Wow, did it feel good to be back in a gym. The Fall Event Season kicked off at the Big House in Tavares on Sunday with the Best of the Best Elite Florida Showcase. Players were separated into two groups: a Junior/Senior division and a 2025/2026 Division. In this first report, we will focus on the talent in the older classification.
Jalen Reece, Orlando Oak Ridge: The 6’0 sophomore clearly demonstrated why he is considered a national top fifty player in the 2025 Class. Reece has a great skill set and high hoops IQ. He also shows signs that his body is transforming and becoming more solid. Reece seemingly makes the right pass vs. shot decision each time he drives to the basket. He generally either converts in traffic or moves the defense to get the ball to an open teammate for an easy shot. With his ability to make shots out on the perimeter, Reece is simply a tough cover. He was also quite tenacious on the defensive end at the event.
Amari Davis, Orlando Oak Ridge: The 6’7 sophomore has a solid frame and a good amount of athleticism. Davis has the ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shot or score around the basket, as he has good post scoring skills and a soft touch with either hand around the rim. We were a bit surprised at his ability to find open cutters and make the right decisions with the ball out on the perimeter. Davis did a very good job of rebounding at both ends and quickly sprinting the floor once his team secured the ball.
Willie Thompson, Melbourne Holy Trinity: A 6’5 junior, Thompson showed a lot of upside with his strength, athleticism, and max effort each possession on the floor. While he displayed good shooting form and knocked down a three-ball, Thompson was at his best when beating the defense down the floor in transition or attacking the offensive glass. He is quick off the floor, challenging missed shots coming over from the weakside or grabbing rebounds before opponents could get to the ball.
Hedrens Bartelus, Lake Worth: The 6’5 junior is an explosive run & jump athlete. Bartelus rises quickly and finishes ferociously around the basket. He shoots the ball well enough from the perimeter that he must be respected. However, if he can get a step, Bartelus is by his defender and crushing the rim in the blink of an eye. He covers a lot of ground quickly on the defensive end and is quite disruptive in the passing lanes. Bartelus plays with an edge and is a tough cover. He believes every shot is going to miss and attacks the glass at both ends.
Jeremy Nixon, Lakeland Kathleen: The roster states he is a 6’6 sophomore, but he certainly doesn’t look like one. He has a solid frame and tries to dunk everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, around the basket. Nixon is a bit raw skill-wise, but he more than compensates for that with astonishing athleticism, a motor that always revs on the red line, and an attack mentality. He is very quick to the ball coming off the glass at both ends, has a very quick second and third leap, and will erase shots around the basket. The phrase “high upside” was made for players like Nixon.
Christopher Maxon, Fort Pierce Central: A 6’1 sophomore, he plays with a lot of swagger but has the game to back it up. Playing fast but never out of control, Maxon makes a lot of good things happen. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense with his ability to get by his initial defender and either score with a floater or find an open teammate for an easy shot before the defense can complete its rotation. Maxon is solid on the defensive end with fast feet and hands.
Christian Maxon, Fort Pierce Central: A 6’1 sophomore, he and twin Christopher are double-trouble for opponents. Christian shares many of the same attributes. With good ball-handling skills and court vision, Maxon keeps the defense on its toes and his teammates fed with good shot opportunities. Scoring well with either hand around the rim, Maxon is not shy in challenging bigs at the basket. With an ability to score from all three levels, he quickly reads the defense and takes advantage of the situation.
Other Top 20 Game Selections in the JR/SR Division
Jean Eberson Charles, 6’3 Senior, Orlando Evans
Adrian Moore, 6’1 Junior, Largo
Kareem Rodriguez, 5’9 Senior, Eustis
Matthaios Andreopoulos, 6’0 Junior, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Adam Squire, 6’1 Senior, Miami Beach
Royal Blue Smith, 6’3 Junior, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Naysean Rhome, 6’5 Senior, Eustis
Jeremy Innocent, 6’8 Junior, Lake Worth
Josh Stallings, 6’3 Junior Jacksonville Providence
Nicholaus Gooden, 6’4 Senior, Royal Palm Beach
Tyjahn Wright, 6’4 Senior, Lake City Columbia
DeAndre Newland, 6’11 Junior, Daytona Beach Mainland