Article by: Scott Golden, Jordan Davidsen, and Joe Lewandoski
ORLANDO, FL — The day consisting of juniors and seniors at the Hoop Exchange Live Spring Showcase is always an eclectic group of top-tier juniors, unsigned seniors, well-known players, and a few great newcomers. We were fortunate enough to watch some of the best kids in the state and here are the players who we saw get it done!
Duo from the ‘Ville
Both hailing from Gainesville, Jacob Sterck and Kameren Wright took over the day! Jacob Sterck, the 6’5 2023 shooting guard from Buchholz HS can flat out shoot the ball. Anyone needing a three-point shooter who can fill it up won’t be disappointed. He’s got great range and he was easily the best shooter in the showcase. Kameron Wright, a 2024, 6’6 guard/wing from The Rock School also showed out. He’s very athletic and his length is overwhelming when he spreads out on defense. He plays a great brand of positionless basketball that makes him a threat from everywhere on the floor all the time. Kam’s game is maturing and progressing daily.
These guys set out to put their best foot forward over the weekend and that they did!
Domanic Betancourt, the 6′ 9″ 2023 from Oldsmar Christian Academy (committed to Brewton Parker since leaving the showcase) showed his versatility by knocking down shots, attacking the rim and throwing down thundering dunks all day. It is easy to see he’s a very hard worker with a great attitude. Jahmari Johnson, 6’4 2023 from Gateway Charter, by far had the most athleticism on display. He caught a few bodies from a standing position off vert. He also scored in any way he chose to score. Nobody played harder than DeAngelo Parker, 6’6 2023 from Jordan Christian Prep. He’s a super strong kid who loves to bang and bump down in the low post!
Isaac Edwards 6’6 Impact Christian was outside-in all day. He would lead a break and next play he is bullying for a rebound and a putback dunk. Northeast HS 6’2 Brian Wright was a blur all day with incredible speed to the cup. He definitely used the same speed on the defensive end accounting for one steal after another. Nate Sasser, Suncoast HS 2023 is getting back to his early days when he was a basketball prodigy. He has filled out, and improved his shot and his IQ is on full display now as a great passer. He certainly never lost that crazy athleticism to go along with his 6’6 frame.
Juniors on the Rise
These juniors have another year to flex but definitely got busy at the showcase.
Alex Jasquith, 2024 Pensacola Washington, can definitely play as a three-man at the next level. He can handle the ball and has good shooting range. As he fills in his ridiculously long frame, his potential is high. Big man Javon Brown, the 6′ 6″ 2024 from Williston HS, has the strength and feel around the basket to be a high-level presence while also showing his ability to hold his own on the perimeter. His confidence was high only a couple of days removed from winning a high school state championship. Kyle Jones, the 6’3 2024 from Kingsmen Academy, was one of the event’s best guard prospects and was unknown to any of us prior. He’s a pure scorer who can get it done at both ends. 6’7 Calvary Christian combo forward John Roland was making a play every time we looked up. With his wingspan, athleticism, and ability to score and rebound, he is essential to have on the court at all times.
Eric Mejia 6’3 Central Point Christian & Cam Miles 6’2 Olympia HS are very similar lead guards who both exude confidence and unreal toughness. Eric is a little more bruiser while Cam is a bit more high flier. But both can score anytime they want while choosing to make those around them better. Josiah Shackelford 6’4 Seminole HS is one of the more underrated players across the country. Josiah is a scorer and it just doesn’t seem to matter how many teams know that after watching him do it to others. With his big, strong frame, athleticism, skill, and balance he is hard to contain. Jeremy Elyzee 6’7 Pembroke Pines Charter is lengthy and athletic, which is great considering how hard he plays. He has a diverse skill set and finds success in a lot of areas on the floor. Last but not least, Ibrahima Traore 6’8 West Oaks Academy is tough to forget about. He is a bruiser in the paint and he just waits for the next opportunity to dunk on someone with tremendous force. Traore has a heck of a body and strength, with good touch on his shot as an added bonus.
Fredy-Salam Sylla, the 6’6 forward from Potter’s House, just keeps gaining more and more skill every time we see him and he has gotten more and more fluid as well. He’s a triple threat scoring and a triple threat on offense as he can dribble pass and shoot. North Marion HS 6’8 multi-purpose combo forward Sammie Yeanay finds himself filling up stat sheets whatever the situation. He is an excellent scorer with good touch, an excellent rebounder with a good feel, and an excellent passer with good vision. Jordan Tillery 6’5 Oak Ridge is always moving; he just stays active no matter the time or score. A bouncy athlete, good defender, and high-percentage shooter with range seem like a great recipe for a long-term career in basketball. He is only getting better in all those areas.
Energizing the Gym
Chandler Watts 6’4 Windermere Prep and Elijah Elliott 6’3 Oak Ridge were the centers of all the action and energy in the gym. Both are tremendous athletes and both gave 100% from start to finish. With the massive talent both possess, that’s 100% of a whole lot! Chandler had some incredible jaw-dropping dunks throughout the day and showed how much his deep shot has improved. He may be friendly to everyone in the gym before and after the games, but he is tough as nails and goes at your throat during play. Elijah has the most incredible burst of speed. He is not shy about finishing above the pack. That same speed and quick hands make him a terror on defense as well. Both will have a tough choice to make with several college suitors.
Kyle Edison 6’4 Saint John Paul II is all effort, all the time! He is a committed, terrific defender and an explosive athlete who seems to attract the ball nearly as much as he attracts crowds coming to enjoy his play. One of the last remaining true point guards is Suncoast’s 6’1 Stone Bureau. He is lightning-quick in the open floor and has his head on a swivel. He gets a paint touch nearly every trip down the floor and really any time he wants, creating havoc for opposing teams. He brings that same tenacity on defense seemingly because he wants the ball back to get another assist.
Out of Nowhere
Royal Smith 6’4 Dillard HS came out of where and owned the day! We understand that past injury is partly why he is an unknown, but even that is hard to accept considering how talented he is. Royal is truly a great passer and can score at the rim any time he wants. So the next question is ok well can he shoot? Easy answer, YES. His name will come up in many basketball circles over the next year.