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Gilbert Perry 63 Phoenix South Mountain 52 (AZ)

12/07/2013, 1:00am CST
By Max Ivany

(At left: Jordan Howard) While in Phoenix visiting family the next few days I’ve scheduled a number of Arizona high school games to view.  Tonight I went to a once proud South Mountain gym, formerly State Champions when Coach David Grace (now at UCLA) was at the helm . Their current star 2014 F 6’7″ Zylan Cheatum (San Diego State signee) was not a factor.  He fouled out at the beginning of the 4th quarter, with 4 of his 5 fouls coming on offensive charges and a hook as he unsuccessfully tried to go baseline on a defender in the low post.

I like Cheatum, he seems like a nice kid. I’d met him about a year and a half before all the local hype.  He’s a high level athlete with lots of upside.  I’m sure there’s pressure on him returning to his home zoned school after that debacle at Westwind Prep this past year.  He’s got a lot of pressure on him with the well documented academic ailments the kids who were their encountered this past season.  My advice is to stay humble and work on developing that face up skill set.  The Mountain West is not an easy league to excel in.

With Cheatum in the game, Gilbert Perry (7-0) were a perimeter team.  They were kept in the game behind the Howard Boys.  2014 G 5’10″ Jordan Howard (26 points/2 assists/3 steals) and his 2017 brother Marcus Howard who finished with 16 points/4 rebounds/3 assists). Perry overcame a 9 point deficit once Cheatum was handcuffed and at that point The Howards penetrated and finished at will with no shot blocker to hinder them and won going away.

Obviously Cheatum has a big upside with his athletic ability and frame but it was 2014 G Jordan Howard who is the most college ready player at this time. Both Howard’s are smallish guards but they help offset this with both their willingness to defend.  They’ve got the quickness to play man, and will get in your grill, displaying excellent anticipation and instincts. Jordan is a quality student and is a high character guy.

(At left: 2017 Marcus Howard) On the offensive end J, Howard’s certainly able to score from deep and also showed maturity to pull up for the mid range. There’s no question he has to be a facilitator first at the next level.  I saw excellent court vision and timely passes to the right spots on the floor.  Of course when you’re able to score at the high school level, you’re going to.  He can put up numbers as needed. I expect to have video on him soon for any college coaches who are interested. I think he;d make an excellent addition to a Big Sky or Patriot League school.

Freshman Marcus Howard shows excellent maturity and no fear on the offensive end.  He was not afraid to take his shots and has a bright future ahead of him.  He definitely favors the big play and could work on becoming a more consistent defender that doesn’t always go for the steal.  That will come with time, I’m sure.

Early next week I will catch Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Monday and then the Mesa Red Mountain game on Tuesday.