The 2023 All West Valley Preps boys basketball team

Posted 4/17/23

For the 10th year, West Valley Preps has announced honors for the best boys basketball players it covers in the West Valley. This time around, we saw so many quality players that a third team was necessary.

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The 2023 All West Valley Preps boys basketball team


For the 10th year, West Valley Preps has announced honors for the best boys basketball players it covers in the West Valley. This time around, we saw so many quality players that a third team was necessary. Here is the all-West Valley Preps boys basketball team:

First team

F — Caden Hunter, senior, Liberty
F — Carter Gittens, senior, Sunrise Mountain
C — Bradey Henige, junior, Cactus
G — Cameron Holmes, freshman, Millennium
G — Ky Green, senior, Liberty

Second team

F — Julius Williams, senior, Ironwood
F — Kingston Tosi, sophomore, Millennium
G — Andrew Camacho, senior, Peoria
G — Emery Young, senior, Centennial
G — Caden Bass, sophomore, Peoria

Third team

W — Presley Ibeh, junior, Highland Prep
W — Darius Anderson, senior, Dysart
F — Gage Galbreath, junior, Centennial
G — Jayden Sleeper, senior, Deer Valley
G — Aadem Isai, senior, Valley Vista

Underclassmen to watch: Lamar Anderson, W, (Soph.), Dysart; Josh Babaer, PG, (Soph.), Estrella Foothills; Gage Bartlett, PG, (Soph.), Shadow Ridge; Brayden Barrett, W, (Fr.), Millennium; Christopher Brookins, PG. (Soph.), Peoria; Quincy Everson, G, (Soph.), Millennium; Tarrell Green, F, (Fr.), Highland Prep; T.J. Harris, PG, (Fr.), Paradise Honors; Travon Howard, G, (Fr.), ALA-West Foothills; Kaleel Kelly, G, (Soph.), Willow Canyon: Dillan McClinton, F, (Fr.), Paradise Honors; Marcus Murray, PG, (Fr.), Sunrise Mountain; Jordan Parrish, F, (Soph.), Kellis; Johnny Rios, G, (Fr.), Centennial; Gabriel Rodriguez, W, (Soph.), Cactus; I’Yar Shadowvine, G, (Soph.), Ironwood; Tyran Simpson, G, (Soph.), Deer Valley; Jaiden Thompson, G, (Soph.), Mountain Ridge: Tay’Vion Wilson, G, (Soph.), Kellis.

Player of the year

Caden Hunter -  Liberty's big man with an outside game was the most consistently excellent player for a bumper crop of standouts in the West Valley. The Lions had their best year yet, reaching the Open Divisioon quarterfinals and being an unlucky, underseeded No. 8 stuck in the bracket with a dominant Perry squad. Hunter was the engine for Liberty's rise, averaging 20.6 points, 10.2 rebounds. He also led the team with 51 deflections and a number of other hustle plays that don't always show up on the score sheet. With the steep drop off from the Lions' top six players - and top five late in the year after Brennan Neal broke his foot - Hunter played with this intensity, leading the team in fouls too, without getting in severe foul trouble often. Liberty needed him out there almost every minute.

Runner-up: Carter Gittens - Gittens missed five early season games and the Mustangs went 2-3 in those contests - one win was against 2A Trivium Prep. Close losses to Horizon and Cactus in particular probaby kept the Mustangs out of the Open Division and illustrate Gittens' value. Sunrise Mountain lost to 4A champ Peoria and Open Division semifinalist Desert Mountain right after he returned, then went 14-5 the rest of the season and nearly made the 5A final. It helps to get a player back  that averages 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists, and  can score on all three levels. Despite taking on a greater scoring burden, Gittens still shot 50 percent from the field, with an adjusted field goal percentage of 59.

Second runner-up: Bradey Henige - From a purely statistical standpoint it's not even close. Henige had a better year than anyone, becoming the extremely rare 20-20 player (averaging 28.8 points and 20.6 rebounds per game). He also kicked in 4.3 blocks. He elevated his team into the Open Division bracket and nearly the final four of 4A after losing to Ironwood in the first round of the Open. Henige has to be the player of the year favorite for next year, and can follow through on it if he continues to lift Cactus basketball to new heights.

Coach of the year

Patrick Battillo, Peoria - It looked like the experienced Panthers would be an easy team to coach, with guards as far as the eye could see. Peoria was cruising along at 10-1 when senior leader Andrew Camacho was injured in a tournament game. Missing his 27 points a game and floor leadership, Peoria lost to Sunnyslope and ALA-Gilbert North. But Battillo's team then won nine in a row without its leader, including sweeping Cactus and a win over Deer Valley. Battillo managed to keep Peoria running and worked lineup combinations well enough to keep the Panthers in position. After working Camacho back in, Peoria dominated the 4A tournament to win its first state title since 2012. Battillo led the charge in his fourth year with a talented but unconventional team that barely had a forward - Calvin Windley qualifies but would be a two guard at most schools - much less a post player.

Runner-up: Jordan Augustine, Ironwood - Only Williams made the top three West Valley Preps teams. Three other Eagles might have made the fourth team. Augustine juggled a talented lineup lacking a star or even a reliable 15 point a night scorer and the result was the best overall team in the West Valley, at least until one bad night in the playoffs. He played nine kids in various combinations, using the rangy athleticism of this group to earn the #5 overall seed in the state. After nearly knocking off Perry in the Visit Mesa tournament, Ironwood went 19-2 the rest of the season. They pressed most opponents out of the gym And they did it as a true team. Nine players averaged between 5 and 11 points per game.

Second runner-up: Jed Dunn, Deer Valley - The Skyhawks were the team that just missed the 32-team Open Division bracket - and also the first team not to make the Open to reach a conference tournament final. Dunn's crew was similar to Augustine's, shuttling players of similar talent level in and out. Sleeper was Deer Valley's catalyst, yet didn't even start. The veteran coach got his guys to peak in the postseason, knocking off top seed ALA-Gilbert North and defending champion Mesquite on the road to the 4A final against Peoria. The Mesquite game was one of the best of the year, and Dunn's philosophy of not calling a time out to set up the final play proved right on Travis Vasquez's winning layup.