Wednesday, January 31, 2018

TLAP Features Plenty Late Blooming Prospects, International and Local Flavor

Train Like A Pro Academy  (TLAP) is quickly evolving into a national brand in Port St. Lucie.

Bolstered by an exposure-heavy national schedule on the Grind Session circuit, a rigorous training schedule, and an academically enriched program, TLAP has increased its enrollment in 2017-18.

In yielding the prep basketball seed in football crazed South Florida, the program has attracted student-athletes  criss crossing the globe to quench an insatiable thirst for superior competition.

With the buy in process coming along, TLAP suddenly boasts an array of young prospects now beginning to blossom.

The program also has a number of upside heavy underclassmen waiting in the wings.

"The focus is always to broaden opportunities for these young men and make sure they have the visibility aspect in terms of playing against the best and being seen by college coaches," explained head coach and West Palm Beach native Louis Graham, who averaged 17 PPG at Georgia Southern in his heyday.

"I don't sugar coat it for them. We're a program that gets after it and is constantly held to a high standard."

The emergence of diamond in the rough  recruits such as Mohammed Youssef, a heady 6-foot-3 point guard who plays for the FIBA Egypt national team, has keyed the program's incremental improvement .

"He's a very crafty point guard who has exceptional on court awareness," Graham said of Youssef, who has garnered the interest of programs such as Western Kentucky and Winthrop.

A player who has generated similar significant Division-I interest is Eddie Davis.

At 6-feet-6 and having developed prolific scoring capabilities at the wing, Davis is piecing together a breakout season.

Davis torched Impact (Sarasota, Fla.) to the tune of 35 points. He followed this performance up with an identical 35-point game against DME Academy of Daytona Beach.

Davis dissected several junk defenses applied to him with a collection of hard drives, 3-pointers, stepbacks, and feathery 15-18 footers. With augmented strength and physicality, Davis has bulldozed several smaller defenders to the rim and finished with either hand.

TLAP has also tapped into the international market with a 6-foot-10 Center in Mohammed Abed-Hantous, a native of Tanzania.

"He's a giant kid at 16 years old I'll tell you that," explained Graham, who played against myriad behemoths during a career in both the NBA D-League and overseas.

"He likes contact and he's physical. He's about 210 pounds. He's got a good body on him and he has plenty of potential. If he invests his time the right way and continues to work at it, he has the attributes to be a very special player down the road. His upside is very high and coaches really recruit on potential now."

Graham also sees potential in Chris King, a knockdown shooter who has earned credibility as your quintessential glue guy.

"He is one of those kids that will do whatever is asked and just wants to win, without getting enamored with his individual performance," Graham said. He's a glue guy, similar to (Miami Heat forward) Udonis Haslem."

Poised guard play has been a pivotal factor mirroring the ascension of TLAP, which increased its strength of schedule this season.

The deft handle and active hands defensively from 6-foot-3 guard Mikail Woods has been pivotal.

"He's quick, fast, a feisty defender," Graham said of Woods, who has inherited some on-court ownership of the program this winter.

"They call him 'The General.' He's one of those kids that just has natural leadership capabilities and plays smart, composed, in your jersey defense at all times. He's an energizer and he's got a great handle on him."

Another backcourt player with similar high level defensive tactics, a motor, and immeasurable toughness is Brenlee Jansey.

"He's a very rugged little guard and an all around tough minded kid who has the potential to be a steal on the Division-II market," Graham said.

Jamal Ellick, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard with a knack for barreling into the rim and scoring, has been a consistent 20 PPG scorer.

"He's real crafty in transition," said Graham of the local Broward County native.

"He's a physical attacker with the way he gets to the rim and finishes through contact," Graham said.

American University and USC Upstate, among others, have expressed interest in Ellick.