TAMPA – Hoopers filled the Bob Martinez Athletics Center on the campus of the University of Tampa yesterday, for the fall edition of the 2016 Breakdown Showcase, hosted by BCP and Bay Area Hoops. Student-athletes came from all over the state of Florida, some as far away as Ft. Lauderdale for the event. Here’s just some of our notes and observations on the semi-annual event.
First, let’s address the highlight reel that CJ Walker Jr. out of Orlando Christian Prep was putting together. The sophomore was dunking just about every time he got the ball in his hands towards the end of team play. He does need to fill out his frame in order to become a dominant small forward, but he certainly has a lot of promise.
A pair of Armwood Hawks in Chris Jones and Shomari King showed up to Breakdown and did not disappoint. Jones had his jump shot working for him all day, while King excelled on defense. Staying in Hillsborough County, Plant City’s Tarik McKelphin was another high-flyer, and his scrappy defensive play was good to see out of the senior.
Steinbrenner PG Angelo Sardegna dropped a bunch of assists, and he looked very good in drill work. It carried over into team play, as he was a good primary ball handler for pick and roll opportunities. Again, only a sophomore, he will need to gain a little more muscle in order to hang with some tough North Tampa defenders.
Oldsmar Christian sent six players to the Breakdown Showcase, and the ones that caught our eye was DJ Mitchell and Akeil Shakoor. The point guard – shooting guard duo got to see a lot of each other today being on the same team for drills and games, and their chemistry was really good on the floor. They’ll be a big reason why the Eagles will contend for another SIAA State Championship and another 25-plus win season.
Lennard PG Ricardo Clouden again showed why he is seen as one of the top basketball prospects in the 2018 class, especially after seeing his ability to penetrate the basket. He’s got the whole package, and it will be interesting to see just how much more he has to grow. Denari Garrett of Sickles also looked good in his ability to make space for his shots.
Finally, one guy that we were noticing heavily was St. Thomas Aquinas SF Michael Akuchie. He looked better and better as the day went along, and he thrived on the fast break. He was an interesting prospect to watch to see how he interacted with the Tampa guys, and he was able to adjust to his surroundings well and often.
There was no all-star game, nor MVP awards given out in yesterday’s event.