27 Jul 2018

Summer Hoops Festival: Underclassmen Uprising

There was a lot of quality in the 16U division of the Summer Hoops Festival.  Let’s take a look.

Each 1 Teach 1 2020

We could not have been more impressed with the play of 6’7 forward Michael Phillips out of Creekside.  Combining his physical gifts of athleticism, size, and reach with a non-stop motor at both ends of the court, he gets a lot down without an overwhelming offensive skill set.  He’s solid around the basket but is not yet a consistent shooter.  A rarity and a major plus in his favor is that he is verbally engaged the entire contest, both on the court and on the bench, communicating on defense and encouraging teammates.  Kobe Knox, a 6’3 guard from Tampa Catholic, is always going to face comparisons to older brother Kevin, a recent NBA first round pick of the New York Knicks.  Judged simply on his own merit, the younger Knox is a solid player with college potential.  A very good perimeter shooter, he was quite effective this time around getting to and finishing at the basket, often with his off hand.  Though just a rising sophomore (Class of 2021), Dallan Coleman from West Nassau looks very comfortable competing up in age.  The 6’4 guard already has a solid offensive skill set and while his mindset is to score, he’s a more than willing and capable distributor.

NY Lightning 16U Select

The only out-of-state contingent to bring a 16U team, it certainly looks like the Lightning have the youngsters in place to keep up their status in the EYBL.  We really appreciated the play of 6’0 point guard Michael Caldero.  He completed difficult finishes at the rim, consistently attacked the defense with the dribble, and made good shot vs. pass decisions.  His stroke was reliable out to the arc.  Both 6’11 Maximo Garcia and 6’6 Carlos Rosario were solid around the basket.  Garcia was a better than anticipated scorer inside despite being on the thin side.  His length allowed him to protect the rim and control the glass.  Rosario did many of the same things, but he is springier off the floor, attacks the glass with more abandon, and swiftly gets out into transition.

Showtime Ballers 16U

On the wing, 6’4 Rasheed Durham from First Coast in Jacksonville got a lot done inside the arc.  His quick first step got him past defenders and to the basket within a dribble or two and he showed an ability to finish creatively in traffic.  Durham is also an excellent athlete and has no trouble finishing above the rim in transition.  On the inside, 6’6 Kobe Gibbs from Strawberry Crest outside of Tampa put in work.  He was all over the offensive glass, either putting back missed shots or keeping the possession alive until a teammate could come up with the ball.  He was quick up and down the floor in transition, challenged shots in the lane, and did a nice job of finding cutters when out on the perimeter.

Showtime Ballers Select 17U

Playing up a year, 6’2 Sebastian Astor out of Fleming Island was a nice surprise.  While he won’t impress athletically, he displayed a solid basketball IQ as he threw alert passes to cutters for scores, progressed the ball down the court quickly via either the dribble or the pass, and made open shots from the perimeter.

South Florida Elite 2020

Martin Mercedes, a 5’10 guard from Miami Ferguson, was the catalyst for this group.  His forte was getting out in transition and scoring before the defense could get organized.  His shot looked solid as he connected a couple of times from beyond the arc.  Mercedes was solid on the defensive end, using quick feet and active hands to harass the opposing ball-handler and making it difficult for the other team to get into an offensive flow.

Team Breakdown 16U

On a team loaded with quality perimeter players, 6’6 Amarachi Ujagbor out of Pembroke Pines Charter became the de facto interior “shop keeper”.  An active rebounder with long arms, he’s at his best on putbacks and quick shots as a cutter into the lane.  He sometimes rushes his shot on the offensive end but that should correct itself in the near future.   We don’t deny that 5’10 Sam Rolle of Suncoast has become one of our favorite players of the summer.  A true point guard with not just command of the ball but of the game, he gets the ball where it needs to go to make the right play at the right time.  He’s one of those players that just seems to be a play or two ahead of the opposition on every possession.

Team Parsons (CP 25) 17U Mix

This team was composed entirely of Class of 2020 players and competed well against older competition.  Joe Bamisille, a 6’4 wing from Montverde, seems to be recovering well from a knee injury that kept him out of competition with the Eagles this past season.  Lean and athletic, Bamisille had some solid moments scoring on drives to the basket.  Eric Butler, a 6’3 combo guard out of Alabama, spent most of his court time running the offense, either pushing the pace in transition, or getting teammates in the right position to attack a set defense.  While his jumper wasn’t falling in the game we watched, he was still able to make things happen offensively with drives to the basket and passing out for open shots by teammates.  Bradley Douglas, a 6’2 combo out of Eustis, did a nice job of reading ball screens and making the right decision.  He shoots the ball from the perimeter well and is a strong driver when heading toward the rim.  Michael Eads, a 6’4 wing from Orlando Edgewater, is seemingly always around the ball.  He doesn’t do anything one thing great but he’s productive and fills a stat sheet.

Thunderstruck Elite

We really enjoyed watching this team play and it will be interesting to see how the players grow between now and next season.  Gervon Dexter, a 6’8 forward from Lake Wales, has a built body and brings a football-type of toughness to the court.  He’s decently skilled, not just a bull in a china shop.  Dexter overpowers guys on the glass and when taking the ball strong to the basket from the short corner and high post areas of the court.  Kahlil Shaheed, a 6’2 guard out of Georgia, is one of the better transition finishers you will find.  He has great body control, elevation, creativity, and a soft touch with either hand around the rim.  Shaheed is also a very good on-ball defender.  Alec Oglesby, a 6’4 wing also from the Peach State, is a deadly shooter from deep.  He uses that skill to set up drives to the basket for easy scores.