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No. 31: Shadow Mountain Matadors (AZ) Team Preview

By Prep Circuit Staff, 10/30/18, 4:40PM EDT

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Jaelen House attacks the basket (H/T USA Today HS Sports)

Team Rundown

Shadow Mountain has won three consecutive state championships, cementing their place as far and away the top public school in Arizona. Mike Bibby has won over 90 percent of his games since starting three years ago, implementing an all-out-chaos approach with his guard-heavy rotation. The Matadors went 25-2 in 2018-19, qualifying for GEICO Nationals behind their star junior backcourt of Jovan Blacksher and Jaelen House. Will they secure their fourth state championship? We’ll say this: they’re one of the biggest favorites to win their state’s end-of-season crown.

The Star(s)

Blacksher (Grand Canyon) and House (Arizona State) are both committed to in-state schools, so fans in Arizona should be showing up in full force to Matadors’ home games. In 27 games in 2017-18, House averaged 18.6 points, 6.6 steals, 5.3 assists, and 3.7 rebounds, while only turning the ball over 2.1 times per game. Blacksher was right behind him, averaging 15.9 points. 5.7 steals, 5.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.8 turnovers. Simply put, these two will live in the opponent’s backcourt, and they have terrific on-court chemistry - especially when transitioning to offense. They should continue to dominate the local competition while giving the Matadors a chance against their tough out-of-state slate of games. Both Jovan and Jaelen, who is the son of NBA veteran Eddie House, have a realistic shot of a quadruple-double in every in-state game they play.

Impact Players

6-foot-4 junior swingman Shemar Morrow returns after averaging 10.6 points. 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 2017-18. Morrow is capable of defending multiple positions, and his versatility will be important to Shadow’s season-long success. Fellow 6-foot-4 combo guard/forward Jalen Williams was a solid role player last year and will be counted on to pick up the departing production of graduates Immanuel Allen and Antonio Reeves. Davon and Devontes Cobb transfer in from New Berlin West in Wisconsin, and they should flourish under Bibby. Davon (2020) should make an immediate impact on the wing, while Devontes (2022) has a chance to develop into a special guard.

Final Word

Shadow plays an extremely entertaining style of basketball, and they’ll be up to their usual tricks in 2018-19. They’ll face off against former teammate Antonio Reeves & the Simeon Wolverines, while also traveling to the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic, Bass Pro Tournament of Champions and HoopHall classic against fellow ranked foe Paul VI (VA). They will play fast, fast and faster, and will undoubtedly be one of the most well-conditioned teams in the country.

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