home of the Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Chris Nano / Cronkite News)

Chandler High School guard Caden Garber is locked up during a game against Raymond S. Kellys High School in Glendale. (Photo by Chris Nano / Cronkite News)

Chandler coach Jonathan Rother, right, surveys the court during his team’s game against Kellys Hay. Many of Arizona’s top basketball programs were played at this event. (Photo by Chris Nano / Cronkite News)

Bryant in his defensive position against De La Salle Saturday. The Wednesday before the tournament began was the first day college basketball coaches could contact rising high school juniors like Bryant directly under NCAA rules. (Photo by Chris Nano / Cronkite News)

Glendale — Hundreds of college coaches attended the Division 7 championships this past weekend and offered college scholarships to deserving players who shone on the biggest stage of high school basketball in June. The event attracted over 500 college coaches, including Arizona State’s Tommy Lloyd, Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley, Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing, Memphis’s Benny Hardaway and others who were looking to spot some of the best players in the country.

Lloyd was grateful to have had a high-profile tournament in his state with prospects practically coming to him.

“Decision makers who allow this to happen need to be commended,” Lloyd said. “This has become the best event in the country for the June high school recruitment window. I think it is really second to none and it will continue to grow.”

Lloyd praised the event for allowing players to showcase their skills to coaches of all levels, not just Division One, and said it was important to him to see prospects play a different role than he had seen them play before.

“The great thing about college basketball is that there are so many opportunities, so many levels to it and so many different levels for all those kids who want to keep playing and need a landing spot. There are all the different levels of coaches watching,” Lloyd said. Is that kids sometimes look different with high school teams than they do with club teams, so it’s great for us to see them in both places.”

The division brought in 7 stars from the sports world, including Larry Fitzgerald, Damian Lillard, Cameron Johnson, Robert Hurry, Mike Pepe, Eddie House and others who were looking forward to watching family members or just high school basketball.

The weekend was filled with notable basketball moments, including when Chandler’s 2024 guard Caden Garber made a deep hat-trick to beat Dobson. Or Bishop Gorman’s guard 2024 Raider Elisaldes took it from coast to coast and deflected a one-foot buoy to conquer Olympus High (Utah).

There were top players in the country including Duke Inzem Jared McCain, Andrei Stojakovic (son of former NBA player Pia Stojakovic), Cameron and Kayden Boozer (twin to Carlos Boozer), Duke Coman Caleb Foster, four-star Carter Bryant and four stars. Starring Devin Williams, Cody Williams is a prospective local four-star from Perry High School. The opportunity to showcase their skill sets in order to increase their recruiting inventory or, as in the case of social media buzz and more likely Jared McCain, to raise the balance of his teammates, was too valuable to be missed.

McCain, who is ranked 24th by ESPN in the 2023 class and the last California Gatorade player of the year, is known for his flashy play and spirit on the court, but he may be best known to his followers on TikTok, where he has more than 1.6 million followers. McCain recently committed to Duke, but was thrilled with the opportunity to help his teammates get college appearances and performances.

“It’s amazing to be here,” he said. “This year I feel like I’m taking that top leadership role and my main goal is to get my buddies’ offers. I want these guys to spark interest and get down to earth and get ready to win the (California) State Championships.”

Caleb Foster, a five-star perpetrated Duke of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, runs a crime against the rising prospect of Bishop Gorman Christopher Nolly. (Photo by Chris Nano / Cronkite News)

With a huge number of followers on social media sites like McCain comes hype from fans and haters.

When asked how he’s drowning in the noise to focus on his final high school season, he said, “It has a lot to do with my mental state. I practice meditation and yoga to help keep myself grounded and not get caught up in all the noise or hate. I think that’s what a lot of people don’t see.” People are the hate I get. Staying grounded in the present is the main thing for me.”

The high school coaches were very happy to have the opportunity to see McCain and others.

“It’s special to be invited, not everyone is,” said Tim Tucker, a coach at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, Calif. (Department 7 Director) Matt King blessed us to be able to go out. It’s just a lovely atmosphere. It’s very organized with How many teams they have here. To house over 200 teams in a football field without being cramped, Al Ain University feels it is unbelievable.”

Chandler High School coach Jonathan Rother has seen Division 7 grow into one of the best June recruitment events in the country.

“This tournament is getting bigger, better and more organized every year,” Rother said. “They bring in better teams from across the country every year and I’m really looking forward to that next year. This is a great opportunity for college coaches to see these players play under the high school structure and manage offensive and defensive scheming they don’t often see in club basketball.”

Division 7 made a change this year and teams are seeded into 14 different arcs. They played a tournament within their arcs to produce 14 champions.

(Illustrated by Omar Yaqoub / Cronkite News)

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