We channeled our inner Lebron James and took our talents to South Beach this past weekend for the Source Hoops Miami Spring Classic. The event was held at the Sports Leadership And Management (SLAM) Academy in downtown Miami. Lots of quality hoops taking place on two courts. Let’s get to it.
Patrick Johnson. One Way Lions 16U: A 6’8 sophomore from Fort Myers Gateway Charter, Johnson was “on loan” this weekend from the Alabama Fusion 16U program in the EYBL. With ample doses of athleticism and strength, Johnson dominated the interior. He was explosive and forceful in hammering lobs and putbacks on the offensive end and swatting shots and grabbing rebounds on defense. He spent some time on the perimeter, working on his skills in that area when the game was out of reach. We loved the way that Johnson played with great effort and energy.
O’cien Valdez, Team Hard 17U: A 5’11 sophomore that played at South Dade this past season, Valdez shot the ball with great accuracy and proficiency from the perimeter on Saturday as he had five threes in Game One and seven in Game Two of the day. He was always shot ready and showed a quick release on his shot. When defenders were able to close out, Valdez didn’t hesitate to go strong to the basket. He was also quite active on the defensive end both on and off the ball. Valdez got his hands on quite a few wayward passes and quickly turned those steals into scores.
Reece Randolph, MCB 17U: A 5’9 junior at City of Hialeah Educational Academy (COHEA), Randolph is a fierce scoring machine. Strong and speedy with the ball, he is quick to the basket and finishes creatively in a crowd around the basket. In both of MCB’s games on Saturday, Randolph finished with well over twenty points, many of those coming on drives and transition baskets that he created for himself. He knocked down enough shots from beyond the arc to force the defense to guard him out on the perimeter, setting up more driving scores. Bottom line: Randolph is a nightmare cover for, not just one defender, but all five opponents on the floor.
Cameron Bryant, Sunshine Elite 16U: A 6’5 sophomore at Timber Creek in Orlando, Bryant was relentless offensively, attacking the basket both in transition and in half-court sets. He finished well above the rim, grabbed several offensive boards, and was quick to start the transition game when grabbing rebounds on defense. He used his length and athleticism to great impact on the defensive end as he was disruptive in the passing lanes and blocked shots coming over from the help side. Bryant showed he can knock down the perimeter shot if not challenged. We’ve seen Bryant on three separate occasions this spring and he seemingly improves with each game.
Santiago Henriquez, Triple Threat 16U: A 5’8 sophomore from Miami Palmetto, Henriquez played with great confidence this weekend. He was fearless in driving into the lane and either finding teammates for open shots or absorbing contact and either score with a creative finish and knock down free throws. When the defense played off of him for the drive, Henriquez made them pay by knocking down perimeter shots. Henriquez proved to be both mentally and physically tough at both ends of the court. You can consider him small if you like, but he made a big impact in both games on Saturday.
Brooks Williams, Inspir8tion Kings 16U: A 6’7 sophomore out of Port St. Lucie Centennial, Williams was one of the bigger surprises of the Spring Classic. He has a good frame and athleticism, and both will only get better as he continues to mature physically. Williams ran the floor, showed good hands and some passing skills. He scored well on short drives from the high post and short corners but surprised when he came up with a loose ball and went the length of the court for a score. Williams controlled his rebounding area at both ends of the floor and was a challenging presence in the lane on defense.
Ayden Curry, Team TMac Spartans 15U: A 6’1 freshman out of Ridge Community in Davenport, Curry showed a solid command of the basketball and good speed and quickness with it. His ability to thread the needle with his passes got teammates easy shots and points. Curry made some perimeter shots but was most effective when attacking the defense. He showed quick feet and active hands on defense, doing a good job defending both bigger, stronger ball-handlers as well as smaller, quicker ones.