Between rising prep programs and a smooth transition from Sean Miller to new head coach Tommy Lloyd at the University of Arizona, the state of Arizona has claim to one of the best basketball states in the nation.
Today I’ll get into the 11 prospects with Arizona roots, where they come from, and whether I think they’d be a good fit on their local NBA team, Phoenix Suns — regardless of if they’re realistically attainable.
The Phoenix Suns don’t have any picks at the moment, but GM James Jones has said that he is looking to trade back into the draft, and the Suns have been hosting players as high as projected lottery picks.
The Phoenix Suns have made draft-day trades in two of the three years James Jones has been at the helm. He made a series of trades in 2019 involving the #6, #11 and #24 picks, and then in 2021 he traded the #30 pick (and Jevon Carter) for Landry Shamet. As far as this year’s draft, he already traded their 2022 first round pick (#30) in the package for Chris Paul and their second round pick (#60) in the trade for Torrey Craig at the trade deadline.
(the order and rankings are based on where they appear on my overall board)
4. Shaedon Sharpe — Kentucky wing
6-5, 200, 7-0 wingspan, 19 years old; never played at Kentucky, most recently averaged 22.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists for UPlay Canada on the EYBL AAU circuit
Yes, he’d fit well on the Suns, but there’s no shot.
9. Bennedict Mathurin — Arizona guard
6-6, 205, 6-9 wingspan, 20 years old; averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in his sophomore season
Mathurin played two seasons at the University of Arizona; pro day
He’d fit well, and there are some realistic trade scenarios that could net the Suns a top 10 pick in reach of him, though I’m not holding my breath in that regard.
13. TyTy Washington — Kentucky guard
6-4, 195, 6-8 wingspan, 20 years old; averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in his freshman season
My hottest take in this draft cycle is that Washington is low-key a modern-day Chris Paul in the right development context, so yeah, I think he’d be a good fit. Similar attainability as Mathurin.
18. MarJon Beauchamp — G League Ignite wing
6-7, 200, 7-1 wingspan, 20 years old; averaged 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in his season with Ignite
He played one season at Dream City Christian (Glendale); pro day
Beauchamp would fit on any good team, Suns are no exception.
21. Jalen Williams — Santa Clara wing
6-6, 210, 7-2 wingspan, 21 years old; averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in his junior season at Santa Clara
He grew up in Gilbert and played all four years of high school at Perry High (Gilbert); pro day
On a related note (no pun intended), Jalen’s brother, Cody, is entering his senior season at Perry, he’s one of the more dynamic wings in the class, and he’s had one of the better summers in the AAU circuit.
Similarly to Beauchamp, Williams would fit well on just about any good team.
26. Christian Koloko — Arizona big
7-0, 220, 7-5 wingspan, 21 years old; averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.8 blocks as a junior at Arizona
He played three seasons at the University of Arizona; pro day
Ironically, one Arizona big would make a great replacement for another...
30. Jabari Walker — Colorado forward
6-8, 215, 6-11 wingspan, 20 years old; averaged 14.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists as a sophomore at Colorado
Walker played one season at AZ Compass Prep (Chandler); pro day
Here’s the first one I don’t love on the Suns since he has a hard time making much of an impact without the ball, and those opportunities aren’t there with Phoenix.
33. Dalen Terry — Arizona guard
6-7, 195, 7-1 wingspan, 19 years old; averaged 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists as a sophomore at Arizona
The most illustrious Arizona career of the bunch, Terry played two seasons at Corona Del Sol High (Tempe), two seasons at Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix), and two seasons at the University of Arizona; pro day
This is pretty easily my favorite fit among all 11; Terry is so versatile and can do almost anything asked of him.
49. Both Gach — Utah wing
6-6, 190, n/a wingspan, 23 years old; averaged 8.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in his senior season at Utah
He played one season at AZ Compass Prep (Chandler).
Gach’s is a pretty good athlete and pretty good shooter but sometimes lacks feel on both ends; maybe a good fit in time!
52. Adonis Arms — Texas Tech wing
6-5, 200, n/a wingspan, 23 years old; averaged 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists as a super duper senior in Lubbock
He played on JV at Desert Vista High (Phoenix) as a junior and played on varsity as a senior (never started) before playing two seasons at Mesa Community College.
Arms would be an awesome fit on the Suns, and I’m hopeful he gets a Summer League shot.
58. Michael Foster — G League Ignite forward
6-8, 250, n/a wingspan, 19 years old; averaged 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists with Ignite
He played two seasons at Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix) and was teammates there with Terry for one year.
I personally don’t think Foster’s a very intriguing prospect given his horrendous defensive movement and processing on both ends, but to each their own.
There you have it. All the prospects with ties in Arizona.
If you hear their named called on Draft night and it’s the Suns doing the drafting due to a trade they’ve made, remember you heard the name here first!