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October 1, 2006

Team Florida showcase recap

Clearwater, Fla.-Some of the top talent in Central and South Florida descended on Clearwater, Fla., for the first annual Nike Team Florida Fall Workout and Exposure Camp. The juniors and seniors went at it on Saturday and then the freshmen and sophomores to their turn on Sunday. Here is a rundown on the top prospects in attendance.

2007 prospects of note:

Rihard Kuksiks- Originally from Lativia, Kuksiks, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard at Florida Air, has St. John's (offer) and Virginia Tech (offer) coming in early this week. Both schools are making repeat visits this fall. Bill Self has also watched him workout this fall. An ankle sprang during his first 30 seconds of action kept him on the sidelines for the duration of the day.

Nick Calathes- The five-star prospect had a miserable day shooting the ball. But during the stretch run of games, he made the winning plays that he is known for.

Chandler Parsons- Calathes' AAU, high school and future Florida teammate, Chandler finished extremely well around the basket, often switching to his left hand on running interior shots. The game appears to come easier and easier to Chandler on the offensive end. He looks as if he is getting stronger, which is essential for his success in the rugged SEC.

Fred Brown- The Kansas State commitment is not an overwhelming physical presence, but he scores points with his unorthodox offensive game which he combines with athleticism. He also has the ability to pressure the basketball in the backcourt.

2008 prospects of note:

Kenny Kadji- He started the day as a docile post player content with passing the ball out of the post and watching the action on the defensive end. In his second game of the day, Kadji started to come alive and impact the game. By his last game of the day, he was physically taking the action to Eloy Vargas and attacking the rim. He finished a couple post moves with dunks and was quick to the ball on the offensive boards. Defensively, he controlled the paint as an ever present shot blocking threat. And his passing ability was evident throughout the day. In other words, he performed up to his ranking by the end of the day, and showed the potential to be a five-star prospect.

This fall Florida, Florida State, Kansas State and USC have watched Kadji this fall. Georgia Tech and Memphis are expected to come in soon.

Eloy Vargas- Making big strides in his English and academic work, Vargas' game is also coming around nicely. Still woefully weak, Vargas did draw contact with some aggressive moves but is not yet able to carry the ball through the contact. In the nightcap against Kadji, Vargas had some nice scores off perimeter moves. He also posted and scored in the mid-range off some nifty spin moves. Right now he tends to shoot a flat shot, but hopefully more arc will come with strength gain. Vargas also showed promise as a handler and passer in the open court.

Vargas listed a top five of Florida, North Carolina, Pittsburgh (offer), Maryland and Wichita State (offer), but his recruitment is just beginning to really heat up. North Carolina, Maryland, Florida State, Clemson (offer), Miami (offer), Old Dominion, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Stetson and Pittsburgh have all observed Vargas this fall.

Jared Swopshire- Oozing with potential, Swopshire is a big time small forward prospect. He has a smooth shot and a feel for scoring off spin moves in the mid-range. A smooth athlete, Swopshire could stand to add a dose of aggression to his game. More aggression and strength and quickness work should make this skilled prospect a more explosive player. Defensively, he does a nice job getting low in a stance and can disturb shots with his length.

Ray Willis- A smooth offensive player with a knack for scoring the ball, Willis had a tremendous day at the camp. He stroked the ball from three, scored in the mid-range and at the basket on slashing moves and scored in transition. Although extremely thin, Willis plays stronger than his size would indicate and was constantly around the ball on both ends of the court.

Right now, the small forward from Dr. Phillips High School is only hearing from Penn State. Look for a host of schools to quickly get on Willis.

Justyn Watkins- Dr. Phillips has another good wing in Watkins. A dynamic athlete, Watkins plays with a great motor. Primarily a slashing and opportunistic scorer, Watkins does need to improve his shooting range. Defensively, he gets in passing lanes and is also not afraid to get physical inside. He has the makings of a multi-position defensive stopper.

So far, Watkins has heard from Florida State, George Mason and Oklahoma.

Dago Pena- Another slashing small forward prospect, Pena has both a physical presence on the court and a smooth touch in the mid-range.

Miami, Pittsburgh and Chattanooga are recruiting the Dominican Republican native.

