City of Palms Live Look: Day Two
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.
If you missed any of Friday’s action, you can find that below.
Stay tuned for all of the notes from a loaded Saturday slate.
Newton (GA): 70, Charlotte (FL): 52
With their two senior stars coming off the bench, Newton’s 2024 guard Jabez Jenkins was able to shine early on. Early on, the 6-foot-4 junior was feelin’ it from deep with four 3-pointers in the first half. He led the Rams with 14.
Jenkins cooled in the second half, but Stephon Castle took over and asserted himself offensively at times. For stretches of both of Newton’s game, Castle has been a dominant scorer, but he’s been looking to pass before anything else. When he has hunted his shot, he’s been able to get whatever he’s wanted.
John Gamble was a bright spot for Charlotte. The athletic wing finished with 23 for the Tarpons. Most of his damage comes from his athleticism, but he knocked down some shots in this game. He’s an unsigned senior who should see some offers come in from D1 programs from the area.
IMG Academy Blue (FL): 81, Westminster (FL): 78
7-foot-6 junior pitted against some of south Florida’s most talented underclassmen? Sign me up for that matchup. At the very least, it’s unique.
To start the game, IMG Blue raced out to a lead, but it wasn’t the gigantic Olivier Rioux that got the Ascenders off and running. Junior guard Gerard O’Keefe and freshman forward Tim Winkler Jr provided a nice inside-out tandem. The duo combined for 20 at the break to nearly outscore Westminster.
Keep an eye on Winkler Jr. moving forward. He showed some serious potential as a mobile forward. He would be a playmaking-wing type in time.
The IMG guards continued their strong play in the second half when Eric Baldassarre and Tyler Burton joined their teammates in double figures. They’re a shot-making group that plays with craft, skill and IQ.
Baldassarre led IMG Blue with 17 points on 5-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
Westminster mounted a comeback and got the game within a possession in the fourth.
Freshman wing Alex Constanza led the surge for the Lions as a playmaker and scorer. The 6-foot-7 youngster has shown plenty of promise for a while and continued to impress by hitting shots, dishing the ball to open teammates, scoring at the rim and using his length to disrupt on defense. Constanza led with 17
Sophomore guard Alex Lloyd got going late and started to knock down shots from deep to help fuel the Westminster run. He finished with 16 points and 4 steals.
Imhotep Charter (PA) 73, Isidore Newman (LA) 49
If you’re a member of Big Blue Nation, Fort Myers is the place for you to get eyes on some future Wildcats. One of those guys is 6-foot-7 wing, Justin Edwards.
A consensus top-five prospect in the 2023 class, Edwards certainly dazzled on Saturday afternoon. The 6-foot-7 wing came out of the gates firing with 13 points in the first quarter. On crafty drives to the basket, Edwards was able to carve up the Isidore Newman defense, and he had his 3-point shot looking smooth. He found the bottom of the net throughout the afternoon from the perimeter. He shot 100% from the field in the first half. While his perfect shooting didn’t last, he still finished with 25.
More outstanding than anything else—in my estimation at least—was his competitiveness and energy. Edwards was played like this was the biggest game of his life.
Another high-level prospect who was a bundle of energy was 2024 4-star guard Ahmad Nowell. At 6-foot, 180, Nowell is a sturdy guard. He had some nice stretches of okay on both ends of the floor, and he played well off of Florida Gulf Coast commit Rahmir Barno, who finished with 15.
Paul VI (VA): 74, Canterbury (FL): 21
Paul VI burst out of the gate and zoomed to an overwhelming lead in the blink of an eye.
The Panthers played their starters limited minutes due to the lopsided score. Despite not getting much run, Garrett Sundra impressed early on. The junior forward was efficient around the basket going 5-6 from the field. He finished in double figures with 11.
Duke’s Jon Scheyer and Amile Jefferson were on hand to see 2024 guard Darren Harris—committed to the Blue Devils—and Marquette’s Shaka Smart was in attendance as well.
Centennial (CA): 61, Winter Haven (FL): 58
With schools like Duke and Missouri on the sideline, Centennial and Winter Haven fought tooth-and-nail for the opportunity to advance in the bracket and face Wheeler (GA) on Monday night.
Duke signee Jared McCain carried the Huskies to a win with 29 points and 7 rebounds. He had his jumper working for him all night. Whether he was hitting from the perimeter or getting to his mid-range pull-up, McCain’s smooth scoring had to have impressed his future Duke coaches.
Isaac Celiscar and Dylan James led the way for Winter Haven. If McCain succeeded via his finesse, the Winter Haven duo was the opposite. They used their toughness and athleticism to keep the Blue Devils within arm's reach. The pair was disruptive on the defensive side of the ball and physical around the rim on the other end. They combined for 31.
Myers Park (NC): 62, North Laurel (KY): 52
It’s difficult to slow down a player as good as Reed Sheppard. He’s the kind of player who’s going to get his in some regard, but Myers Park was up to the task. The Mustangs put together a stout defensive effort.
2024 guard Bishop Boswell was particularly effective on that end. He did a good job sticking with Sheppard and using his length and athleticism to slow him down. He was one of the primary reasons why Sheppard had 10 turnovers and inefficient shooting numbers. On the other end, Boswell shot the ball well from deep. He went 4-7 from the perimeter en route to 14 points.
Sadiq White continues to emerge as a name to know in the 2025 class. The 6-foot-8 forward was especially impactful on the glass and around the basket against North Laurel. He had a 15-point and 10-rebound double-double.
Sir Mohammed and Elijah Strong added 14 and 13 respectively.
Reed Sheppard had an off game, but he still finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds.