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October 7, 2013
Battle for the Rankings Recap
CORAL SPRINGS, FL - The state of Florida appears to be a hot spot for events this fall. Following Nike Team Florida's "The Workout" last weekend, Source Hoops hosted the Battle For The Rankings. Featuring numerous high-major recruits and a number of under the radar prospects, the camp style event proved to be a good showing for several players. Here's our breakdown of the prospects who stood out this weekend.
2014 Arlington Country Day (FL) forward Dante Buford - At first, the four-star prospect wasn't even supposed to be in attendance due to an official visit. However, plans changed and it worked out for ACD as they had a full squad and went undefeated during the weekend in part because of Buford. As he is being recruited to play the small forward position in college, he still has a lot to improve on. His explosiveness, power, strength and ability to attack the rim are there. His handle has improved, as well as his decision making and shot making ability. Still, he hasn't made the full transition to becoming a full-time perimeter player just yet. If and when he does, his elite size, strength and athleticism will put him in position to succeed. Down to three schools, the next few weekends will be pivotal in Buford's decision as he looks for a comfortable option following the visits. He heads to Miami next weekend, South Carolina the following weekend and Oklahoma the first weekend in November. He can be an impact player for all three schools.
2014 Norland (FL) power forward Tyrell Williams - An unsigned senior who plans to sign in the spring, Williams wants to see which other schools get involved. He has a chance to pick up some buzz because of his defensive ability. He is fairly simple, yet important on offense because he finishes around the rim. On the defensive end, though, he contests shots and rebounds at a high level. With a 6-foot-8 big body, Williams has attracted offers from Jacksonville, Murray State, Stetson and North Florida with a visit setup for Stetson in the near future. While he wants to sign late now, there is still plenty of time for one of his current schools to win him over and land his services.
2016 Norland (FL) power forward Dewan Huell - Following in the footsteps of USC commit Malik Price-Martin in the Team Breakdown organization, Huell has a similar build and shows similar aspects in his game. Both are long, lanky and versatile big men with high skill sets. While Martin attacks the basket nearly every time he gets the ball, Huell is learning to become aggressive. He uses the pick and pop game as he becomes a stretch-four and shoots it. A versatile defender, Huell's length allows him to defend in the post and on the perimeter. The Florida native is a truly unique prospect and college coaches are noticing that early on. Offers are in from Louisville, Florida, Florida State, Stanford, Miami, Ole Miss, Alabama, South Carolina and Kansas at this point. While it is still early in the process, he remains focused on improving his game. After visiting Miami in August, Huell hopes to visit Florida State sometime this fall after rescheduling an earlier visit. His upside is high, as is his stock.
2015 Northeast (FL) point guard Corey Mendez - A 6-foot-4 floor general who holds zero offers at this point, Mendez has certainly flown under the radar early on. With good court vision, size, quickness and an ability to score at times, he makes his teammates better. A mid-major level recruit, Mendez will visit Florida International in two weeks and could possibly earn his first offer there and then. UNC-Greensboro, Florida Atlantic, Mercer, George Mason and Murray State are also exploring. A high-energy guard with good size, it is a bit surprising that no offers have come in yet. His consistency was the one thing he lacked this weekend. If he can have repetitive strong performances, Mendez will quickly appear on more radars.
2015 IMG Academy (FL) guard Dwayne Bacon - When Bacon opted to transfer to IMG for his junior year, it was with the intent of improving his game. Bacon has done that, but is also learning more about improving things outside of his skill set. At 6-foot-6 he wants to play the guard position and is being recruited at that, but first he must become an all-around player. His stamina, passing, consistency, outside shot and other areas have improved noticeably. His jumper, while still not as consistent as it could be, has improved, as has his handle. 26 schools have taken notice, and 26 schools have offered. The most recent scholarship came from South Carolina this past week, but no schools lead at this time. Bacon indicated that all programs have really pursued him hard and no specific coaching staffs have really outworked the others. Unfocused and unphased by his recruitment, he won't cut his list in the near future. On top of that, he isn't looking at UCF in a different light now after the commitment of friend and teammate, Corey Sanders. Bacon is considering the Golden Knights, but says that Sanders going there gives them no advantage at this point in time.
2017 South Miami (FL) power forward
2017 First Academy (FL) small forward David Nickelberry - The nephew of Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry, David too will have a great future in basketball While his outside shot wasn't falling at first, he kept at it and showed off his lefty stroke. While he needs a quicker shot release, that will be something he needs to improve upon. Nickelberry has fairly good handle for his size, finishes strong at the rim and has good footwork for another 6-foot-6 freshman who projects to be 6-foot-9. Miami, Howard and Indiana have shown interest, and the Hoosiers saw his this summer as an eight grader. They were impressed, but won't be the only big time school to come away impressed with his size and unique skill set.
