Orien Adams, 6’4 JR, Brooksville Nature Coast: Scoring 25 points and grabbing 19 rebounds against an athletic team like Santa Fe Catholic will definitely get you noticed. Adams may be undersized at this time, but he’s got long arms, excellent timing, and a nose for the ball. He also has good hands and a soft touch around the basket.
Diante Smith, 6’7 SR, Fort Walton Choctawhatchee: A stat stuffer supreme, the TCU commit played very well in the two games we watched. To recap, in Game 1 against a solid Sarasota Booker team, Smith tallied 19 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals in a ten point Choctaw win. Against IMG, essentially taking on a roster of D-I caliber players, Smith registered 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Bottom line: Smith was just as good as the high major guys at IMG and TCU is getting a steal.
Joshua Williams, 5’10 SR, Fort Walton Choctawhatchee: While Smith was supremely excellent in both games, Williams brought a flair and big-time swag to the contest. He had the crowd enthralled with his speed and quickness with the basketball, crafty dribbling maneuvers and fearless attacks on the rim. His 21 points, 3 assists and 3 steals against IMG will hopefully get some D-I schools realizing that if he can do that against a group of high major recruits, what can Williams accomplish against guys getting recruited on the lower end of the D-I spectrum?
Michael Eads, 6’5 JR, Orlando Edgewater: Eads seemingly adds a new wrinkle to his game each time we watch him play. Against SLAM Academy, he impressed with his passing skills, finding open guys where seemingly no pass was going to get through. Also, his on-ball defense was turned up a couple of notches. Eads scores the ball well both off the catch from beyond the arc and when getting to the basket, both in transition as well as on drives in the half court.
Eddie Foster, 6’3 SR, Orlando Edgewater: Foster was simply dynamic at both ends of the court against SLAM Academy, registering a double-double to the tune of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Offensively, he was extremely proficient on the offensive glass, threw down a lob, and earned several trips to the foul line by attacking the rim on the dribble. Defensively, he was a problem. Foster not only has quick feet and active hands, but he has the mindset to dominate his opponent on that end of the floor. He’s the kind of winner/glue guy that all successful teams need.
Issad Solano, 6’3 SR, Miami SLAM Academy: A deluxe scorer, Solano gets the ball in the basket in a variety of ways: backdoor cuts, floaters in the lane, pull-up and step-back jumpers off the dribble, and quick shots coming off ball-screens. He’s also a solid passer and would have tallied quite a few assists against Edgewater had his teammates been able to complete the opportunities Solano provided. He has a quick first step on his drive to the basket, is an above-average athlete, and competes at both ends of the court.
Josh Green, 6’6 SR, Bradenton IMG Academy: The Arizona commit had a mundane first half against Choctaw but really showed why the Wildcats can’t wait to get him to Tucson with his second half play. He knocked down a three early in the third and then started having success attacking the basket, earning an “and one” play and then a bit later scoring inside on a smaller defender. Green is quick and strong to the basket and has no problem finishing thru contact at the rim in traffic.
Algenis Quintana, 6’1 SR, Miami Christian: Quintana is next in line of college caliber guards to play for the Victors. While a bit on the thin side, he more than compensates with speed and quickness, the ability to maneuver thru traffic with the basketball, finish at the basket thru contact, and knock down open perimeter shots. Quintana also does a nice job of getting the ball ahead to open teammates in transition as well moving the ball quickly to shooters on the perimeter.
Ames Dixon, 5’10 SR, Miami Booker T. Washington: We admittedly didn’t keep stats on BTW, but Dixon’s toughness and competitiveness can’t be measured in numbers. It seemed every time we looked up, Dixon was making a positive play, either scoring, assisting, and being disruptive on the defensive end.
Carrollwood Day School’s combo of 6’0 senior Malcolm Whitlow and 6’3 senior Edgar Ziegler proved tough to contain in the team’s win against St. Petersburg Canterbury on opening night. Whitlow, led the state in scoring last year with over thirty points a contest, so teams are either doubling him or face guarding him on defense. He still finds ways to score points. His 21 points came mostly by getting to the basket and scoring there or at the free throw line. Ziegler showed off a couple of deep jumpers off the dribble but he too found success in attacking the basket. That something that we had not seen from Ziegler previously.
Santa Fe Catholic out of Lakeland has its own talented tandem in juniors Joe Stubbs (6’2) and Javon Bell (6’4). Both are very athletic and do much of their damage when able to get to the basket regardless of the tempo of the game. Stubbs and Bell will each knock down open shots on the perimeter if given the opportunity. When the mood strikes Stubbs and Bell can be troublesome defenders as they each have excellent lateral quickness and active hands.
Finally, another duo, 6’5 senior Johnnie Williams IV and 6’3 senior Jordan Clark, were more than solid in their play for Sarasota Booker. Williams will knock down a couple of three pointers a contest but he is best at finishing above the rim, putting back offensive rebounds, and using his athleticism to make plays at both ends of the court. Clark is a solid ball-handler that can run the team in a pinch. He didn’t show much in the way of a perimeter shot but he completes plays when driving to the basket and finds open teammates for shots when the driving lane gets shut down.