The Hoop Exchange presented its Spring Player Showdown this past weekend in Orlando. Saturday was split into two sessions for Freshmen and Sophomores while Sunday’s two sessions were reserved for Juniors and Seniors. There is a lot to take in.
Dwayne Wimbley Jr., Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy: The 6’6 sophomore was apparently STILL upset about his team’s loss in the regional finals and took out his anger and frustration on every opponent, rim, and backboard at the facility. Wimbley was dominant in nearly every aspect of both contests that he played. He got to the basket with a quick first step and/or by overpowering defenders to finish in a crowd at the rim. Wimbley made perimeter shots on both sides of the arc, vigorously pursued missed shots and scored on putbacks, and beat the defense down the floor for scores. He didn’t slow down on defense either, forcing turnovers or outright swiping the ball from the opponent to get easy baskets. He was just as dynamic in the second session of the day as the first, but we will only mention him in this report.
Caleb Sanders, Riverview Bell Creek Academy: The 6’6 sophomore came ready to play on Saturday. He shot the ball well from the perimeter, ran the floor for scores, and competed on the glass at both ends of the court. Sanders has a solid frame, good athleticism, and plays with a motor that doesn’t slow down.
D.J. Sandi, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: A 5’10 freshman that started for a young STA team that reached its region semi-finals and was ranked as high as #2 in Class 6A this past season, Sandi was quite impressive with his ability to control the ball and the game. We liked how he doesn’t “dance” with the ball but makes a move then hits the gas to get by the defense and into the lane. He hit a couple of mid-range pull-ups but for the most part Sandi scored at the bucket. Sandi excelled at forcing turnovers, either swiping he ball outright from the dribbler or harassing him so much that he forced a bad pass that teammates picked off for scores.
Demetrice McCray, Wildwood: A 6’0 freshman, McCray has a burst and explosiveness to him that few regardless of class have. He’s quick to the hoop and finishes well at the rim. McCray also showed a reliable jumper from the perimeter, especially when in rhythm and not rushed. He also proved to be decent passer on the break. It will be interesting to see if McCray gets any taller and how that might impact his opportunities at the collegiate level.
Saeed Moghaddam Adames, Plantation American Heritage: The 6’6 sophomore did the right thing in showing observers what he can do instead of what he thinks he can (but really can’t) do. He competed well for rebounds in and out of his area, was quick to put back teammates’ misses, and showed an ability to grab the ball and push it up the floor on his own. Saeed did knock down a three later in the day but didn’t fall in love with the perimeter shot. Instead, he ran the floor and scored ahead of the defense whenever possible.
Toni Bryant, North Tampa Christian: A 6’9 freshman, Bryant has a great deal of potential thanks to his size, length, and athleticism. He has decent skills as well as he is an effective straight-line driver and scorer with one or two dribbles and has a respectable shot from fifteen feet and in. It will take a lot more work to move to playing the wing full-time but with three years left in high school it is certainly possible. Though thin, Bryant competes on the glass in a crowd, is quick off the floor, and is fast up the court in transition. He is also quick enough laterally to switch out onto smaller ball-handlers in ball-screen action.
Jordan Bryant, North Tampa Christian: A 6’6 freshman and no relation (we believe) to teammate Toni, this Bryant plays a different, though no less effective, type of game. He won’t wow you with big-time athletic ability but is good enough in that category, is especially active on the offensive glass and gets a lot of points on putbacks. Bryant has good mechanics on his perimeter shot and while it didn’t fall in the two games we watched, we feel that consistency will come in time. He also has a nose for the ball on defense and we just like the way he competes on every possession.