The top high school senior basketball players in South Florida gathered at SLAM Academy's Little Havana gym for the HoopMIA All-Star Game. Photo: David Furones.
The HoopMIA All-Star Game presented by the Junior Orange Bowl on Sunday at SLAM Academy was a tremendous display of the hoops talent South Florida possesses.
A pair of stacked rosters of high school seniors, headlined by Miami Norland's five-star McDonald's All-American power forward and UM signee Dewan Huell (make sure to also read my full post on him), congregated to put on a show at SLAM's beautiful seventh-floor gym in Little Havana with scenic views of downtown Miami/Brickell through the windows on the east side and a glance at Marlins Park to the west.
The entertaining all-star game, which was preceded by a slam dunk contest and three-point shootout, played two 20-minute halves of high-flying, fast-paced action and even provided some free basketball with the grey and white teams tied at the end of regulation.
In overtime, McArthur's Nate Johnson sank a corner three for the white team to tie it at 133 with 11 seconds remaining. Pines Charter's Matt Johnson was then fouled with 2.3 seconds left and hit the game-winning second free throw for the grey squad. The white team could just throw up a halfcourt shot that missed at the buzzer and grey won 134-133.
Miami Central's Anthony Wilson sent it into overtime with a basket with 30 seconds remaining in regulation while Mater Academy point guard Dylan Frye held for the last shot and missed on a three.
Frye won the MVP for the winning grey team while PJ Hall of Coral Gables took the award for the white team.
As I watched Frye, who is signed to Bowling Green, I couldn't help but think of "White Chocolate" Jason Williams with the way he ran the floor in the all-star game setting. He was flashy while always making the right pass and anticipating teammate cuts before the passing lane was even open (particularly impressive considering he doesn't usually play alongside a lot of his all-star companions). Whenever he was running point, it was alley-oops aplenty for his cutters.
I was pleased to learn postgame that my J-Will assessment was correct as he told me Williams is one of the players he likes to model his game after.
"Jason Williams, Steve Nash are my favorite there," Frye said. "I try to look at things they do, practice them and put it into my game."
Frye touched on what made him decide on Bowling Green.
"I like the campus, the school's great, the teammates," he said. "The offense, I like. It's a lot of screen and rolls, and that's where my favorite part of my game is."
With that being the case, I also recommended some John Stockton to Karl Malone film on top of Williams and Nash before he arrives in Bowling Green, although Nash was very proficient at the pick and roll with Amar'e Stoudemire in Phoenix as well.
**Nate Johnson, like he does for his Mustangs, was able to score in a multitude of ways inside and out.
He said postgame that he's good friends with Frye and was glad to get to go up against him one final time after they met in Class 7A regional semifinals when Johnson got the best of that matchup with his clutch free throws after getting fouled on a last-second three.
Johnson holds offers from Delaware, Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern and has also begun to hear from Kansas State and Boise State. He takes a visit to Delaware on Thursday and Gardner-Webb on April 8 and also hopes to take a trip to K-State.
"I'm looking for the style of play, coaching and just the atmosphere of the college," he says.
**Coral Springs guard Myron Dewar, after winning a Class 8A player of the year award and leading his Colts to their first state championship this season, showed an array of his on-ball moves and his instincts defensively to cut off passing lanes and get steals.
He noticed the intensity in the mostly free-flowing all-star game pick up as the game was close late.
"At the end everybody just had to tighten up because nobody likes to lose -- whether it's an all-star game, regular game -- so at the end you see everyone getting competitive," he said.
Dewar is currently undecided and had his recruitment pick up after leading Coral Springs' state run. He is getting interest from Bowling Green, Murray State, Akron and New Orleans University while also holding junior college and Division-II offers.
"I just look for somewhere I'm going to play and somewhere I'm going to be comfortable, somewhere where I like the coaching staff and the players around me," Dewar says.
**Wilson, an athletic wing, was a strong defender and distributed to teammates. He exhibited his closing speed defensively when he stole a long outlook pass to an opponent that appeared to be wide open.
Kennesaw State and FIU are schools that have offered Wilson while College of Charleston has also been recruiting him. He plans to visit Kennesaw State on Friday. FIU will be easy for him to visit whenever.
"I just want to go to a team that fits my offensive play and where I feel like I can play," Wilson says.
The offensive style he wants to play in involves running in transition and a lot of off-ball cuts in the halfcourt.
SLAM DUNK CONTEST & THREE-POINT SHOOTOUT
**Boyd Anderson's Brian Patrick won the slam dunk contest with a 47 in the final with windmill alley-oop off a bounce pass to beat out Huell. Even more impressive was when he jumped over Dewar sitting in a chair for a perfect 50.
