23 May 2023

Battle at the Beach: 17U Rpt II

The following players performed well this past weekend at the Battle at the Beach in Wesley Chapel.  They may not be well-known, but their respective performances encourage a further look during the July live period.

Hudson Dykuizen, Florida Bayhawks: A 6’4 junior from Santa Fe Catholic in Lakeland, Dykuizen seemed to have his way with defenders when taking the ball to the basket.  A strong frame, reliable handles, and a not-to-be denied mentality allowed him to finish time and again in traffic when driving from the perimeter or in transition.  He was just 1-3 on his perimeter shots but he has good form and mechanics so hopefully consistency will come in short order.  Dykuizen does a good job of using his strength in outrebounding bigger opponents.  He can grab the miss and push the ball up the floor to get the transition game going without having to give it up to the primary ball-handler.

Dante Sanchez, PSB Bailey: A 5’11 junior at Tampa Gaither, Sanchez made a lot of good things happen in an 8AM Saturday morning game.  He continually pushed the pace, made some tough finishes in traffic after attacking the rim off the drive, and when given space made enough shots from beyond the arc to force defenders to respect him out there.  Sanchez has good speed with the ball and generally makes good pass vs. shot decisions when attacking the defense.

Alexandre Brigitte, Miami Suns: A 6’6 junior at American in Hialeah, Brigitte is a bit on the thin side but has some length and isn’t afraid to get physical around the basket at either end of the floor.  He showed some basic but potent scoring tools on the block and a knack for getting to and putting back offensive rebounds.  Brigitte surprised a bit when he stepped out and made a three-pointer.  While the shot went in, it still needs some fine tuning.  What really stood out was his ability to find teammates and make interior passes in a crowd.  He does a solid job of challenging shots in the lane on defense.

Austin White, PSB Robbie: A 6’1 junior at Durant, White lived up to his reputation as a deep threat in a Saturday morning game.  He connected on four consecutive shots from behind the three-point line, getting his team back into the contest.  Each one of those shots was NBA range or more.  White also found some success in dropping in floaters over the defense when he did attack the basket with the dribble.  He moved well without the ball to find open areas and be available for catch-and-shoot opportunities.  White is also a tough cover coming off ball-screens, especially if the defender makes the mistake of going underneath.

Tyson Wilson, Athletes of Influence (AOI): A 6’2 junior at Treasure Coast in Port St. Lucie, Wilson is a blur with the ball.  He showed off an expansive arsenal of finishes at the basket, scoring several times over and/or around larger defenders.  Wilson also displayed the willingness and ability to pull up quickly and connect on shots from mid-range.  He gets very high on his shot, making it almost impossible to block.  Wilson is a rangy defender, covering a lot of ground quickly, disrupting the passing lanes, and rotating over to help position.

Jackson Roberts, Athletes of Influence (AOI): A 6’10 junior at IMG Academy, the first thing one notices about Roberts is not his height but his frame in terms of broad shoulders, thick chest and trunk, and solid legs.  All that might suggest he is slow and/or unathletic, but Roberts moves very well up and down the floor and gets good lift off it.  If he gets the ball when posted up against a single defender, it is a bucket, a trip to the foul line or both.  When Roberts steps out to set a ball-screen on the perimeter, defenders soon learn that they have not only run into a brick wall but it will take longer than usual to get around that wall.  Roberts does a good job of protecting the rim and owning his rebounding area.

Lucien Milligan, Born to Impact Gold: A 6’1 junior at Tampa Wharton, Milligan found the range time and again from deep.  Whether coming off ball-screens or stepping into his shot after receiving a pass, Milligan let it fly with confidence.  Playing the point guard spot, he may not have been the fastest player with the ball we saw this weekend but he took care of it and got the ball where it needed to go without any drama.  Milligan also isn’t shy about getting up into his man on defense and pestering the ball full-court.

Ace Taylor, Team Under Pressure: A 6’6 junior at Calvary Christian in Clearwater, Taylor seems to have vastly improved his overall game since the end of the high school season.  He is a better athlete than he appears, rebounds well at both ends, and scores well at the rim.  Taylor is a tough driver and finisher that seeks out contact when heading to the hoop.  He has good footwork and a variety of feints, pivots, and fakes to create space and get up a shot.  Our understanding is that some have questioned his perimeter shooting but from what we have seen it looks to be sufficient.

Sam Ritchie, Above Academy: A 6’3 junior from Ponte Vedra, we almost didn’t recognize Ritchie with his “new dyed ‘do” but once he started playing, he stood out for reasons of hoops, not hair.  Known as a knockdown shooter from deep, Ritchie did that but also displayed a bit more versatility in his scoring tool kit.  He connected on a couple of pull-up jumpers and floaters in the lane, was quick to take over-aggressive defenders off the dribble and got ahead of the defense to score in transition.  Ritchie has a solid frame and good strength which he uses to great effect when it comes to rebounding and playing defense.

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