Posted On: 03/6/20 5:01 PM

After profiling the freshman class here in South Florida, I have decided to follow suit with the sophomore lineup here in the region. One thing that jumps out about this class is its depth. From that standpoint, the class of 2022 is better from top to bottom than the 2021 juniors.  As you can see below, it is hard to argue that point.

I would like to highlight this is a general list of players I have been impressed with this season and not a ranking system. As always, If i have left anyone out feel free to leave a comment on our twitter page.

 

Jett HowardJettHoward6'8" | CGUniversity | 2022State#40NationFLUniversity School:  The 6-foot-6 sophomore spear heads this class and is one of the best overall players in the area. In the district final against Stranahan, Howard poured in a game-high 33 points while knocking down ten free-throws. The sophomore phenom has a terrific handle with the ball and can finish with either hand at the rim. According to MaxPreps, Howard averaged nearly 16 points per game and shot 47% from the field. Furthermore, Howard has that Michigan swagger you love to see from an emerging player. While the Wolverines have recruited him, the son of Juwan Howard has additional offers from Florida and Vanderbilt. With the graduation of Roger McFarlaneRogerMcFarlane6'4" | SGUniversity | 2020State#391NationFL, look for Howard to take an increased role for U-School next season.

Taylor HendricksTaylorHendricks6'7" | PFUniversity | 2022State#184NationFL – University School: The 6-foot-8 forward emerged in the Sharks front-court after the graduation of Vernon Carey Jr. last season, helping U-School to 19 victories and a district title. According to MaxPreps, Hendricks averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. While dominant above the rim, Hendricks is a good mid-range shooter, which can be underdeveloped or flat out lost by many players at his age. Along with Howard, Hendricks should provide a 1-2 punch for the Sharks looking to get back to Lakeland after an upset loss to Stranahan in the state playoffs.

Gregg GlennGreggGlenn6'7" | CGCalvary Christian | 2022State#24NationFLCalvary Christian: In terms of overall potential, you are not going to find many better options than the 6-foot-7 Glenn. The Eagles power forward helped Calvary Christian to a 21-8 record before falling to top-ranked Sante Fe Catholic in the state playoffs. According to MaxPreps, Glenn averaged 14.6 points per game while grabbing six rebounds per contest. The sophomore is versatile two-way player with a strong possession at attacking the basket. To date, schools like Oklahoma State, Miami, Florida State, Florida, Iowa State and Alabama have shown him interest.

Houston CulpepperHoustonCulpepper6'3" | CGStranahan | 2022StateFLStranahan: The 6-foot-3 forward is next in line for the Mighty Dragons, who are looking for back-to-back state championships on Saturday against Tampa Catholic. With 50 wins to date over the past two seasons, the Mighty Dragons have developed a winning culture in-part to the sophomore’s older brother, senior Chayse CulpepperChayseCulpepper6'0" | CGStranahan | 2020StateFL. With that in mind, the son of former NFL quarterback Daunte Culpepper should be up to the challenge in continuing the family legacy. Against St. Thomas Aquinas earlier this season, Houston finished with a game-high 18 points while pulling down five rebounds. Along with his size/strength at the position, Culpepper is athletic enough to breeze past defenders and finish at the rim. Overall, Culpepper is a versatile player on both ends of the floor with tremendous upside. With a crop of seniors graduating, the opportunity for Houston to take his game to the next level is all in front of him.

Andrew AkuchieSt. Thomas Aquinas:  Of all the players I saw this year, I thought the 6-foot-7 Raiders forward showed the most improvement from November till now. Against the Mighty Dragons earlier this year, Akuchie finished with a game-high 14 points, including three 3-pointers. With his long range shooting in mind, I thought Akuchie played with more confidence as his outside shot began to sharpen over the course of the season. An inside-out threat, Akuchie should be in line for a big summer as he continues to add different facets to his game. On the defensive end, he is already a strong rim protector who can disrupt passing lanes with his presence in the paint. Look for Akuchie to benefit from continued conditioning and added work in the weight room as well.

Malik ReneauMalikReneau6'7" | PFMater | 2022State#151NationFLMater Academy Charter: I was lucky enough to catch Reneau at the Martin Luther King Jr. classic and came away thoroughly impressed. On that day, the 6-foot-7 forward finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds against Boca St. Andrew’s, matching up against Yale commit Yussif Basa-AmaYussifBasa-Ama6'9" | PFSt. Andrews | 2020State#264NationFL. From a shooting perspective, Renau can beat you with short jump-hooks in the paint while powering up to the rim on the low block with strong post moves. Moreover, Reneau has good footwork on his offensive skill set and can be a match-up nightmare for bigger front-court players.

Ben MiddlebrooksBenMiddlebrooks6'10" | PFWestminster | 2022State#162NationFLWestminster Academy:  A state power, Middlebrooks helped the Lions to a 20-9 record before falling to St. Andrew’s in the 3A state tournament. According to MaxPreps, the 6-foot-8 forward finished with 17.5 points and 13.1 rebounds for the Lions this season. Against Chaminade-Madonna at the Southern Shootout, Middlebrooks finished with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Furthermore, his five 3-pointers on the night showcase his ability to beat you from long range. With that being said, Middlebrooks can leave you off balance on the perimeter, exposing a defender to open lanes in the paint where he can finish at the rim for a lay-up. In a way, Middlebrooks reminds me of a bigger Johnny O’NeilJohnnyO’Neil6'9" | PFChaminade Madonna | 2020StateFL, who is committed to American University. With O’Neil on his way to college, he might be the best two-way player returning in the area.

Kaleb WaltersKalebWalters6'5" | CGWestminster | 2022StateFLWestminster Academy: At the Kreul Classic, Walters put together a fine performance against Calvary Christian (Clearwater) with 23 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Walters is an athletic 6-foot-3 shooting guard with an explosive lower body. According to MaxPreps, Walters averaged 11.8 points while grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game. As the data can show, Walters has an extra step in his ladder that helps him on the glass against bigger defenders. From a shooting perspective, Walters can extend over a defender with his athleticism to hit a 15-foot jump shot. Look for him to have a big summer and junior campaign for the Lions.

Kuran BryantKuranBryant6'5" | PFCoral Gables | 2022StateFL Coral Gables: A 6-foot-6 forward, Bryant showed up big time with a marquee performance against Doral Academy earlier this season. The Cavaliers swing player finished with a team-high 21 points and nine rebounds in a win against the Firebirds with D-1 prospect Devin CarterDevinCarter6'4" | SGDoral Academy | 2020State#155NationFL. In analyzing his game, Bryant is another versatile player who can guard multiple positions on the floor. Along with fellow sophomore Romulo Delgado, the Cavaliers have a bright future down in suburban Miami.

For any South Florida hoops news or information..please contact Michael Costeines @Steins_23 on Instagram or follow him on twitter @Mungertown_Mike23.