City of Palms: All-Tournament Teams
Who stole the show in Fort Myers?
by Nolan Shulman
Known as one of the best high school tournament in the country over the last 37 years, the City of Palms Classic was as good as ever in 2009. Nine of the top 50 teams in the country traveled to the sunshine state to compete for one of the most highly respected trophies of the high school season. SLAM was on hand to witness the scintillating performance by Austin Rivers, the controversial excess celebration call, and the surprising run to the chip by Paterson Catholic. It was a great week, shared with great people, in a great venue. Here’s a look at SLAMonlines’s All-Tournament team, Defensive MVP, and underclassmen on the rise.
MVP | Austin Rivers | Winter Park | PG/SG | 2011
Austin had the crowd at Bishop Verot High School behind him all week long. Watching him walk around the gym, you’d think he was a contestant in the Mrs. USA Paget. Fans would stare at him like he was a perfect 10 model and seemed to be in awe of his presence. He probably signed over a thousand autographs this week. When you average 28.8 points per game and engage the crowd the way Austin does, it’s easy to understand why people are drawn to him. He’s a terrific teammate, possesses very rare one on one skill, and understands the art of showmanship. His 45 point performance vs. the No. 4 ranked team in the land was the stuff legends are made of. Austin is an electric player who put on an epic performance at the 37th annual City of Palms. He knocked down three’s, was un-guardable in transition, and continuously took his defender off the bounce; finishing at the rim with floaters, dunks, lay-ins, scoop shots, and acrobatic prayers.
Myck Kabongo | St. Benedict’s | PG | 2011
Kabongo used his superior end to end quickness to score easy points in transition all week long. There may not be a faster guard in the country with the ball in their hands than Myck. He scored 80 points in 4 games and was equally efficient running the Grey Bee’s half court sets as he was on the run. What impressed me most about Myck was his improved outside J. He came into his junior year with a wrap that he couldn’t knock it down from deep, however, after making 13 of 25 bombs this week, he should quiet his critics.
Fuquan Edwin | Paterson Catholic | SF | 2010
Fu led his team to the winners circle at this year’s event even though they weren’t the favorites. He showed why he’s known as a prolific scorer, putting together 4 consecutive games of 22, 24, 17, and 16 points. The Seton Hall commit wore his emotions on his sleeve, was aggressive going to the tin, and proved that big time players make big time plays in big time games. Paterson Catholic continuously leaned on Fuquan when the game was on the line, and Fuquan continuously delivered. If it wasn’t for Austin’s 45, he’d of occupied the top spot on the food chain.
Julian Royal | Milton | PF | 2011
No player in this tournament was as consistent as Julian Royal. He played smart and he played aggressive every possession of every game. He showed off his face-up game, used power to clean the offensive glass, and displayed a knack for finishing around the basket. He averaged 18.5 points and 7.8 rebounds, doing it all within the flow of the game. He never forced a single shot all week and was Milton’s go-to-guy despite the presence of Shannon Scott and Dai-Jon Parker.
Tristan Thompson | Findlay College Prep | PF | 2010
Another tournament, another standout performance for the Toronto native. Tristan was a man among boys at the COP. There wasn’t another big in the tourney with his ability to handle, face-up, defend, and run the floor. Simply put, he was a heavyweight fighter boxing in the featherweight division. Do to a poor decision made by the powers that be, we never got to see Findlay play in the Championship bracket this week in Fort Myers. Instead Findlay took their frustration out on the consolation bracket and Tristan was the one throwing all of the punches.
Jamail Jones | Montverde Academy | SG | 2010
Jamail can be a bit of a streaky shooter at times. Luckily this week was one where his shot was water every time it left his hands. He hung 32 on Dudley and 21 on St. Benedict’s. Jamail was the definition of a shot maker, showing off both his deep range and stout mid range game. There were a few times throughout the week where you could just see he was in the zone.
