The Shot Clock with Josh Tec: City of Palms Notes, Another GA Senior Commits, MORE
Happy Holidays, hoop heads! It’s Christmas week! That means it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. Because I have some wires crossed in my head, I’ll still be taking in plenty of basketball on film and relentlessly punishing my loved ones about what I’ve seen.
Before then, I’ve had a busy weekend. I was in Fort Meyers, Florida for the opening weekend of the prestigious City of Palms tournament. As one of the cornerstones on the high school basketball calendar, City of Palms delivers some of the best teams pitted against each other, and I’ll be recapping all of the weekend’s highlights. For a more detailed breakdown of the event’s opening rounds, you can revisit my live blogs from each day below.
Focusing on the Peach State, another one of the top players in Georgia has committed, I’ll talk more about that as well.
Let’s kick off the holiday week right and countdown the seconds until Christmas with another edition of The Shot Clock.
Kentucky signees shine in their City of Palms openers
If you’re a member of Big Blue Nation in Southwest Florida, there wasn’t a better place to spend a weekend than Fort Myers for the City of Palms Classic. Sure, some would argue that the beach might be a better spot to hang out, but have you met any Kentucky fans? They’re basketball psychos through and through.
Two future Wildcats started their City of Palms weeks off on the right foot.
First, on Friday, 2023 guard Reed Sheppard led his North Laurel (KY) HS squad to a win in one of the best performances of the first round of the tournament. Sheppard boasted a complete game with game-highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals. His final line was 28, 7, 9 and 4. He played this game with surgical precision. Sheppard was sharp and deliberate on both ends of the floor.
Joining Sheppard in Lexington is going to be 6-foot-7 wing Justin Edwards played like a guy who will only be spending a couple of months in college before being a lottery pick. Nothing new to Big Blue, right? Edwards had everything falling on Saturday when he led Imhotep Charter (PA) with 25 points. Going into halftime, he hadn’t missed a shot and had 15 points. By he hadn’t missed a shot, I mean that he was literally 100% from the field and free-throw line. Perfection didn’t continue, but he still finished 5-6 from beyond the arc and 8-11 overall.
Putting the puzzle pieces together, I imagine that we’ll be seeing Sheppard dish to Edwards on more than one occasion in Rupp Arena.
Tre Johnson looks like a No. 1 candidate
Behind the scenes at HoopSeen, the chatter about the No. 1 spot in the 2024 class has been heating up. Who should it be? We’ve been biding our time and taking in cases from high-level high school events from across the country. On Friday at City of Palms, Tre Johnson made his case in emphatic fashion.
The 6-foot-5 guard poured in 27 points and 9 rebounds to advance Lake Highlands to the second round of the tournament in an overtime game against Newton (GA) HS on Friday afternoon. Known for his ability to fill it up, Johnson showed off his smooth jumper and splashed in four 3-pointers.
How does a player perform under the bright lights and when matched up with like competition? In a head-to-head with UConn signee Stephon Castle, Johnson was up to the task and showed that he can thrive against the best.
Stepinac duo kicks off City of Palms on a high note
While I was in airport purgatory during Archbishop Stepinac’s second game of the tournament, they kicked off the weekend strongly. Their guard duo made up of Boogie Fland (2024) and Danny Carbuccia (2025) showed that they’re two of the best guards in their respective classes.
The pair plays off each other well. They know each other’s tendencies and are compatible. Early on, Carbuccia looked to get the ball moving and to find the hot hand. That hot hand just happened to be Fland, who scored 16 in the first half while going 4-8 from 3-point range.
In the second half, Carbuccia stepped into a more prominent scoring role with 10 points after the break.
This is a younger backcourt, but they played within themselves and brought an impressive maturity to the floor.
Wheeler’s high major trio leads them in a nightcap victory
After a slow start against Tampa Catholic on Friday night, Wheeler (GA) picked things up coming out of halftime, and their big three propelled them to a weekend-opening win.
Isaiah Collier led the way with 16 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. When he was aggressive in is pursuit of the rim, he was unstoppable. His combination of speed and strength is difficult to for teams to contain. The future USC guard was able to muscle his way to the basket at will.
Arrinten Page added 16 points and 8 rebounds for the Wildcats. For as difficult as Collier is to contain at the rim, the 6-foot-9 forward is as tough of a match up in the paint. Big, physical and athletic, Page owned the paint on Friday as he has done more often than not for Wheeler this season.
Iowa State commit Jelani Hamilton has been asserting himself more and more since joining the Wildcats. He finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists on Friday.
Jared McCain advances Centennial to the second round with a big night
In what ended up being the most closely contested game on Saturday, Duke signee Jared McCain put Centennial on his back and carried the Huskies over the finish line with 29 points and 7 rebounds in front of his future coaches, Jon Scheyer and Amile Jefferson. The smooth guard scored the ball with ease going 11-17 from the field.
It’s usually a red flag for me when a player is an off-court celebrity. Despite amassing a vast following on TikTok—he had fan obligations after the game—McCain is a hooper first and foremost.
Stephon Castle stuffs the stat sheet on Friday
The UConn-committed guard did it all on Friday afternoon when he reached the triple-double mark for Newton (GA) HS.
To start the game, Castle spent his time peppering the ball all over the floor to open teammates. He was so generous with his passing that I was starting to clamor for him to assert himself as a scorer. Nonetheless, when a guard dishes out 6 assists in a half, it’s hard to be too upset.
As the game progressed, he balanced his passing with some more aggression in terms of scoring and rebounding. Down 10 in the fourth quarter, Castle went into takeover mode and propelled the Rams to overtime. While Lake Highlands took the game at the end of the day, Castle’s triple-double was one of Friday’s highlights.
Look out for 2025 guard Tyler Jackson
Saint Frances (MD) HS guard Tyler Jackson is proving to be a name to know in the 2025 class. Already regarded as a top-50 prospect, the sophomore showed that he’s worthy of the accolades when the Panthers gave Link Academy a scare.
For many in attendance, Jackson was the player of the game despite being on the losing end, and it’s hard to argue with those folks. He was tough, active on both ends of the floor.
Early on, most of his production came from hustle plays, but as the game went on, Jackson led a Saint Frances comeback by knocking down shots. He finished with a game-high 26 points in front of Maryland head coach Kevin Willard.
Another senior is off the board
McEachern (GA) HS point guard JaMichael Davis has committed to Rutgers. Davis chose the Scarlett Knights over VCU, Wichita State, UAB and others.
Davis is injured now, but prior to that, he was off to a hot start to hus senior season. When arriving in Piscataway, Davis is going to bring toughness to the guard spot for Steve Pikiell and company. That’s been one of the hallmarks of the program during their recent run of success. The Scarlett Knights don’t win pretty, but they do win, and Davis is a guard who can thrive at a program like that.
With his commitment, another Georgian is off the board. Only counting traditional high schools, Georgia now has 23 players committed to D1 programs.
The current best available prospects in Georgia are Grovetonwn’s Frankquon Sherman (W/F) and Norcross’ Mier Panoam (G).