In this report we will focus on the teams and players that are a bit more high-profile.
Team Breakdown 17U
Lots of fresh faces in this version of Team Breakdown. Even so, the group lives up to the expectations of playing hard at both ends of the floor. Matthew Bewley, a 6’9 sophomore from Orlando West Oaks, looked ready to dominate in college right now with some of the things he did Saturday. His rebound, coast-to-coast drive, and finish with an off-hand euro-step was a marvel to behold. Twin brother Ryan Bewley, also a 6’9 sophomore at West Oaks, isn’t far behind in terms of talent. Between the two of them, the Bewley’s owned the glass at both ends of the floor. Each has the offensive skill to play in the post or on the perimeter and the defensive length and foot speed to guard multiple positions. Kris Parker, a 6’6 sophomore out of Quincy Crossroad Academy, is another talent playing up a level. He is a high-end athlete with a burst to the basket and a dangerous outside shot. Parker displayed good ball-handling and passing skills and was often running the offense. The “traditional point guard” role was manned by 6’2 junior Kolby King out of Pembroke Pines Charter. He was fast with the ball, pushed the pace and scored or distributed the ball equally well. He was also a very determined on-ball defender and anticipated the passing lanes well. Jasai Miles, a 6’5 sophomore from Miami Country Day, fit right in with this athletic, high energy group. He handled, passed and shot the ball well and also proved to be an enthusiastic rebounder and defender. Prince Ebwea, a 6’5 junior at Downey Christian in Orlando, exceled in attacking the basket and scoring from fifteen feet and in. He’s strong and overpowered most defenders heading to the basket. Theo Mansell, a 6’5 junior out of Holy Trinity in Melbourne, took the energy up a notch when he stepped on the court. He impressed with his defensive tenacity and ability to score in transition and out to fifteen feet with his jump shot. Dre Fox, a 6’2 junior out of IMG, was unable to play due to injury this past weekend.
Showtime Ballers 17U
In a bit of a surprise, Showtime had several unsigned seniors on the squad this past weekend. At the top of the list was 6’2 guard A.J. Neal out of Orlando West Oaks, the school’s all-time leading scorer. He had an absolute monster first game, going 8-9 from deep with each shot seemingly further out than the previous one. Neal also dropped a few assists during the game. Ray Robinson, a 5’11 guard out of Tallahassee Rickards, did a great job of pushing the pace, getting the ball to teammates for open shots and striking fear into the heart of opposing ball-handlers. Eathen Williams, a 6’2 guard from Orlando Dr. Phillips, played like he has been shot out of a cannon. His effort was contagious. Williams is an above the rim finisher, active defender and consistently attacks the basket. Another senior, 6’6 Ocypher Owens out of Orlando Christian Prep, stroked the three, scored on the break and made an impact on the glass. The junior class for this group has a great deal of promise. R.J. Moore, a 6’4 wing from Orlando West Oaks, scored well on both drives and perimeter shots. He was very active on defense and got to a lot of loose balls. Jaylen Martin, a 6’6 wing from Tallahassee Florida High, is a high-major talent. A skilled and smooth scorer, Martin has just about every finishing shot in the book. A three-level scorer, Martin got points easily and efficiently. Jaylen Wharton, a 6’6 junior from Tampa Durant, has some inside/outside ability. A bit thin but long and athletic, he is fast to rebounds and block shots. Wharton is a good scorer from fifteen feet and in, whether knocking down jump shots or putting the ball on the floor for a dribble or two and scoring at the basket. Ed Nnamako, a 6’10 junior at Riviera Prep in Miami, has some work to do on the offensive end but owned the glass and protected the rim very well. Elijah Allen, Mo Sabaiu, Donovan McIntosh and Tombe Ditia all bring energy to the game when called upon.
Southeast Elite 17U
This group will be playing on the Adidas “3SSB” (three stripes select basketball) circuit this spring and summer. Ernest Udeh, a 6’9 junior from Orlando Dr. Phillips, is a great athlete with length and played with great deal of energy. He is a deluxe rebounder and shot-blocker that can step out on ball-screens and defend smaller players. DP teammate Denzell Aberdeen, a 6’2 junior, is a scoring point guard with great range on his shot. He was quite crafty with the ball and slithered through the defense to get points close to the rim. Another Dr. Phillips product, 6’5 junior Riley Kugel, is a very versatile player. He has excellent size, court vision, and passing skills to play the point, a reliable jumper to play off the ball and the ability to rebound to play a forward spot. Ven-Allen Lubin, a 6’7 junior at Orlando Christian Prep, is set for a breakout spring. He is a consistent and efficient double-double producer. Allen scored off the drive and shot equally well, ran the floor, and passionately pursued rebounds at both ends of the floor. Jeremy Foumena, a 6’10 junior out of Kissimmee Central Point Christian, has good scoring skills inside and runs the floor well for a guy his size. He has a strong frame and does a good job of carving out space for rebounds. Two other players from Central Point, 6’10 senior Luka Tekavic and 6’5 junior Jesus Sierra, are recent arrivals. Tekavic has some good skills but will need to get used to the more physical American style of hoops. Sierra was quite active in his first outing attacking the basket, scoring on the break, and pushing the ball up the floor. Jovan Bennet of Winter Park Trinity Prep, a 5’10 junior, scored well from deep, got the ball into the post and continuously pushed the pace.