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Posted On: 09/11/18 9:53 PM
The SIAA is known as a conference predicated on cutthroat recruiting and high level, Division-I bound athletes.
This has proven true through time. The aggressive, relentless recruiting tactics employed in this particular conference were most notable during the 2016-17 season, when Calusa Prep loaded up its roster by receiving three high-level transfers (Madiaw Niang, Ari Boya, and Luguentz Dort) from in-conference foe The Conrad Academy–with several games still remaining in the regular season. At the time, it almost seemed unheard of.
What some would likely perceive as lawless in other conferences is par for the hyper-competitive SIAA’s course.
This year has featured much of the same. Both the furious rate at which kids transfer today and the lack of hard transfer rules enforced in the SIAA have helped the conference regain national prosperity. Here’s a look at some of the key recent pickups and how they impact the landscape of the conference.
Potter’s House, which has a backcourt front-loaded with high major guards, picked up the biggest steal in Mayoum Mayoum. The hard-slashing 6-foot-4 guard has improved as much as anyone in less than a year’s time. After providing a supplementary leg of scoring to multi-faceted 6-foot-9 forward Madiaw Niang (now at FAU), Mayoum has grown into a high major recruit known for more than just dazzling displays of athleticism.
Last season, he was a bounce-heavy guard with a proclivity for barreling into the lane and finishing. He’s shored up holes in his game and developed a skill-set to put behind the talent he already possessed.
Boasting a 44-inch vertical and making his thorough, powerful, and extravagant dunks his hallmark weapon, the Australia-bred guard has more of a variety this season. Through his work ethic and devotion to player development aspects, Mayoum appears on the periphery of shedding the label of “athlete,” “dunker,” “finisher,” and all of the above.
“He’s a completely different player,” explained Potter’s House assistant coach Nick Couluris, who has helped make hard and unforgiving recruiting the essential lifeblood of this new-look program.
“He’s a completely different player. We’ve also been working on his handle. At the level that he’s being recruited at, 6-foot-4 means you need to be able to be a primary ball handler. He’s working towards being able to handle that responsibility.
Gritty, in-your-chest defense should be synonymous with Potter’s House basketball. At least that’s how the coaching staff would envision it. Couluris and head coach Steve McLaughlin have lofty expectations for not only a high-scoring uptempo attack, but a high-pressure product capable of containing teams and holding them below their scoring average consistently.
“We want to make our mark on the defensive end and (Mayoum) sets the tone there,” Couluris explained. “He’s our ‘rah rah’ guy. He makes his living right now defensively and then spurts here and there on the offensive end with high energy highlight plays. He knows the improvements he needs to make to play high major basketball and he’s been in the gym, putting in long hours and making that a reality.”
A critical part of Mayoum’s metamorphosis will be the development of a deep jumper and 3-point shot. That was the lone fatal flaw the prognosticators pinpointed in Mayoum last season, as he rarely scored outside the confines of the key.
He’s been working diligently at taking this criticism and investing enough time into it to make it a strength, getting shots up off the gun daily. While at DME, Mayoum witnessed how effectively the aforementioned Niang’s smooth, high release 3-point shot opened up the entire offense. If he can learn how to stroke it and utilize his shot in balancing out his attacking, he’s got the opportunity to leave his stamp on the program. Auburn appears to be in most active pursuit of the quickly rising prospect.
While DME may have lost significant firepower with both Mayoum and Keano Calderon bolting just two hours down I-95 to Jacksonville, they’ve managed to reload. With the transfer factory humming, the program has picked up a tough-as-nails guard in Freddy Johnson of Michigan.
“He’s a tough, gritty guard who is just a good playmaker,” said Dan Mondragon, the head coach of DME high school’s national team.
“He’s got a really good mid-range game and can also knock down the three.”
Also piloting the perimeter game for DME will be Malcolm Farrington, a 6-foot-4 guard from South Florida. A transfer by way of Believe Prep (TN), Farrington bolstered his stock during an impressive summer. He shot the ball with efficiency in Las Vegas, earning a scholarship offer from Arkansas State head coach Mike Balado.
Farrington’s big game engine has been noticeable throughout his career. While at the Conrad School in Orlando, he was a knockdown shooter whose onslaughts took the pressure off highly-touted guards Luguentz Dort and David Sloan. This past year at Believe, Farrington put up 21 points (5-for-7 3FG) against Elijah Weaver-led Oldsmar Christian. He lit up Aspire Academy for 20 points during the Lighthouse Classic in Mississippi. He’s become more dieseled up as a strong two-way guard with a veteran savvy.