The game becomes much easier if a team has size. Offensively it can get you easy baskets close to the rim. On the defensive end, it makes it harder for the other team to score in half-court sets. With those things in mind, we look at those high school programs that will have formidable front courts this coming season.
Orlando Christian Prep
6’7 JR Ven-Allen Lubin, 6’8 SO Jayden Hastings, 6’8 SR Camden Easley
It is almost an embarrassment of riches in the frontcourt for the Class 2A power Warriors. Lubin was last season’s Class 2A Mr. Basketball. A walking double-double, Lubin scores in transition, around the basket on post-ups or offensive rebounds and by making open perimeter shots. He is quite capable of guarding bigger players inside as well as guarding smaller players on the perimeter. Hastings was very impressive in the summer playing up on the 17U level. His athleticism and coordination have greatly improved, as has his skill level. Hastings has developed a reliable jump hook inside, can score with the jumper or drive from fifteen feet and is a solid rebounder and shot challenger on the interior. Easley is a bouncy athlete that will provide a lot of help in the rebounding department and on the defensive end. He’s long, covers ground quickly, and anticipates well. Offensively, he will make the most of his opportunities on lobs, putbacks, and in transition.
Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian
6’8 JR Gregg Glenn, 6’9 JR Taylor Hendricks, 6’5 SR Dylan Canoville, 6’5 SO Carl Chenault, 6’11 SR Logan Lord, 6’8 SO Sami Elkamel
This is a young but oh-so-talented group. Glenn is already getting national recognition and has spent time this summer and fall with USA Basketball in Colorado Springs. He plays with passion and energy at both ends of the floor and scores from inside as well as out. Hendricks has a lot of skill for a player his size. He may be the best perimeter shooter on the team. With his ability to step out and score as well as post up inside and get buckets, Hendricks is a tough matchup on any level. He is also a solid interior defensive presence. Canoville plays like he’s been shot out of a canon. He’s a superior run/jump athlete and thrives in transition as well as pursuing misses off the offensive glass. He’s also a tough defender both on the perimeter and inside the paint. Chenault’s length and leaping ability, combined with his enthusiasm for the game, makes him an impact player for Calvary. He has improved his perimeter shot but is still best when he can attack the basket. Lord and Elkamel bring additional size off the bench. Both are a bit limited offensively but patrol the paint on defense and control the defensive glass.
Jacksonville Andrew Jackson
6’9 SR Marquez Rey, 6’8 JR Stephan Payne, 6’6 JR Bryce Turner, 6’7 JR James Morrow, 6’6 SR Davion Herrod
That’s a lot of size for one of the smaller public schools in the state, but after watching the group play earlier this year at the Fall Festival, it’s clear Jackson knows how to use a group of bigs. Rey is a tough matchup with his size and strength down low. He scores well around the basket and can step out and make perimeter shots to fifteen feet. Payne has greatly improved since last season. He has become much more active as a rebounder and shot blocker while making the most of his opportunities inside. Turner will get a chance to play on the perimeter at the next level but for now sets the pace with his attacking mentality on the glass and with the ball out on the perimeter. Morrow is long and gets off the floor quickly for boards and blocks. His offensive skills are developing. Herrod gives the team another bouncy body that rebounds his area well and covers a lot of ground quickly on the defensive end.
Boca Raton St. Andrew’s
6’8 SR Josh Minott, 6’8 SR Bobby Stewart, 6’7 SR Kenny Turner
The defending Class 3A state champs will be a tough out again this season with this group. Minott is recognized as one of the top seniors in the state. The Memphis signee is highly skilled, versatile, and makes an impact at both ends of the court. A very difficult matchup for the defense, Minott makes those around him better. Stewart plays a cerebral game and will team up with Minott to make up arguably the best passing frontcourt in the state. He makes good decisions with the ball out of both the high and low post areas, can step out and score from the arc and has a soft touch around the basket. Turner brings strength and athleticism to the group. He plays with great energy, runs the floor, challenges shots and is an opportunistic scorer.
Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy
6’10 JR Ben Middlebrooks, 6’9 SO Jaylen Carey
This duo could arguably be the most effective two-man wrecking crew in the state this season. Middlebrooks has become a high-major recruit thanks to his ability as an effective pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop big. He is a very accurate three-point shooter, can score on straight-line drives, and runs the floor for easy baskets. Middlebrooks also is solid when it comes to scoring inside and grabbing boards. However, it will most likely be Carey that gets the call to post up on offense. He has nimble feet in the post and a soft touch with either hand around the basket. Carey is a voracious rebounder and quickly outlets the ball to start the transition game.
Others of Note
Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee: 6’8 SR Jaden Newell, 6’8 JR Elijah Johnson, 6’8 JR Brian Grant, 6’6 Easton Davis, 6’6 FR Asa Newell
Miami Doral: 6’8 SR Kameron Johnson, 6’7 SO Justin Johnson
Tallahassee Florida High: 6’8 SR Makai Willis, 6’6 SR Kai Farlin
Jacksonville Impact Christian: 6’6 SR Calvin Johnson, 6’6 SR Ivan Lawson, 6’6 JR Kelvin Johnson
Winter Park Lake Howell: 6’8 SR Jonah Pierce, 6’7 SR Dalton Robinson
Fort Lauderdale North Broward Prep: 6’6 SR Mikael Ashmore, 6’9 JR Justin Abson, 6’9 SO Guilherme Tesch, 6’7 SR Arthur Frigo
Ocala Forest: 6’7 SR Klisten Lawrence, 6’8 JR Brenen Lorient, 6’8 JR Elijah Russell, 6’8 JR Chris Heard
Miami Riviera Prep: 6’10 JR Edward Nnamoko, 6’7 SO Osmar Garcia-Araujo
Sarasota Riverview: 6’8 SR John Solomon, 6’7 SR Jayven Millien, 6’6 SR Davis Mazon
Weston Sagemont: 6’8 SR Milos Kovacevic, 6’10 SR Sergey Grishaev, 6’8 JR Nedas Zukauskas
Tampa Durant: 6’7 SR Matthew Lentz, 6’7 JR Jaylen Wharton
Windermere Prep: 6’11 SR Elijah Hulsewe, 6’7 SR Gabe Ferguson