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.
Orlando Oak Ridge
6’0 SO Jaden Reese, 6’3 JR Elijah Elliott, 6’5 JR Tyler Johnson, 6’6 JR Cam Simpson, 6’4 JR Jordan Tillery
It won’t surprise when the Pioneers trot out a Five Perimeter Player lineup this season. Reese had great success running the point last season for a regional runner-up. He sets the table well for his teammates, will make shots from deep, and has a very high hoops IQ. Elliott can also run the offense. He is dynamic in transition and very adept at taking defenders off the bounce. Johnson sometimes gets stuck playing inside on the defensive end, but he is a solid perimeter presence on offense than can take smaller players inside. His three-point shooting continues to improve. Three-point shooting is not an issue for Simpson who transferred in over the summer. His range is really deep and he is also a big help in the rebounding department. Another transfers that will provide a big boost is Tillery. A Jack-of-all-Trades type, he does all the little things that get wins. On top of that, he shoots the ball well from the perimeter and is a tough on-ball defender.
Hialeah Mater Lakes
6’1 SR Michael Bradley, 6’4 SR Gabe Fajardo, 6’3 JR Clarence Burts, 6’0 SO Anthony Knowles
This group was super-impressive when we saw them in the fall. Bradley has been a varsity starter since eighth grade. His calling card is his three-point shot but he has become better at scoring off the dribble as his body has matured. Fajardo is a crafty ball-handler and creative scorer that will manufacture points in a lot of different ways. He has a solid frame and knows how to use it to ward off defenders when attacking the basket. Burts transferred in over the summer. He is solid on the defensive end and will knock down shots from the perimeter. Burts also helps out on the glass at both ends of the floor. Knowles was very impressive running the show last season as a freshman. He does a great job of orchestrating the up-tempo attack, pushing the pace, and finding open shooters or cutters at the offensive end.
5’9 SR Calvin Sirmans, 6’5 SR Marvin Golf, 6’2 SR Anthony Coby
This group paced the Trojans to the 7A final four last season and have a great chance to do so again in one of the tougher regions regardless of class. Sirmans was the Palm Beach County Player of the Year last season. Whether drilling shots from behind the arc or collapsing the defense off the dribble, he makes things happen. His teammates get easy points because of his set-up abilities. Golf scores best off drives to the rim and in crashing the offensive glass. He has improved his perimeter shot and is a reliable ball-handler and passer. Coby has a shooter’s mentality, frequently knocking down multiple shots in succession from deep. He has also developed a floater to score off drives in the lane.
Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer
6’4 SR Kyle McNeal, 6’5 SR Blake Wilson
If we are talking “traditional” two-man backcourts, Dwyer’s may be the best. Both McNeal and Wilson bring superior size and athleticism to the court. McNeal penetrates well, sees over and past defenders to make good shot vs. pass decisions, and is very quick and fast with the ball. Wilson is the shooter, always prepared to catch and shoot off a teammate’s penetration. He will also take the ball strong to the basket if the close out is too aggressive or overplayed by the defense. Defensively this duo is dynamic with their ability to cover a lot of ground quickly and disrupt the passing lanes.
6’3 SR Eddrin Bronson, 6’5 JR Karter Knox, 6’0 SO Isaiah Campbell-Finch
Bronson is a versatile scorer that will just as easily drop bombs from beyond the arc as score amongst the trees near the basket. Knox’s recruiting profile continues to rise. He was very good this summer in the EBYL 16U division and played for USA Basketball’s U18 FIBA World Champs. 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. Campbell excelled at the point guard spot last season as a mere freshman. He doesn’t look to score much but when he does, he is usually successful.
FIFTEEN MORE TO KNOW
Clearwater Calvary Christian: 6’0 JR Daniel MacGregor, 6’0 SR Dominic Sarigumba, 6’6 SR Ace Taylor
Miami Christopher Columbus: 6’4 SO Cayden Boozer, 6’2 SO Benny Fragela, 6’0 SR Garyn Bess, 6’3 SO Angelo Miranda
Miami Palmetto: 6’0 JR Braylen Burbridge, 6’4 JR Randy Smith, 5’11 SR Matt Mairena
Orlando Christian Prep: 6’4 JR Isaiah Brown, 6’0 JR Ameer Ramadan, 6’6 SR Isaiah Sutherland, 6’0 SR Sean Combs
Orlando Jones: 6’3 SR Jalon Cole, 6’3 JR Calvin Liptrot, 6’3 JR Keishaun Robinson, 6’0 JR Telario Pringle
Orlando Olympia: 6’2 SR Edgerrin James, 6’5 JR Carter McDole, 6’2 SO Cameron Miles
Jacksonville Providence: 6’5 SR Mason Lee, 6’6 JR Chris Arias
Port St. Lucie Centennial: 6’1 SR Ty Owens, 6’4 SR Joseph Lazeau, 6’2 SR Jaydon Washington
Miami Riviera Prep: 6’4 SO Dante Allen, 6’2 SR Cooper Josefsberg
Weston Sagemont: 6’1 SR Ashton Smith, 6’3 SR Cam Gibson, 6’7 SR Tynan Decker, 6’4 SR Max Martinez
Miami Southridge: 6’6 SR Koree Cotton, 6’1 SR Anthony Dozier, 6’0 JR Ray Daniels, 6’0 SR Jamari Dean
St. Petersburg HS: 6’5 SR Tre Gross, 5’10 SR Quez Curry, 5’10 SR Sam Duckworth, 6’2 JR Mike Drayton
Riviera Beach Suncoast: 6’5 SR Nate Sasser, 6’0 JR Stone Bureau, 6’4 JR Jeremiah Police
Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy: 6’4 SO Alexander Lloyd, 6’7 SO Dwayne Wimbley, 6’0 FR Randy Livingston
Windermere: 6’2 SR Jalen Dubose, 6’3 JR Chalier Torres, 5’9 JR TaVeon Jones