D1Vision

Hillcrest Prep Drawing National Attention With Backcourt Duo

Josh Green Hillcrest Prep Photo | Kelly Kline | Under Armour

With nearly 100 days left before high school season starts, several elite teams have added players to strengthen their roster, including the defending Grnd Session National Champion Hillcrest Prep out of Arizona.

The 2016 Dick’s Nationals Champions Oak Hill Academy made a splash earlier this year when 2019 Ashton Hagans announced he would join the Warriors to partner with 2018 center David McCormack.

Sierra Canyon (CA) High School added two big names to their roster in Kenyon Martin Jr. and five-star Cassius StanleyD1Vision has yet to confirm if consensus nationally ranked No. 1 player Marvin Bagley III will remain at Sierra Canyon but now with these additions, the Trail Blazers should continue to make noise on the national circuit.

Another team that made big moves since last season has been Hillcrest (AZ) Prep. Although they lose 2017 McDonald’s All American Deandre Ayton, they return 2019 Josh Green, who has blown up on the Under Armour Circuit of late, playing with Earl Watson Elite. Playing on the Grind Circuit last year, Hillcrest Prep was able to claim a national championship and hope to do the same this time around.

“I definitely want to try and win the national championship again next year,” Green told D1Vision in April. “It was really good. I think [the Grind Circuit] is on the rise. There was a lot of good competition.”

Despite the loss of Ayton, Hillcrest reloads with transfers of 2018 KJ Hymes, Demarius Jacobs, 2019 Markese Jacobs and 2020 Arizona State commit Kyree Walker.

Walker, the former Moreau Catholic (CA) High School athlete, recently announced his commitment to Arizona State and remains focused on keeping his high performance on the court.

“I want to get him ready for the next level,” his father Khari Walker told USA Today, who added he will be joining Hillcrest’s coaching staff. “It’s the next stage in his life.”

“I like the level of competition,” said Walker. “With us playing in California, it was cool. But each game is different. You might play some good teams, then you might not play good teams. We’re trying to keep the competition as high as possible.”

Last season at Moreau Catholic, Walker averaged 21.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1 steal, and 0.9 blocks per in 35 games as a freshman, finishing with a record of 25-10. He is considering possibly reclassifying to the Class of 2019.

Although Hillcrest loses the possible No.1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft in Ayton, they may be a better, more balanced team this year. Josh Green and Kyree Walker form a duo that could go unmatched for the next two years.

Green is a combo guard who can help the team in various aspects on the court. Green is comfortable on the perimeter, plays well on defense, and is very effective in the creation and finalization of plays. Walker will contribute offensively and can give added depth to a team that is once again filled with D1 caliber talent.

The arrival of Kyree Walker helps make us very tough,” Hillcrest Head Coach Kyle Weaver told D1Vision.  “We now have another big guard along size Josh Green that is a great athlete. Kyree is a 6-foot-6 Guard that can handle and also score the ball. His best attribute is his ability to make plays for others.”

Weaver, like Green, also expects this team to repeat as national champions.

“The combination of Walker and Green should make us defending national champions,” said Weaver. “I don’t think there is another backcourt as athletic and skilled as Josh Green and Kyree Walker.”

With multiple transfers leaving Hillcrest Prep, the defending champs are basically a whole new team compared to last year. However, they will return 2019 Dischon Thomas, who in two matches last season had averages of 12 PPG and 4.5 RPG. This season, Thomas should play more minutes and can be a very efficient player for the team.

With the July live period in full effect, it’s worth taking note on which high school teams to look out for next year and Hillcrest Prep, with their new duo of guards, is definitely one of those teams.

 

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