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ORLANDO AAU REPORT – FRIDAY
by Alex Schwartz
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Friday was a day at 11th Grade AAU Nationals where NBE Sports watched a number of games from outside the Gold pools. This allowed us to see some teams that might not be as nationally known and catch some players who might be flying under the radar a bit. However, we did check out some Gold games too and some of our top performers come from those squads too.
Trevin Joseph gets the nod as the top performer of the day on Friday, though several players could put together a nice case for the honor. Joseph is the second straight 2013 shooting guard from Georgia to get the nod, following Ryan Wilkins on Thursday. Joseph is a 6’3 rising senior from Stockbridge (GA) who runs with Gold Coast and is part of a deep, talented backcourt. Joseph showed off some major scoring ability in the night’s final game and it was rare to see him actually miss a shot. A strong player with a very good build, Joseph s a knockdown 3-point shooter and is lethal off the catch. He is a smooth player and is his stroke looks quite good. Joseph is also adept at getting to the basket and he finishes once there. Overall, he is a talented offensive player who could be a stud scorer at the next level.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Roderick Johnson is a mostly unknown 2014 prospect from Carver (AL), but his performance on Friday evening deserves recognition. A 5’10 point guard off the Alabama Select squad, Johnson was impressive despite his team getting worked for much of the game. There is no question that he is undersized, but Johnson is productive anyway. He is a quick player who accelerates quite well and that allows him to reach the bucket past bigger, stronger defenders. Johnson showed that he has some shooting ability as well, but the forte of his game is clearly driving to the rim. He handles the orange pretty well, too.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS
Dylan Angelo nearly led his Kodiaks team to a massive upset of the D12 Warriors 16s. His team fell short, bu the 5’10 combo guard out of Taravella (FL) was quite impressive. A 2013 recruit, Angelo had 21 points–19 came in the first half–and he showed some nice offensive skills. He can get to the rim off the bounce, handles the ball well, connects from deep, and can also distrbute.
Rene Castro, a 6’2 combo guard from BABC, is a player who can flat out put points on the board, and that is what he did on Friday. A 2013 prospect from Worcester Academy (MA), Castro is adept at attacking the basket and he finishes once there. Castro is a strong kid who seems to be developing his lead guard skills.
Michael Gilmore of the D12 Warriors 16s team has made some major strides in his game in the past year. A 6’9 power forward from Arlington Country Day (FL), Gilmore is a long post player who runs the floor pretty well. The class of 2014 prospect finishes well down low and showed that he can pass it a bit too.
Taquan Givens is an undersized combo guard at 5’10, but the 2014 recruit out of Mott Haven (NY) is a superb scorer. Givens, who runs with the NY Gauchos, is wired to put points on the board. He possesses a great stroke from beyond the 3-point line and is also quite adept at using handles/strength to get to the basket. Givens also showed some ability to run the point in this game.
Cedric Hankerson, the younger brother of recent Alabama-to-Wyoming transfer Charles Hankerson, Jr., turned in a real nice showing in the Friday nightcap. A 6’4 shooting guard from Coral Reef (FL), Hankerson is a strong wing with a quality feel for the game. A 2013 prospect who plays for Gold Coast, Hankerson can realy shoot the ball from 3-point land and also passes the ball adeptly.
Tajay Henry was listed in the book in the class of 2013, so it seems the Cardozo (NY) graduate is headed to prep school. A 6’5 small forward with the NY Gauchos, Henry s a solid athlete with nice body control who can score the ball and gets to the cup. He works hard on the defensive end and seems to come up with quite a few steals.
Jairus Holder of Team Georgia Elite impressed late in the day on Friday. A 6’6 small forward from Mount Zion (GA), Holder is a versatile player in the class of 2013. He is capable of scoring around the rim and finishes well. In addition, he can create for himself and penetrate through defenders. Holder has good hands, can block shots and possesses nice bounce.
Jordan Martin of the St. Louis Eagles was quite impressive in a comeback victory on Friday afternoon. A 6’8 power forward out of Hazelwood Central (MO), Martin scores around the cup and can throw down some quality dunks. He is a tough kid who has a pretty good frame and simply finds ways to produce.
