The long, grueling July days continued Friday at Best of the South with coaches from a variety of levels looking to fill their future rosters. With a lot to take in, the notebook was chalked full of notes, here are some of the most notable:
- In the game of the day, Nike Team Florida topped South Carolina Supreme; however, Zion Williamson came to play once again and was fantastic once again. It took a lot to keep him out of the lane and he made a number of high level finishes around the basket as well as a couple of jumpers en route to a 32-point performance.
- A couple of Georgia guys played very well for Nike Team Florida in 2018 Macon (GA) Westside forward Khavon Moore as well as Norcross (GA) 2019 point guard Kyle Sturdivant. Moore particularly stood out on the defensive side of the floor, where he was able to stymie Zion Williamson for a good portion of the game, creating turnovers and getting transition chances. Sturdivant has been one of the steadiest guards in the field and a no brainer top performer for the event.
- Nike Team Florida 2019 phenom forward Vernon Carey did very good things in the matchup, living on the glass and rocking the rim for a couple of tip slams. His size is a lot to handle and he knows where he can be effective on a floor and how he is most difficult to stop. He proved that he is among the top players in 2019’s class.
- One of the most impressive underclassmen that I have seen has been EAB Tigers 2020 combo guard Keon Johnson (pictured). At 6-foot-5 the Bell Buckle (TN) Webb School guard has fantastic size and showed flashes of brilliance getting to the rim and making some advanced finishes for a player his age. He can also make reads on secondary defenders and find open teammates for scoring chances. My initial comparison after watching him was future Wake Forest guard Sharone Wright Jr.
- There were a couple of very undervalued Florida point guards in my mind. The first is Florida Kings and Wellington HS 2019 guard Linton Brown. The long and lanky 6-foot-4 guard played well out of ball screens and showed himself to be a capable passer and scorer. He has a high ceiling and has a chance to make some noise through the rest of his career. The other underrated Sunshine State guard is SEBA lead guard Ricardo Clouden. He is lightning quick with a ton of burst and a great handle at 6-foot-3. He is certainly a Division I player and a guy for programs to keep track of through the high school season.
- Team South Carolina point guard Grant Singleton built on his great performance at the Bob Gibbons TOC with another great showing at Best of the South. He has been a true two-way player, scoring and distributing on offense while playing lock down on-ball defense. While he is not the biggest point guard, he has loads of toughness and quickness and can cause problems for any opponent. Don’t be surprised if he becomes a low major priority recruit.
- Warner Robins All Stars wing Nelson Phillips led a gritty comeback in the night session and did so scoring the ball in every way imaginable. With his abilities on both ends of the floor and the way that he has been playing in the travel ball season, mid major schools may start to become worried that he crosses over the high major barrier.
- I really like the Upward Stars 16U backcourt of Mikey Dukes and Talton Jones. They made an impression on me at Gibbons in May and they have not looked back since. Two very different players, they compliment each other well and make it difficult for any opponent’s backcourt to score the ball as they are both lock down defenders.
- A few guys whose performances have flown under the radar at BOTS so far: Phil Cirillo (17U AC Georgia), Arturro Bingham (17U SR1 All Stars), Cooper Robb (17U Tennessee Bobcats), Donald Fitzgerald (16U EAB Tigers),