JR/SR DAY @ “BEST OF THE BEST” RECAP BY COURT CRED

As Sunday rolled around at Oakridge High School in Orlando, Florida junior and senior ball players lined up to warm up to start the day off on the last day of the Best Of The Best Showcase.  Looking around their were a lot of familiar faces so this day would be more about reevaluating and figuring out what players have added to their games.

Shooting Guard Duel

Florida is home to two of the country’s top wings in the class of 2015 in 6’3 Antonio Blakeney(Oakridge HS) and Prince Ali(Sagemont HS).  There has been talk about the highly recruited players teaming up next summer, but on Sunday they would line up opposite each other in the evenings first of three games.  Ali and Blakeney are opposites on the floor.  If they were to play together it will be sort of light thunder and lightning.  Ali prefers to slash his way to buckets, finishing at the rim with good body control, while Blakeney stretches the defense with his unlimited catch and shoot range.

During the Sunday’s mini match up both players didn’t run from each other.  They came out the gate defending one another all the while each player was trying their best to one up the other.  Both guys had their moments with Ali getting things started by sprinting the length of the floor finishing off bounce passes with one hand dunks.  On the other end Blakeney used ball screens to free him up for pull up jumpers and long range bombs.  The athleticism in each guy has improved especially the bounce in Blakeney’s legs.  Even though all eyes were focused on those two players, they both did a good job of involving their teammates throughout the course of the game.

Both spoke briefly about their recruiting with Ali noting that he really like Kevin Ollie at UCONN and UCLA definitely still has a shot to receive a commitment.  The wild card in the conversation came when he mentioned Nebraska.  Blakeney cleared up all rumors that he would not be joining high school teammate Alex Owens at UCF.  He does like Louisville right now.

Deserves More Interest

Every time out when watching a talented roster of players you always want to look for the guy that has possibly slipped under the radar.  Sunday’s group featured a crop of nice guards and David Efianayi(Oconee HS) was the guy thta proved that he could compete with the best of the rest.  A scoring point guard with some quiet athleticism, Efianayi no doubt should have more eyes on him.  He was a very consistent shooter throughout the day with his textbook form.  He was one of the best at getting into the lane and springing up over his defender for good looks at the basket.  The no brainer low major prospect isn’t flashy, but he can get he job done.  He didn’t turn the ball over much and he played at his own pace.

Standouts

Marquel Willis 6’5 Sr. SF Oakridge HS
Willis is the prototype college defender who possesses great lateral quickness and he plays above the rim on both sides of the floor.  Willis has the physical abilities to become a lock down defender at the collegiate level.  when guarding on the ball Willis gave opponents trouble by constantly beating them to the spot and showing some really quick recovery time to contest shots.  He was a memeber of that loaded Each 1 Teach 1 team last summer so it was easy to over look him.  A really good rebounding guard, willis was the third leading rebounder on a team that featured 6’8 Alex Owens and 7 footer Trayvon Reed.

Keyshawn Evans 5’9 Jr. PG American Heritage HS
Evans missed out on all of last summers festivities due to tearing his ACL, but he’s back on the floor going full speed.  The guard says he’s been pushing himself and feels that he’s around 90% right now.  The time off of his feet has helped him work on his upper body strength and it should as he was shooting the ball a lot easier from behind the arc.  Evans doesn’t look as quick right now, but he was quicker than most guards on the floor so that gives you an idea of the speed he possessed before the injury.  With some new additions to his high school team, Evans thinks that his time off has helped him look at the floor in different ways.  With the added range to a guy that was already a consistent shooter it might mean trouble for the South Florida area.

Isaiah Omorgie 6’7 Sr. PF Newsome HS
Once he figures out that he can’t tip toe his way around the floor Omorgie will be a productive player.  With a good frame and strong hands he could get a lot done around the basket.  When he decided to go a bit harder he bodied up defenders down low and made people out of the way for rebounds.  On the block he scored with a short jump hook over the left shoulder, and flushed some dump off passes home.

Alex Owens 6’8 Jr. PF Oakridge HS(Committed to UCF)
Owens is always good, and better when he’s focused and not being silly.  He chose to defer to other players Sunday showing off his passing skills from the high post area and with his back to the basket.  When he wanted to he scored on the low block, but never shyed away from hitting the offensive glass for put backs.  Central Florida is getting one of the best rebounders in the class, who is no doubt skilled, but you don’t always get that version of him.  When Owens decides to buckle down and improve his body and his approach to the game he could wind up playing for a long time.

Derric Jean 6’1 Jr Combo Guard McArthur HS
Jean is the guy that people come to the games and wait on him to give them a moment to remember.  Every time out he displayed the same relentless energy that coaches look for in a player.  He competed every possession going right at whoever his opponent was.  His acrobatic finishes and bursts of speed make him a load to handle on the offensive end.  On more than one ocassion Jean drove right down the middle of the lane and rose up over multiple defenders for rim rattling dunks.  He and Marquel Willis competed for the camps most athletic player.

Sandro Noel 6’6 Jr. PF Sagemont HS
If Jean and Willis were the most athletic players on the day, then Noel was the guy that played the hardest.  This guy is a bull that understands that he must keep his motor turned up at all times when on the floor.  Noel makes good use of his long reach by going after every rebound that he’s close to.  He has good timing that allowed him to come up with multiple blocks during his time on the floor.  Offensively he was more of a threat with how active he was rather than him causing problems when the ball was dumped down to him.  When around the rim he will try to dunk home everything, and he also made some good straight line drives to the rim from the high post.

Anthony Lawrence 6’6 SF Lakewood HS
Lawrence could have easily been talked about earlier in the recap as a guy who deserves more interest.  Listed as a small forward, I feel that he has the skill and IQ to play some at the point position.  He spent some time on the ball during the day and in the Top 20 game where he was able to shoot over smaller defenders with ease.  It was said that Richmond walked into the gym to watch him this fall and they left feeling that they would have no chance at being able to land him because he was that good.  I put players that have the ability to do multiple things in a special category and Lawrence fits the mold.  He makes plays within the flow of the game.  A sharpe passer, Lawrence delivered the ball to cutters in the right spot with his off hand even making cross and full court passes.  He came up with loose balls, long rebounds, and made plays in the post.  Lawrence is a heck of a player who should see his recruiting get better as time goes on.

Side Notes

*Willie Nunez(Oakridge HS) can really shoot the ball.  His shot mechanics are good and he has a quick release

*If you are looking for someone that is wire to score than look no further than 6’2 Barry Brown(Gibbs HS).  Brown served opponents with his speed and knack for putting the ball in the basket.

*7’4 Tacko Fall(Liberty Christian Prep) was in attendance but was unable to play due to a glasses issue

Top 20

Anthony Lawrence Lakewood HS
Antonio Blakeney Oakridge HS
Benjamin Marello Father Lopez Catholic HS
Barry Brown Gibbs HS
Charls Ruise Baker County
David Efianayi Oconee HS
Derric Jean McArthur HS
Diandre Anthony Wilson Boyd Anderson HS
Isaiah Omoregie Newsome HS
Justin Vallejo Atlantic HS
Keyshawn Evans American Heritage HS
Lucas Vojak Olympia HS
Marshall Holmes Berkley Prep
Marquel Willis Oakridge HS
Sandro Noel Sagemont HS
Prince Ali Sagemont HS
Alex Owens Oakridge HS
Williy Nunez Oakridge HS
Michael Stones Windermere Prep
Terrell Turner McArthur HS
Darrius Sawyer Lecanto HS