Wellington's Alex Dieudonne was equally impressive but may have used his best dunks too early. He scored a 49 and a 50 in the first round, going between his legs in the air with one of them and nearly jumping over someone standing in front of the basket but going to the side of him.
**Hall won the three-point shootout by hitting 11 of 15 three-pointers in the final and beating out Frye by one. Chaminade's Leandro Allende hit that same 11 mark but in the first round.
MORE ASG OBSERVATIONS
**Westminster Christian guard Justin Brown drew oohs and ahs from the crowd as he elevated for some of the more thunderous dunks of the afternoon. He has a knack for timely cuts.
**South Miami power forward Keith Stewart is adroit in the post and able to quickly get the ball up and in through tight spaces on the low block if a team doubles him.
**Champagnat 6-8 center Denzel Jenoure has the ability to muscle through contact and finish inside. Krop guard Karl Jeanty is able to do the same.
**Florida Christian forward Gabriel Perez is dangerous when open for three -- not only as a shooter but he can counter an aggressive close-out with a pump fake and penetrate to create a better shot for himself or someone else.
**Miami High forward Marlon Sierra has a nice mid-range game.
**I definitely missed a number of players in this recap, but go ahead and watch this great video Hoop Journey put together on the day's events to see for yourself what I'm talking about or anything I didn't include. I put rosters underneath it so you can match numbers to names.
0- Justin Brown, 6-2 G, Westminster Christian
0- Mark Emmanuel Jr., 6-6 F, Calusa Prep
00- Karl Jeanty, 6-4 G, Krop
1- Matt Johnson, 6-0 PG, Pines Charter
1- Marc Syle, 6-9 C, Miami Christian
2- Alex Dieudonne, 6-4 SG, Wellington
4- PJ Hall, 6-2 G, Coral Gables
4- Ian Cruz, 5-11 PG, LaSalle
5- Dylan Frye, 6-1 PG, Mater Academy
10- Leandro Allende, 6-5 SG, Chaminade
10- Jonathan Andre, 6-6 F, Norland
14- Shaq Carter, 6-8 PF, Zion Lutheran
20- Dewan Huell, 6-10 PF, Norland
23- Jon Brown, 6-5 SG, SLAM
32- Gabriel Perez, 6-5 F, Florida Christian
1- Nate Johnson, 6-4 G, McArthur
1- Marcus Cassesa, 6-4 G, Taravella
1- Keith Stewart, 6-7 PF, South Miami
2- Brian Patrick, 6-4 SG, Boyd Anderson
4- Ralph Diaz, 6-6 W, Mater Academy
5- David Jean Baptiste, 6-2 SG, Norland
10- Jesus Cruz, 6-4 SG, LaSalle
12- Malik Harper, 6-8 PF, Pines Charter
13-Anthony Wilson, 6-6 W, Miami Central
21- Marlon Sierra, 6-6 PF, Miami High
23- Luwan Tyler, 6-0 G, SLAM
23- Denzel Jenoure, 6-8 C, Champagnat
32- Myron Dewar, 6-3 G, Coral Springs
45- Levi Cook, 6-10 C, Elev8 Academy
*Chaminade's 6-5 SG Darius Allen was on the roster but did not attend as he was on a college visit.
Five-star power forward out of Miami Norland, McDonald's All-American and UM signee Dewan Huell at HoopMIA All-Star Game on Sunday, March 20, 2016. Photo: David Furones.
In addition to deep NCAA Tournament runs, which UM is currently in the midst of with entry into the Sweet 16, another sign of an elite college basketball program can be the ability to reel in the blue-chip "one-and-done" prospects.
Dewan Huell, the signed McDonald's All-American five-star 6-10 power forward out of Miami Norland who is ranked the No. 21 high school senior in the nation by 247 Sports (23 by Rivals, ESPN and 25 by Scout), indicated on Sunday at the HoopMIA All-Star Game that if given the opportunity to go pro after one year of college he would go for it.
When I asked him about the possibility of being one and done with the Hurricanes, he said, "That's the goal."
At the moment, though, neither DraftExpress nor nbadraft.net have Huell going in the 2017 NBA Draft -- the former listing 10 current high school seniors as freshman one-and-dones next year and the latter 16.
Huell, however, says he doesn't pay attention to the early 2017 predictions as he's more focused on a more immediate concern that will in turn help him potentially crack those projections.
"Work is on my mind -- getting better, improving," Huell said. "I need to work on everything -- just take it to the next level."
Huell's participation in the HoopMIA all-star game and slam dunk contest was his final high school appearance before the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday, March 30. He leaves for Chicago on Saturday.
Dunks and alley-oops came just about as easy for Huell in the game as they did in the dunk contest. So much so that at one point in the second half he began comically passing up easy dunk opportunities to dish it to a teammate and get others involved.