Justin McKie, the son of ex-South Carolia star BJ McKie, really filled it up on Friday. A 6’4 class of shooting guard for the Upward Stars, McKie actually scored 13 points in the first quarter before we got there, but he was solid the rest of the way too. A solid shooter whose forte is scoring, the 2013 recruit from Irmo (SC) has a smooth game and showed some abiliy to produce off the bounce.
Juan Ramon Rivas was the best player for the D12 Warriors 17s in their comeback win on Friday. A mismatch problem as a 6’7 small forward with a major 3-point stroke, the 2013 prospect fro Olympia (FL) is a nice player. Rivas has good length and is a smooth overall player. As aforementioned, he is a superb 3-point shooter and he will knock it down if given room.
Bracket play began on Friday evening . . . The D12 Warriors 16s drew a number of in-state coaches for their game against the in-state Kodiaks. Head coaches from Miami and Jacksonville were on hand, and Jim Larranaga was accompanied by an assistant. In addition, Florida Atlantic, UCF and South Florida were at the game . . . Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon was the only high-major head coach on hand for Gold Coast’s Sam Singer in the final game of the day . . . The Bluff City Legends were playing without arguably their seven best guys, but that allowed two young prospects to show what they can do. Brothers KJ Lawson (2015) and Dedric Lawson (2016) both look like future high major players in their classes and have some terrific upside . . . There seemed to be less total coaches at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on Friday
Joe Chealey, a 6’2 point guard out of Apopka (FL), has a wide array of schools recruiting him. The D12 Warriors class of 2013 prospect listed scholarship offers from Georgia Southern, Winthrop, UTEP, North Florida, Tennessee Tech, George Mason, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, and Stetson. He is receiving interest from Central Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, St. Joe’s, St. Peter’s, VCU, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Nebraska, USC, UCLA, and others.
Chealey said that Nebraska has just gotten involved and is “pretty aggressive” with its pursuit. He also noted that USC got involved just before July began. Chealey has no favorites and plans to narrow his list down after July. He does not have a timetable for a commitment and does not care about staying in-state or not.
Phillip Cofer is an athletic 6’7 power forward out of Whitewater (GA). A 6’7 class of 2014 power forward for Team Georgia Elite, Cofer listed offers from Tennessee and Miami. In addition, he is hearing from Georgia, Memphis, Georgia Tech, and Georgia Southern. The two schools that offered, Tennessee and Miami, are the ones he feels are coming at him the hardest. Cofer, who has no timetable, listed Tennessee as his favorite, explaining that his parents both attended the SEC school. He has taken a visit to Tennessee and plans to try to get out to Miami as well.
DeShawn Munson, a talented class of 2013 prospect from East St. Louis (IL), does not have as much college interest as one would expect. The 6’3 combo guard from the St. Louis Eagles claims a lone offer from Tennessee to go along with interest from Southern Illinois, Florida State, Xavier, and St. Louis. He visited Tennessee around August of last year and he will be tripping to Xavier next month. Those two schools, Tennessee and Xavier, are Munson’s favorites. He said of why that is, “I like the school and the organization and I feel I fit at one of those two spots.”
John Paul is a very intriguing 6’10 center for the Birmingham Storm who said he has only been playing basketball for one year. Paul, who came over to the US from St. Lucia just eight months ago, might have made the Top Performers list if he had gotten more playing time. However, he made the most of his time on the court and he is a guy who clearly has a strong chance to end up as a high-major player. A class of 2013 prospect who is transferring from Central Park Christian (AL) to Restoration Academy (AL) for his senior year, Paul actually has some regional BCS programs on him already.
Paul listed offers from Arkansas, Mississippi State, Jacksonville, Western Kentucky, and Tennessee Tech. He is also hearing from Alabama, Murray State and Georgia Tech. He has no favorites and is not sure of his timetable for a commitment. Thus far, he has been on unofficial visits to Western Kentucky, Murray State and Mississippi State. He will be taking trips to Mississippi State, Alabama and Arkansas.
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