On The Rise: Gym Rat Guards

High School

Posted On: 05/25/18 4:24 PM


Aidan Pashley, DME Academy

At 6-foot-5 and with an adroit left handed sling shot from beyond the arc, the off guard is going unsung and under noticed. He produced on some big stages this season, scorching the nets against reputable national foes (28 points on 6-for-8 from 3-point territory against The Tilton School of New Hampshire). As a 3-point specialist, he’s a role player at the next level.

While he still needs to develop more burst in his forays to the rim, Pashley has grown exponentially at driving the ball to the rim in thorough fashion. Running parallel to his day to day progression has been kicking the habit of settling, though he’s always going to look for that outside shot first. He’s been more active in utilizing a jab step, throwing head fakes, and finishing through traffic. He embarked on a sustained stretch of high efficiency shooting during the final 12 games of the season, as his scoring became more of a necessity.

Jaylen Escoto, Sunset High

The Miami native was the quintessential dual threat this past season, leading by action and knowing when to score and when to get his teammates involved. The shifty left handed guard, who employs some flair in his dishing game, averaged a team-best 17 points and seven assists at Sunset High this past season.

He’s a proven scorer who can be a very manipulative one on one player and really create havoc for defenses. The issue he creates for defenses is you cannot leave him open or dare him to shoot 3-pointers. Yet if you play him, he will keep defenders chasing with his handle and dizzying cadre of moves.

Remy Robert, Believe Prep Academy

Being flanked by high level talent was critical in allowing the 6-foot-2 off guard to display his shooting acumen. Robert had several games in which he fired in from beyond the arc and took advantage of little crevices in the defense. His 3-point shooting was essential in either kick-starting a scoring surge or thwarting a drought.

Mirroring Robert’s elevation has been his development in all phases of his game. He was able to tune up his ball handling, create his shot via less dribbles, and improve on his quickness.

Brandon Dingle, Forest Hill

He may not pass the eye test at a smurf small 5-foot-6, albeit Dingle possesses a purity of vision in his passing game. This component of his game allows him to make teammates beneficiaries of his presence and really quarterback an offense. He sees the court well, fuels the transition attack, and has shown an outside shooting touch.

Dingle has some steely resolve, as he’s constantly guarding taller point guards and being pesky from possession to possession. A post graduate season would be an ideal route to broaden the pugnacious ┬áClass of 2018 guard’s opportunities.

Justin Nichelson, Santaluces High

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound Class of 2018 guard recently penned his letter of intent to nearby Palm Beach Atlantic University. Nicholson is a high energy guy who is not afraid to carve through defenders and get to the rim. While he started the season as a key piece in Santaluce’s drive and kick game, his shooting improved as he developed a reliable and feathery shot. He increased his profile, especially during a 23-point performance against Boynton Beach. Nichelson’s gym rat mentality, drive, and focus were intangibles that helped him become sought after by a handful of Division-II programs.

Darius Dixon, Santaluces High

The 5-foot-10 guard is a workhorse with a perimeter-oriented game. He can spread the floor out and knock down 3-pointers, paralleling Santaluces’ guard-geared style. Dixon was the primary ball handler and dish-first guard who facilitated for Santaluces. The Class of 2018 guard was instrumental in pioneering the offense and spurring a breakneck tempo. Dixon recently penned to play for Webber International, an NAIA program in Babson Park, Fla. with a chock full of South Florida products.

AJ Gilles, Palm Beach Lakes

The Class of 2021 guard has excitement-filled times ahead of him. This year, his maturation process enabled him to develop a tight handle and learn the valuable intricacies of how to spearhead an offense. An able game manager with impressive vision and passing ability, expect a high production rate from Gilles these next three years. The IQ and composure components are so clear they nearly fall off the page.