Huell didn't get many looks on the low block due to the quick pace of the game, but he was fierce in driving to the basket from the middle of the floor/elbow area and also showed he can counter it by stopping on a dime for a turnaround fadeaway while the defender is still backing up. His spot-up shooting range extends to the three-point line.
With some similarities evident, Huell says he models his game after Anthony Davis.
"He's a stretch four, pops the three, goes down there [in the post] -- all-around guy," he said.
Huell will look to be more aggressive in the McDonald's game and take advantage of every opportunity in the game at the United Center that will be broadcast on ESPN.
After that, it's off to UM. He touched on what made him side with coach Jim Larranaga and the Hurricanes.
"He's a very seasoned guy, real cool and relaxed. He's a good coach, ACC Coach of the Year," Huell said. "[I like] the fact that it's a hometown school, my hometown."
On what UM is getting in him, Huell said a "dependable guy. When you need me, I'm going to be there."
**Also make sure to read the full wrap on day's events and analysis on standouts, including recruiting updates.
Mejia, who is soon to visit Southeast Louisiana of the Division-I Southland Conference to see if that's where he'll sign, slammed home a pair of thunderous dunks -- one off an alley-oop -- in the waning minutes. His athletic build and long arms make him a tough perimeter defender and someone who can break down an opponent with the ball in his hands.
At 6-4, Perez was often the tallest player on the floor for the South. A banger in the paint for most of his high school career, Perez developed an outside game as a senior and showed in the all-star affair he can stretch the floor with his three-point shooting, which will be vital for him in college. Perez is looking at a trio of Division-III schools -- Ithaca College in New York, Ohio's Marietta College and Messiah College in Pennsylvania.
--Also with the length and athleticism that could translate to the next level were Joshua Moncur of Northwest Christian and a pair of Pace Spartans in Phillip Brunson and Isaiah St. Fleur. Another Spartan, Don King (no relation to the boxing promoter, I don't think), put on a shooting display late draining back-to-back threes and having a third in a row go in and out.
--Twin brothers from Divine Savior, Danny and Juan Pineda, were the smallest players on the court but were explosively quick and possess excellent ball-handling and distributing skills running the point. With defense frowned upon on Wednesday, they weren't pressing as often as they may like to, but it's clear they can pester opponents defensively and showed it once or twice with backcourt steals.
--Doral Academy's Fabian Corraliza was sinking threes in the first half and looked a bit like Doug McDermott in the Firebirds' Chicago Bulls-esque away uniforms.
--Homecourt heroes Luis Mejer and Daniel Puente of host Belen drained back-to-back three-pointers late.
--Westminster Christian's FAU-bound football-playing tight end John Raine showed off some flashiness and handles in the open court. A couple other Warriors, Tyler Halfaker and Keon Pricely, got into the act with emphatic dunks.
--Nearly every player on both sides was able to hit one from long range as closing out on open shooters was not a top priority.
The Broward County Athletic Association is selling tickets in advance online for its upcoming Big 8 basketball tournaments.
Here's the info on how to purchase them.
Use the Estore Ticketing System at htts://estore.browardschools.com/OSP/
Instructions for Estore purchase: 1. Sign in or Create an account; 2. Select School Site, Event and Date; 3. Select Ticket Type (Individual Day/Tournament Pass); 4. Add to Cart, Checkout, and Complete Payment process;
Girls Big 8 Tournament at South Plantation High Jan. 21-23 - Single Day Tickets: $7; Tournament Pass: $15
Boys Big 8 Tournament at Fort Lauderdale High Jan. 27-30 - Single Day Tickets: $7; Tournament Pass: $21.
Here's the girls' schedule:
Thursday, Jan. 21 - Quarterfinals: Nova vs Cardinal Gibbons, 3:30; Deerfield Beach vs South Broward, 5; Blanche Ely vs Dillard, 6:30; Northeast vs Flanagan, 8
Friday, Jan. 22 - Semifinals: Deerfield-South Broward winner vs. Ely-Dillard winner, 6:30; Northeast-Flanagan winner vs. Nova-Cardinal Gibbons winner, 8.
Miami High and AAU team Miami Suns combined to host the first annual SUTS Reports New Year's Classic on Saturday and many of South Florida's top girls' basketball players were present.
The Herald had a full report on the results led by the Flangan victory. The eight-game marathon also included a late 57-41 Ferguson win over Nova as Stony Brook signee Giolibeth Perez notched 24 points and eight steals while Natalia Pineda added 19 points and seven rebounds.