2015 Oldsmar Christian (FL) small forward Jaquan Murray - For some players, the dribble-drive can lead to instant offense. For Murray, that was his only way of offense. While his game looked a bit one-sided, he did a great job of getting the ball, dribbling past defenders and breezing by to finish at the rim. He is a versatile player as he can play in the post, and is very active on defense. Finishing at the rim and using his big body to draw contact is his speciality, though. Kennesaw State and UT-Martin have offered, while Rider, USF and Holy Cross are interested.
2016 Oldsmar Christian (FL) point guard Eric Hester - Long, lean and possessing a high basketball IQ, Hester's name has popped up a lot recently after reeling in major offers. This has been for a number of reasons as he is a solid all-around player, and still young. Although he isn't overly athletic and must work on his ball dribbling skills, Hester hits open shots, sees the floor and finds his open teammates. Due to offers from Louisville, Miami, USF, UCF, Ole Miss and TCU, the bar has been set extremely high for him and most wonder whether he will live up to it. He won't blow anyone away when they are watching him, but his overall attributes lead to an impressive guard who has a lot to work on, but could potentially be one of the better point guards in his class.
2014 Northeast (FL) guard Richard Lee - After leaving Blanche Ely to pursue a different opportunity for his senior season, Lee's recruitment hasn't shaken up to be what it could. No schools have offered this point, although Northwestern, Alabama, George Mason, Virginia Tech and Murray State have expressed interest. An explosive player, Lee scores the ball with consistency, can play on and off the ball with solid handle and defends well. Look for him to find a school in the spring as mid-major programs should be able to get involved in his recruitment unless Lee opts for a different route.
2016 Coral Springs Christian (FL) power forward Sherack Malokwo - A native of Nigeria, Malokwo is fairly new to the United States after coming to the country in August. This is why no college coaches have begun recruiting him yet. That will change soon as his rebounding, defensive ability, physicality and ability to get to the basket were unmatched. He didn't finish at the rim all the time, but was a force around the basket. At 6-foot-7, the sky is the limit for him once he gets caught up to speed with the changes in the American game of basketball. His upside is sky high, nonetheless.
2015 St. Pete Lakewood (FL) small forward Anthony Lawrence - Lawrence played well enough at the camp to somehow pick up an offer from Louisiana Tech during the event. He rebounds, pushed the ball up tempo and gets into the lane. His jumper looked good, as well, throughout the camp. Along with Louisiana Tech, Lawrence holds offers from Florida International and Clemson. Because of his big body, look for more schools to continue to get involved as Florida, Florida State, Boston, Charleston, George Mason, Texas and Murray State are also looking at him.
2016 Arlington Country Day (FL) guard Lamonte Turner - Since making the move to Arlington Country Day from Alabama, and reclassifying from the class of 2015 to 2016, things have been on the upswing for Turner. Still not a true point guard, he should be ready to take over at the lead spot. His first game was an adjustment, but his second game Turner showed off his scoring ability as he got to the basket repeatedly. His handle is improving, as are his instincts and his strength. Since making the big move, Turner has picked up new offers from Florida, Murray State, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Once he gets bigger and becomes a true point guard, more could come in.
Other Top Performers
2014 small forward Harold Givens, 2014 power forward Ali Sinera, 2015 small forward Jeantal Cylla and 2015 wing Jonathan Laurent also caught our attention. Givens is a fringe high-major recruit who is a jump shot away from becoming a legitimate stud. His athleticism, handle and power were on display. Sinera, who is new to the Arlington Country Day program, has a good feel for the game and plays hard. His body is mature and college ready. Oklahoma has been impressed with him thus far during workouts. Cylla showed off his athleticism during the entire camp and played hard every possession. Right now, a number of mid-major schools in the south are looking at him, but he should end up developing into a mid-major plus player as his skill set and size are fairly impressive. Laurent is another fringe high-major recruit once he improved his handle and jumper. As his offers come from mid-major teams now, numerous SEC schools have checked in on his workouts this fall.
Committed players Brandone Francis (Florida), Malik Price-Martin and Corey Sanders (UCF) also had big weekends. Francis was aggressive in getting to the rim and shooting the rock. He has gotten in much better shape and is pacing himself for a big season. Price-Martin played with great energy and a high motor. He was consistently aggressive and showed off his perimeter skills and athleticism throughout the camp. Sanders thrived in the camp setting as his athleticism, handle and court awareness and vision were present. His jumper has improved, but still needs to become more consistent. Nevertheless, he was a warrior in the open court.
For the latest in college basketball recruiting, head to TheRecruitScoop.com for the latest details and notes on offers, visits, commitments and more. To contact Alex Kline, you can reach him by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at TheRecruitScoop.