We took in the Team Parsons Shoot-Out at The First Academy in Orlando on Saturday. As always, the event was well-run by Program Director Anthony Ricks and his staff. Here are just a few of the standout players from a full day of hoops.
It is the moment that every player dreams of: Tied Game. Overtime. Clock winding down. Chance to knock off a heavily favored opponent. The ball is released just before the clock gets to 0:00. The ball goes through the hoop while the echo of the horn rings throughout the gym. The Giant is slayed and you are Jack.
That moment came to life for Team Parsons SWFL 16U point guard Allan Cedano, a 5’10 sophomore out of Fort Myers Canterbury. All game long Team Parsons SWFL fought tooth and nail with Team Parsons 16U. It was definitely a case of little brother wanting to show big brother he wasn’t so little. Every time it seemed like SWFL would pull away, its counterpart tied the score or pulled ahead. In the one minute OT, Team Parsons 16U missed their shot attempt and gave life to SWFL. That’s when Cedano’s heroics happened.
However, don’t think for a moment that was his only highlight. Earlier in the day, Cedano caught fire against IBT 16U, dropping six threes in nine attempts in the win. In both games, he proved to be a solid ball-handler and active defender. He’s not just a “short scorer” either, as he did a nice job of getting teammates good looks in transition and when penetrating the defense.
Though a Player of the Year candidate in the Fort Myers area, little was known before this weekend about 6’8 sophomore Tyrone Baker from Fort Myers Riverdale. Playing with Team Parsons SWFL 16U for the first time, it is clear that Baker has a future at the next level. Though a bit on the thin side, he doesn’t shy away from playing physically at either end. A quick jumper with long arms, Baker protects the rim well and gets to rebounds quickly. He displayed some basic post moves as well as an ability to step out and make shots at the rim.
Another long, tall big man that played well on Saturday was Team Parsons 17U’s 6’9 Yussif Basa-Ama out of Boca Raton St. Andrew’s. To go with his physical abilities, he has excellent timing for blocking shots and moves well laterally when having to defend out on the perimeter. However, what is most encouraging is his development on the offensive end. Yussif has a reliable jump-hook in the lane and showed he can make shots facing the basket from the short corner and high post areas of the court. He’s an excellent rim runner and routinely beats his defender down court in transition situations.
Though he just finished his freshman season at Windermere Prep, 6’9 Fenbo Zeng is playing up on the Team Parsons 16U team. In his first game of the day he missed a lot of time with foul trouble, but he was active on the boards during that time and knocked down a pair of threes with a smooth stroke. In his second game of the day, Zeng unleashed more of his arsenal. He whipped a nice cross-court pass on a drive to an open shooter and latter tipped in an offensive rebound in heavy traffic. However, his best sequence was grabbing a defensive rebound, pushing the ball up the floor, eluding a smaller defender with a behind the back dribble, then rising up and draining a mid-range jumper from the right baseline with a defender on his hip. Zeng already has a couple of high major offers. They won’t be the only ones.
Ven Allen-Lubin, a 6’5 freshman out of Orlando Christian Prep, was solid for Team Parson’s 15U in the game we caught. He is fast up the floor and finishes well in transition and he’s quick to the ball coming off the rim at the offensive end. He gets a lot of points by simply outworking the other team. While there is still a lot of room for growth in his game, especially at the offensive end, Allen-Lubin certainly has all the physical tools as well as the mind set to reach what is a high ceiling.
This was our first look at Jaylen Williams, a 6’6 junior from Liberty in Kissimmee. He was quite impressive in Team MOAM 17U’s game against Team Parsons. Combining a strong frame with extra athleticism, Williams did a little bit of everything in the contest. He knocked down threes off the catch and the dribble, took the ball strong to the rim and finished in traffic thru contact, and pursued loose balls and rebounds with abandon. Defensively he was also quite active, converting steals into scores.
Kanye Jones, a 6’2 sophomore now at Windermere, pulled double-duty on Saturday as he played for both the 17U and 16U Team MOAM groups. Jones was especially engaged in the 16U game against Team Parsons. He went 5-10 from beyond the arc, many of them contested, and complemented that with drives to the basket, often earning trips to the free throw line. While a better scorer than distributor at this point, Jones is still quite capable of running the point and getting his teammates open looks.
PHS, or Pro Holmes Sports, run by Aaron Holmes, brought a pair of teams to the event. We were only able to catch the 17U group but they were definitely worth watching. Peyton Urbanic, a 6’5 junior from Naples First Baptist Academy, was impressive in playing up in age group. He’s got excellent range on his shot and a quick release. He’s also a solid athlete and plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
Showtime Ballers Select 17U had a solid performance late in the evening session. Leading the way for them was J.J. Harris, a 6’4 sophomore out of Orlando West Oaks Academy. It took Harris a bit of a while to get going on the offensive end but one he did, he took off and his team with him. He took advantage of defenders going under ball-screens and stepped back to knock down shots from beyond the arc. Harris was also active defensively, forcing several turnovers or forcing bad passes by the opponent.
Last but not least, we want to give some love to 1 Family 14U and Powerhouse Bulls 13U for their play in the first game of the day at 8AM. Powerhouse was playing up, but were more than capable of doing so. It was a very good game by two teams that represent the future of basketball in Florida. That future is definitely in good hands.