Here are the prospects and the colleges they have signed with:
Mary Katherine Moore (St. Thomas) -- Bucknell*
Tytionia Adderly (Cardinal Newman) -- FGCU
Hayley Duren (American Heritage) -- Pepperdine*
Megan Gorman (Vero Beach) -- Yale
Naila Delinois (Northeast) -- St. Joseph's
Ashley Santigene (Northeast) -- Marshall
Daborah Hudson (Northeast) -- Southern
Giolibeth Perez (Ferguson) -- Stony Brook
Mikiah Harrigan (Flanagan) South Carolina
Others who are not yet signed but are college-level prospects -- Ferguson: sophomore Natalia Pineda; American Heritage: junior Taylor Smith, junior Auviance Lindo; Miami High: freshman Shekinah Rachel, senior Alondra Angulo; Fort Lauderdale: junior Keyanna Warthen, junior Tamiracle Taylor; Oxbridge Academy: freshman Aaliyah Stanley; Northeast: junior Cabria Lee; Nova: junior Rikiah Cowart; Archbishop McCarthy: junior Reagan McCray; Westminster Academy: junior Raquel Rosa; Hallandale: junior Destiny Walters; Grandview Prep: senior Kristin Rampersad; St. Thomas Aquinas: sophomore Emma Krause; Cardinal Newman: junior Sydni Donovan, junior Milan Morris.
Coaches from Marshall, FIU, Coastal Carolina and Barry University were in attendance.
Where: The Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland.
Admission: $10 per session; Parking: $8.
Defending state champions – Class 8A: Winter Park; 7A: Oviedo; 6A: Miami Norland; 5A: Plantation American Heritage; 4A: Orlando Lake Highland Prep; 3A: Weston Sagemont; 2A: Orlando Christian Prep; 1A: Malone.
Tuesday’s schedule – Class 1A semifinals: Chipley vs. Malone, 10 a.m.; Hawthorne vs. Crescent City, 11:30 a.m.; Class 2A semifinals: Land O’Lakes Academy at the Lakes vs. Orlando Agape, 2:30; Miami Christian vs. Sarasota Christian, 4;Class 3A semifinals: Orlando First Academy vs. Jacksonville Providence, 7; Sagemont vs. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, 8:30.
Wednesday’s schedule – Class 4A semifinals: West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman vs. Fort Myers Dunbar, 9:30 a.m.; Tallahassee Godby vs. Melbourne Holy Trinity, 11 a.m.; Class 1A final: 5:05; Class 2A final: 8:35.
Thursday’s schedule – Class 3A final: 9:30 a.m.; Class 4A final: 1:05; Class 8A semifinals: Oviedo Hagerty vs. St. Petersburg, 7; Hollywood McArthur vs. Wellington, 8:30.
Friday’s schedule – Class 5A semifinals: Tallahassee Rickards vs. Tarpon Springs, 10 a.m.; Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons vs. St. Petersburg Gibbs, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A semifinals: Gainesville vs. Orlando Edgewater, 2:30; Miami Norland vs. Tampa Jefferson, 4;Class 7A semifinals: Blanche Ely vs. North Port, 7; Kissimmee Osceola vs. Oviedo, 8:30.
Saturday’s schedule – Class 5A final: 10:05 a.m.; Class 6A final: 1:35; Class 7A final: 5:05; Class 8A final: 8:35.
Dewan Huell scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half and Norland kept its hopes of winning a fourth consecutive Class 6A state title alive with a 52-39 come-from-behind win at Mater Academy Tuesday night.
The seventh-ranked Vikings (20-8) advance to host fourth-ranked Pembroke Pines Charter (18-8) Saturday night. It's the fourth year in a row the teams will meet in the regional final.
"We're going to beat them again," Huell said. "We don't lose at The Ship."
Trailing 18-15 at the half, Norland (20-8) opened the third quarter on a 10-4 run thanks to six quick points from Huell, a 6-10, 218-pound who went from being a rebounder and shot blocker in the first half to a more Chris Bosh-type role, hitting jumpers and runners around the key in the second.
The Lions (20-6) stayed within striking distance until Vikings guard Tyrik Waite was fouled while making a three-point shot with 4:25 remaining. The four-point play gave Norland a 41-34 lead; Mater didn't get closer than five points the rest of the way.
"What happened in the second half was that Dewan and the two kids in our rotation from last year stepped up," said Vikings coach Lawton Williams, seeking his sixth state championship since 2006. "I told Dewan, 'You're an All-American -- play like it.' And he did."
> Norland (20-8): Jean-Baptiste 12, Andre 5, Waite 4, Huell 20, Wough 4, T. Jones 5, Foster 2.
> Mater Academy (20-6): Mejia 5, Adderley 2, Osorio 2, Kurnick 12, Frias 14, Nunez 4.
> Three-pointers: Baptiste 3, Waite 1, Mejia 1. Rebounds: Huell 11. Williams 4. Half: MA 18-15.