Photo Courtesy Unordinary Hoops
In this report from the 2020 All American Jamboree, we will focus on a foursome of teams that play in the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA).
Orlando West Oaks Academy
This squad is loaded with D-I level talent and will be considered, not just the favorites to grab the SIAA state title, but to start out the season as a top ten rated team in many national polls. Wesley Cardet, a 6’6 senior, has several high major offers that he is considering. Whether dropping in threes or attacking the basket off the dribble, he is a problem for the defense. Backcourt brother A.J. Neal, a 6’1 senior, has deep range and a quick release that stretches the defense. He too will put the ball on the deck and head for the hoop, daring the defense to stop him. Justin Neely, a 6’6 senior, has the strength to post up smaller defenders and score in the lane and the skills to get by bigger defenders and score from mid-range or closer. Jahsean Corbett, a 6’6, senior, does a little bit of everything in terms of rebounding, defending inside and out, as well as scoring the ball in different ways. Ryan Bewley (pictured above), a 6’9 sophomore, has a great combination of athleticism and skills for a player so young. He can play as well as guard almost every position on the floor. His twin, 6’9 Matthew Bewley, is out with a shoulder issue but is a dynamic presence when available. Another D-I talent, 6’5 senior Jordan Shorter, sat out the game we watched due to a recent minor lower limb injury. Plenty of talent comes off the bench in the form of 6’3 senior J.J. Harris, 5’11 senior Ray Robinson, and 6’1 junior Kasai Fontanez. Harris is instant offense but is also a good set-up man when driving to the basket, finding open teammates for easy shots. Robinson is quick to push the pace on offense and makes life miserable for opposing ball-handlers. Fontanez can play either guard spot and is an accomplished scorer. Hopefully, 6’8 junior Mo Sabiu will be able to return from knee issues by the time the season starts to add even more depth to the West Oaks roster.
Gainesville The Rock School
Based on the roster provided, The Rock was missing a good chunk of their players but still more than held their own. The key player for the Lions is 6’3 senior Kyle Duke. Now in his third year with the program, the Canada native is the established leader of the club. He can create and make shots, has good court vision and a high basketball IQ. Defensively, he can be a menace with his quick feet, active hands, and ability to anticipate passes in his general direction. William Nall, a 6’5 senior, impressed with his athleticism and shot making ability from inside and behind the three-point arc. He also proved to be a solid rebounder. Dylan James, a 6’8 sophomore, has size as well as perimeter skills. He has a nose for the ball when it comes to offensive rebounding and defensively does a nice job of blocking shots coming over from “help” position. Ryan Jones, a 6’8 freshman, looks to be the future of the program. While he was only 1-8 from three in the game we watched, he drained seven in a game later in the day. We’ve seen him before and feel he is at his best when he mixes up rim attacks with his penchant for launching deep jumpers. Alex McCray, a 6’2 junior, provides additional depth in the backcourt while 6’9 senior Atraiel Washington is a solid presence inside at both ends of the floor. Jayce Harrison, a 5’10 senior, and Seth Childers, a 5’10 sophomore, are sparks off the bench.
Orlando Downey Christian
With a new coaching staff and philosophy, it looks like Downey Christian is ready to make its mark in the SIAA. Leading the way is 6’5 junior Prince Ebwea. Strong with a solid frame, Ebwea is difficult to keep from the basket. Once there, he finishes tough shots in traffic with excellent body control. While he missed the few jumpers he took in the game we watched, the fundamentals and form are there, so it is just a matter of time before he becomes more consistent. Ebwea also uses his athletic gifts well when it comes to defense and rebounding. Running the club is 6’0 senior Jaythan Bosch. A scorer and well as distributor, we were impressed by his shot vs. pass decision making, ability to run the pick-and-roll, as well take what the defense was giving up. Junior Keniel Viruet and Sophomore Nick Lucena, both 6’3, were solid in their ability to score and move the ball without turning it over. Each impressed with crafty finishes in traffic at the basket. Jonathan Suarez, a 6’5 senior, provided rebounding and timely outside shooting for the club. Gregory Limage, a 6’4 junior, proved he could stretch the defense and score by moving without the ball into open spots in the defense and knocking down shots before the defense could react. As a group, Downey Christian plays well together and looks to be a team that won’t be an “easy W” in the SIAA this coming season.
After a 2019-2020 season that wasn’t up to its lofty standards, Oldsmar Christian looks to make its way back to the top of the hyper-competitive SIAA. Leading the charge should be 6’5 senior Jake Carrol-Newton. Active and athletic, he is a tough cover whether he is shooting perimeter jumpers or taking the ball strong to the basket. Newton is also a proficient rebounder. Bryce Johnson, a 6’3 senior, does a solid job of running the offense and finding teammates for easy scores. Ronnie Johnson, a 6’2 senior, is a marksman from beyond the three-point line. Isaiah Howell, a 6’7 junior, is a crafty operator around the rim with a soft touch. He needs to get stronger but he uses his quickness and leaping ability to rebound well at both ends of the floor. Willie Patterson, a 6’4 junior, is fearless taking the ball to the basket. Javaris Patterson, a 6’6 junior, was at his best in transition, finishing above the rim with ease. The SIAA is one of the top high school basketball conferences in the nation and it is that much better when Oldsmar Christian is competing for a top spot. This group looks like it could do just that.