We took in the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches (FABC) Team Camp in Bradenton at IMG Academy Friday night. While we were only able to get in three games, it was clear that this was a well-organized event that attracted several high-profile teams from various areas of the state. With that in mind, below are a few of the individual standouts that caught our attention.
Aaron Jones, Fort Myers Evangelical Christian: The 6’7 rising junior is an above-average athlete with size and a good frame. Though he did connect on two of four shots from beyond the arc in the contest we watched, he was most effective when taking his game inside. Jones showed off some solid footwork and post moves on both sides of the lane, scoring with either hand. He also proved to be a decent passer out of the post or when stationed on the perimeter. Jones was also a very active rebounder at both ends Friday night. He will want to continue to work on and improve his ball-handling and ability to score when facing the basket so that he can diversify his offensive game.
Dominick Denny, North Broward Prep: A 5’10 rising senior, speed is Denny’s calling card. He looks to get to the rim, push the pace and beat the defense down the floor at every opportunity. Denny is more of a scorer than distributor but he generally takes care of the basketball and will get the rock to open teammates that have a better look. He will need to continue to improve the success rate on his perimeter shooting as had struggles with consistency Friday night. Denny is very adept at using his speed, quickness, and anticipatory instincts on the defensive end to create havoc and convert turnovers into points.
Justin Abson, North Broward Prep: A 6’7 rising sophomore, Abson is still getting used to his big body. He moves okay on the court but will certainly get better as he matures. He showed knowledge of post play as he was patient on the block when looking to score, passed well out of double teams and stayed composed in traffic. Abson is more power than finesse at this stage when it comes to putting the ball in the basket. He rebounds well and showed good timing in blocking shots. Abson has a lot of potential and no doubt his best basketball is ahead of him.
Emmanuel Sharp, Tampa Blake: A 6’3 rising sophomore, Blake is called upon to do a lot of everything for the team. His body is still evolving but soon his big frame will “muscle up”. Sharp has a scorer’s mentality with deep range on his shot that he knocks down off the catch as well as the dribble. He can also score effectively by putting the ball on the floor and simply overpowering smaller players to get to and finish at the rim. Sharp gets to the foul line a lot and he will complete more of his “and one” opportunities as his body matures and he gets stronger. Sharp spent plenty of time handling the basketball and initiating the offense as was a better than expected passer.
Sebastian Astor, Fleming Island: A 6’0 rising senior, Astor played both guard spots Friday night. He can score or distribute regardless of what position he plays. Astor can drain a quick step-back three off the bounce or a catch-and-shoot look from anywhere on the perimeter. He is quick to get the ball to open teammates in transition or when reversing the ball in the half-court. Astor takes good care of the ball when pressured and generally makes the right pass vs. shot decision when on the move with the ball. He showed an ability to finish with either hand at the rim. Astor may not be the quickest guy off the bounce but he knows how to create space and separation from defenders.
R.J. Garcia, Tampa Berkeley Prep: The 6’0 rising junior showed tremendous improvement Friday night. He may be slight in stature but proved to be quick and cerebral. He pushes the pace and gets to the rim as well as finds teammates for good looks. Garcia’s jump shot wasn’t on display in the blowout win but he was solid in his ability to knock down floaters in the lane or get to the basket and score thru traffic. Defensively, he was quick and active both on and off the ball.
Kegan Karnes, Tampa Berkeley Prep: The 6’1 rising senior shed his label as just a catch-and-shoot specialist. He created and quickly got thru openings using crafty change of speed or change of directions moves with the ball. Karnes consistently got to the basket and scored thru contact in traffic Friday night. While he didn’t play the point guard spot, there is no question that he can be the primary ball-handler on the team and instigate offense. Karnes may be a tad under-sized but he more than compensates with toughness and smarts.
C.J. Hawkins, Tampa Berkeley Prep: The 6’6 rising sophomore plays with passion and gives great effort on every play. He has good hands, catches tough passes, and scores well around the basket. Hawkins also displayed an ability to grab rebounds and push the ball up the floor on his own to initiate transition scoring opportunities. He’s strong with a good frame and is an above-average athlete. He’s an active defender than can muscle up in the post but also step out on ball screens along the perimeter and harass smaller players. Hawkins definitely has a bright future in the game.