On The Rise: Florida’s Unsung and Underrated

High School

Posted On: 05/29/18 1:40 PM

It’s hard to truly define how cutthroat the college basketball market is. As both a head coach and a tireless recruiting assistant, a nice handsome salary with performance-based incentives appears great on paper. Like few jobs out there, the pressure to win now and discover diamond in the rough caliber talent (which other coaches aren’t aggressively pursuing) is sky-high.

ONE lackluster season, a couple of crucial injuries here are there, and a recruiting gaffe or two has the power to put the once big-ticket hire on college basketball’s dreaded unemployment line.

Coaches who don’t win or win in quick-hit fashion ultimately transition from enriching themselves virtually overnight to being out of a job. That’s the type unforgiving reality the business entails. It’s tough to know an inaccurate read on a recruit or a few rash decisions could lead to dire financial straits. That’s the challenge these coaches take and sign up for.

Like any business, NCAA coaching is results driven. You can’t eschew this. Finding a forgiving athletic director willingly investing in a coaching staff after a down year, it’s as likely as finding the police officer who gives a “warning” instead of a pricey ticket on I-95.  It’s simply not reality.

Despite the major emphasis on recruiting and the monumental factor it plays in a coaches livelihood, many out there go under rated and unsung. Here’s a look at some of the area’s talent, both signed and unsigned, who currently have enough goods to increase their value.


Lahat Thione, Florida Prep

The 6-foot-11 Center has developed a dependable inside game, with a feathery hook and enough athleticism to put his head on the rim. Thione’s length and mobility are equally enticing attributes. His mindful awareness on the court and knack for running the floor are aspects which make him such an opposing threat. He should be task with protecting the rim instantly at the next level, as he’s shown an adeptness at blocking shots and keeping slashers out of the driving lanes.

Anthony Pellerano, Doral Academy

The Class of 2019 forward, who recently transferred in from Sunset High, is a double duty threat. He’s one of the few kids out there you won’t have to motivate to play gritty, hard-edged defense. He submitted a number of double doubles this past season, a statistic which should likely improve as he gets more touches. He’s able to stretch out defenses with an evolved outside shot. Pellerano generated some buzz when he took four charges during a game last season. As an inside-outside forward, the underrated 6-foot-4 prospect has always played a bit bigger than he is.

John Square Jr, Florida Christian

The bullish sophomore averaged a team-best 19.2 points and 8.1 boards this season, earning All-Dade recognition in the process. Muscle-bound and multi-positional, Square Jr. really has a guard’s skill set. This makes him quite the laborious task to defend at 6-foot-7, especially with his knack for scoring on the drive and his sheer fearlessness in shredding through the frontline. Despite his numbers this season, Square is still not equated with the same hype and heavy expectations as guys he’s notably better than. He won’t be under the radar for long.

Marcelo Perez, Miami Christian

A bigger guard at 6-foot-5 and constantly scoring on the move, Perez was the best option for deft passing, Fairfield bound point guard Neftali Alvarez. Constantly tearing into traffic and scoring on the move, Perez averaged 17.3 points and 7 boards as a Class of 2018 senior. His ambidextrous scoring ability and the consistency of his attack game helped earn Perez a full scholarship to Barry University in Miami Shores. He’s a better on the ball and transition defender than credited for.

Pavle Djurisic, Calusa Prep

At 6-foot-10 and with a deft long range game, Djurisic brings a unique tool set to a team that’s rife with international flavor. Originally from Montenegro and having plied his trade in Italy, he’s a seasoned prospect who could be an impactful stretch four type at the next level. While he’s expanded his game as a guy who can thrive in the pick-and-pop theme and knock down elbow jumpers, he needs to get more physical in order to bolster his stock.

Matheus Silveira, Calusa Prep

The mobile 7-foot, 235-pound lefty is exactly what Austin Peay (who recently signed the Class of 2018 talent) was searching for this off-season. They came close to getting a similar product in 6-foot-9 Rob Dempskis, before solidifying the frontline with Silveira. Most coaches who have seen and assessed the big Brazilian this season have him pegged as a high-major caliber prospect.

He’s a physical interior banger who throws defenders off with his left handed touch and ability to fight for the right look. The IQ and workmanlike productivity of Silveira’s game went largely under-noticed this season, despite Calusa Prep’s presence in the talent-rich SIAA conference.