Marcis Ponder, Miami Norland: Listed as a 7’0 freshman, we think he’s more 6’10 but the amazing thing he told us is that he has slimmed down from 300 pounds last summer to around 245 now. It has made a world of difference as he still has a solid frame but moves much better, both laterally and in transition. He was dominant on the interior Saturday afternoon and there was real concern that a backboard may end up in his hands after a few of his dunks. The scary thing is he will get better athletically as his body matures. Ponder was vocal on defense, played with a previously unseen passion, and looked to erase every shot that came within his area.
Christian Maxon, Fort Pierce Central: A 6’2 sophomore and son of a coach, Maxon has an identical twin brother, Christopher, that didn’t take part in the festivities due to a injury. This gave Christian a spotlight all his own and he took full advantage of it. Playing with an “all gas no brakes” approach, Maxon got by defenders and downhill throughout the session. He also dropped in some mid-range shots and floaters in the lane. Maxon has a quick release on an accurate perimeter shot and some deep ones off both the catch and the bounce. He puts in great effort when guarding the ball and forces turnovers because of it.
Jayquan Freeman, City of Hialeah Educational Academy: The 6’6 freshman got everyone’s attention with back-to-back threes in his first game of the day. He sort of fell in love with the three-ball after that. However, in the second game he toned it down and showed and ability to score at the basket, whether on drives or cutting into open areas and getting shots up quickly. Freeman has a solid body for a freshman as well as above-average athleticism. He certainly seems talented from a physical standpoint and our hope is to find out more about his basketball skills and acumen in the months to come.
Kaden Toure, Jacksonville Sandalwood: The 6’2 sophomore was one of the more pleasant surprises on the day regardless of session. We very much liked his combination of basketball skills and athleticism. He handles the basketball well, shot the ball from behind the arc and made good pass vs. shot decisions when driving to the basket. Toure had some tough finishes in traffic and made his foul shots when given the opportunity. Defensively he was active both when guarding the ball and looking to disrupt the passing lanes.
Jalen Reece, Orlando Oak Ridge: The 6’0 sophomore only played one game on Saturday but that was more than enough to prove he was one of the better players at either session. With the ball on a string and his head on a swivel, Reece is always ready to get the ball to an open teammate where he can best use it. He keeps the ball low and away from defenders and is quick to blow by them should they reach in. Reece is a crafty scorer around the basket and reliable perimeter shooter on both sides of the arc. It’s clear he has been well-schooled in the finer points of the game as his dad is the head coaching at one of the better programs in Central Florida.
Jalan Wingfield, Thomas County (GA) Central: The 6’7 freshman made his way south and left with a great appreciation for his game. He may be a freshman but he has a big body and solid frame to go along with the knowledge of how to effectively use it. It takes a minute to get around his ball-screen and Wingfield is quick to roll to the hoop for either a shot or rebound opportunity. He moves well up and down the court at his size. Maybe the most surprising thing is his shooting ability from the perimeter as he connected on a trio of shots from deep. Wingfield is a physical defender, will challenge shots, and control his rebounding area at that end of the floor.
Joshua Lewis, Tampa Blake: The 6’7 sophomore is skilled and plays with a smoothness that belies the great effort he puts in. He handles the ball well for a player his size, makes some tough shots in traffic, and will find teammates for open shots on the move. Lewis will knock down threes if not respected. He also has a knack for coming up with offensive rebounds and getting easy buckets that way. Lewis is a solid athlete that covers a lot of ground defensively. He can grab a rebound and lead the break on his own.