Duel In The Desert kicked off Saturday and it was a great day of basketball in Gilbert, AZ where we were able to get our eyes on a lot of kids from Arizona and some bordering states. Below are five takeaways from the first day of the event.
2026 AZ Unity Is A Mob
This AZ Unity bunch got the day started off with a bang showcasing that they are one of the top teams not just at the event but in the state of Arizona. They are loaded with talent as some of their top players have some serious bloodlines within the game of basketball. Cam Holmes is the younger brother of Dayton freshman Daron Holmes. Former NBA star Eddie House has two sons on this team in Kaden and Kalek House. And DeAndre Ayton’s cousin Malachi Henningham is another featured player on this team. Expect to hear more about this group as we get into the new year.
2026 Jayden Gray Goes Off
The top scoring performance of the day that I saw came from 2026 Jayden Gray of San Diego Prospects Supreme. Gray brought it from start to finish in his team’s win against ABC Spotlight. Gray was relentless at getting to the rim and finishing through contact but his second chance points might have been the most impressive thing about him. He was all over the boards when he or his teammate missed a shot and usually put the ball in the basket right after securing a rebound.
2026 Drake Afe-Passion Jr. Dominates
If it wasn’t for Passion Jr. second half performance for All Vegas 2026, Genesis Hoops squeeks by them by Passion Jr. made sure that didn’t happen. All tied up at half, All Vegas came out of halftime with a purpose to give the ball down low to Passion Jr. and he made the most of it. Nobody was more efficient or dominant around the rim than Passion Jr. was yesterday at Duel In The Desert.
2027 Mekhi Neeley Is Next Up For AZ Unity
The direction the AZ Unity program is going in looks really solid and this time next year we will be talking about the progression Neeley has made from 7th to 8th grade. Neeley was the most skilled player I saw yesterday from the class of 2027 at Duel In The Desert. Neeley has good size for a 7th grader and has an advanced skill-set that a lot of his peers don’t have at this age. Remember Neeley’s name as he is next up for AZ Unity.
2026 Kai Taylor-Jones Is One To Monitor
Taylor Jones is a nice prospect that plays for the San Diego Prospects Black group. He is a smooth guard that can get to his spots well in the lane and can play well through contact. Taylor-Jones plays super hard and is a guy that you can trust to make winning types of plays. A lot to like for the future of Taylor-Jones game.