25 Mar 2024

Travel Team Jamboree – 17U: Rpt I

The Travel Team Season kicked off officially this past weekend at The Big House in Tavares as Source Hoops and Hoop Exchange combined forces to put on the Travel Team Jamboree.  Teams from ages 17U to 13U filled the venue with non-stop action from early Saturday morning to late Sunday afternoon.  We will have a series of reports, starting with some notables from the 17U division.

Jamier Jones, Florida Rebels: The 6’6 junior out of Orlando Oak Ridge was recently named the Orlando Sentinel’s Player of the Year and more than showed why this weekend.  He collects gasps and “wow”s from onlookers with his explosive athleticism and highlight reel dunks.  Jones is much more than that as he is an excellent passer, offensive rebounder, and defender.  He sees the floor well, makes timely passes where teammates can best use the ball to score, gets off the floor quickly for rebounds and uses his physical gifts well, both on and off the ball, at the defensive end.  His perimeter shot was not falling in the game we watched, but Jones does so much to impact the game aside from his shooting that it was a non-issue.

Sean Abaev, SOH Elite: The 6’7 junior out of Calvary Christian in Fort Lauderdale is among the best, if not the best, at creating and making his own scoring opportunities from all three levels.  The lefty can create space with his dribble and rise up off the bounce on either side of the arc and knock down shots, use ball screens and make the right shot/drive/pass read, and get to the basket with either hand and score inside through contact.  Abaev has more than enough bounce to finish over the rim in transition or throw down lobs in half-court sets.  When engaged and not feeling the need to score, he is an effective passer and distributor of the basketball.  He actively pursues rebounds at both ends and is disruptive in the passing lanes on defense.

Mikel Brown, MBJ Elite: Hard to believe we have been watching Brown since he was in seventh grade playing up at the 14U level and now he’s a junior in the Overtime Elite program.  He’s grown to nearly 6’3 with a 6’7 wing span.  Brown is still a bit on the thin side but he is surprisingly strong and athletic.  He does a great job of controlling tempo, is eager to push the ball when the opportunity arises, and uses his dribble effectively to create space for perimeter shots or separation from the defense and get to the hoop.  Brown will finish above the rim if given the chance but has enough body control and touch to get the ball up and in while in a crowd.  He displayed a reliable perimeter shot this weekend and made good shot vs pass decisions on the move, notching several assists in the process.  Brown puts his physical traits and measurable to good use at the defensive end.

M.J. Harper, Judah Nation: A 6’3 junior at Process Academy in Tallahassee, we thought Harper was great two weeks ago at the Spring Player Showdown.  He was even better this weekend.  A strong and physical guard, he punishes opponents on his way to the hoop and uses excellent body control and touch to score.  Harper has quick change of direction dribble moves and only needs a couple to get his defender on his hip and get to the basket.  He earns a lot of trips to the free throw line and converts at a high rate.  When defenders back off to play the drive, Harper has become a good enough perimeter shooter to make them pay.  His strength and athletic ability allow him to matchup with bigger opponents when it comes to rebounding and playing defense.  While not a point guard, Harper takes care of the ball, makes good passes, and looks to get teammates involved in the offense.

Myles Mayfield, 1 Family Pro: A 6’7 junior at Edgewater in Orlando, Mayfield is an energetic and athletic forward that gets a lot done at both ends of the floor.  On offense, he is effective as a one or two dribble driver from the short corners and high post, using a quick first step to get to the hoop.  On post ups and cuts into the lane, he quickly rises and get the ball into the hoop before the defense can react.  Mayfield is also alert for lobs, drop offs from penetrating teammates and offensive rebound opportunities.  Defensively, he can step out and defend smaller players on the perimeter, bang inside in the post and for rebounds, and challenge/change shots of opponents that enter the lane.

Dakota Izard, Wellington Wolves Select: A 6’4 junior at Wellington, Izard is a high-level athlete with motor and skills.  His three-point shot can be streaky at times, but he hits enough that it must be respected and he has good mechanics.  Izard is tough off the bounce, has a quick first step, and doesn’t shy away from contact when attacking the basket.  He is solid with the basketball, can initiate the offense, and doesn’t hunt shots unless called upon.  Izard is tough in transition, can grab a rebound and take it all the way to finish or beat the defense down the floor on the wing and score over the rim.  He has very good lateral quickness, foot speed, and instincts on the defensive end.  Izard is quick to come from the weak side to block a shot or pick off a lazy pass.

Maddox Fowles, Florida Pro: A 6’8 junior at Davie Western, Fowles had few scoring opportunities in the game we watched Sunday afternoon but he made his presence felt in other ways and significantly impacted the game.  He protected the rim well as he is a quick leaper with length; we counted five blocks by him in the contest.  He rebounds out of his area and outlets the ball quickly to teammates.  Fowles runs the floor well, knows where to go at the end of that run, and is a willing screener as well as post-up option.  Fowles gets some easy buckets with his rim-running as well as his relentless pursuit of offensive rebounds.  No doubt he will show more offensive skill and versatility as the spring and summer move along.

Alexander Pierre-Louis, Bad Boys: A 6’4 junior at Coral Springs, Pierre-Louis may not pass the look test in terms of chiseled frame or explosive athleticism but he knows how to play and especially how to put the ball in the basket.  He has a reliable stroke well past the high school three-point line and is especially effective off the catch in transition or when receiving passes from penetrating teammates.  Pierre-Louis will drive the ball and score if the opportunity presents itself.  He is more of a straight-line driver but gets from point A to point B quickly.  Pierre-Louis has a reasonably solid frame and that helps him when it comes to rebounding the ball at both ends of the court.  Defensively he works hard and knows how to use angles and physicality to keep opponents away from the basket.

Zane Elliott, Florida Pro Select: A 6’6 sophomore out of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, Elliott was playing up a level and had no difficulty whatsoever.  He is a tough matchup because he is too strong for smaller players to handle and too swift and skilled for bigger opponents.  It is no problem for Elliott to grab a defensive rebound, bust out of the pack to start the transition game, and then finish with a nifty assist to a teammate or finish in frightening and ferocious fashion on his own.  He is quick to outlet the ball to streaking teammates when the opportunity presents itself.  On offense he can play inside and/or out depending on the matchup.  He is a good passer and reliable ball-handler.  Elliott can knock down open perimeter shots as well as go inside and muscle in buckets.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.