Section 7: Gorman, Centennial Triumph Again

Centennial (Corona, Calif.) captured the championship of the top division of the Section 7 Team Camp for the second consecutive year at State Farm Arena in Glendale, Ariz. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) also captured a major division championship after capturing the title at the inaugural event in 2019. Aside from Centennial and Gorman, the big winners were the individual players who shined in front of college coaches. We list 55 players we evaluated who improved their standing with college coaches over the course of the event.

MORE: Section 7 Stock-Risers

The Fiesta Bowl Section 7 Team Camp presented by Legacy Foundation has quickly become a must stop in the West Region for national scouts, college coaches and high school teams. Held during the first of two weekends of the NCAA’s June Scholastic Live Period, this year’s event had a different feel than last year’s successful event.

In 2021, Section 7 was the first time colleges coaches got to evaluate prospects live since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, so there was a buzz surrounding the live evaluation setting and the return of the event after a one-year hiatus. This year, the buzz surrounded the continued expansion of the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association-ran event at State Farm Arena in Glendale, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. This year, the event featured 224 teams from 13 states and well over 500 prospects who could garner some NCAA or NAIA interest.

Despite the growing national flavor, it was the two teams that meet in last season’s California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section title game that advanced to the Fiesta Bowl division title game on June 19 after winning three games over the event’s first two days. The two teams were Centennial (Corona, Calif.) and Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) and behind a clutch performance from Duke-bound guard Jared McCain and senior-to-be (2023) strongman Aaron McBride, Centennial captured the Section 7 title for the second consecutive year.

Centennial, which lost two starters off its 33-1 CIF state title-winning team that finished No. 5 in the final 2021-22 FAB 50 Team Rankings, held a 25-24 halftime lead. Harvard-Westlake, which finished No. 43 in last season’s FAB 50, gave a valiant effort against the Huskies even though its field goal attempts weren’t dropping at their normal rate. Eventually, the shot-making of McCain, a 6-foot-2 senior-to-be, and the play-making of Bride, a barrel-chested 6-foot-6 forward, was the difference in the game.

McCain, last year’s Cal-Hi Sports State Junior of the Year, knocked down a 3-pointer to give Centennial a 47-40 lead with 4:45 remaining in the game. The Wolverines made one last push on a conventional 3-point play by guard Robert Hinton with 3:30 to go that cut Harvard-Westlake’s deficit to 49-46, but Centennial took control thereafter. A lay-up by McCain gave Centennial a double digit lead, as it went on to score the final eight points of the game to finish 4-0 in bracket play with a 59-49 victory.

McCain finished with 22 points, four rebounds and five assists, while McBride finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Even more than his numbers, McBride’s physical impact loomed large on this game and Centennial’s previous three victories, which included a 73-46 semifinal victory over Coronado (Henderson, Nev.). McBride’s physicality on the offensive and defensive boards, his winning plays and approach to the game make him an invaluable cog to Centennial and appealing to college recruiters, not to mention his 4.0 GPA.

“We keep trying to be perfect every game,” said McBride, our unofficial MVP of the Fiesta Bowl Division. “Of course, we’re not going to play perfect, but trying to be perfect every game keeps us focused. Our goal is to work together as a team, because it’s harder to try to win the game by yourself.”

McBride’s two college favorites are UC-Irvine and LMU.

Devin Williams, a 6-foot-10 rising senior (2023) and Centennial’s third returning starter, finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks vs. Harvard-Westlake. Williams’ final five college choices are reportedly Arizona, Texas Tech, UCLA, UNLV and USC. Centennial’s two other starters, 5-foot-11 2023 B.J. Taylor and 6-foot-4 2024 Eric Freeny also played well throughout Section 7 for a team that should suffer little, if any drop-off, from back-to-back seasons where it finished as California’s No. 1 ranked team.

“Winning never gets old, and we like the fact our guys expect to win, but we don’t take it for granted,” Centennial coach Josh Giles said. “With Harvard-Westlake, we’ve played them so many times in recent seasons, it’s like playing a league team. We know what each other is about and with the talent on the floor, it was like a college game.”

Hinton, a 6-foot-4 rising junior who had a terrific performance at the recent Pangos All-American Camp and continues to see his recruiting stock rise, had 11 points and seven rebounds for Harvard-Westlake. Fellow 2024 Trent Perry, a 6-foot-4 guard, was the Wolverines’ leading scorer with 14 points. Brady Dunlap, a 6-foot-7 rising senior and one of the best shooters in the entire event, added 10 points even though he missed his first nine field goal attempts and finished 3-of-15 from the field while valiantly playing through injury.

