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.
Columbus football coach Chris Merritt said Tuesday that junior defensive back Marlin Brooks has been moved out of intensive care after having surgery over the weekend to repair two broken vertebrae - an injury he suffered during the Explorers’ 21-7 win last week against Belen Jesuit.
Brooks was hurt with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter of Friday’s game at FIU Stadium and taken to by ambulance to nearby Kendall Regional Hospital.
He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Brooks (5-10, 157) entered the season ranked the No. 22 overall prospect of the Class of 2017 in Dade by The Miami Herald.
“He had surgery to fix the two broken vertebrae and fuse them together,” Merritt said. “He’s still having some issues below his elbows but the prognosis is good.”
So why did four-star 2016 running back Amir Rasul recently flip his commitment from UM to FSU?
“What made me flip was pretty much I was looking at the future,” Rasul told the Miami Herald. “UM really didn’t have a good season [last] year, Golden will probably be gone and they’ll be looking for a new head coach. I didn’t want to be in that situation going into my freshman year.
“Ultimately, I think UM is a good school. It’s an awesome school, but at the moment I think FSU’s a better school for me.”
Rasul also said he was promised by FSU it would only take one running back per class over the next few years, so waiting to see if Miami did indeed have a rough season could have resulted in another back taking his spot.
“Florida State really wants me now, and if I make this decision now, I’ll probably have a much better future than being committed to UM,” Rasul says. “It’s a hard commit. I’m not trying to change right now.”
Rasul adds that he still looks at South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee but is unlikely to change his mind at this point.
Being in such close proximity geographically to UM’s campus, Rasul says he’s had to take some criticism from hometown fans as of late.
“I’ve gotten a couple of choice words from some people in the area, but that’s OK,” he says. “If they don’t hate you, then you’re not doing something right.”
Rasul also looks at the way Dalvin Cook (formerly of Miami Central) scored the game-winning touchdown against the Hurricanes as a freshman last season and could see himself having similar success against the hometown team.
“That’s amazing – to do that and in addition be at home,” he says. “Going out the next day and knowing you did that against your hometown – that’s going to be spectacular.”
What can we expect out of Rasul in his senior season after breaking out running the ball as a junior?
He says improving his versatility. Rasul will be on returns and be more active in the passing game. He essentially wants to do all the things critics are saying he can’t do.
“You’re always going to have some doubters, people saying you can’t do this, you can’t do that,” Rasul says. “That’s OK. If I wasn’t doing great things, people wouldn’t be talking about it at all.”
Rasul is an exceptional student on top of being a top-of-the-line football recruit.
His junior year he bumped his grade point average from a 2.8 to a 3.4 and took a pair of AP courses – statistics and economics. He plans on taking an introductory calculus course and finding a challenging science class his senior year.
He had thoughts of being an early enrollee, but since he runs track, he will make sure to do that the spring semester of his senior year before getting right to college next summer.
Two days after announcing a decommitment from UM, Coral Gables senior running back Amir Rasul orally committed to FSU.
The four-star prospect is the top ranked running back in the state of Florida, according to 247 Sports and Rivals. He ran for 893 yards and 13 touchdowns on 127 carries as a junior for the Cavaliers.
Aside from Miami, Rasul chose FSU over Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. He becomes the first running back in the Seminoles' 2016 recruiting class, which is now up to 19 commitments.
The Hurricanes still have 21 players committed for 2016, including running backs Travis Homer of West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy and Zack Moss of Hallandale, while also pursuing Naples four-star Carlin Fils-Aime.
It's the final piece to a fresh start for Coral Reef football this offseason.
With a new coaching staff coming in that's trying to change the culture, the Barracudas revealed their new "black cloud" uniforms to players, cheerleaders and parents at a team picnic at Larry and Penny Thompson Park on Sunday.
The coaches couldn't do it without a little fun, though.
First, they set up a draped upper-body male mannequin on a table as coach Javi Valdes gave a speech. When it was time to lift the drape, underneath it was a plain, bland black jersey with silver numbers -- much to the dismay of the players expecting a bit more.
With parents slow clapping and mixed reactions from the players, a pair of Coral Reef alumni in Myles Campbell and Vanycksha Toussaint busted in wearing the actual uniforms. The jersey on the manikin turned out to be the practice jersey.
The players went nuts.
"I knew I had them," Valdes said. "We needed to put a stamp on what Coral Reef Football was going to look like. That's the look we're going to have for the next few years, and that's the look we want to continue having throughout my tenure here."
The Nike anthracite -- or smoke grey -- uniforms (pictured above) will have white numbers, "Cudas" in white over the number on the front, a teal stripe down the pant leg that reads "Reef" in white, and teal and white fading stripes on the sleeves. The helmets are the same color with a teal and silver stripe through the middle and the CR logo on the sides.
Coral Reef, which will alternate with a set of white uniforms depending on if the team is home or away, now joins Booker T. Washington and Miami Central as teams to sport the anthracite jerseys.
Players were relieved to learn that all the buildup for the uniform unveiling wasn't to culminate in the team wearing practice jerseys for their games.
Photos and video by David Furones//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD