Hoop Exchange Spring Player Showdown – Class of 2023 – Rpt I

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Anthony Robinson, Tallahassee Florida High: The 6’0 freshman showed maturity beyond his years with his ability to set up teammates and bring calm to a chaotic atmosphere.  Though a bit on the thin side, Robinson is quick with the ball and makes good decisions in both transition and half-court sets.  He scored on a couple of drives to the basket and while his perimeter jumper didn’t fall in the game we watched, the fundamentals are there for it to be a weapon in the near future.

Blaise Wallace, Tallahassee Maclay School: We caught the 6’6 freshman in the fall and are blown away at how much he has improved in the past six months.  He has developed his perimeter skills to the point that he can be an effective playmaker and scorer from the wing.  Wallace has a solid frame and decent strength at this stage of development and uses both well to chase down boards and defend bigger players.  A good athlete that gets up and down the floor swiftly on the break, Wallace is arguably a consistent perimeter shot away from being a full-time wing player.

Koree Cotton, South Miami: The 6’4 freshman plays taller thanks to long arms and quick leaping ability.  He made his greatest impact on the defensive end, blocking several shots straight up on jump shooters and corralling rebounds to start the transition game.  Many of those rebounds he turned into easy baskets for teammates by pushing the ball up the floor and making the right read against a retreating defense.  A decent ball-handler and passer in half-court sets, Cotton’s ability to knock down perimeter shots should be his next area of focus for improvement.  The lefty has a fundamentally sound shot but the results are inconsistent.

Eduardo Placer, Oviedo The Master’s Academy: The 6’3 freshman has a high confidence level with good reason.  Placer comes from a basketball family and is quite skilled.  The lefty has a reliable stroke out to the arc, handles the ball well and he finishes at the rim when getting past the defense.  Placer generally makes good decisions with the ball and looks to advance it quickly up the floor.  He is active defensively and anticipates well in the passing lanes.

Jason Jackson, Sarasota Riverview: The 6’2 freshman shrugged off a poor first half in his first game of the day to become one of the better players in the gym on Saturday.  Despite repeated attempts, his perimeter jumper wasn’t falling.  Jackson then switched gears to attacking the basket and to put it mildly he was wildly successful.  He’s quick, slithery, and explosive enough to dunk on defenders with little effort once at the rim.  Once Jackson’s jumper becomes a weapon, and it should in a short amount of time, his opportunities at the next level multiply.

Dylan James, Winter Haven: The 6’6 freshman sure looked a lot taller than 6’6 with his long arms and legs.  He opened eyes by knocking down an early three in the contest we watched but made his reputation with his shot blocking prowess and board work.  We had him for five blocked shots in a short amount of time.  James was active at both ends when it came to pursuing rebounds.  Defensively he was quick to grab the ball and get it out to start the break.  On the offensive end, he pursued rebounds out of his area and was able to complete putbacks with either hand.  No doubt some skill work needs to be done but James has time to process into a wing player in the not too distant future.

Leslie Black, Statesboro (GA): The 6’6 freshman looks like an upperclassman with his broad frame and wide shoulders.  Not surprisingly, most of his play was near the basket and he was certainly productive.  Once he received the ball inside, it was generally a quick turn and score.  Black also showed he can take the ball from the high post and short corners to the rim and score after one or two dribbles.  He didn’t show much in the way of being able to score from the perimeter, but if Black should grow another few inches, he may not have to.