29 Mar 2024

Travel Team Jamboree – 16U Notables

With the plethora of talent taking part in the 17U Division of the Travel Team Jamboree held this past weekend at The Big House in Tavares, there was little time or opportunity to catch many teams in the younger (16U/15U) divisions.  We took a quality over quantity approach and took in teams in those divisions that we knew had lots of talent.

Marcis Ponder, Team Breakdown: A 6’11 sophomore in the Overtime Elite program, Ponder’s combination of size, strength and athleticism is pretty much uncontainable at this level.  If he catches the ball in the lane chest high or above, it’s a dunk, free throws, or both.  If Ponder’s teammates deliver the ball any lower, that makes Ponder susceptible to double-teams and defenders digging down on him. Once he develops post scoring tools other than a drop-step and dunk, he will mandate double-teams more often than he already does.  Ponder needs to improve his free throw shooting as he will be spending a LOT of time there in the future.

Herley Brutus, Florida Rebels: A 6’6 sophomore out of Umatilla, Brutus brings versatility and energy to every game.  He has a high skill level and basketball IQ, making the game easier for his teammates.  Brutus handles the ball well in the open court as well as in tight spaces, makes good pass vs. shot decisions on the move, and is adept at playing the one through four positions on offense.  Defensively he might be even better as he uses his length and quickness to pressure the ball, stay in front of the dribbler, challenge shots, and disrupt the passing lanes.  Brutus makes enough perimeter shots that he must be defended out there.  Once that aspect of his game takes a next-level leap, he will be even tougher to defend.

Collin Paul, SOH Elite: A 6’6 sophomore from Calvary Christian in Fort Lauderdale, the battle between Brutus and Paul was fun to watch.  The winner depends on who you talk to.  Paul is making strides as a perimeter shooter from behind the arc but proved to much more effective at this time operating from eighteen feet and in.  He displayed a reliable mid-range off both the bounce and catch, an ability to slash and drive to the bucket and score in a crowd, and a nose for the ball coming off the offensive glass.  At the defensive end, Paul moves his feet well, doesn’t mind playing physically, and is a pretty good shot blocker for a player his size.

Jermal Jones, Florida Rebels: A 6’5 sophomore from Bell Creek Academy in Riverview near Tampa, Jones has long been considered one of the better players in Florida’s 2026 Class and looked the part this past weekend.  He excelled at getting to and scoring at the basket, both in transition and half-court sets.  A very good athlete with excellent body control and touch, Jones makes tough shots at the rim look easy.  His perimeter shot continues to improve in regards to accuracy and consistency from behind the three-point line.  Jones already has a reliable mid-range game, is a solid ball-handler and passer, and a willing participant in the rebounding department.  Defensively, he knows how to use his strength and footspeed to keep opponents away from the basket.

Aaron McGee, Team Breakdown: A 6’3 sophomore at Palm Bay, McGee’s game continues to ascend.  This past weekend he had success both as a three-point shooter and a slasher that can finish above the rim with authority in a crowd.  McGee has a quick first step and good change of direction/change of pace moves off the dribble should the defense react accordingly.  He has a knack for finding space on the perimeter, being available for passes from teammates, and a quick release before the defense can recover.  He rebounds well for his size and is quick to push the ball up the court once secured.  Defensively McGee works hard denying passes and forcing opponents away from the basket.

Stefan Frisby, SOH Elite: A 6’2 sophomore from Western in Davie, Frisby has high-level ball-handling skills and court vision.  He’ll “dance” defenders until they get off-balance, go hard to the basket and then make the right read in regards to getting the ball to a teammate for a better shot or attempting one on his own.  Frisby is at his best when he can push the pace and put the defense at a disadvantage.  We didn’t see him take a perimeter shot in the game we watched but his free throw form and accuracy suggest Frisby can score from the perimeter if necessary.  He has a lot of flair to his game at this stage but as he matures he will be able to turn that into a positive.


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