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Posted On: 11/20/17 8:37 PM
On Monday night, one of the best preseason tilts in the entire state of Florida went down between Melbourne Florida Prep and Orlando West Oaks.
Florida Prep trailed 58-52 at the end of third quarter but outscored West Oaks 17-9 in the final quarter to pull out a 69-67 victory.
Upperclassmen stepped up on both sides and the crowd got into it late. Florida Prep senior guard Dejuon Small led all scorers with 28 points while West Oaks junior guard Tyrell Jones paced him with 24 points of his own.
Here are the top 10 performers from the matchup.
MVP: Dejuon Small (Florida Prep)
Small scored 10 points in the third quarter alone helping Florida Prep hang around. He recorded five more in the fourth quarter helping AJ Johnson down the stretch. In total, Small added a game-best 28 points. He did it a ton of different ways. Small is blazing fast on the break and he has a sweet stroke. This kid needs way more looks from college programs.
Best offensive performance: Tyrell Jones (West Oaks)
Called by the West Oaks announcer as Superman, Jones hit key free throws and jumpers when his team needed it the most. 11 of his team-high 24 points came in the second half. Jones made 5-of-7 from the free throw line. He’s drawing attention from high Division-I programs and rightfully so. He’s an athlete who has a knack for making a big play.
Best defensive performance: PJ Person (West Oaks)
Known for his ballhandling and streetball mentality, Person had six points on the offensive end. He made his biggest impact defensively, shutting down the West Oaks attack time and time again. This kid is strong, smart and really solid all around.
Best intangibles: AJ Johnson (Florida Prep)
Johnson shined when Florida Prep needed it most. The senior guard dropped 17 points including 9 of the last 13 overall for the Falcons in the fourth quarter. He has a quick first move that forces defenders to come to him and opens up the bigs down low. Johnson rarely missed his open looks in the second half.
Best catch and shoot guy: Dejuon Small (Florida Prep)
Small deserves this nod. It could have easily gone to Jones, but Small made 3 3-pointers in the game and was a surefire hitter on his jumpers. Part of the senior pair of guards with Johnson, the duo is poised to get the Falcons back to the Class 2A state final.
Best under-the-radar performance: Ben Tal (West Oaks)
In his first game with his new team, senior guard Ben Tal had a nice first half of basketball. He scored 10 points, consistently hitting jumpers and setting up his teammates. Tal didn’t score in the second half as Jones, Blakeney and Person took over, but he will step up when needed this season.
Best worker: Tyrieke Blakeney (West Oaks)
The younger brother of Chicago Bulls guard Antonio Blakeney, a former Oak Ridge star, Tyrieke showed flashes in the third quarter. He didn’t score in the first half, but the 6’2″ senior guard erupted with nine third quarter points. Blakeney finished with 11 points and made some acrobatic lay-ins that really impressed me.
Biggest moment: The final West Oaks possession
With around 16 seconds left on the clock, West Oaks needed a bucket to tie the game up. Person handled the rock and it appeared he was going to go the rack. However, the ball was worked to Tal, who couldn’t get it to go. Florida Prep was fouled and that was the game.
Best effort: Moussa Diabate/Lahat Thioune (Florida Prep)
Both Diabate and Thioune are Division I prospects. Diabate, a 2021 big man is a full length and that is evident by his 6’10” frame. He’s skinny, but once he matures and adds muscle, he’ll be dangerous. Thioune has already come together a bit. Offered prior to the game by Utah, he showed up on both ends. The two bigs each had six points.
Best shoe game: Kmani Doughty (Florida Prep)
Early foul trouble kept the sophomore forward on the bench much of the night, limiting Doughty to only four points. The kid is athletic as they come and once he gets comfortable with his new team, he’ll settle in. But he came prepared for the spotlight with his bright blue Nike’s.
Here’s a pic.