Brett Comer | Winter Park | PG/SG | 2010
Although Brett spends most of his career in Austin’s shadow, this week everyone made it a point to learn his name. Austin’s performance was the talk of the town, but it was Brett’s quality play that was the difference in Winter Park’s deep run. He was excellent at creating scoring opportunities for himself, either using his craftiness and creativity or his high basketball IQ. The Florida Atlantic commit made himself a household name in the state of Florida this week.
Trevor Lacey | Butler | SG | 2011
Lacey showed he’s one of the best scorer’s in the country this week. He scores with such ease, it sometimes goes unnoticed. He can do it in so many ways he’s almost impossible to guard one on one. He showed off his ability to stroke it from deep, his pull up, an assortment of mid range jumpers, and his competitive spirit attacking the rim. He shot a ridiculous amount of free throws and carried Butler on his back all week.
James Bell | Montverde | SG | 2010
Montverde success in this tournament was a direct result of Bell’s outstanding play. He did everything he could to help take Eagles make a deep run at the COP. When his guys were making shots, Bell deferred and found the hot hand. When they needed a boost, Bell put his scorer’s mentality on display. He fouled out vs. Paterson Catholic which resulted in Montverde playing in the consolation championship instead of the main event.
Fab Melo | Sagemont | C | 2010
Although Fab was a tad inconsistent, overall it was a very strong tournament for the 7 foot Brazilian. He is in excellent shape and looked to be running the floor a whole lot better than he did in the summer. He showed off his crafty right hook, did an excellent job rebounding, and even drew a charge. He’s still a bit raw, but he’s improved his body, his understanding of spacing, and his ability to make an impact on the court. If he continues to improve at the rapid rate we’re seeing now, we could have a monster on our hands in a few years.
Myles Mack | Paterson Catholic | PG/SG| 2011
Shannon Scott | Milton | PG | 2011
Will Sheehey | Sagemont | SF | 2010
Dai-Jon Parker | Milton | PG | 2011
Thomas Laerke | Findlay Prep | SG | 2010
Jabari Brown | Findlay Prep | SG/SF | 2011
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT
Cory Joseph | Findlay College Prep | PG | 2010
It seems like every time I watch Cory play I end up writing about his defense. This week was no different. Cory’s head to head matchup with Austin Rivers was an outstanding show. While it’s hard to rave about a player who gave up 22 points to his opponent, when you’re talking about Austin Rivers, that’s keeping him in check. While Austin got off early, Cory used the second half to showcase why many call him the best lockdown defender in the country. He held Austin to 3-10 shooting and 0-5 from downtown, while chasing him all over the court and giving him nothing easy. Cory demonstrated outstanding lateral quickness, terrific discipline, and always led Austin into the heart of the help defense. His defensive legacy continues to grow with every game he plays.
UNDERCLASSMEN ON THE RISE
Kyle Anderson | Paterson Catholic | PG | 2012
Kyle is a point guard in a small forwards body. He’s 6-8, has a solid frame, and played the role of facilitator for the Champions of the COP. He doesn’t take a lot of shots, but is a box score stuffer, filling the sheet in a plethora of categories. He ran half court sets, played wonderful help defense, and used his long wingspan to disrupt opposing guards. If Kyle could develop more foot speed and become more aggressive, he has the chance to be truly special.
Alex Foster | De La Salle | SF/PF | 2013
It wasn’t a particularly strong week for Chicago De La Salle. Even with the team struggling, it was hard not to notice freshman sensation Alex Foster. At 6-8 he has the chance to become an absolute dominant face-up four. His ability to pass out of the post had scouts and coaches buzzing, while his ability to finish in transition showed he was polished well beyond his years. With a little weight on his frame, Foster should develop into one of the most versatile players in America.
Evan Nolte | Milton | SF | 2012
Nolte is a youngster with a tremendous basketball IQ. He made tremendous cuts, always had his feet moving, and showed an ability to rebound the basketball. With upperclassmen Shannon Scott, Dai-Jon Parker, and Julian Royal doing the bulk of the scoring, Nolte still found a way to be effective and standout. Like Foster, he still needs to add weight, but the skill set is certainly in place.
Trevor Lacey | Butler | SG | 2011
Josue Celestin | Fort Myers | PF | 2010