Kudos should be given to Dunlap’s title game performance because he gutted it out, while some other highly-regarded players chose the load management route despite the presence of a college coaching herd. Dunlap had a huge second day of the three-day event, hitting a 15-foot fall-away jumper from behind the backboard on the right baseline at the buzzer to give the Wolverines a 68-66 quarterfinal victory over Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.). Later in the evening, Dunlap knocked down the game-clinching pull up jumper from 12 feet out with 26 seconds remaining, as his team won its semifinal contest 55-52 over Columbus (Miami, Ohio).

Columbus led by 12 points at halftime and by seven points late in the contest before the Wolverines scored the last 10 points of the game. In Harvard-Westlake’s first round contest, Hinton scored with 2.4 seconds remaining on a driving baseline layup to give the Wolverines a 62-60 victory over Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) in what was easily the best first-round game of the entire event. Both teams, plus Columbus, could conceivably begin the 2022-23 season in the FAB 50 rankings.

On club that is sure to be pre-season FAB 50 ranked this winter is Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.). The Gaels captured the tourney title in the top division in the inaugural Section 7 Team Camp in 2019 at Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) and lost to Centennial in last year’s title game, 84-64. With the expansion of the tournament and the increased number of quality teams (perhaps 30-40 played at the regionally-ranked level), Bishop Gorman competed in the Mayo Clinic Division. So even though the Gaels didn’t get a chance to extract a measure of revenge on Centennial, they continued their success during the scholastic live period and exposed the players on their current roster to a throng of watchful college coaches, who came away impressed.

Gorman captured the Mayo Clinic Division courtesy of a 60-56 come-from-behind victory over talented Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), a team that defeated Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) in the semifinals, 81-73. Liberty’s 2021-22 team ended Gorman’s string of nine consecutive Nevada state titles (2012-2020) after the 2020-21 season was canceled.

Trialing by eight points (38-30) to Notre Dame with 11 and a half minutes remaining in the game must of felt like no sweat to this Gaels team. After all, Bishop Gorman trialed by double-digits in in its 67-53 semifinal victory against St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), by 25 in its 67-66 quarterfinal victory over Olympus (Holladay, Utah) and by double digits early to Clovis North (Clovis, Calif.) in its 66-61 first round victory.

John “Juni” Mobley Jr. decided to take things into his own hands against Notre Dame and after he rattled off some buckets and a big 3-pointer with 8:32 remaining, Bishop Gorman led 43-42. Notre Dame made one last push and cut its deficit to two points (58-56) on a field goal by 6-foot-3 2024 guard Mercy Miller, but Mobley’s two made free throws with 14.8 seconds remaining iced the 60-56 championship game victory.

Mobley, a 6-foot 2024 guard and one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the country regardless of class, finished with 26 points in the title game victory. His title game heroics would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the play of 6-foot-2 2024 guard Ryder Elisaldez, an unflappable cog for the Gaels who plays with an edge and has a never-say-die attitude. Elisaldez keyed the huge comeback win over Olympus and hit the game-winning shot, a running right-hand, one-hander from the left side, at the buzzer. He finished with 21 points

“Ryder was good all week; he doesn’t get the credit he deserves,” veteran Bishop Gorman coach Grant Rice said.

Elisaldez, who performed admirably at Pangos All-American Camp and gets by more defenders than he’s ever slowed down by, carries a 3.9 GPA and is receiving interest from LMU, Pepperdine, USC and has made an unofficial visit to Oregon St. Expect his recruiting to pick up as the July live period approaches.

Elisaldez recorded seven points in the title game win over Notre Dame. Keenan Bay, a 6-foot-7 2023 forward, added 11 points. Chris Nwuli, a 6-foot-7 forward and one of the country’s best 2025 prospects, added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Bishop Gorman and picked up a scholarship from UCLA in the process.

As for Mobley, he was not satisfied with his performance at the recent Pangos Camp and was a noticeable omission from one of the camp’s two all-star games. Mobley has an insatiable hunger to put in gym work when Gorman or his Vegas Elite travel ball club is not playing games and he made no excuses (nor worried much) about his Pangos snub. His focus was going forward and performing well at Section 7.

“It (Pangos) taught me I have to work harder and I came here with the mindset to show by ability and what I can do”, Mobley said. “When we got down (against Notre Dame), my teammates gave me the ball, they trust me. I am satisfied with how I played here, but I can always get better.”

Miller, the son of rap mogul Master P and committed to Houston, finished with 12 points for Notre Dame. Gonzaga-bound 6-foot-7 forward Dusty Stromer and 6-foot-3 2023 point guard Caleb Foster, who is set to join McCain at Duke, each scored 17 points for Notre Dame.

Aside from Centennial and Notre Dame, kudos goes out to the 14 Section 7 divisional champions. The wins and losses aren’t paramount to Section 7 Team Camp, but winning basketball always puts players in favorable positions with college coaches.

