We took in the Saturday edition of the All-American Jamboree at The Big House in Tavares. The event featured Junior College and Prep School teams from across the nation as well as Canada. We focused our attention on those teams that play in the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association as well as IMG’s more “traditional” high school program.
Vuk Vukcevic, Kissimmee Central Point Christian: A native of Serbia, the 6’7 senior is a marvelous three-point shooter. He went 5-6 from beyond the arc in the game we watched and that doesn’t include the one he was fouled on. Vukcevic gets his feet set, ball into the shooting pocket, and release all very quickly and in rhythm. He is a good athlete and very alert off the ball to disrupt the passing lanes.
Tijan Barrie, Jacksonville Potter’s House: A 6’7 sophomore, Barrie came off the bench and made a big impact. He is a productive rebounder at both ends of the floor, quickly get from end to end, and has a good touch around the basket. Barrie plays very hard every possession and is a good athlete that consistently finishes over the rim. A native of London, England, it will be interesting to watch his progression should he stay in the states.
Ryan Jones, Jr., Gainesville The Rock School: It has been awhile since we have seen “R.J.” as he missed most if not all of last season with a knee issue and he was still rehabbing over the off-season. The time off allowed him to develop his perimeter shot and he was great at stretching the floor in the two games we took in. Jones is a strong athlete with plenty of bounce and does a good job of controlling the glass. He rebounds, runs the floor, and rejects shots.
Demmarrion Wyatt, Bradenton Victory Rock Prep: A 6’0 senior out of Chicago, Wyatt is the sparkplug for the team’s offense. He pushes the pace, has excellent ball control and explodes to the basket. He made good pass vs. shot decisions on drives and finished creatively at the rim. Wyatt is a good free throw shooter but was a bit streaky with his perimeter shot. He has very active and fast hands and feet at the defensive end of the floor.
Greg Spates, Orlando West Oaks Academy: A 6’7 senior, he seems much more comfortable and effective now that he is not burdened with carrying a team’s offensive load. He takes and makes better shots while looking to get teammates open shots on the perimeter or dish off to the bigs inside. An active defender with length, he covers a great deal of the court quickly. Spates will also grab rebounds and quickly push the ball up the floor on his own in transition.
Nathan Ojukwu, Daytona Beach DME Academy: A 6’6 senior originally from Idaho, he didn’t have many “wow” moments but at the end of the day he was solid in all phases. He was smart in his shot selection, put the ball on the floor to score, competed on the glass, and came up with more than his fair share of 50/50 balls.
Olivier Rioux, Bradenton IMG Academy Blue: Rioux, a 7’6 junior (that is neither a typo nor transposition error), has GREATLY improved since we saw him midway through last season. No, he doesn’t get very high off the floor but he can dunk without jumping and his natural wing span gets him to rebounds quicker than most opponents can jump. Rioux puts back lobs and missed shots for most of his points but he catches the ball better in a crowd and is better able handle physical play. It goes without saying that Rioux changes an opponent’s offensive plan of attack.
Braylon Jackson, Oldsmar Christian: If the 6’5 senior gets on a roll like he did Saturday evening, he is very hard to contain. Jackson gets to the rim quickly and finishes with body control and touch in a crowd. He is a dangerous three-point shooter and also tough to guard in ball-screen situations. Jackson is quick to jump the passing lanes but also does a good job of defending the dribbler and keeping him from where he wants to go.
Mike Swift, Jacksonville Potter’s House: The 6’3 senior didn’t shoot or score much but he was instrumental in getting his team into any kind of offensive flow. Swift pushed the pace in transition and when that wasn’t available he looked to get the ball inside and to cutters. He rebounds well for his size and looks to get and keep teammates involved at both ends of the floor.
Josh Hayes, Gainesville The Rock School: The 6’9 senior has committed to Appalachian State and he looks to be a solid get for the Mountaineers. Gifted with a long wingspan and good dose of athleticism, Hayes will make a greater impact as his body matures. He has some basic scoring tools on the block but he is also alert to get the ball out to open perimeter shooters. Hayes surprised on-lookers with a couple of one- and two-dribble drives that he completed through contact. He protects the rim, runs the floor, and avidly pursues rebounds.
Jaylen Smith, Orlando West Oaks Academy: The 5’11 senior got off to a bit of a slow start but came through in crunch time, dropping in three of four from beyond the arc to break open a tough game. Strong and quick with the ball, Smith can create good shots for both himself and his teammates. He works hard on the defensive end, causing a lot of problems for opposing ball-handlers.
Tim Winkler, Bradenton IMG Blue: A 6’9 freshman, Winkler movers very well for a young player his size. He runs the court swiftly and is quick off the floor to pursue rebounds and blocks. Winkler has a good frame and will get stronger without losing any run/jump athleticism. No doubt his offensive skills will progress and he should get some national notoriety sooner rather than later.