Posted On: 02/16/21 3:15 PM
Roughly 116 games will kick off regional play on Thursday as we begin the road to Lakeland. Approximately ten or so will be played tonight across the Sunshine State.
In South Florida, I have seen about 75 percent of the teams in the region. Moreover, I have been sent tape and notes from area coaches and players. I would like to breakdown some of the matchups across the area.
McArthur (10-9) vs. Mater Academy Charter (17-2) – Class 6A
The Lions have plowed through much of their schedule behind 2022 Jimel Lane. The 6-foot-7 wing is averaging 20.7 points per game and is one of the best players in the region. Furthermore, Lane has scored 20 or more points in 12 games. The only blemishes on the schedule were to Calvary Christian Academy (76-67) and Westminster Christian (57-50). Lane scored 21 points against the nationally ranked Eagles back in January. He is one of the more athletic players in this bracket and can go wire-to-wire with great explosion at the rim. 2021 combo guard Ryan Sanchez also creates a problem with his shooting ability. The 5-foot-10 Sanchez is averaging over 15 points per game. The Mustangs are a team I have seen multiple times. I like the toughness and aggressive style of 2021 Javen Bailey. The 6-foot-2 guard averages 17.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He is coming off a 27-point outing against North Miami. Bailey can hit from outside or attack the cup with little crease. 2022 Johaun Myles is another Mustang with his best basketball still ahead of him. The 6-foot-3 point guard has the length and the handle to make plays in the backcourt. He is really smooth and can dribble penetrate to set-up his teammates on the perimeter. McArthur can also run-out players like 2022 wing Gabe Kincy that can hit from outside. His stroke on the perimeter is impressive for a player of his size at 6-foot-6. Kincy is not a “string bean” and looks like an offensive tackle. Depth at forward with 2023 Amani Drayton and 2021 James Jackson could be a factor. I don’t think McArthur wants to give Lane and company extra chances on the offensive glass. The Lions are way too good to be given more looks at the basket.
Martin County Tigers (19-0) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (9-4) – Class 6A
Martin County has proven to be one of the best teams in the state. The Tigers have beaten the likes of St. Andrew’s (73-67) and Forest Hill (77-71). Moreover, Martin County has outscored its opponents by a combined 1,331 – 861 margin. 2022 Ryan Davis Ryan Davis 6'4" | CG Martin County | 2022 State FL leads the way averaging 17.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game on 49 percent from the field. Davis is a big guard that can use his muscle to attack the basket. Furthermore, 6-foot-7 Nathan Mikkelson Nathan Mikkelson 6'7" | PF Martin County High School | 2021 FL can create a ton of mismatch problems. The Tiger wing is averaging 12.8 point and 9.4 rebounds per game. His ability to shoot over defenders is a huge plus to his game. Martin County can also attack you with a number of guards like Braydin Samuels Braydin Samuels 6'2" | CG Martin County | 2022 State FL and Kamari Haston. I counted at least six backcourt players that have made contributions. The Raiders are going to need a big game out of Andrew Akuchie Andrew Akuchie 6'8" | PF St. Thomas Aquinas | 2022 State FL . The 6-foot-7 wing is averaging 12 points and eight rebounds per game. Akuchie can stretch the floor and beat you with his athleticism off the dribble. 2021 Kyle Stathos is not a kid I would want to leave open on the perimeter. His knock down ability can turn a game quick in minutes. Guards Zach Zibelli, Markos Myrtidis Markos Myrtidis 5'10" | PG St. Thomas Aquinas | 2023 State FL and Matthew Cadogan Matthew Cadogan 6'5" | SF St. Thomas Aquinas | 2022 State FL will need to be efficient at the rim. Both Zibelli and Myrtidis have a ton of quickness and agility to find openings into the lane. Cadogan has a lot of potential here with his 6-foot-5 size. He can play multiple positions at this level, especially as he gets stronger.
Miramar (8-2) vs. Cypress Bay (7-8) – Class 7A
Interesting matchup here with the Patriots as defending state champions. I have mentioned the raw athleticism of 6-foot-6 wing Deshawn Jean-Charles Deshawn Jean-Charles 6'6" | PF Miramar | 2022 State FL in the past. In addition, Miramar has talented guards in 2022 Faheim Meran Faheim Meran 6'5" | SF Miramar | 2022 State FL and 2021 Khamaury McMillan Khamaury McMillan 6'1" | CG Miramar | 2021 State FL . The length and athleticism the trio possess makes taking care of the basketball very important. Miramar seems to be finding its stride after playing a shortened season due to Covid-19. I like Meran’s ability on the defensive end to block shots (3.5 Bpg) and create turnovers (2.5 Spg). He can also rebound at a high rate thanks to his natural frame. McMillan averages around 14 points per game and can light it up with his shooting. Cypress Bay has a talented group led by 2021 Jordan Hines and 2022 Noah Kattan Noah Kattan 6'3" | CG Cypress Bay | 2022 State FL . The 6-foot-4 Hines is coming off a quality run in the district tournament and can beat you off the dribble from the perimeter. His athleticism to play above the rim is a huge part of what makes him special. The 6-foot-3 Kattan is a fantastic ball handler with great court awareness. He can slice into the key for a jumper or step outside for a 3-pointer. Moreover, Kattan’s 3-point shooting can be very lethal in spurts. He has excellent chemistry with Hines in the half court. I like 6-foot-6 Jaylen Bernard Jaylen Bernard 6'5" | PF Cypress Bay | 2021 State FL as a factor here. Bernard has the size to work around the glass and can finish around the rim. You are going to need a big game out of him because Miramar is playoff tested and looking to repeat.
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