We headed out to the University of Central Florida to check out the UCF Team Camp this past weekend. Here are just a few of the players that stood out during our time in the gym.
One of the better performances of the day was turned in by 6’7 rising junior C.J. Walker of Orlando Christian Prep. With national top thirty teammate Nassir Little in Miami on a visit, Walker stepped into the role of primary scorer. Mixing drives with perimeter jumpers, Walker kept the defense off balance. He was also solid in transition, whether running a lane opposite the ball handler or grabbing the rebound and starting the break on his own. Despite still being on the thin side, he is a solid rebounder at both ends of the court.
While his Admiral Farragut team didn’t participate in the event, recent UCF commit Andreas Fuller latched on with St. Pete HS and wasted no time in showcasing his versatility. He seems to have filled out and gotten stronger since we last saw him and he puts it to good use when attacking the defense off the dribble and finishing thru contact. Fuller’s jump shot found its target with consistency and he showed he can make it off the catch or the dribble. Defensively he did well switching out on ball screens and defending smaller, quicker defenders.
We were able to get another look at Orlando Bishop Moore rising junior Hunter Cattoor. Whether playing on or off the basketball, the 6’2 guard was able to make good things happen. His shot is textbook and extends to the three point line. While maybe not the most creative or crafty set up man when running the point, Cattoor doesn’t turn the ball over against pressure and delivers a catchable pass where his teammate can best use it. He’s a good run/jump athlete and has no problem finishing over the rim. He’s alert and talkative defensively, and rebounds well from his guard spot.
Coming from Fort Myers was Canterbury School and their 6’4 rising senior wing Berrick Jean Louis. He’s gotten plenty of mention for his play for Team Knight this spring but this was our first chance to see him play with his high school team. BJL is the primary ball-handler for the team and really makes things happen. He does a good job of attacking his defender, drawing help, and then making the right pass vs. shot decision with the basketball. It’s exciting when he grabs a rebound or a steal and heads toward the other end as he will usually find a way to score, either with an emphatic dunk and a contorting layup thru defenders. BJL’s jumper still needs some fine tuning but it goes down enough to be respected. A lengthy athlete with excellent lateral quickness, he is able to guard a lot of different positions on the court.
One of the new names that stepped forward on Saturday was 6’2 rising junior Steven Salvi of Westlake Prep in Fort Lauderdale. The lefty drained multiple shots from beyond the arc in a variety of ways: transition, ball-screens, off kick-outs, and spotting up against zones. Salvi ran the floor hard in transition and made the most of his opportunities when the game was up-tempo. He also proved to be a sneaky rebounder as well as a guy that continuously moves without the ball.
Dwayne Adams, a 5’11 rising senior at Boyd Anderson in Fort Lauderdale had his moments on Saturday. While his outside jumper was shaky at times, he seemed to make it when it mattered most. Adams was able to repeatedly use his speed and quickness to get to the basket and often finished in traffic. For the most part, he was solid with the basketball and excelled at pushing the pace, all the while putting pressure on the defense. An active defender, Adams didn’t hesitate to pick up the opponent early on and try to force turnovers in the backcourt.
No doubt Wellington will miss Trent Frazier, but don’t feel bad for the Wolverines as it appears that 6’1 rising senior Brian Williams is ready to step in. Possibly the find of the day, Williams made a lot of plays and wasn’t afraid of big moments, such as knocking in a three with no time left to send a game into OT. Not only did Williams shoot it well from the perimeter, he also repeatedly got into the lane and finished around the basket. If a teammate is open for a better shot when Williams is on the move, Williams will find a way to get him the basketball. He was especially alert in the passing lanes on defense and several times baited the opposition into making a bad pass which he grabbed and turned into easy points. No doubt Williams has next at Wellington.
While playing with a noticeable limp for Sanford Seminole, 5’10 rising sophomore Oshea Baker didn’t let that stop him. The sturdily-built two-sport star hit a couple of deep threes early on, which set up his drives against an overplaying defense. From there he made some tough finishes inside. Baker also made good decisions with the ball going full speed in transition. He is a main ingredient in a basketball resurgence at Seminole.
We got are first look at Nick Jiles from Lake Gibson and came away with a better understanding of why the people at Florida Elite are so high on him. A 5’11 rising senior, Jiles pretty much has the ball on a string and gets into the lane virtually at will. If the defense backs off, he has the range to consistently connect from beyond the three point line. While clearly the team’s primary scorer, Jiles had no difficulty in getting the ball to open teammates for a better shot. Defensively he’s very quick and has active hands.
We first came across Zack Scott as a seventh grader playing up for the Miami City Ballers. The 6’4 guard out of Westminster Academy is finally(!) a rising senior but still one of the most under-valued prospects in the state (and maybe the nation). He quietly goes about his business on the court and racks up numbers in the quietest of ways: a steal and score here; a putback or two there, a few free throws; a couple of perimeter jumpers and the next thing you know he’s in double figures. Scott has good size to play the point guard and the shooting stroke and scoring skills to play off the ball. He also has a plus wingspan and is active in the passing lanes.
Don’t judge rising sophomore Sam Rolle of Suncoast on his 5’8 size. The kid is a warrior, pure and simple. When he wasn’t breaking down the defense with his speed and quickness off the dribble and finding teammates for open looks, he was knocking down threes off of ball reversals and kick outs. Rarely did Rolle venture into the lane without a plan and while some of his passes where on the creative side, they found their target for the intended result. Rolle is certainly an entertaining and fun player to watch.
It was vintage Elijah Weaver in the final game of the day for Oldsmar Christian. The rangy 6’5 guard slithered thru the opposition and repeatedly scored at the basket, both in transition and against a set defense in the half-court. Weaver hit a couple of perimeter jumpers that kept the defense honest, which was a good sign. He also was of help in the rebounding department and made life difficult for the opposing point guard on the defensive end.
Serrel Smith will be joined by Tai Strickland in the St. Pete backcourt this coming season. Both guys score the ball consistently, Smith more with his jumper while Strickland does most of his damage off the bounce at the rim…Marquis Drummond, a 6’2 rising senior at Sanford Seminole, showed some scoring prowess. He knocked down some shots from beyond the arc but was best when he used his strength to overpower defenders on the way and at the rim…DeJuan Lockett of OCP doesn’t get many offensive plays run for him, but he can go and get offensive rebounds and score points that way with the best of them…Jeran Johnson of Westlake Prep had a good showing. Moving over from Boyd Anderson, the 6’3 junior was an efficient scorer and active defender. He excelled at scoring creatively at the basket.
Tag(s): Event Coverage