Without solid guard play, success on the basketball court is hard to come by. It becomes much more difficult to advance the ball, score, or contain the other team on the perimeter without it. With that in mind, we take a look at what we think will be some of the better backcourts this coming high school season.
Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian
6’4 SR Tyler Hendricks, 6’4 JR Marvel Allen, 6’6 JR Carl Cherenfant
As if dealing with the Eagles frontcourt wasn’t enough, opponents will have their hands full with a backcourt boasting high-major recruits. Hendricks is a UCF signee and is a dangerous perimeter shooter. He will be counted on to stretch the floor to create space for the bigs to operate inside. Hendricks has also improved his ability to score off the drive and defend on the perimeter. Allen has been a varsity starter since his eighth grade year and continues his ascent up the national Class of 2023 rankings. He is a dynamic two-way guard, capable of making a major impact on the game on both offense and defense. Allen is difficult to keep out of the lane, earns a lot of trips to the foul line, and is underrated as an assist man. Cherenfant has loads of upside thanks to his length and athleticism. He has a nice mid-range game, helps out on the glass at both ends, and will defend multiple positions.
Orlando Dr. Phillips
6’4 SR Denzel Aberdeen, 6’5 SR Riley Kugel, 6’2 SR Mason Sheffield, 6’4 SO Jordan Tillery
Aberdeen had a breakout spring and summer with Southeast Elite, earning him several high-major offers before deciding to sign with the University of Florida. He can play either guard spot effectively. At the point, his size and ball-handling skills allow him to see over the defense and find the right teammate for a shot. Off the ball, he is a shooter with deep range but also a scorer with a variety of moves and finishes to get to and score at the basket. Kugel, a Mississippi State signee, is another versatile performer. He has good court vision and passes the ball very well. Kugel also has a reliable shot out to the arc, helps out on the glass, and will defend multiple positions. Sheffield has a nice outside stroke and will stretch the defense. He also finishes well in transition and helps out on the glass. Tillery does a lot of little things and almost all of them win games. He is one of those players that a coach go tell him to go play and good things will happen.
Orlando Lake Highland Prep
6’6 SR Brice Sensabaugh, 6’2 SR Jah Quinones, 5’10 SR Jared Berry, 6’2 SO Julien Clark, 6’0 SO Kellan Lewis
The Highlanders may be the “Kings of Small Ball” this coming season. A lot rests on the capable shoulders of Sesabaugh, an Ohio State signee. By the start of the July live period this past summer, he was fully healed from the knee issue that hobbled him all of last season. Sensabaugh was able to show off a unique combination of size, skill, and athleticism. He scores well from all three levels and is a tough match-up. Quinones has signed with Mercer. The lefty has good court vision and passing skills, has range to the arc, and plays bigger than his size. Berry is headed to Embry-Riddle in the fall of 2022. He is a confident and aggressive player that takes and makes big shots in big moments. Clark and Lewis are the future of the program. Both score the ball very well.
6’5 SR Cameron Johnson, 6’6 SO Marcus Allen, 6’2 SO Clarence Burts, 6’2 JR Carl Parrish
The Viking program continues to churn out talented players. Johnson is one of those guys that really has no position. He just goes out, plays, produce, and, more often than not, wins. His perimeter skills continue to improve but he remains very effective as a scorer inside the arc, offensive rebounder, and disruptive defender. Allen is one of the better prospects nationally in the 2024 Class. He has excellent size, length and quickness. He attacks the rim aggressively, scores thru contact, rebounds at both ends, and puts in effort on the defensive end. Burts is solid in the point guard role. More strength than quickness, he overpowers most guards to get to where he wants to go on the court. Burts does a good job of finding teammates for easy scoring opportunities. Parrish impresses with his ability to adapt to the other four guys on the court and figure out how to make plays at both ends of the floor.
6’3 JR Eddrin Bronson, 6’4 JR Karmelo Branch, 6’5 SO Karter Knox, 6’0 FR Isaiah Campbell-Finch
This is a young group but they can definitely play! Bronson is a versatile scorer that will just as easily drop bombs from beyond the arc as score amongst the trees near the basket. Branch has deep range on his shot and has become a much better driver/finisher when heading to the basket. Knox has the most potential of the group. He was very good this summer in the EBYL 15U division. An athletic scorer with a quick first step, Knox beats most defenders to the basket. He also has a streaky perimeter shot that defenders must respect. Though just a freshman, Campbell-Finch has earned the respect of coaches and teammates to run the show. He doesn’t look to score much but when he does, he is usually successful.
OTHERS OF NOTE
Jacksonville Bishop Snyder: 6’3 SR Jalen Gilmore, 6’4 SR Trent Walker, 6’4 SR Moises Balunga, 6’2 SR Nick Lowery
Orlando Central Florida Christian Academy: 6’2 SR Nick Rodriguez, 6’3 SR Jamar Houston, 6’6 SO Cam Simpson, 5’9 SO Tavian Jones
Weston Cypress Bay: 6’3 SR Noah Kattan, 6’4 SR Kevin Pazmino, 6’0 SR Max Gordon
Miami Doral: 6’7 JR Justin Johnson; 5’11 JR Gabriel Hernandez
Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer: 6’1 SR Xavier Scott, 6’3 JR Kyle McNeal
Orlando Edgewater: 5’10 JR Jaylen Smith, 6’2 SO Eric Taylor
Tallahassee Florida High: 6’3 SR Tre Donaldson, 6’2 JR Anthony Robertson
Kissimmee Osceola: 6’0 SR Christian Combs, 6’1 JR Sean Combs
Lakeland: 6’5 JR Tyler Williams, 6’2 JR Rolijah Hardy
Miami Country Day: 6’6 JR Jasai Miles, 6’2 JR Marc Wendrow, 6’3 SR Ryan Richardson, 6’4 FR Shon Abaev
Miami Senior: 6’3 SR Yasmani Torriente, 5’11 SR Brandon Garcia; 6’3 JR Josh Middlebrooks
Miami Palmetto: 6’6 SR Jimel Lane; 6’0 SR Warner Davis; 6’0 SR Nick Pineyro; 6’2 JR Cooper Josefsberg, 6’0 SO Brayon Burbridge
Ocala Trinity Catholic: 6’3 SR Ashton Lovette, 6’2 JR Greg Maxwell, 6’1 SR L.J. Pugh
Orlando Christian Prep: 6’5 SR A.J. Brown, 6’2 SO Isaiah Brown, 6’0 SO Ameer Ramadan, 5’10 FR Mikel Brown
Orlando Oak Ridge: 6’4 SR Fabio Basilli, 6’5 SR Lewis Jones, 6’3 SO Elijah Elliott, 5’11 FR Jaden Reese
Pembroke Pines Charter: 6’2 SR Kolby King, 6’1 SR Geoffrey Sprouse; 6’4 SR Caelum Ethridge
Sanford Seminole: 6’1 JR Jacari Henderson, 6’1 JR Demari Henderson
Sarasota Riverview: 6’3 JR Jason Jackson, 6’4 SO Jayden Dudash, 6’5 FR Jamier Jones
Riviera Beach Suncoast: 6’6 JR Nate Sasser, 5’11 SO Stone Bureau
Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy: 6’4 SR Aiden Able, 6’5 SR Ricky Ballard, 6’3 FR Alexander Lloyd
Windermere Prep: 6’5 SR Jayden Williams, 6’0 SR Drew Kousaie, 6’4 JR Eduardo Placer, 6’2 SO Z.Z. Clark
Clearwater Calvary Christian: 6’2 SR Trevor Parks; 6’0 SO Daniel MacGregor, 6’2 SO Jordan Lanier