The Grassroots Summer Showdown is in the books and it is time to look at some of the standout performers from the event.
Kario Oquendo, Team Parsons: He was a force in both of Team Parsons’ games on Saturday. Oquendo thrives when the game is played at a fast pace. His ability to quickly get to the rim in transition and finish with either power or finesse is unequaled. While a better straight-line driver to the rim than when having to change directions, Oquendo’s quick first step and strong frame more often than not allow him to get to where he wants to go. What really gave us hope was his improved ability to knock down jump shots from the perimeter. By our count, he was 4-12 from behind the arc and while that 33.3% number is marginally acceptable, we can see his jump shot becoming more consistent. His recruiting has exploded as his spring and summer performances have been consistently strong.
Tyreke Francois, Team Breakdown: A speedy 5’11 lefty, Francois was given heavy consideration for our Breakout Player of the Day on Saturday. His shot was falling from well beyond the three point line which set him up to get by over-active defenders to get to the basket and collapse the defense. Francois was quite the attack dog on defense, consistently getting up on opponents and making them extremely uncomfortable. This produced several bad passes and sometimes Francois just outright stripped the man of the ball and cruised in for an easy score.
Emmanuel Henriques, Team Thrill: A strong-bodied wing, Henriques impressed with his potent jump shot that extends to the three point line. He was very accurate off the catch but also showed an ability to get high in the air on his dribble pull-ups and shoot over defenders. Henriques has a solid frame and is quite strong. Those two physical traits served him quite well when he drove toward the basket to score inside thru traffic or to pursue rebounds at both ends of the floor. We also liked his ability to cover the floor quickly on defense and challenge opponents on the defensive end.
Mekhi Perry, PHS: The 6’2 guard out of Land O’Lakes played both guard positions throughout the weekend. He’s an effective passer with an ability to look off the defense and get the ball to his intended target. However, we must admit that we like him best as a secondary ball-handler and a primary scorer. That way, Perry can use his strength to power thru defenders to finish at the basket, which he did quite well in the game we watched on Saturday. Perry also has a solid perimeter shot as he gets good elevation, has a quick release, and his effective range extends out to the three point arc. A high-level athlete, Perry showed good lateral quickness and foot speed on the defensive end.
Chance Dixon, Delray Beach Blazers: The 5’11 point guard is strongly built but his calling card is he accuracy from well past the arc. Several times in transition Dixon found himself with room and let fly, knocking down those threes with alarming frequency. He also proved quite adept at coming off ball-screens and rising up to knock down shots if given just a hint of room. When the game was played at a slower pace, Dixon made good decisions with the ball and was effective in getting his teammates into the desired offensive sets.
Isaiah Adams, Team Parsons: The 6’6 Adams plays much bigger than his size thanks to a lengthy wing span. He is also quite versatile, as he is a good ball-handler and passer out on the perimeter and has the ability to grab defensive rebounds and push the ball up the floor to start the transition game. Offensively Adams is an acceptable driver, finisher, and perimeter shooter but he gets many of his points in transition and on opportunity baskets (lobs, putbacks) around the rim. His length allows him to guard multiple positions out on the floor.
Jordan Lopez, Gold Coast: Lopez was a consistent performer for Gold Coast this past weekend. He was the team’s primary scoring threat from the perimeter. He makes shots one to two steps behind the three point line on a regular basis. Lopez also scores well at the basket, both in transition and against a set defense in the half-court. At this stage, he is more comfortable playing off the ball than being a guy that is the primary ball-handler and is called upon to initiate the offense. Lopez plays tough and aggressively at both ends of the floor.