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CITY OF PALMS REPORT — DAY THREE
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
What a day at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Florida. We saw great games, great individual performances, and one great comeback. The nation’s consensus top player, Shabazz Muhammad, went off for 42 points in the final game of the night and that wasn’t even the most impressive showing of the day. Kentucky head coach John Calipari continued his borderline stalking of Nerlens Noel by planting himself underneath the baseline for much of the day which instantly ups the intensity in the gym. Enough setup, on to the recap of Monday’s action at the City of Palms Classic.
Top Performance of the Day:
Jordan Mickey (Arlington Grace Prep 2013) – Grace Prep trailed Mater Dei by 18 at the half after Mickey had spent the majority of the half on the bench with 2 fouls. He came out in the 2nd half and put on a clinic on the low block tallying 22 of his game high 29 points. Mickey scored all of his points by working for low post position and then powering through his defender and scoring over his left shoulder. He has great strength which he uses to setup his shots and then a soft touch to finish off plays. Grace Prep fed Mickey in the same spot time and again and he used the same moves over and over without being stopped. He does a great job of making a quick, decisive move after he catches it in the post so that a double team does not have time to arrive. Mickey’s monster 2nd half and overtime led Grace Prep all the way back from that 18 point halftime deficit and carried them into tomorrow’s semifinals. For a recruiting update on Mickey, see our report from Saturday: City of Palms Report — Day Two.
Sleeper Performance of the Day:
Kamali Bey (Wilbraham and Monson 2013) – Bey has been somewhat of a forgotten man as he missed over a year with a broken leg. He’s back now and tells me he’s about 85% healthy but feels his 85% is enough to contribute on this level so he’s going to be out there helping his team. He was a key piece in Wilbraham and Monson’s victory by using his strength to bully his way to the rim. Standing 6’3” and 215 pounds, Bey is too strong for wing defenders and too quick for bigs making him a major matchup problem. As he grows more confident in his leg and gets back to 100%, Bey’s game should only take off further.
Other Standout Performances:
Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman 2012) – The nation’s top player reminds me in many ways of Kobe Bryant in the sense that he is a complete scorer who always delivers an A+ effort. While his shot may not always be falling (it was today), Muhammad will always find a way to put the ball in this basket by crashing the offensive glass, or leaking out in transition, or posting up. He simply will not be denied his points and went off for 42 of them today but it wasn’t enough in a tough loss to Prestonwood Christian. NBE caught up with Muhammad on Friday for the latest on his recruitment: City of Palms Report — Day One.
Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian 2013) – The reason those 42 weren’t enough was the superb play of Randle. The junior power forward had 26 points of his own and easily double digit rebounds but it was the little things that impressed me. Randle served as Prestonwood’s best press break by coming back to get the ball and then blazing through the defense with a speed dribble towards the rim. 6’9” 240 low post beasts don’t usually handle the ball coast to coast but Randle is an unusual talent. His increased perimeter development has really expanded his long term potential.
Jaylen Brantley (Wilbraham and Monson 2013) – Brantley is a diminutive 5’9” point guard who made a name for himself on the summer circuit with BABC as a knockdown long range shooter. As the captain and leader of Wilbraham and Monson, he is proving to be far more than just a deep shooter. Brantley was terrific in screen and roll sets both with the pass and by turning the corner and making a series of floaters. One such floater came with 2 seconds left on the game clock and gave his team a 1 point victory.
Jabari Bird (Salesian 2013) – The most impressive thing about Bird is how easy he makes everything look on the court. The 6’6” wing seems to glide up and down the floor and makes plays above the rim. His rebounding ability particularly on the defensive end stood out as well as Bird flew in from the wing on multiple occasions and grabbed boards in traffic.
D’Angelo Russell (Montverde Academy 2014) – A long and lean 6’4” combo guard, Russell showed flashes of being an elite player down the road. He plays with great pace, rebounds well for his position, and makes plays around the rim using his length and quickness. Clearly a high major guard, Russell projects as a top 25 player in the 2014 class.
Mickey Mitchell (Prestonwood Christian 2015) – After showing flashes on Saturday without filling the stat sheet, Mitchell put together a complete performance tonight and officially put his name in the ring for top player in 2015. He does everything well, is a high level athlete, and has an abnormally high basketball IQ. Assuming normal improvement as he grows up, Mitchell is going to be a superstar.
City of Palms Free Throws:
Daniel Dingle is a guy I would go to war with. The Temple-commit brings his hard hat and has skill to back it up… Dingle’s teammate Shane Rector played an efficient game at the point by using his quickness to get into the paint… Local team Blanche Ely from Pompano Beach, Florida is loaded with division 1 players. Benji Bell, Krishaun Myers, Clide Geffrard, Derek Walker, and 2013 Kahlil Thomas can all help D1 programs with Thomas having the most upside of the bunch… Salesian’s Mario Dunn is an underrated point guard. Mid majors need to start taking notice… 2015 big man D-Jery Jean-Baptiste from Wilbraham and Monson passes the eye test and looks like a high major kid down the road… Anthony Perez is going to be a star at Ole Miss as a stretch 4 man. He’s been highly productive in both of Montverde’s games thus far… Tomorrow’s semifinal matchup between Ricardo Gathers and Julius Randle is going to be a grown man battle. Can’t wait.
Jabari Bird (Salesian 2013) – Bird has his list narrowed to 5 schools in Arizona, California, Washington, UCLA, and Oregon. He has already visited Arizona and Cal and says that those two along with Washington (visit planned) are definitely his top 3. He plans to make a decision sometime next summer.
Mario Dunn (Salesian 2013) – Dunn’s recruitment hasn’t taken off yet as he is currently hearing from Santa Clara, Pacific, and UC-Irvine. More performances like today will increase his interest drastically.
Jaylen Brantley (Wilbraham and Monson 2013) – Brantley has high major suitors all over him including Syracuse, Florida, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Richmond, UCF, Cincinnati, and Connecticut. UConn assistant Kevin Ollie was in the front row watching Brantley’s buzzer beating performance today.
Kamali Bey (Wilbraham and Monson 2013) – Schools are not ready to offer yet as they’re waiting to see Bey back fully healthy but he has serious interest from Temple, Oregon State, Siena, Penn State, DePaul, Bryant, Boston College, and Penn. He’s looking for an up-tempo style that is close enough to home for his family to see him play. Bey is targeting next November (early signing period) for a decision.
D’Angelo Russell (Montverde Academy 2014) – Still in the early stages of the process as a sophomore, Russell already holds offers from Louisville, Xavier, and Florida and has significant interest from Ohio State. He lists his dream schools as Ohio State and Kentucky. The Wildcats have not begun recruiting him at this point.
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