Shaquille Johnson- A combo guard prospect with a solid all around game, Johnson played primarily off the ball. It looks like the shooting guard position is his most comfortable and productive position.

With offers from Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Dayton and Missouri, Johnson has a top three of Dayton, Missouri and Florida. He is also hearing from Cincinnati, Florida State, Oklahoma and Illinois.

Michael Morrison- A developing post player, Morrison has some promise as a prospect. He averaged 6 points and 5 rebounds per game as a sophomore and is hearing from Cincinnati and Missouri.

Luke Loucks- Playing through the soreness from playing a football game the night before, Loucks showed the talent that has him ranted as a four-star prospect. He is a physical lead guard who has tremendous court vision as a passer and an instinct for coming up with the ball on the defensive end. At times turning the ball over because of over passing, Loucks must become more of a scoring threat in order to enhance his passing ability. A willingness to attack with the dribble to score will not only make Loucks more of an offensive threat but also open up the passing lanes for him. Defensively, Loucks has the instincts and strength to impact the possession, but playing pressure man-to-man defense against an athletic ball handler is not option at this point.

Dante Anderson- A dynamic finisher in transition, Anderson is also a capable scorer off the dribble in the half court game. He can score from behind the arc as well but is a streaky shooter. Anderson also has the potential to be a dangerous defender and rebounder from his shooting guard position.

2009 Prospect:

Ben Eblen- A point guard prospect from Florida Air Academy, Eblen stood out against the 2007 and 2008 prospects as the only 2009 prospect playing on the first day of the camp. The lefty is powerful and poised with the ball as well as being a strong lateral defender. Improving his shooting range is the key to his development.

Shamon Cox (6-foot-3, 210-pound sophomore wing prospect) Physical player who hit threes and attacked the basket with a vengeance. Loves to go left and has a nifty hop back jumper but could do a better job seeing the floor as a passer. He also played hard on the defensive end, but is not a vertical athlete. He has to play inside for his St. Petersburg High School team but that only adds to his toughness.

Darrick Brown (6-foot-4, 190-pound sophomore wing prospect) A physical specimen who looks the part. A strong one foot leaper, Brown is dangerous in transition. He shoots the ball fairly well, but his handle and passing are the areas of his game that need the most work.

William Green (6-foot-6, 180-pound sophomore forward prospect) Long and athletic, Green is a lefty who rebounds, blocks shots and scores inside 15-feet.

Evan Jones (5-foot-11, 170-pound sophomore shooting guard) Jones has nice body control in the mid-range and can knock down jumpers from inside and outside the arc. Athletic and defends, but Jones could use a few more inches.

Taula Koloamatangi (6-foot-7, 195-pound sophomore power forward) Although weak and with average athleticism, Coloamatang has touch from the mid-range and in and is skilled around the basket. Loves to finish with his left hand.

Dexter Fields (6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore wing prospect) A power based athlete, Fields attacks the basket and defends. He can also knock down jumpers.

2010 prospects of note:

James Bell (6-foot-3, 195-pound freshman wing prospect) Arlington Country Day has a great one in this dynamic leaper. Not only is Bell the type of athlete who can dominate in transition and on the boards, but he can also knock down threes and handle in the open court. As with any freshman, his game needs some polish, but Bell stood out as clearly the best prospect on the underclassmen day.

Okaro White (6-foot-6, 170-pound freshman power forward) As evident by his weight, there is not a lot of power to White's game. There is, however, a lot of length and athleticism. Very much a developing prospect, White played with energy and has a ton of potential.

Adam Jones (6-foot-6, 190-pound freshman forward) Awful lengthy, Jones is a great looking freshman prospect. Not much of a handler, but Jones can step out and hit the three as well as score with his back to the basket. He is active on defense and goes after the ball off the glass.

Zachary Perkins (6-foot-1, 160-pound freshman shooting guard) A smooth scorer, Perkins has a solid all around skill set and a nice feel for the game.

Montana Brown (5-foot-8, 135-pound freshman point guard) Will be interesting to see how much Brown grows, but the lefty handled himself and the basketball quite well while also shooting the lights out from behind the arc.


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