With the infiltration of national high school programs, the Arizona Interscholastic Association no longer owns the market on the state’s top basketball players
Even with a lack of spring and summer showcases because of the coronavirus pandemic, there are so many players in this state who are not only viewed locally but nationally as players to watch.
This list, which takes in every high school class and every league — from the AIA to the national high school prep teams to CAA — will grow into a list of 50 of the state’s elite girls basketball players to follow in 2020-21 (that’s if the pandemic recedes enough for a season).
It’s a subjective list with input from high school coaches and scouts. This can be debated up and down, but, in the end, just to be among the top 50 in Arizona is gaining five stars, in my book.
There will be 10 each week, starting with the Top 10 until it reaches 50.
Elite Girls 50
No. 1 Alyssa Brown, Tucson Sahuaro, 6-1, Sr.
Brown could become Arizona high school girls basketball’s all-time leading scorer (the record is 2193 points and Brown has 2094; averaged a state-high 31.4 points per game last season). The Republic’s two-time All-Arizona Girls Basketball Team selection is an unstoppable finisher with solid ball-handling skills in transition, stellar long-range shooting touch (55% field goal percentage, 34% from the arc as a junior) and dangerous on defense (3.9 steals per game, 1.3 blocks). Brown has great strength to outmuscle guards when penetrating or clearing the boards for second-chance points (9.7 rebounds per game last season). She has received 21 college offers including UNLV, Vanderbilt, Colorado, New Mexico, Rice, and California-Santa Barbara.
No. 2 Marisa Davis, Chandler AZ Compass Prep, 6-1, Sr.
Davis has a quick first step when driving coast-to-coast, in half-court sets, or attacking opponent’s passing lanes to anticipating steals. She values substance over flamboyance, relying on her athleticism to maneuver around anyone guarding her. Davis, an All-Arizona team member, was the state’s fifth-leading scorer at 22.0 points per game and defending 6A conference state champion Surprise Valley Vista’s leader in rebounds (8.3), blocks (1.6) and produced 2.5 steals per game last season before transferring to AZ Compass Prep in June. She has received over 30 offers including Colorado, Utah, California and Texas Tech besides her decommitment from Duke in July.
No. 3 Kennedy Basham, Phoenix Pinnacle, 6-7, Jr.
The state’s best center and All-Arizona selection has more assets than her intimidating length as a shot-blocker and for points off of putbacks (17.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.6 blocks last season). Basham has developed an adequate midrange to 3-points jumpshot and is gaining solid muscle in weight training this summer. She continues to grow her arsenal of solid post moves and court vision to find open teammates when she gets double- or triple-teamed on the block to rack up assists. She’s still a project with tremendous upside and has been courting a truckload of offers from blue blood programs including UCLA, Oregon, Louisville, North Carolina, and Kansas.
No. 4 Kiya Dorroh, AZ Compass Prep, 6-1, Sr.
Dorroh is thorough when it comes to defense and inside play. The Missouri-committed wing was the defending 3A state champion Tucson Sabino’s production leader in points (15.9), rebounds (5.7) and blocks (1.4) and its second-highest in steals (4.3) last season. She has impressive skills of a guard and a top threat in the clutch, which will benefit her new, stockpiled AZ Compass Prep girls basketball team roster in their national and CAA schedule.
No. 5 Madison Conner, AZ Compass Prep, 5-10, Sr.
Smooth facilitator and can take over a game at will. The Arizona-committed Conner is another All-Arizona selection who was an proven scorer (20.0 points per game, 46% shooting, 40% from 3) and surpassed the 1000-point mark last season for Gilbert Perry. Conner has a slasher style off the dribble and is an efficient rebounder (6.9 rebounds per contest in 2019-20) who can take that load off her new AZ Compass Prep frontcourt teammates next season.
No. 6 Jess Finney, Phoenix PHH Prep, 5-10, Sr.
Washington commit whose impressive speed, passing and scoring abilities were on the late legend Kobe Bryant’s radar. Finney is another versatile All-Arizona team selection who can run the point and is lights out from beyond the arc (led the state sinking 96 in 3-pointers made last season). She was the state’s third-best in field goals made (232) and ranked fifth in scoring (21.8 points per game) before she left Scottsdale Chaparral to PHH Prep in April. Finney thrives on creating offense from her defense in transition as she averaged 3.8 steals, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 blocks during her junior year.
No. 7 Jennah Isai, Phoenix PHH Prep, 5-10, Jr.
Heady point guard staggers defenders with her crossover dribble and no-look assists. Isai’s 18.4 points, 6.8 rebounds. 5.2 assists, and 3.0 steals per contest for Valley Vista in the 2019-20 season made her the state’s top sophomore. She will continue to field more Division I offers in addition to Georgia, Florida, UCLA, Colorado and LSU to name a few.
No. 8 Haylee Weathersby, Glendale Apollo, 6-1, Sr.
The most potent power forward in Arizona high school girls hoops. Despite being on a subpar Apollo team in the 4A conference last season, the Black Hills State commit is a consummate enforcer among the state’s elite players. She’s a nightmare for teams to block out around the rim, having the state’s third-best rebounding average (15.0) and led in double-doubles (22) with her team-best 17.7 points per game last season. Weathersby has already eclipsed the 1000-point and 1000-rebound mark. She has impeccable timing, using her long wingspan to compensate for her moderate speed as she got 3.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per game.
No. 9 Ally Stedman, Phoenix PHH Prep, 5-10, Sr.
One of the top three natural point guards in the state alongside Finney and Isai. Stedman is capable of being a streaky shooter but prefers scoring in the paint and midrange. She is committed to Pepperdine and averaged Phoenix Pinnacle’s team-highs of 18.4 points, 4.6 assists, had a 1.44 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. Plus, her toughness helped her snare 7.6 rebounds, Pinnacle’s second-highest mark in that category behind her former teammate Kennedy Basham.
No. 10 Daeja Johnson, Queen Creek Casteel, 5-9, Sr.
Johnson has emerged as one of the top backcourt players over the past two years. Her sinewy frame enables her to get around defenders and knows how to create space to drain mid-range. She’s a respectable spot-up shooter who distributes the ball well. Johnson posted a team-high 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and was problem for teams’ offensive plays as she snagged 3.5 steals per game.