08 May 2024

Fire & Ice – Rpt II

Patrick Johnson, SWFL Hoops: A 6’8 junior at Fort Myers Gateway Charter, Johnson is an exciting combination of strength and high-level run/jump athleticism.  He pursues rebounds with a vengeance, is swift in transition, and is an ardent rim-protector. Johnson gets plenty of “opportunity” points by beating his man down the floor, crashing the offensive glass, and always being available as a finisher around the basket, whether via lobs or drop-off passes.  On the rare occasions where he is fed the ball in the post, he can score with basic post moves.  Slowly, he is developing his ability to face the basket and make plays either by shooting short to mid-range jumpers, quick, straight-line one and two-dribble drives, or finding cutters in the lane or open perimeter shooters.  Johnson plays with great energy and effort at both ends of the floor.

Maddox Fowles, Florida Pro: A 6’8 junior at Davie Western, Fowles may not currently have the strength of Johnson but he is arguably more lengthy and a shade bouncier.  Very quick off the court to snatch rebounds, he also has a quick second and third leap should he not grab the ball the first time.  Fowles has a knack for scoring on tip-ins and seldom has to gather himself after grabbing a miss and going back up to score.  He rebounds out his area and is a defensive presence in the paint.  Fowles doesn’t get many plays run for him, so he scores via close-in shots after passes from teammates, by running the floor and coming off ball-screens if left unguarded.  Fowles was a surprisingly effective passer in the game we watched, hitting cutters in the lane and getting the ball quickly to open perimeter shooters.

Eric Dailey, 1 Family 2025 NXT: A 6’1 junior from Winter Haven, Dailey looks like he is ready to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight for the Blue Devils.  A very athletic guard, Dailey pushes the pace at every opportunity. He does a good job of manufacturing points by forcing turnovers with active hands and feet, and quickly turning opponent’s miscues into points for himself or teammates.  When driving to the bucket, he is alert to get the ball to open perimeter shooters should the defense collapse on him.  Dailey is a dynamic finisher at the basket but also showed this weekend that he can be a reliable perimeter shooter.

Cornelius White, BTI 17U Circuit: A 6’6 junior at Gainesville High School, White is an intriguing player that can be a matchup conundrum.  He has good size and strength, rebounds his area well, and is a physical defender without fouling.  White also has a reliable perimeter shot that extends to the three-point line as well as the ability to drive the ball strong to the basket and score through contact in a crowd.  He can grab the defensive rebound and push the ball up the floor.  A good athlete now, White will be a better one at the next level once in a strength and conditioning program.

D.J. Sandi, 1 Family Pro 2026: A 6’0 sophomore at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, Sandi is physically and mentally tough at the point guard spot.  He has a knack for coming up with the basketball on defense: quick hands for steals, an innate sense when to dig for the ball on double teams, and seemingly coming up with every 50/50 ball anywhere close to him.  He rebounds well for his size at both ends of the floor, is quick to push the pace, and constantly seeks out ways to get teammates open shots.  Sandi looks to score on drives and in transition, but given some time and space he will can perimeter shots.  He plays with a high hoops IQ and an even higher motor.

Jared Thompson, 1 Family Pro 2026: A 6’2 sophomore at The Villages, Thompson continues to find ways to elevate his game.  He has become a reliable perimeter shooter, stretching the defense by finding the open spot for a driving teammate or post player to locate him and then quickly launching the ball once it finds him.  Thompson is a good athlete that rebounds well for his size, especially on the offensive glass, scores well in transition, and has a quick first step to attack the defense in half-court sets.  On defense, he covers a lot of ground quickly and is alert and active in the passing lanes.

Justice Herbert, FL Pro 2026: A 6’4 sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas, Herbert looks ready to take on a bigger role in his junior season for the Raiders.  The lefty is very adept at getting to the basket and finding ways to score in traffic.  Whether in transition, cutting to the basket, or on short drives, Herbert was relentless.  He did connect on a couple of perimeter jumpers, one from behind the arc, but he was clearly more comfortable in being aggressive in attacking the basket.  Herbert brings that same energy to the defensive end.  He uses a strong frame to keep his opponent away from the ball and/or basket, is alert for weak passes into his area, and quickly covers a lot of ground when in defensive rotation.


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