Joshua Young, Lakewood Ranch: The 6’6 senior put together a double-double in the game we took in at The Kingdom of the Sun, posting 16 points and 10 rebounds. While a bit undersized at the “four” position, Young is quite productive in the rebounding department at both ends, is swift up and down the floor in transition and makes the most of his opportunities in the half-court.
Eric Butler, Orlando Christian Prep: A 6’3 junior guard in his first year at OCP, Butler is in control of the Warriors’ offense. While he scores best when getting to the basket, his jump shot must be respected by the defense out to the arc. Butler is quick to move the ball to open shooters and will kick the ball out to teammates for good looks when finding his path to the basket cut off by the defense.
Ven-Allen Lubin, Orlando Christian Prep: A 6’5 freshman, here’s hoping he grows another 2-3 inches to reach desired power forward size. Though we noted his abilities this fall, Lubin was impressive with his ability to score around the basket against bigger and stronger opponents. A good athlete with a quick leap, he does an admirable job of coming over from the weak side to challenge shots. He’s arguably the team’s best rebounder despite not being its tallest player.
D.J. Richardson, Rockledge: The 6’1 senior had a solid opening game on Day Two of the Kingdom. The lithe guard showed a consistent touch from deep, the ability to get out in transition and score at the basket, and also find teammates for easy shots when attacking the defense with the dribble. Richardson has some length to him and uses it well to disrupt the passing lanes.
Trey Moss, Windermere: The 6’3 sophomore guard was very impressive in his composure when facing pressure in the team’s win in the Kingdom of the Sun. He did a solid job of getting the ball up the court without turning it over, knocked down open looks from the perimeter and used his quickness and defensive instincts to disrupt the opposing offense. Moss has a high basketball IQ to going along with a high ceiling for development.
Ahmad Johnson, Charlotte: The 6’3 senior had a solid showing in the team’s three games at The City of Palms event. He averaged 20+ points a contest against national caliber teams and made the All-Tournament team. Johnson’s jump shot fell at a solid clip and he proved to be a strong finisher in traffic at the basket.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, IMG: The Ascenders are loaded with D-I talent and certainly not your typical high school team. While we could give mention to each player, we feel like the 6’10 senior and Villanova signee was the most impressive performer of the group in the two games that we saw, going for 18 points and 8 rebounds in a tough loss in the quarters and 26 points, 9 rebounds in a dismantling of U-School. JRE scored well both inside and outside of the lane, rebounded well in traffic, and was an effective ball-handler.
Malachi Wideman, Sarasota Riverview: The 6’5 junior, also a highly coveted wide receiver prospect, had no fear in taking on national powers at The City of Palms. As impressive as his run/jump athleticism is, his basketball skills have improved significantly. Wideman has become a much more consistent perimeter shooter and ball-handler. His ability to create offense is very important for a young Riverview team.
Vernon Carey, Fort Lauderdale University School: A 1-2 record certainly wasn’t the plan going into the City of Palms for the 2017 Champion and #1 recruit nationally overall. The 6’10 senior and Duke signee not only put up solid numbers, but showed an ability to do things on the court only high level, pro prospects do. Cary finished well thru traffic, handled double-teams expertly, and showed an ability to score off the dribble from the perimeter that we had not yet seen.