We took in the Best of the Best Summer Basketball Showcase event in Apopka on Sunday. The Classes of 2021 through 2026 were represented, however we focused our time on rising seniors through rising freshmen (2021-2024). There were several players to take note of, but before getting to that we want to give a shout out to Marcus McGee and his staff running the event for going the extra mile to enforce masking, social distancing, and sanitizing the facility after each game.
Riley Kugel, Orlando Dr. Phillips: The 6’4 rising junior was once again extraordinary in his performance. Not only does his ultra-high skill level and basketball IQ make him a serious problem for the defense, he also makes his teammates better. A multi-level scorer, Kugel unleashed a variety of dribble moves to create openings for his accurate perimeter jumper or lanes to the basket for scores or assists.
Isaiah Williams, Miramar: The 6’3 rising sophomore was one of the breakout performers of the day. Williams is a long and athletic slasher that gets to the rim quickly and finishes well in traffic. While his jump shot appears to be a work-in-progress, Williams accomplishes a lot at both ends of the floor by playing with great energy and effort.
Charleston Ponds, Lake City Columbia: The 6’4 rising senior came across as a solid wing prospect on Sunday. He scored well on drives to the basket and knocked down a couple of open shots from beyond the arc. Ponds rebounded the ball at both ends and routinely pushed the ball up the floor after grabbing a defensive rebound. He also was an active defender that covered a lot of ground quickly.
Christian Combs, Kissimmee Osceola: The 5’11 rising junior has solid handles and is very quick with the ball. He continually pushes the pace and generally makes good decisions with the ball on the move. He made a couple of perimeter shots on Sunday but was mostly effective getting to the basket and scoring before the defense could adjust.
Da-Qaun Preston, St. Augustine Beacon of Hope: The 5’8 rising senior is an energizer and makes things happen at both ends of the floor. He guards the ball the full 94 feet and is very ball alert to grab 50/50 balls, long rebounds, or force turnovers with a quick double-team. Also, Preston isn’t afraid to stick his nose in with bigger bodies for rebounds. He’s a very good athlete that will come up with more than his fair share of those boards. Preston displayed a respectable perimeter shot.
Kevin Charles, Immokalee: The 6’3 rising junior has a solid frame and was one of the better athletes at the event. He got to the basket quickly and finished through contact, hit the offensive glass to converted several putbacks, and was quick to beat the defense down the floor in transition. If Charles has a reliable perimeter shot, his value goes up.
Brendan Williams, Wellington: The 5’11 rising junior was one of the better three-point shooters we saw on Sunday. Whether off the catch or dribble, Williams knocked shots down with consistency. He also was quite quick and crafty with the ball, frequently getting into the lane and generally making good pass vs. shot decisions.
Andrew Akuchie, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: The 6’7 rising junior arguably had the most upside of any participant. He’s long, moves up and down the floor well, and has some bounce to him. Akuchie displayed some scoring skills from the high post and short corner areas of the floor. As his body fills out and gets stronger, he will no doubt become better as finishing through contact around the rim. Defensively, he challenges shots and has the foot speed to step out and switch onto smaller players in ball-screen action.