The 2016 City of Palms is in the books and we look back at the best of from Fort Myers, Florida.
BEST GAME: Montverde 70, IMG 66
The gorgeous SunCoast Arena was filled for this one and rightfully so. The state of Florida wanted to see this one. So did the nation. And we all got a show. The pairing was a battle of “anything you can do, I can do better”. We all because of that. This was the match-up where the studs played. The biggest stud was one of the youngest players on the floor. RJ Barrett (see next) scored 30 points in the match-up and was the best player on the floor.
BEST COLLEGE PROSPECT: RJ Barrett, Monteverde, 2019
This year’s City of Palms didn’t have quite the fireworks that we’ve seen in the past because the 5-start studs didn’t have the consistency of wow that we’ve seen in the past. But Barrett did. Boy, did he ever. The 6-foot-8 Canadian helped propel his loaded Monteverde team to the 2016 championship and was named MVP of the tournament. Hard to argue with that. He was simply outstanding on all levels.
MOST INTRIGUING RECRUITING STORYLINE: Hamidou Diallo, Putnam Science, 2017
Will he enroll in college in January 2017? Will he stay in the class of 2017? Will he go pro? What will Hamidou Diallo do? That was the biggest question that bounced around the hallways, baselines and sidelines at Florida Southwestern’s Sun Coast Credit Arena. UConn had a deep staff at every Putnam Science Academy game, including head coach Kevin Ollie. Syracuse and Arizona were also on hand to court the 5-star super athlete. A handful of NBA teams were also on hand to sneak a peek. After the dust settled, Diallo returned to the Northeast and promptly took an official visit to UConn.
BEST BIG MAN: Emmitt Williams, IMG, 2018
What a start to his junior season. The freaky athlete has destroyed rims and confidence at every stop of IMG’s run this season. He was outstanding against Monteverde, going for 22 points and 11 rebounds. He was consistently good, never held back with energy or purpose and did his very best to give his hometown a show worthy of a night out during the holiday season. Kansas watched him closely at the event and offered him a scholarship. He’s going to make a big jump in our next round 2018 rankings.
BEST WINGS: MJ Walker, Jonesboro & Rayshaun Hammonds, Norcross, both 2017
The Peach State players both came to Fort Myers with a purpose and delivered on the biggest stage on the high school circuit. The two were the best scorers in the event and both presented match-up problems for the field. Walker is one of the most sought after players still on the board in 2017 and Hammonds should be a major day one contributor for Georgia next season.
BEST GUARD: Jahvon Quinerly, Hudson Catholic, 2018
There were plenty of options here, no doubt, but Quinerly impressed me the most from the guard position. The junior guard played with terrific pace from the point guard position and found his moments to attack without being too out of control or selfish in trying to own the big stage. There was a respectable maturity to his game. Quinerly is currently our No. 36 overall player in the class of 2018. That’s just way too low. He’s a McDonald’s All-American level prospect and our next rankings update will reflect that.