By: Miami Suns Beat Writer —
The Florida Summer Invitational has broken through as one of the top events in the country for the early viewing period. Featuring three Nike EYBL teams the event in showcase format throws the brackets away to give you game after game of elite competition.
USA Basketball Stand Up!
Along with highly competitive teams The Florida Summer Invitational features numerous players involved with USA Basketball. Tea Cooper (2015 McEachern HS) is ranked No. 12 nationally by ESPN and is a member of the U17 national team along with Central Florida Elite teammate Destani Walker (2015 Lake Highland Prep School) who is ranked No. 54 nationally is also member of the USA U18 National team. In addition to Central Florida Elite’s top notch talent, the MIami Suns have Beatrice Mompremier (2015 Miami Sr.) who is ranked No. 45 by ESPN and a member as well of the USA U18 team. Because of the USA Basketball schedules this will be one of the few opportunities to see Mompremier and Walker on the court in July. Camille Anderson (2015 Buford HS – NC State commit) and Jazmine Jones (North Florida Elite 2016) also both were on the verge of being invited to participate on the USA Basketball teams this spring.
In 2015, the Florida Summer Invitational has as much top tier talent as any event in the country on July 6 & 7. The New York Gauchos feature Ohio State bound 6-6 Theresa Ekhelar of LIfe Academy (NJ) who after having some injury issues in high school has sky rocketed to become one of the top posts in the country. Crystal Primm of the Miami Suns had a huge spring breaking out at Boo Williams in April as well as showing well on the elite camp circuit in June as well. Primm while many have yet to get a great read on in reality could be one of the best wings nationally left on the board. Add in a healthy Deja Swinton (2015 – Seffner Christian) and a much improved Ogechi Anyagalibo (2015 Miami Country Day) and the Miami Suns Fowles will be as good as anyone in the country as they enter July. Florida Flight has proved they are one of the top 2015 teams in the state rolling through the spring. They have UAB commit Bailee Wolfe 6-3 2015 George Jenkins HS, Astaja Tygher 5-10 F Colonial HS who is one of the state’s top uncommitted players in addition to 5-5 PG 2016 Jalynn Harrison also of Colonial HS. Darren Evans’s squad is certainly looking to finish out a great year with a bang!
Along with the Gauchos coming in from New York, New York native John McGraw brings his highly competitive Team Slink program to Lakeland to get battle tested against the nation’s best. Slink has quickly become a house hold name in the upper south already creating a major buzz among college coaches. Savannah Slade 2017 TN already is elevating her stock into one of the best players in her position nationally, Slade is coming off a strong spring where she garnered BCS interest from multiple schools. 2015 6-0 Wing Myah Taylor is a super athletic wing who is one of the best two sport athletes in the country after being a two time state high jump champion. Taylor’s 3 point range and handles makes her a prospect colleges will follow closely this month. Madison Heckert 6-5 2016 … yes 6-5 do you need to know anything more? Heckert is an emerging star as she continues to develop with in the high regiment of skill development with Team Slink. Finally, 2015 point guard Alex Kohler is a kid who is on plenty of coaches radar with her finishing ability and high level point guard skills.
Speaking of the Miami Suns …
The Suns have picked up one of the most coveted guards in the country in 5-7 Kornelia Wright of Jones Hs Orlando, Fl (2016) and super athletic wing Ciara Thompson 6-0 G West Orange HS (2016). Add those two to a Miami Suns Larkins team which finished in the Final Four of Boo Williams and you have a special group. Iggy Allen 2016, Chelsie Hall 2017, and Sydney Donovan 2017 all have gotten the call up for the Miami Suns Fowles as they embark on clinching a spot at Nike Nationals to finish up the summer. For them to perform well in July they will need to be clicking on cylinders which includes sharp shooting 5-7 Guard Devin Gray 2015 who may be the state’s best shooter in this class. Keep an eye out for Keke Harrigan 6-3 F from Flanagan HS 2016 as she is becoming an elite level prospect nationally in 2016. Harrigan has the ability to shoot the 3 and is an impact player on “D” in the paint.
Back on the Court
The Florida Summer Invitational will be the first chance college coaches get to see 2015 Caliya Robinson back on the court for Central Florida Elite after missing most of the spring injured. Robinson ranked No. 41 by ESPN is one of the top uncommitted prospects in the country.
It wouldnt be the “FLORIDA” Summer Invitational without having tons of unknown talent as well. The Tampa Thunder are an up and coming program in Florida focused on developing players in the Tampa Bay area. The Thunder sport four teams headed to Lakeland to start the viewing period. Thunder 2016 Jones is one of the top 10th grade teams in Florida featuring Savannah and Carly Pentovich of Calvary Christian in Clearwater. Both are highly skilled guards with a great basketball IQ and flying well below the radar. On the Tampa Thunder Reed, Madison Pack 6-2 F 2017 Sarasota is establishing herself as a national name in the spring attracting attention from college coaches of all levels. The Thunder add in 2018 athletic guard Nikki Reed to have one of Florida’s top 2017 teams.
Central Florida Elite 2016 has a bounty of talent which includes the state’s premier shooter in 2016 Taylor Wagner (Gulf Coast HS) and ultra quick guard Alexis Pitchford (Winter Park HS). Couple them with their big time size in the middle with 6-2 2016 Megan Shanahan (Timber Creek) and 6-3 2017 Morgan Davis (Bishop Moore) and they will be a team to watch during the July viewing period.
North Florida Elite had a strong spring and is rolling into Lakeland looking to continue their success along with 2016 Jazmine Jones they are led by 6-3 F Hannah Schuchts of Macclay HS. Schuchts had a break out spring after joining NFE and is is a well known name in the south among college coaches. Keep an eye out for 6-0 W 2017 Jasmine Patterson of Panama City, Fl the long range athlete has the gifts to develop into one of the best prospects in the state in 2017.
FGB Lighting bring four teams into Lakeland. The state’s largest club has strong Central Florida talent ready to be recruited by college coaches this July. Chris Richardson’s 2016 FGB LIghtning Select are led by a pair of prospects from Leesburg HS Adrienne Jackson 2016 and Keshawn Johnson 2017. Richardson’s squad had a superb spring winning the 10th grade AAU State Championship. You cant forget about the young kids either Shrell Chamberlain has put together Florida’s most dominant 2019 team as they begin to be followed by college coaches.
Keep an eye out for several other below the radar prospects such as 2015 Leanna Ellis of Island Coast HS 2015 – Ellis is one of the elite shooter’s in the state with a high basketball IQ. Ellis is a kid that would fit in well at Ivy League programs as she enters college next fall. Along with Ellis keep an eye out on Jadesha Johnson 5-10 W 2016 Florida’s Finest and Jasmyn Brown 5-10 G 2015 who’s sister already stars at Jacksonville University.
Don’t forget the Tampa Inferno they are led by several D1 prospects including 2018 Audra Leipold, 2017 5-6 PG Mia Blocker (Tampa Catholic) and Imani Thomas 6-0 F 2017 who are two of the best young players in the state. Leipold can shoot the 3 and handle the ball as well as anyone in her grade. Blocker is a strong guard who knocks down shots as well as gets to the rim. Thomas is a beast down low and handle the ball to start the break.