Tempe Corona boys hoops using summer tourneys to assimilate young talent to team - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Tempe Corona boys hoops using summer tourneys to assimilate young talent to team

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Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:00 am

After winning a third consecutive boys basketball state title last year, Corona del Sol has picked up right where it left off.

The Aztecs dominated the eight-team field last weekend at the fourth annual PrimeTime basketball tournament, winning all four of their games in dominant fashion.

Corona won by an average of more than 21 points per game, including a 33-point drubbing of Chaparral in the championship game. Its closest game was a 55-48 win over Sunnyslope.

“The PrimeTime usually is the one [tournament] we kind of base our summer on,” said Corona del Sol coach Sammy Duane. “How we come out of that usually tells us what we need to do.”

With the basketball season five months away, Duane wasn’t necessarily looking to simply win.

“We were looking to gauge where we’re at at this point in the summer,” he said. “We’re really working on our chemistry in the summer and putting guys in positions to see what they can do and see where they might be able to help us this year.”

The Aztecs looked impressive on both ends of the floor and especially in transition during the tournament.

Sophomore Alex Barcello, who was the tournament MVP, said he’ll be looked on to lead the Aztecs this year. Barcello played behind four-year starting point guard Casey Benson, who is off to Oregon, and will need to take the reins from the point.

“I just need to step up and be a leader this year and make the other players better and myself better to get where we need to be,” he said.

While Barcello claimed MVP honors, the player many people came to the tournament to see was incoming freshman teammate Marvin Bagley III. Bagley is considered by many to be one of best players, if not the top one, in the 2018 recruiting class. Websites such as future150.com and sportspresstv.com have him ranked No. 1 overall in his class.

“Obviously he’s very talented,” Duane said with a laugh. “He’s come in and given us a big contribution right away and he’s fit in very well with our team, which says a lot about his personality and a lot about his character.”

Early games give the younger players like Bagley the chance to bond and develop a synergy with older, returning varsity players like senior forward Dane Kuiper.

“These summer games are mainly for experience for myself and the younger players on my team,” Kuiper said in a text message. “The more games we can play now and get the chemistry flowing, the better we will be in February and March.”

With the PrimeTime tournament out of the way, the Aztecs’ next appearance was at the eighth annual Best in Basketball Summer Invitational (BIBSI) June 26 through 28. Like the PrimeTime, Duane will use this next tournament help develop his team.

“We’re going to split our teams equally and play a lot of guys,” Duane said. “We’re trying to find some depth and give our guys an opportunity.”

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