24 Hours in the Desert


Hillcrest Prep (AZ) tipping off vs. Seattle Rotary (WA). Credit: Tyler Glazier / Pro Insight

Pro Insight’s Tyler Glazier recaps an event-filled Saturday in Arizona, highlighting standouts from the middle school, high school and college levels as he recounts his ‘24 Hours in the Desert.’


As a young evaluator first out on the trail, “firsts” are quite frequent — your first road trip, witnessing your first buzzer-beater, completing your first “double-dip” (scouting back-to-back games in either the same or nearby cities), your first interview with a player, your first time crashing on your friend’s couch following a 12-hour drive, etc. Over time, you become more desensitized to moments like these.


In the past, I viewed myself as more of a freelance scout for all 30 NBA teams vs. working for one team in an official capacity, but I’ve still been able to rack up about 100,000 miles (and counting) in my Toyota Camry over the last several years going from gym to gym. Initially, I was focused on the draft and began my own site. For the better part of the past two years, I’ve been on staff with Pro Insight as a recruiting analyst, focusing heavily on covering the grassroots level. Over the years, those scouting “firsts” have come less regularly, but this last weekend in and around Phoenix, I experienced a completely new “first”: covering middle school, high school, and college basketball all in one day.


Below, I’ll break down my 24 hours in the desert, with the prospects that caught my eye* between a full day at the MADE Hoops West League (middle school) in Gilbert, MADE Hoops West Showcase (high school) in Phoenix, and Arizona State vs. Stanford in Tempe:


*Disclaimer: there were plenty of outstanding prospects I wasn’t able to catch in person throughout the day, just as a byproduct of only being in one gym at a time, and hopping from venue to venue.


MIDDLE SCHOOL STANDOUTS


Koa Peat / 2025 / Big / AEBC (AZ)


Standing at 6’6” with long arms and a mature frame, Peat’s blend of size, coordination, and skill-set immediately popped. He’s a modern inside/outside big who is light on his feet and is starting to stretch the floor. With a tight handle for his age and position, Peat is able to navigate traffic and make plays or convert tough finishes at the basket in impressive fashion. Peat has all the tools to be one of the top players in the 2025 class and is a prospect to monitor over the coming years. When the time comes, he’ll very likely have his choice of high-level D-1 offers.


2025 prospect Koa Peat. Credit: Tyler Glazier / Pro Insight

Nigel Walls / 2025 / Big / Team Swoosh (NM)


Walls was one of the more unknown prospects coming into the event, but at 6’6” with plus-length and upside to continue growing, he stood out amongst the crowd. The slender big flashed his ability to run the floor, stretch the defense, and move his feet in space. While he’s still growing into his athleticism and body, the long term upside is evident. Walls also impressed with his natural feel for the game and fundamental instincts. Walls’ best days are ahead of him and he’s someone who could evolve into a national recruit by the time he’s an upperclassmen.


JJ Mandaquit / 2025 / Guard / Sons of Hawaii (HI)


Coming into the event I was excited to see Mandaquit in person as I’d seen his name flash across my timeline following the previous MADE Hoops session. In person, it was easy to see why he is such a highly-touted player as his confidence, advanced creating ability, playmaking chops, and scoring instincts were all on display. He’s a quick guard who rose to the occasion to lead the Sons of Hawaii to multiple victories on the day. At the end of the day, Mandaquit has a shot to become a household name in his home state and make an impact at the college level.


2025 prospect JJ Mandaquit. Credit: Tyler Glazier / Pro Insight

Parker Jefferson / 2025 / Big / Pro Skills (TX)


This is a young big with clear physical tools who knows how to get buckets in the post with his advanced footwork, soft hands, and touch. Jefferson was also comfortable stretching the defense 15+ feet out. Already with some serious size at his disposal, he projects to have ideal traits at the center position by the time he’s ready for the college game. Jefferson projects as a productive, versatile inside/outside big man who could become a double-double machine sooner rather than later at the high school level. Will be a high-level recruit in the 2025 class.


Maper Maker / 2025 / Big / AZ UPlay


Off the top, Maker has incredible physical tools for someone his size, at approximately 7’0” tall with long arms and big hands. Fluid athlete who flashed his ability to run the floor with guards as well as cover the perimeter. Acted as more of a drop-off scorer inside, but has the potential to create a bit more on the perimeter down the road. Maker has some serious upside as a versatile offensive weapon. He will undoubtedly turn some heads in high school due to his size and skill-set combination. Maker will look to follow in his older brother Makur’s footsteps as a possible top-100 player in the 2025 class.


2025 prospect Maper Maker. Credit: Tyler Glazier / Pro Insight

HIGH SCHOOL STANDOUTS


Paolo Banchero / 2021 / Big / Seattle Rotary (WA) / Committed: Duke


Banchero has long been a special prospect, but his combination of perimeter skill, IQ, size, and athleticism are what make him a top-rated player in the 2021 class. B