Player of the Year Picks: 2A-5A

High School

Posted On: 05/10/18 1:00 PM

Nassir Little, Orlando Christian Prep

After authoring arguably the best summer of any recruit in the nation, one which catapulted him to the upper crust of the nation’s elite recruits, the UNC signee proved why he’s such a unique threat. At a bullish 6-foot-6 and capable of scoring the ball at all three levels, Little has been one of the most efficient producers in high school basketball these past three seasons. He’s shot over 50 percent from the field the past three seasons, hovering near the 60 percent mark the last two seasons.

Little’s length, advanced level handle, and ability to get to the rim and create his own shot gave defenses fits all season. His fluid mid-range and extraterrestrial above the rim game flourished on the grandest of stages. With OCP entertaining a national schedule for the first time, Little turned in convincing performances. He scored 22 first half points against Jaylen Hoard and Wesleyan Christian Academy of North Carolina during the City of Palms tournament. He scored 28 points (on a scalding 12-of-17 FG) during the West’s 131-128 victory over the East during the 2018 McDonald’s All American game, earning MVP honors.

While Little was often pegged as an “athlete” for his thunderous finishing ability, his ability to stretch out defenders with his shooting and carve up defenses off the dribble cemented his jack of all trades status.

Neftali Alvarez, Miami Christian Academy

Alvarez showed just how good he is with a 32-point performance (including six 3-pointers) during the Monteverde Invitational. The Class of 2018 guard’s 13 points, 13 boards, six assists, and five assists against Monsignor Bonner (Pa.) during the Kreul Classic was indicative of his all around skill set. Alvarez is a facilitator above all. He led Miami in assists and assists per turnover ratio throughout the season, averaging double figures in assists during league play.

Alvarez is currently deciding between programs such as Wichita State, Florida International, Florida Gulf Coast, Arkansas State, UTEP and several others. With his ability to lead a team and hit clutch shots down the stretch, Alvarez’ play was emblematic of battle tested senior leadership.

Zach Scott, Westminster Academy

Few left a legacy even comparable to Scott’s at Westminster. The program’s all-time leading scorer, Scott consistently showed a knack for crunch time plays. Anytime the pressure ramped up a few notches, he was able to carve defenses on hard surges to the rim or clutch 3-pointers. He was able to get into the teeth of defenses and score in finesse fashion. Scott averaged 21+ PPG since his sophomore year at Westminster. He had a significant hand in piloting the program to prominence these past two years, a central figure in delivering back to back state championships.

Scott, who will prolong his career under Michael Fly at FGCU, culminated his career with a 35-point performance in an 89-64 4A state title victory over Oviedo Masters. Scott’s ability to lead an offense at both guard spots and also crash the boards were aspects which mirrored his memorable senior year. While the program returns its core pieces in arguably the best shooter in the state in Chase Johnston and 6-foot-6 high-major prospect Dudley Blackwell, bidding adieu to the hyper-clutch Scott is not easy.

Nadav Naim, Grandview Prep

The 6-foot Israel-bred guard averaged a team-best 23 points and seven assists, operating Grandview’s offense while also piloting the perimeter game. Naim progressed from strictly a catch and stick option to a crafty scorer who could read and pick apart defenses. With a slew of shot fakes and methods of creating space off the bounce, Naim established himself as one of the area’s most perilous scorers.

He worked away at expanding aspects of his game such as his quickness, explosiveness, and thorough attacking ability. All of these factored into his evolution as the Boca program’s do-it-all guard.

Emmanuel Duwuona, Miami Westwood Christian

It’s hard to believe the talented 6-foot-11 center has only been playing organized basketball for four years. A veritable walking double double, Duwuona has the size and the intimidation factor to seal the basket shut. The Purdue-bound Center had several games in which he blocked eight or more shots, influencing and manipulating countless others.

While his offensive game could use some tweaks to it, Duwuona uses his size and innate physical gifts to his advantage. The Ghana-born big’s explosiveness and nearly immovable presence on the glass should fill a void at Purdue next season.

Drue Drinnon, University School

The skilled 6-foot-1 point guard brought a calming influence with the ball to the U-School’s upgraded, star-encrusted lineup. Flanked by All-Americans such as Vernon Carey and top-5 Class of 2020 prospect Scottie Barnes of West Palm Beach, Drinnon brought a never-rattled elder statesmen type of presence to Adrian Sosa’s program.

Drinnon transitioned to being a create-first point guard capable of putting his stamp on the game with scoring in moments of heightened pressure. Drinnon’s 15 points, six assists, and five boards during U-School’s signature win over Penny Hardaway’s Memphis East team was indicative of his well rounded game. On a team rife with young talent, Drinnon’s veteran presence was a necessity.