Posted On: 10/2/18 11:47 AM
Scottie Barnes, University School
Many have likened the defensively versatile 6-foot-7 Class of 2020 prospect to Scottie Pippen. With his length and ability to engineer the break, the analogy makes more and more sense every game. One of the best open court finishers in the country, Barnes is an outside shot away from becoming an All American and a no-brainer Top-3 in his class.
With Drue Drinnon now at New Mexico, U-School has a significant gap in the leadership department. While the cerebral and crafty point guard’s loss must be filled by committee, Barnes needs to step up and embrace some of the leadership mantle this season.
He’s got the ability to have a hand in so much of what Jimmy Carr’s team does, as far as instigating turnovers and sparking the transition game and delivering pinpoint passes. His ability to operate offense is perhaps his best attribute as a player. His lack of a dependable outside shot is his glaring weakness. His athleticism is unrivaled at this level. If he can put it all together, a First Team All American nod is surely not far fetched. Villanova, Miami, Louisville, Florida, and Kansas appear to be the front runners for such a transcendent talent.
Vernon Carey, University School
The GEICO National tournament was indicative of just how vital Carey’s performance is to the team. He’s got a rare quality in his ability to shoot it from outside and pull bigs away from the paint with his burgeoning mid-range game. He’s an all around gifted scorer at 6-foot-10, a guy who can get to the rim at will. Whether he is bulldozing through the frontline or finishing with either hand in crafty style, Carey’s scoring aptitude will mirror University School’s expected aspirations for a national title.
Michigan State, Miami, North Carolina, and Duke have prioritized the jumbo forward (with a wing’s skill set) since the very beginning. Many anticipate Carey to author senior campaign similar to the one Duke-bound R.J. Barrett of Montverde pieced together last season, catalyzing a 36-0 campaign which culminated with a national title and every significant National Player of the Year award there is to earn. Few players at this level have the type of bullish strength and elite level know how, which is translatable to the gaudy numbers Carey has put up throughout his illustrious prep career.
Tony Sanders, Gulliver
Last year, the Class of 2020 Sanders would burst onto the scene as a high major athlete with playmaking acumen. With his shot and how well he gets it off on the fly, Sanders has the chance to pick up the maniacal scoring pace left by mid range elitist Jamal Mashburn Jr. (now at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire). Sanders has the know how of a top-stratum player. He sees the floor exceptionally well and can create. This is a vital component, as he will surely attract double teams as the focal point next season. He’s got a trampoline-bouncy athletic fabric and can really permeate the frontline and score at will. He’s got a very good chance to earn the reputation as the city’s best player as a battle-tested junior.
Cyrus Largie, Mater Lakes Academy
An accurate depiction of a beast amongst boys, Largie falls out of bed ready to reel of a personal 10-0 spurt. He returns as the state’s most proven scorer on this side of Julian Newman, having scored a whopping 2,500 career points in his varsity career. His pull-up, which he’s incorporated as a hard to guard facet of his game, is now one of the finer points of his trade. Largie is constantly in attack mode, carving through defenses and navigating ramped up coverage to score the ball at will.
Largie’s humble nature and ability to be coached are what should attract him to more Division-I programs. He’s been an unquestioned leader, having to shoulder a tremendous workload as a sophomore and a junior these past two seasons. The muscle-bound guard’s ability to improve his shot and rely more on that factor of his game has made an immense difference. There is no button you have to press with a player of Largie’s magnitude. He knows how to react to coaching, pressure, and crunch time decision-making. The 6-foot-3 Class of 2019 should leave a legacy as one of Miami’s best ever high school players and a low maintenance, workmanlike go-to source.
Toumani Camara, Chaminade Madonna
One of the summer’s fastest and most significant stock risers, Camara has answered the challenge of becoming an alpha dog. He’s added to his vertical and become an explosive open court threat who knows how to impose his will. With a deft left hand touch and an outside game, Camara has evolved into the deadly scorer he showed flashes of becoming at the end of last season. The Class of 2019 product, who is initially from Belgium, scored 28 points over Pine Crest and added 32 points against a U-School team front loaded with talent. He’s become proficient in how well he can score with face guarding and a draping defender stalking him all over the court. Nothing seems to faze him, which is a very considerable portent of a memorable senior season in South Florida. His hang time and how well he gets above the rim has helped him become a better rebounder. At the same time, he’s tightened up his handle and developed a one on one game capable of warding off those junk defenses he’ll surely attract in 2018-19.
Chase Johnston, Westminster Academy
The 6-foot-5 assailant hit a number of clutch shots during last season’s banner campaign. With pressure-slaying guard Zach Scott (The program’s all time leading scorer) now at FGCU under new head coach Michael Fly, Johnston has inherited some ownership of this team. Beyond sparking the offense with his deadeye shooting, he will lead by example on both ends of the court. He averaged five assists per game in the summer and had several games of six assists or more during the state tournament last year, a portent of his growing skill set as a game manger. He’s become deadly for his ability to stick shots in transition.
Johnston, who has offers from UT Arlington, FGCU, Stetson, Vermont, IPFW and a plethora of interest (he visited Florida Atlantic unofficially last month) will leave his stamp on the program this season. With Scott leaving his lasting legacy and 6-foot-7 high major forward Dudley Blackwell transferring in-state, the veteran senior (he has played varsity since he was an eighth grader) doesn’t need to grow up fast. His wealth of experience and his performance on the AAU circuit this summer are rather emblematic of his readiness.
Sam Griffin, Westminster Academy
Like the aforementioned Camara, Griffin sky-rocketed his stock in quick hit fashion this summer. Scoring the ball in smooth and deliberate fashion and mastering the trade of reading a defense, the 6-foot-1 guard cemented his status as a mid-major prospect capable of scoring, facilitating, and playing stout defense.
Griffin has become more of a threat in transition. He displayed a knot-tight handle throughout the spring and summer. Beyond becoming a leader in the half court set, he proved he can spearhead the break fresh off a steal or a defensive rebound and go baseline to baseline with control and ease.
Toru Dean, South Miami
The veteran senior is a returning First Team All-State selection. He’s also one of the most active defenders in the state, with his maddening on-ball tactics and knack for creating disruption all across the backcourt. Dean’s game is emblematic of everything a point guard should be. He is an unrivaled leader who runs everything South Miami enforces and consistently delivers fireball passers. Beyond being a trigger man for a multi-faceted offense, Dean has the ability to take over games with his scoring. He’s a certifiable crunch time scorer who always gets the buckets the team needs the most.