Hidden Gems Playing for Florida Evolution

Hidden Gems Playing for Florida Evolution

This weekend (March 5) we visited IMG Academy to take a look at a USSSA team, Florida Evolution. Here are a few of our scouting notes to help give these guys some recognition: Lik Estilien- 6’4″ G/F of Lily High (FL)— Lik is a big, bruising slasher. He likes to use his thick frame to bully his way to the rim. Estilien does a solid job attacking on the bounce and getting to the rim against smaller guards and forwards. He must improve his handle, work on making the simple pass and add a jumper that he can go to on a consistent basis. He does a solid job as a rebounder given his size for a forward and is best on the offensive end securing the offensive board and going back up strong through contact. He would be best served to work on his lateral quickness and making sure he’s engaged consistently on defense. He has the size and capability to become a better defender. Lik is a solid athlete in the open floor evident by his ability to finish above the rim. Check out Lik’s highlights. Ryan Rocuant– 2017 6’10” C of Estero High (FL)— Ryan is a high academic student-athlete who has mid-major potential. He’s primarily a below the rim player, but can catch and finish above the rim when he’s not being contested. He has to work on his post game and I’d also like to see him continue to develop and expand his jump shot. Rocuant shows flashes of being able to catch and shoot comfortably from 10 feet and in, but stretching that out to 15 feet...
IMG Academy Basketball Looking to Make National Splash

IMG Academy Basketball Looking to Make National Splash

It’s one thing to have the tools in place to become a state power. It’s quite another to have the ability to become a national power. That’s the opportunity that IMG Academy’s high school basketball program has waiting at it’s doorstep. Bradenton, Florida is the home of both a technologically sound campus and numerous facilities. In 2011, this same campus became the first satellite laboratory for the Gatorade Sports Science Institute which added yet another first class feature to a top-notch institution. Known for being ahead of the curve, IMG has trained basketball players on all levels–including NBA talents such as New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday and Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng. Elite level athletes combined with elite level training provides a unique stamp that IMG continues to leave that enhances their brand, not just across the country, but the world. The institutes’ high school basketball program has the full-time attention of the academy’s coaching staff, as they look to take steps forward that they hope will eventually turn potential in to prominence. With two top 2015 prospects transferring over from McKeel Academy (Lakeland, Florida) this season to IMG, both Dwayne Bacon and Corey Sanders add a one-two punch to IMG’s squad right off the bat. Bacon, arguably the best player in Florida’s 2015 class, is an impressive all-around player that continues to get better. The growth in his game is already showing, especially in his jumper, which will be a key for him to be able to expand his game out to the perimeter. His counter part, Corey Sanders, is an explosive wing player who...
The Crusade to be the Best in Florida’s Class 3A Begins Again

The Crusade to be the Best in Florida’s Class 3A Begins Again

As they’d done time and time again during the 2012-2013 regular season, the Coral Springs Christian Academy Crusaders had once again found themselves charging back from a fourth quarter deficit. Down nine to a talented Providence high school squad, led by eventual Duke-commit Grayson Allen and his game-high 31 points, with just over five minutes to go in the Class 3A boys basketball finals. Senior point guard Brandon Spencer drilled a three from the left wing to make it 49-43. For those who had been following the underrated, never-say-die team throughout the year, like I had, knew that Spencer’s three—his second of the quarter to that point—was a sign that the Crusaders had one more push in them. The odds were stacked up against the South Florida bunch. Nura Zanna—an absolute bull on the glass—was in foul trouble, which kept the team’s main offensive weapon inside at bay on both ends of the floor. Providence would use Zanna’s foul troubles to their advantage as they continuously tried to slash and pound the ball inside which helped keep the scoreboard in their favor and the clock less and less on the side of the Crusaders. The two Class 3A state finalists would trade buckets while time and fortune looked to be running out on Coral Springs. Brandon Spencer’s long range ability would once again come to the aid of his team as he made his fourth of the game with less than two minutes to go. A foul was called after Spencer’s jumper away the ball on Providence. The Crusader’s fading chances seemed to be reappearing in the form of...
California Supreme (AAU)

California Supreme (AAU)

