City of Palms Live Look: Day One
FORT MYERS, FL—HoopSeen is in the building at the 2022 City of Palms. Every year, this is one of the most anticipated events on the high school basketball calendar. For its opening weekend, I’ll be providing live updates for each game.
Stay tuned for all of the notes from the first day of action.
Archbishop Stepinac (NY): 52, Vashon (MO): 44
To kick off the weekend, one of the more intriguing guard duos in the field took the floor when Archbishop Stepinac faced off against one of Missouri’s best, Vashon.
Boogie Fland (2024) and Danny Carbuccia (2025) got Stepinac’s weekend going in the right direction when they led the Crusaders to a weekend-opening win. The duo worked together like thunder and lightning.
A five-star guard, Fland has offers from the bluest of bloods—UNC, Kentucky and Kansas to name a few—and he proved to be worthy of it all with his game-high 24 points. The 6-foot-3 guard had his shot falling on Friday afternoon. He hit five from 3-point range.
Carbuccia got offensive possessions going in the right direction by getting into the paint and kicking the ball out. Box score watching wouldn’t tell the story of the game accurately because Carbuccia didn’t light the world on fire in that regard. He’s a guy who routinely gets two feet in the paint and looks to distribute before he looks to score. Carbuccia should be toward the top of the 2025 class as far as point guards go. He finished with 14.
Kennard Davis and Jayden Nicholson finished in double figures for Vashon.
Louisville’s Nolan Smith was on hand to watch this one. One of the Cards’ targets is Vashon’s 6-foot-8 sophomore Nicholas Randall. While he didn’t play his best, it’s not difficult to see why high-major programs are interested. He’s a well-built sophomore with plenty of length. Because of his physical attributes, I wouldn’t have taken him to be as young as he is.
Lake Highlands (TX): 76 vs Newton (GA): 68 (Overtime)
When thinking about the 2024 class, Tre Johnson has asserted himself as one of the names at the top. He certainly played like it against Newton on Saturday. The junior led the Wildcats with 27. Johnson was electric in the scoring department, but he was so while taking what the game gave to him. Nothing he did felt forced. The 6-foot-5 guard shot the ball well from deep. I mean, his makes were splashing in. His offers include: Baylor, Duke, Arkansas, Auburn, Texas and more.
Alongside Johnson in the backcourt was Jaylen Washington who shouldered some of the scoring load with 19. A smaller guard, Washington is a shifty, quick guy who plays with plenty of toughness.
UConn signee Stephon Castle shined for Newton. In the first half, he wasn’t pouring in points, but he was dishing dimes to teammates left and right. As a facilitator, Castle was brilliant. At times I wished he would have been more assertive as a scorer earlier in the game, but when a guy is finding teammates like Castle was, it’s hard to be too upset. He did take over as the alpha scorer late and led a Newton comeback. Down 10 late in the fourth, Castle led the Rams to overtime. He finished with an impressive triple-double of 15 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.
An unsigned senior, MJ Whitlock is one of the better pure scorers in Georgia, and he’s among the best available in the Peach State. He showed that with his 16 points. Jabez Jenkins is a riser in Georgia’s 2024 class, and he added 16 points.
I have to go check into my AirBnb now. I’ll be back for game four.
North Laurel (KY): 79, Charlotte (FL): 58
Blue gets in. That's the mantra surrounding Kentucky fans because Big Blue Nation is everywhere at all times. They were certainly in the building to watch future Wildcat Reed Sheppard lead North Laurel to a win in their weekend opener. He led with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
The five-star guard had it all going on both ends of the floor. He plays surgical basketball. His game is steady, precise and deliberate.
Offensively, his feel as a point guard was loud. It was electric. He knows when to distribute, he knows when to score, he just knows how to play. Sheppard is the kind of player who takes teams to another level.
On Friday night, Sheppard showed off his defensive savvy with several blocks and deflections.
Senior guard/wing Ryan Davidson played well alongside Sheppard. He finished with 22. Junior Brody Brock was hot from the field and added 20 with six 3-pointers.
Wheeler (GA): 69, Tampa Catholic (FL): 63
In Friday night’s main event, Florida and Georgia went head to head. Two five-star prospects battled and both lived up to their billing.
At the end of the night, Georgia came out on top when Isaiah Collier led the Wildcats with 16 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. He dominated when he needed to despite battling spurts of foul trouble. Collier used his speed and strength to power his way to the rim. When all else failed for the Wildcats, they could count on their star guard to muscle in points on drives to the basket.
Let’s not forget about Wheeler’s other high-major seniors. Arrinten Page and Jelani Hamilton were as steady as ever. Page did his part around the basket with 16 points and 8 rebounds while Hamilton added 11 and 8.
2024 wing Karter Knox led the Crusaders with a 22 and 10 double-double. On a day with incredible performance after incredible performance, Knox capped the night with one of the best of them all. He had his well-rounded offensive onslaught on full display. The 6-foot-6 wing was able to play with finesse in addition to playing a more overpowering style. In any regard, he was fantastic for Tampa Catholic.
Louisville’s Nolan Smith was on hand for this one as well. Knox is a priority for the Cards.
Keep it locked here on HoopSeen.com for more live updates from day two.