13 Jun 2022

A Sampling of the UCF Team Camp

The University of Central Florida held its High School Team Camp this past weekend.  We took in those contests that featured some of the better teams in attendance on Saturday.  Here are a few thoughts from the event.

Lake Worth

Missing in Action: Calvin Sirmans (knee); Marvin Golf (elbow)

Newbies of Note: N/A

Thoughts: First and foremost, the Trojans must be given a lot of love for playing three tough games in succession on Saturday as they willingly filled in for a no-show team.  Despite missing Sirmans and Golf, Lake Worth still looks like a team that can return to Lakeland.  Jeremy Innocent, a 6’7 rising junior, impressed with his ability to rebound at both ends of the floor as well as make shots out to fifteen feet.  He plays with great energy and effort and provides the Trojans with a needed interior weapon.

Miami Norland

Missing in Action: N/A

Newbies of Note: Marcis Ponder, 6’10, 2026(!)

Thoughts: While team camps and off-season leagues are rarely predictors of in-season success, Norland is still Norland as long as Coach Lawton Williams is at the helm.  Generally, that means the road to Lakeland in the Vikings’ region and classification goes through them.  Marcus Allen, a 6’6 rising junior that is part of USA Basketball, will no doubt be the main attraction.  However, with senior 6’2 guard Carl Parrish and 6’4 juniors Tristan Wilson and Jamal Ware providing plenty of supporting firepower, the scoring burden on Allen won’t be too heavy.  Amani Drayton, a 6’7 senior, is long, active, and will give a lot of help in the defense and rebounding departments and allow incoming freshman Ponder to develop at his own pace.

Orlando Oak Ridge

Missing in Action: N/A

Newbies of Note: Jordan Tillery (6’4 2024); Cameron Simpson (6’6 2024)

Thoughts: The rich get richer.  Oak Ridge didn’t have a rising senior on its roster this weekend and looked like a young group that will pose a great challenge on the road to Lakeland.  The additions of Tillery (from Orlando Dr. Phillips) and Simpson (from Orlando Central Florida Christian Academy) will allow the Pioneers a lot of options on both ends of the floor.  Rising sophomore Jalen Reece (6’0) is a tough cover with his ability to score as well as distribute and Elijah Elliott, a 6’4 junior, is a ball-hawk on the defensive end while being tough to keep from the rim when he attacks with the dribble.  It isn’t a big group, as only 6’8 rising sophomore Amari Davis stands over 6’6, but as a group this team is as long and quick as they come.

St. Petersburg

Missing in Action: N/A

Newbies of Note: N/A

Thoughts: The Green Devils returns three starters from last year’s Final Four team.  Tristan Gross, a 6’5 rising senior, draws a lot of defensive attention due to his scoring prowess.  He is very difficult to defend one-on-one thanks to an ability to quickly rise and knock down mid-range jumpers off the dribble.  He will get help from 6’0 senior Quez Curry and 6’1 senior Sam Duckworth.  Both guards are quick, athletic, and play with a BIG chip on their respective shoulders.  Inside, Dylan Kramer, a 6’5 rising senior, is a physical bully that owns his rebounding area and scores inside.  An “X-Factor” may be the play of Keon Cramer, a 6’3 whirling dervish that plays hard, does a lot of little things at both ends, and plays bigger than his size.

Miami Southridge

Missing in Action: Lee Flenor, 6’7, 2024

Newbies of Note: Jamari Dean, 5’10, 2023

Thoughts: The team was thoroughly dominant against a lesser opponent in the game we watched so it is probably hard to get a reliable read on them from that contest.  Still, if they can play like that every night when the real games begin in the fall, Southridge will be a tough opponent.  Koree Cotton, a 6’5 rising senior, stunned with his ability to knock down deep perimeter shots, especially off ball-screens.  The lefty has always been an effective slasher and scorer at the rim.  Anthony Dozier, a 6’0 rising senior, did a lot of good things, from forcing turnovers, to scoring in transition, to rebounding the ball.  Matthew Mairena, a 5’10 rising senior, was solid in his point guard role and did a good job of balancing his distribution and scoring opportunities.  Newcomer Dean provided another speedy attacker in the backcourt.  Once Kas Williams, a 6’9 rising junior, starts believing in himself the way the coaches do (a/k/a “the light goes on”), he will become more than just a rim protector.


Missing in Action: Sean Stewart, 6’8 2023 (USA Basketball commitment)

Newbies of Note: Taveon Jones (5’9, 2024); Cole White (6’7, 2023)

Thoughts: Even with Duke commit Stewart being unavailable, Windermere looks to be one of the better teams in Central Florida this coming season.  The backcourt of 6’3 rising senior Jalen Debose and 6’2 rising junior Chalier Torres, started last season and are dangerous perimeter shooters. The addition of Jones is huge as he is one of the top penetrators and ball-handlers in the area and will form a lethal pick-and-roll combo with Stewart.  Also new to the program but not with the team this weekend is 6’4 rising junior Z.Z. Clark.  A combo guard that will play both on and off the ball, Clark will take a lot of scoring pressure off Stewart.   White comes over from the Montverde CBD program and has the ability to play with Stewart inside or provide him relief.  One of the more intriguing prospects on the day was 6’6 rising junior Kennedy Day.  The story is he hasn’t played high school basketball due to family issues but his ability to score inside, chase down and put back missed, shots, and run the floor will be a bonus for the Wolverines.

Winter Haven

Missing in Action: N/A

Newbies of Note: Kjei Parker, 6’2, 2023

Thoughts: This could be a big year for the Blue Devils.  Dylan James, a 6’8 rising senior, continues to impress with scoring tools from fifteen feet and in.  He will knock down the three-point shot if left open.  James also is an active rebounder and shot blocker.  Parker, who comes over from Bartow, should provide the outside shooting necessary to keep defenses honest.  Jamie Phillips, a 6’4 rising junior, is very effective as a point forward.  He has a high hoops IQ, gets everyone involved and scores both inside and out.  Isaac Celiscar, a 6’6 junior, does a little bit of everything and fills up the stat sheet.  Winter Haven lost a tough game in last year’s semi-finals and believe they have unfinished business in Lakeland come March of 2023.

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