Over the last decade, California Supreme has become a fixture in southern California, building a reputation for athletic and academic excellence, while preparing its student-athletes for the next level. Under the guidance of founder Gary Franklin Sr., California Supreme has established itself as one of the premier programs on the west coast by assembling an elite coaching staff and a roster continuously stocked with elite prospects. Including Franklin, many of the coaches have competed at the highest level, and the staff has over 70 years of combined coaching experience. The program boasts an impressive list of notable alumni, which includes dozens of division 1 athletes, and four players currently on NBA rosters. In fact, there were three former California Supreme players selected in the 2013 NBA Draft alone; Solomon Hill by the Indiana Pacers, Jamaal Franklin by the Memphis Grizzlies, and Grant Jerrett by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sponsored by Muscle Milk and Nike, the California Supreme 17 & Under squad is a part of the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), which is made up of 40 teams from around the country. At the helm of the 17U team is Miles Simon, a former ESPN college basketball analyst and assistant coach at the University of Arizona, his alma mater. Simon has a decorated playing career, as he won a National Championship with the Wildcats in 1997, and enjoyed a brief stint with the Orlando Magic. Joining Simon on the 17U coaching staff is Ryan “Moose” Bailey, a former UCLA captain, who is also the head coach of the varsity basketball team at the Brentwood School. The 17U team got...
North Florida Elite (AAU)

North Florida Elite (AAU)

Armed with a roster chalk full of breakout players, North Florida Elite has burst onto the scene this summer, taking home the championship of the Sunshine Showcase in May and the EYB Classic in April. As the season has progressed, the roster has been a revolving door of under-the-radar prospects trying to make a name for themselves on the recruiting trail, and North Florida Elite has added Jonathon Joseph and Troy Holston, two of the top rising seniors in the Sunshine State. This summer, North Florida Elite has traveled to major tournaments up and down the east coast, making stops at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in Atlanta, the Sunshine Showcase in Clearwater, the EYB Classic in Lithonia, and the Peach State Summer Showcase in Augusta. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Fred Stones, the head coach of the 17U squad whose son Michael is the starting point guard for North Florida Elite. Fred provided a full breakdown of his roster, including recruiting news and player analysis. Here is a breakdown of the top players on the North Florida Elite roster: Key Players: Michael Stones (Windermere Prep 2015) Breakdown: Stones is a coach’s son with an all-around skill set and tireless motor. After playing 2-guard at the beginning of his high school career, Stones has begun to play point guard full-time, utilizing his pass-first mentality, solid handle, and consistent jump shot to make a seamless transition. He has made major strides in his ability to run an offense, controlling the tempo, and effectively operating the pick & roll, while keeping defenders honest with his...
Team United 15U (AAU-Charlotte, NC)

Team United 15U (AAU-Charlotte, NC)

Team United, a Nike EYBL affiliate, is all about team–as evident by the organization’s “United We Stand” and “One Ball, One Team” motto. That mentality has served many young up-and-coming athletes in the state of North Carolina since 2005. The name comes from a merger in 2009 of two different Charlotte-area programs. The merger resulted in what you see on the hardwood today, a Team United. In 201o, the program’s first NBA prospect, 7-foot center Hasaan Whiteside, was selected with the 33rd overall pick by the Sacramento Kings. Whiteside is just one successful alumni, but the club has seen the likes of players such as Sindarius Thronwell (University of South Carolina) and Kennedy Meeks (UNC). As the resume of Team United grew so did the sponsors, but in 2011 Nike stepped up and the program joined the EYBL circuit. With the Nike Youth Invitational (Augusta) and AAU Super Showcase (Orlando) coming up for them in July, we sat down with Team United assistant coach Dominic Bishop to find out more about the 15U squad. Isaac Johnson (6’7″ 2016 Forward–Providence Day): Last summer Johnson was standing at 6’2″, but after a growth spurt is now 6’7″. He’s still getting used to his new found height, but can definitely play above the rim. He is a very capable passer out of the high post. His offensive game is good from about 15 feet and in. Johnson is also a crafty finisher around the rim. The 2016 prospect also runs the floor very well, in part due to his abilities in a second sport. Johnson is not just an emerging forward, but also...
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