Notables from the Wally Keller Classic
Photo Courtesy of tcpalm.com
Tommie Lewis, Vero Beach (pictured): The 6’1 senior guard was electrifying on both ends of the floor for the Indians in their win. Offensively, he’s quick to the rim and finishes in traffic or earns a trip to the free throw line. Coming off a recent hand injury, his outside shot wasn’t falling on Saturday but historically Lewis has shot a reasonable percentage (over 35%) from deep. Defensively he is a terror with quick hands, quick feet and tremendous instincts and anticipation on that end of the floor. Lewis is also a very good athlete at the point guard position as he is fast with the ball in transition and finishes above the rim.
Malachi Wideman, Sarasota Riverview: The 6’5 junior has long been known as a tremendous athlete but Wideman continues to work hard on his skills and it shows. His perimeter shot has become consistent but he is still at his best when taking the ball strong to the basket, whether in transition or against a set defense. Wideman is exceptionally quick with his change of pace/change of direction moves off the dribble and it usually results in an exhilarating dunk and/or a trip to the foul line. Wideman is also a solid passer on the move, rebounds well, and has the length and quickness to be a tough on-ball defender.
Jadrian Tracey, Oldsmar Christian: The 6’5 junior simply does it all for the Eagles. While he doesn’t play the point guard position, he is the team’s best playmaker as he makes excellent shot vs. pass decisions on the move with the ball. He knows that defenses will shade toward him and Tracey does a good job of finding teammates for open shots. He has become a legitimate three-point shooter with a lot of hard work; nothing showed that more than his deep dagger from the corner to win the game at the buzzer. Tracey scores well off the bounce, finishing through contact in traffic. An excellent athlete, Tracey has the length, foot speed, and overall quickness to defend multiple positions.
Christian DeLeon, Hillsborough: A 5’9 senior guard, he may have had one of the most dominating performances of the day. He was simply too quick and crafty with his dribble for the opponent to slow down. Whether getting all the way to the basket on drives or creating space to pull up and knock down mid-range jumpers, DeLeon was simply not to be denied on Saturday. Yes, there is an element of high risk/high reward to his game, but maybe that is what makes him so intriguing. A bit on the small side, he more than makes up for it with his quickness and confidence. Defensively he makes opposing ball-handlers work hard to initiate any kind of offense.
Tre Carroll, Charlotte: The 6’7 sophomore has shown a lot of improvement since the start of the season and a lot of that improvement comes from an increased confidence level. Carroll is now pursuing rebounds aggressively at both ends. On the offensive end, he gets the ball back up and in quickly without having to “reset” himself. On the defensive end, he has shown the ability to grab the ball and push it up the floor in transition. Carroll has good range on his shot and as he becomes stronger as well as quicker as his body catches up to him, he will become a very difficult to cover inside-outside threat.
Jordan Clark, Sarasota Booker: In the past, the 6’3 senior has always left us wanting more. On Saturday, we didn’t feel that way. Clark scored ten of his nineteen points in the fourth quarter, including eight straight, to get Booker a lead and keep it against a strong South Miami team. He took the ball strong to the basket, made shots over taller Cobra defenders, and converted a pair of free throws with twenty seconds left to give Booker a victory. If Clark can at least come close to duplicating Saturday’s efforts on a regular basis, his recruiting profile will certainly elevate. He definitely has the physical tools and skills to play at the collegiate level.
Lee Flenor, South Miami: The 6’7 senior came out with something to prove after being all but invisible at last weekend’s RMF Respect Series. A long and exceptionally athletic player, Flenor does most of his damage in transition, around the basket, and on the offensive glass. His second leap is as quick or quicker than most opponents’ first and his wing span allows him to reach over block-outs without fouling. Flenor can also be disruptive on the defensive perimeter as he anticipates the opponent’s ball movement very well. His ability to score from the perimeter is still somewhat in question, but he more than compensates for that in other areas of his game.
Josh Simmons, Bartow: Though only 6’2, the junior completely owned the paint and the glass in the Yellow Jackets game against Lehigh on Saturday. Solidly built with strong shoulders and long arms, Simmons looks like the next stud linebacker for a collegiate power, but he doesn’t do gridiron. Simmons has a nose for the ball coming off the glass, strong hands, and a soft touch around the rim when it is time to score. He seemingly more than holds his own against taller players inside and has the lateral quickness to defend out on the perimeter as well. All but three of his game-high 27 points came at the rim. The rest come via a 3-3 performance from the foul line. Inch for inch, he might be the toughest interior player in the state on the high school level.
Quinton Desamours, Lehigh: The 6’4 junior showed off remarkable athleticism and some solid ball-skills on Saturday. He has a quick first step to the basket and usually gets there and scores before help can arrive. Desamours handles and passes the ball relatively well on the perimeter but his shooting needs work; while the form is there, the results aren’t. When and if he can get that aspect of his offensive game to be reliable and consistent, it will open up things for him on the court. A good rebounder for his size, he has the physical tools that allow him to defend a variety of positions on the floor.
Kentron Poitier, Palmetto: The 6’4 junior is another player that has elevated his skills to complement his superior athleticism. He’s become much more comfortable on the perimeter and while his shot was somewhat AWOL on Saturday, Poitier was still able to aggressively attack the defense with the dribble and produce results. A tenacious offensive rebounder, Poitier plays bigger than his size and gets a lot of putbacks simply by keeping the ball alive and outlasting the defense. Poitier is a quick and active defender as Saturday he got to several wayward passes and quickly pushed the pace the other way.
Lavarius Hampton, Jensen Beach: The 6’6 junior showed promise despite not necessarily filling up the score book. Though thin, he’s wasn’t afraid to battle against bigger players in the paint. For his size, he is a more than adequate ball-handler and passer along the perimeter. While his shot didn’t connect as often as one would like to see from the perimeter, all the elements are there for it to become consistent. Hampton is quick, active on the defensive end, and a guy that gives everything he has at both ends of the floor.
Aaron Jones, Fort Myers Evangelical Christian: The 6’7 sophomore had more than enough moments to get on any “watch list”. He’s got a good frame and though right now not a great athlete, he’s good enough and moves well on the court. Jones grabbed some tough rebounds in traffic against a bigger Hillsborough squad. Limited offensively at this point, it easy to envision Jones being able to step out on the perimeter to make plays in the not too distant future. It will be interesting to see how he develops over the next couple of years.
John Solomon, Sarasota Riverview: The 6’8 sophomore isn’t yet ready for prime-time but the physical tools are certainly there, starting with his height, length, and solid frame. He moves up and down the court well, controls his rebounding area, and though not a leaper and shot blocker yet, he certainly changes shots and makes the opposition think twice before taking the ball into the lane. Solomon scores mostly on offensive rebounds and drop-off passes from penetrating teammates but at times he did show some solid footwork in the post.
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