College coaches were mild or lukewarm about hitting the grassroots recruiting trial hard during the 2022 NCAA Spring Live Period. With the robust NCAA transfer portal, visits from players in the portal kept a nice chunk of coaches on college campuses, as the more experienced collegiate player currently is in greater demand that a high school player. Because of this relatively new phenomenon, the value of the NCAA June Scholastic Live Period has has increased in importance across the board and Section 7 foots the bill.

Section 7 Stock-Risers

Aside from players already committed who played well at the event such as McCain and Foster, those previously mentioned above, or the no-brainers such as 6-foot-8 2025 Cameron Boozer, last year’s national freshman of the year from Columbus (Miami, Fla.) who is already one of the best players in the country regardless of class, below is a list of players we evaluated at State Farm Arena who played better since or last eval and/or improved their recruiting stock with colleges of various levels (listed alphabetically by class).

2023s
Marzouq Abdur-Razaaq, Overland (Aurora, Col.) 6-7 SF
Eric Brown, Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) 6-6 PF
Blake Buchanan, Lake City (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) 6-10 PF
Darius Carr, St. Bernard’s (Playa Del Rey, Calif.) 6-4 CG
Jameson Caruso, Beverly Hills (Calif.) 6-0 PG
Devin Curtis, Heritage Christian (Northridge, Calif.) 6-10 C
B.J. Davis, Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 6-1 PG
Jalen Glenn, Inderkum (Sacramento, Calif.) 6-4 SG
Cohen J. Gonzalez, Mesquite (Gilbert, Ariz.) 5-8 PG
Jermaine Haliburton, Inderkum (Sacramento, Calif.) 6-1 PG
Miles Heide, Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.), 6-9 C
A.J. Johnson, Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) 6-5 PG
Isaiah Kai, Campo Verde (Gilbert, Ariz.) 6-2 PG
Cedric Lath, Balboa School (San Diego, Calif.) 6-10 C
Arman Madi, Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-6 SF
Jacob McFarland, Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, Calif.) 6-11 C
Rickey Mitchell, Smoky Hill (Aurora, Col.) 6-2 PG
Kevin Patton, Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-8 SF
Egan Shields, Cascade Christian (Medford, Ore.) 6-10 C
Parker Strauss, Pacifica Christian (Newport Beach, Calif.) 6-4 CG
Tru Washington, Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-4 CG
Kodey Weary, Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) 6-6 PF

2024s
Connor Amundsen, Clovis North (Clovis, Calif.) 5-9 PG
Tobias Aisen, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 6-5 WG
Donovan Beard, Dobson (Mesa, Ariz.) 6-0 PG
Taj DeGourville, Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-4 WF
Dutch Dowdell, Olympus (Holladay, Utah) 6-4 CG
Jaden Goodall, Canyon (Anaheim, Calif.) 6-4 WF
DreVon Johnson, Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 6-7 PF
Brody Kozlowski, Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah) 6-7 SF
Austin Maurer, Cascade Christian (Medford, Ore.) 6-10 PF
Darrell Morris, Crean Lutheran (Irvine, Calif.) 5-9 PG
Styles Phipps, St. Mary’s (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-2 PG
Aaron Powell, Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, Calif.) 6-1 PG
Tyrone Riley, St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy (Downey, Calif.) 6-4 SG
Lawrence “LoLo” Rudolph, St. Augustine (Sam Diego, Calif.) 6-1 PG
Luke Shaw, Valley Christian (Chandler, Ariz.) 6-2 CG
Tyler Thompson, Vanden (Travis AFB, Calif.) 6-4 WF

2025s
Alec Blair, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 6-5 CG
Cayden Boozer, Columbus (Miami, Fla.) 6-3 PG
Brayden Burries, Poly (Riverside, Calif.) 6-5 SG
Aaron Glass, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) 6-2 CG
Gavin Hightower, Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 6-0 CG
Nick Jefferson, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-1 CG
Doug Langford, St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy (Downey, Calif.) 6-7 PF
Mazi Mosley, Heritage Christian (Northridge, Calif.) 6-3 PG
Bryce Quinet, Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 6-2 PG
Jasir Rencher, Riordan (San Francisco, Calif.) 6-5 SF
C.J. Shaw, Mojave (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-3 SG
Tae Simmons, Heritage Christian (Northridge, Calif.) 6-6 PF
D.J. Stickman, Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.) 6-1 CG
Christian Taylor, St. Bernard’s (Playa Del Rey, Calif.) 6-5 WG
Dallas Washington, Santa Margarita (Rancho SM, Calif.) 6-7 WF

2026s
Ty Ingram, San Ysidro (Calif.) 6-3 SG
Brayden Kyman, Santa Margarita (Rancho SM, Calif.) 6-5 SF
Mason Magee, Basha (Chandler, Ariz.) 5-10 PG

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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