23 Mar 2022


The High School season is over and the Travel Team Circuit will be heating up very, very soon.  Now is a good time for Source Hoops to dole out our annual End of Season Awards.  First up: Most Valuable Player.  Remember, we define the MVP as the person who was most prominent in leading his team to playoff success.


Latrell Sanders, Paxton:  Sanders emerged on the scene as a freshman, helping Paxton to a state title.  Three seasons and nearly 2,000 points later, the 5’11 senior almost did the same thing.  Sanders was impressive in the hotly-contested semi-final game against Malone.  In the title game, Sanders did all he could against Bradford but the Tornadoes were not to be denied.  He proved to be a guy that can make shots well past the three-point line as well as find ways to score at the basket in a crowd.  Sanders players under control and looks to get teammates involved before going into scoring mode if necessary.  Hopefully, he will get a chance to play on a collegiate level.


A.J. Brown, Orlando Christian Prep: The Warriors of Orlando Christian Prep may not have been as dominant as last year’s undefeated edition but they still grabbed another 2A championship and Brown was integral to that accomplishment.  While the 6’4 senior and Ohio University signee’s shooting numbers may not have been stellar in Lakeland, his 17 points in the semis and team-high 21 in the title game show he is a bucket-getter.  In big games against top competition, it was clear that Brown was the go-to guy.  He rarely disappointed. A four-year starter at OCP, he leaves a lasting legacy and big shoes to fill.


Esteban Lluberes, Miami Riviera Prep: The 5’11 senior and Lynn signee took his game to another level as the season progressed.  He averaged 18 points in leading Riviera Prep to a 2-1 record at the Kreul which included a win over SIAA state champ The Rock School.  We were front and center in Ocala when Lluberes hit a buzzer-beating three to push his team into the semi-finals.  He was equally dynamic in Lakeland, dropping twenty points in an easy semi-final victory and a game-high 28 points in a heartbreaking one-point loss in the title game.  Lluberes combines a true point guard mentality with multi-level scoring tools as well as an intense desire to win.


Taylor Hendricks, Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian: The 6’9 senior and University of Central Florida signee was the most consistent player on a stocked team that is currently rated in the top ten in the country and will play in the first State Champions Showcase in April, an offshoot of the GEICO Nationals and put on by the same organization.  Whether it be at the City of Palms Classic or in the state tournament in Lakeland, Hendricks produced.  At the CoP, he averaged nearly sixteen points and seven rebounds while shooting nearly 60% from the field and also contributed over two blocks per contest.  In Lakeland, Hendricks had 18 points and four blocks in the semis and eleven points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the final.  Efficient production is his calling card and to do that in a stacked lineup of talented players bodes well for his future at UCF


Houston Culpepper, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan: Talking to one South Florida coach before the state playoffs, he mentioned how Culpepper was “just beasting” people.  That wasn’t surprising.  Culpepper is a unique player that, though just 6’3, is able to play bigger than his size, use his high basketball IQ to make plays and do what needs to be done to get a “W”.  He had twelve points and six rebounds in the state semi-final, none bigger than his putback just before the final buzzer to propel the Mighty Dragons into the championship game.  In the final, Culpepper put up a modest ten points and seven rebounds in a twenty-plus point victory.  While his body type screams that he should be following in his father’s footsteps on the football field, Culpepper’s abilities on the hardwood suggest that whatever school lands him will find an increase in their win total.


Ryan Davis, Stuart Martin County: The 6’4 senior gets it.  Davis finds the most efficient ways to score, rebound, and defend on every possession.  He may not run the fastest, jump the highest, or have the tantalizing length of others but he is far more about production than potential.  In a tough semi-final contest in Lakeland, Davis’ eighteen points, six rebounds and seven assists, all team highs, were instrumental in a narrow five-point win.  In another close game, he added eight points and twelve rebounds into the stat sheet to garner the Tigers the state title.  Davis might not do any one thing great, but he does all the little things and intangibles at a very high level.


Cameron Boozer, Miami Columbus: Freshmen, especially 6’8 freshmen, are not supposed to be this good.  They are not supposed to play with poise, have fluid movement on the floor, score well both facing the basket and on the block, and look like a lock for an NBA lottery pick.  But Boozer does.  A living, breathing, walking double-double, Boozer is a threat to post a triple-double in any given game, not just because of his size and ability to block shots but also as a passer.  Boozer had ten total assists in Lakeland, unusual and rare for a “big”.  He has set a high bar for the next three seasons.


Maurice “Mo” Odum, Orlando West Oaks Academy: Though the Flames fell in overtime in the SIAA state title game, Odum did all he could to get them to the winner’s circle.  He went for 44 points in a ten-point semi-final win and then pumped in 34 points in the title game that was an instant classic.  Odum and company then went on to The Grind Session World Championships, an invitation-only event for elite-level independent schools.  The Flames shocked a lot of people in getting to the finals and Odum was key to that run.  He averaged 27 points and 5 assists per game against some of the best teams in the country.  Odum’s ability to score and distribute at a high level has many D-I coaches pursuing him as a late signee.

Next Up: Most Outstanding Player





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