Friday, October 6, 2017

All-American Jamboree Features Traditonal Prep Powers



Team To Watch: No team enters the 2017-18 campaign with a price on its head like Montverde Academy. Kevin Boyle’s program will feature the country’s best player in newly re-classified Class of 2018 wunderkind R.J. Barrett.

 Barrett’s 38-point scoring binge, the factor which propelled Canada to a 99-87 victory over USA in the FIBA U-19 Basketball World Cup this summer, cemented his status as the country’s unrivaled prospect.

Barrett also submitted 13 rebounds and doled out five assists in authoring a hyper-efficient performance. Crafty, explosive, and adept at scoring the ball from all areas, Barrett recently sliced his list down to Duke, Kentucky, and Oregon. Barrett is slated to make his decision on Nov.10, prior to the official start of the 2017-18 campaign.

Arizona, mired in the groundbreaking FBI scandal which entails wire fraud, pay-for-play, and bribery charges, did not make the cut. Michigan was recently eliminated as well.

Montverde features newly-minted Florida commit Andrew Nembhard, a traditional point guard who pulls off passes only a rarified brand of talent is capable of. Also a spot up and stick threat, Nembhard will have help from 6-foot-4 lefty Mike Devoe.

Having recently committed to Georgia Tech, the Oak Ridge transfer is an efficient offensive source who can finish amongst the trees upfront and also spread the floor with considerable range. The addition of Devoe, one of the nation’s top-20 guards, pads the loss of North Carolina commit Rechon “Leaky” Black.

A 6-foot-8 guard and a fluid supplementary piece during the nationally televised Dick’s Sporting Goods tournament, Black has returned home to play for 3A North Carolina State Champions Cox Mill.

 Morris Udeze, who recently committed to Wichita State, brings a massive presence in the trenches at 6-foot-8, 215 pounds.

Football player turned three-star forward Josh Roberts, who is committed to St. John’s, will be a pivotal figure on the boards. Kevin Zhang, a 6-foot-9 swingman who hails from Chinese basketball royalty, should supply meaningful minutes. A transfer via La Lumiere, Zhang is being recruited by UCLA, LSU, Ohio State, and several others.

Few teams in the country possess the augmented depth and position-to-position potency of this Montverde team.

While Montverde’s post-graduate lost 3-point shooter Cameron Healy (Now at Albany), who knocked down 25 3-pointers during one three-game stretch last year, they added Seton Hall commit Darnell Brodie.

 A mobile 6-foot-10 big with a feathery touch, the Newark, N.J. native is known for his work rate. Montverde’s PG has also bolstered its roster with 6-foot-5 small forward Bikim Biyombo, the younger brother of NBA player Bismack Biyombo.

 The transfer from Mountain Mission (Va.) contains superior strength and wowing athleticism. If he can develop his all-around game and add some ball skills to his prodigal vertical, he could have a special impact.

Hey, nobody ever called the kid a genius. Biyombo will need to shore up past academic issues in order to crack the high-major scales.

Event's Most Electrifying Player: Luguentz Dort, Athlete's Institute

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Dort is one of the country’s most menacing match-ups.

 Boasting a game predicated on fearless slashing and above-the-rim finishing ability, Dort arrives at Athlete’s Institute with a number of gifts on both ends of the floor.

After authoring a 36-point outburst against 22 Feet Academy last season and showcasing his hard-driving, defense dissecting style, Dort has etched his name as one of the country’s elite in 2018. Dort is still developing a steady 3-point shot and has shown improvement in that compartment of his game.

He’s a full throttle athlete with the build of a halfback. Dort has whittled his list down to Arizona State, Miami, Indiana, Michigan State, Oregon, and Baylor. The Montreal native is active defensively at all times and can convert a turnover into a transition dunk as effectively as anyone in the country. His sheer strength allows him to overpower foes and manufacture points at a torrid pace.

Game To Watch: Oldsmar Christian (FL) v.s. Believe Academy (TN), Oct. 14th

As the defending SIAA Florida state champions, Oldsmar Christian enters the All-American Jamboree with a wealth of Division-I talent. Coach John Bianchi’s program features one of the country’s most highly-lauded recruits in Elijah Weaver.

The well-built 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard is an innate left-handed playmaker with the ability to take game-changing matters into his own hands. He is currently deciding between Florida, USC, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State.

