Posted On: 09/1/18 3:09 PM

Lian Lopez, Hialeah Gardens

The 6-foot-2 guard is consistently bulldozing his way through defenders and really barreling to the rim. A wide-body with a wide ranging offensive game, Lopez thrives with his size advantage. He’s shown an adeptness at finding the mismatch and exploiting it, utilizing his size against smaller defenders. He’s also a knockdown guy from the perimeter, an attribute that enabled him to piece together several 20+ point performances this summer.

Lopez’ deft passing, defense, and communication throughout the game is what gives him the tag of “glue guy.” He can’t be defined by one single role. While he scores the ball at will and is the go-to option at Hialeah Gardens, he’s the calming influence with the ball. As a Class of 2020 prospect, he’s got the experience and know-how to surface as a major locker room presence and unrivaled leader this season.

Cameron Payne, Columbus

At 6-foot-5 and athletic, the Class of 2020 Payne has the attributes to be a multi-positional threat. He’s developed some bounce and added on with his explosiveness. Yet the real appeal to Payne’s game is his defense. He’s a high-adrenaline defender who has routinely handled the daunting task of locking down on prolific scorers. Very few skilled offensive players of this magnitude take such a sense of pride in neutralizing the opponent’s best scorer. That’s what make Payne special, his ability to subscribe to different roles and lead by example.

Payne solidified his status as a glue guy while playing for Florida Gold Coast this summer, averaging a team-best nine boards per game.

JoJo Nunez, Doral Academy

Nunez is a cerebral point guard who really knows how to lead a team. At the same time, he knows when to call his own number and manufacture points in timely fashion. Similar to Payne, he’s got the type of stout on-ball defense that makes him the best choice to apply ramped up pressure on high-scoring foes in the backcourt.

He prides himself on giving the opponent little space, on pestering them and instigating turnovers. A dual sport athlete who also plays strong safety in football, Nunez applies that unbridled toughness on the court.

Marvens Petion, The Nation Prep

The Nation head coach Mike Woodbury often jokes that if he puts a quarter on the very top of the backboard, Petion is the most likely source to jump and get it down for him. Now the joke is looking more like a reality. The bouncy 6-foot-6 guard plays with a finesse game and a swagger. While he will set the tone as a primary ball handler who can really score it off the dribble, he’s also tasked with playing sound and versatile defense.

Petion has shown he is plenty capable of guarding the 1-4, switching on screens and changing directions seamlessly. He’s got the multi-dimensional traits and multiplicity on the defensive end to lead the team in multiple statistical categories this season. All of this computes to a glue guy who can really focus his efforts on any component of the game. With his wild aerial game and frenetic open court and above the rim finishing, Petion has the potential to be a star disguised as a glue guy and vice versa. His relentless defensive energy and ability to subscribe to the tone setter role gives him an image which others appear to feed off of.

Tyler Smith, TLAP Academy

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound forward is beginning to surface as a real sleeper in the South Florida area. He’s got bouncy athleticism and his vertical explosions make him a high percentage threat. He’s a scorer with a wide ranging offensive game and a guy who knows how to reel off points in a hurry.

On the glass and as a defender, Smith has the multi-layered game to be a glue guy. Head coach Louis Graham knows a thing or two about reliability and the importance of glue guys, as he coached a defensive pest who capitalized on all the little things in (since graduated) Chris King. Smith is as a highly skilled as anyone TLAP has had in recent memory and should be sifting through a drawer load of mid major offers soon enough.

Gary Bess, Miami Palmetto

The 6-foot-3 guard is a jack of all trades type, capable of scoring it all three levels and guarding the 1-4 defensively. He’s constantly in attack mode, there for that key block or pivotal rebound down the stretch. He’s still polishing up an offensive game which has grown by leaps and bounds these past few seasons. Bess will be a key supplemental piece this season.

If the Class of 2019 Bess can continue to display all of those unique facets that make him special–athleticism, versatility, and the winning mentality that’s been ingrained in him–he’s got a chance to be a very unique prospect.

Jordan Lopez, Miami Palmetto

The Class of 2020 guard has diversified his scoring portfolio, knocking down stepback 3-pointers and getting loose for nifty floaters and displaying a newly-discovered pull-up game. With the lineup Miami Palmetto has on the floor this season, Lopez will be more of a defensive presence who will execute the clamp down operation on opposing guards.

Playing for Florida Gold Coast this summer, Lopez led the 16U program in steals and showed a propensity for instigating turnovers. He subscribed to this stopper mentality while also scoring in double digits every game.

Photo credit: Miami Herald