FORT MEYERS, Fla. -- The City of Palms Classic has historically attracted some of the best talent in the nation year in and year out. Held on the campus of Bishop Verot High School, this event has been a fixture over the years for nationally-ranked teams and elite players. It also has a nice blend of local competition. The action was intense and the star power was bright over the weekend. Also, be sure to tune in for live action from the City of Palms Classic beginning Wednesday night at 7:30 ET on ESPNU.
Jamail Jones, SF (6-foot-6, 200 pounds)
2010, Decatur, Ga./Montverde Academy, committed to Marquette
This 6-6 wing has the size and shooting touch to knock down perimeter jumpers in transition or in a half-court offense. He is so impressive because he demonstrates a solid shot selection, which enhances his field goal percentage, along with great instincts on when to take a midrange jumper that he nails with consistency. Jones understands how to spot up from his teammates' dribble drives or free himself by reading his defender, using the screen and cutting to open spots on the floor. His 3-point shot is smooth, with good preparation and shot with confidence; he possesses range and accuracy that will be well utilized at the collegiate level. Jones realizes that he must improve his dribble-penetration skills and get lower on his drives to the basket. When a player scores more points (32) than minutes he plays (23) against good competition, that's special. I had the chance to coach this young man at the Nike Vince Carter Skills Academy last spring, and he is a hard worker who is humble. Kevin Sutton, the coach at Montverde Academy, and his staff have improved his overall game to another level. Buzz Williams at Marquette have a great one coming to the Big East.
Aaron Brown, SF (6-5, 200)
2011, Philadelphia, Pa./Penn Wood
This left-handed SF plays with great effort on a consistent basis. It seems as though the longer the game goes on, the stronger Brown gets. He loves an up-tempo game and excels in transition while also showing the ability to be extremely productive in a half court setting. Brown is an opportunistic scorer and will take points any way he can find them. Always attacking the basket with his strong slashing ability, he gets where he wants on the floor with his dribble. He combines the drive with a strong midrange jumper along with the size to see over defenders on his release. Brown invites contact on his scoring attempts and finishes through it, which puts him to the foul line for a percentage of his points. On the offensive glass he works to get second-chance points. Brown is not a 3-point shooter at this stage, but with his competitive nature, I am sure that skill will develop over time.
• In Saturday night's game Cory Joseph (Toronto/Findlay Prep), the No. 30 player in the Class of 2010, battled the nation's No. 2 rated junior, Austin Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.). Joseph, who helped Findlay to a big victory over Winter Park, bounced back from his subpar performance against Northland (Columbus, Ohio) earlier in the week and showed why his is an elite player. He dropped 27 points on Winter Park and played strong defense on Austin Rivers. Rivers has improved his body strength and earned every one of his team-high 22 points. Rivers has always been effective scoring from distance – he has become a master of the step-back dribble to create space for his 3-point attempts – but he was equally impressive beating defenders with the drive to the basket.
• Watch out for 2010 SF Mike Poole (Springfield Gardens, N.Y./St. Benedict's). Watching him perform from last year to this year, it's evident that all the hard work Poole has but into his game, combined with playing under extremely-knowledgeable coach Danny Hurley, has really paid off on the court. Poole plays with a high motor while displaying versatile scoring skills.
• Seton Hall-bound wing Fuquan Edwin (Patterson, N.J./Patterson Catholic) put on a strong performance in a come-from-behind win against Penn Woods. The senior is capable of putting up big numbers with his dribble drive and finishing ability around the basket. This hungry scorer never stops attacking the rim. For Edwin the faster the game, the better he performs.
• Milton High (Alpharetta, Ga.) has an outstanding squad led by ESPNU super 60 scoring guard Dai-Jon Parker, skilled forward Julian Royal and heady point guard Shannon Scott – an Ohio State commit. Also watch out for 6-7 sophomore forward Evan Nolte who is an efficient scorer with great instincts and rebounding ability. Head coach David Boyd is doing a terrific job of shaping and molding this young talented group.
• Papa Samba Ndao (Montverde, Fla./Montverde Academy) was impressive passing and knocking down 3s as well as blocking shots. He is a great athlete and a versatile player. He fits the Boston College Player profile perfectly.
Paul Biancardi is a veteran of the coaching ranks with years of college experience. He has recruited on a national level with stops as an assistant coach at Boston University and Boston College, associate head coach at Ohio State and most recently as an assistant at Saint Louis University. Biancardi was head coach at Wright State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2003, he was named Horizon League Coach of the Year. He is a selection committee member for the prestigious McDonald's All-America Game and the Gatorade Player of the Year award.