Oldsmar will reap the rewards of a healthy 6-foot-5 D.J. Mitchell. A steady 20+ point scorer, Mitchell now has offers from Rhode Island, St. Joe’s, Penn State, FCGU and a barrage of others.

Oldsmar, which lost just two letterman to 2017 graduation, has backcourt depth with IPFW commit Tione Rollins, Braxton Bartlett, and Class of 2019 Jose Romero.

Micheal Durr, a 6-foot-11 South Florida commit with a versatile game, will be the stabilizing force on the frontline. Oldsmar features an underrated big in Marcus Hopkins, a 6-foot-11 Center out of Oakland who has the potential to be a sleeper recruit.

Believe Prep spent the off-season ramping up its recruiting efforts, bringing in surefire Division-I talent such as 6-foot-8 Joel Ntambwe (Providence, Tennessee, Rhode Island, UNLV, Arkansas, Wichita State) and 6-foot-6 Class of 2019 prospect Devan Cambridge.

Ntambwe possesses a versatile and finesse game, attributes which enable him to put the ball on the floor and create and guard from the 1-4. Cambridge, out of Nashville, Tenn., brings all three levels scoring and high-level athleticism.

Coming off a year in which he averaged 17 points and six boards (including a pair of 36-point outbursts in the state tournament) to lead Pope John Paul II to a Division-II/AA State quarterfinal berth, Cambridge has interest from Auburn and Florida.
Believe also features a still developing 6-foot-11 Center in Chris Volo, a Long Island native who appears to be high on Mercer’s priority list.

They also have under the radar prospect in 6-foot-3 sharpshooter Malcolm Farrington, who averaged over four 3-pointers per game on the Grind Session circuit last season.

A game of this magnitude, in one of the most highly anticipated pre-season events, will be a major barometer for the vastly improved Athens, TN-based program.


Defense and stellar guard play will again be bedrock principles of Orlando’s West Oaks Academy.

West Oaks, which has churned out strong, multi-layered and double duty threats such as Corey Sanders, Andres Feliz, Richardson Maitre, and Sylvain Francisco, will again feature a promising backcourt.


Tyrell Jones, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound point guard out of Orlando, is flushed into a prominent role this season. Jones holds offers from Tennessee Tech, South Florida, James Madison, Florida International and a bevy of others. Florida recently has expressed interest in Jones, with Gators assistant coaches Dusty May and Darius Nichols taking in a practice recently.


The Class of 2019 prospect is rather under the radar on a national level, an aspect which should change with West Oaks competing in the All-American Jamboree,  The Grind Session, and various other exposure-heavy events.


Jones is a well-built guard capable of creating for his own and scoring in a number of ways. He possesses high-level athleticism and the rare ability to pick apart a defense as a facilitator.

Jones does a bit of everything, including hit transition 3-pointers and leave defenses on their heels with an evolving downhill game and a crafty, fearless style in the half-court set.


West Oaks will also feature a rugged defender and underrated guard in New York native P.J. Person. Person showed strides this summer on the AAU circuit and has the expanded offensive guard tool-set to be one of the SIAA’s best kept secrets.


He will have help from Tyrieke Blakeney, the younger brother of the former LSU star and current Chicago Bull. Blakenley registered his grit in a recent fall league win over Windermere Prep, knifing to the rim and displaying a pull-up game as well.


West Oaks returns a young but experienced guard in A.J. Neal, a Class of 2021 guard with 3-point range and an advanced offensive mindset. Neal has been playing varsity since he was in seventh grade, after averaging 28 PPG on J.V. Expect him to take on a more meaningful role in 2017-18.

Freakish Freshmen: Potter’s House of the SIAA (FL) boasts underclassmen talent in freshmen in 6-foot-9 Jonathon Izemef and 6-foot-8 Bretner Mutumbo. Both will be thrust into prominent roles as rim protectors for Steve McLaughlin’s new-look roster.

While most callow, raw work-in-progress caliber sky-scrapers arrive at the doorstep with tremendous upside and a debilitating handful of flaws, Izemef and Mutumbo's quick evolution as upfront monsters is indicative of their potential.
 Both players have displayed an advanced skill-set and scoring acumen, complete with post moves and thunderous  finishes at the rim.
The promising 1-2 punch has instantly shed any traces of softness, dunking with relative ease and penetrating the nooks and crannies of frontline defense to score.