Sunday, September 28, 2014

Isaac shines at The Workout
RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The brainchild of Nike Team Florida program director Tom Topping, The Workout is now in year nine of giving some of the Sunshine State's a stage to shine. Five-star junior big man Udoka Azubuike was on hand with the likes of four-star Marquette bound guard Haanif Cheatham and senior Rivals150 combo forward Keith Stone. But on the day's first event it was junior Rivals150 small forward Jonathan Isaac who had a breakout performance. Isaac on the rise 2016 The upside is that Jonathan Isaac was included in the post summer Rivals150 for the class of 2016. The downside is that at No. 144 nationally, the 6-foot-8 small forward from Hollywood (Fla.) International School of Broward entered the rankings too low - that is, if the way he played on Saturday is an indication of what to expect from him down the road.
Jonathan Isaac had a breakout performance on Saturday.
A legitimate wing with outstanding size, Isaac is a highly skilled and fluid three man who puts the ball on the floor, buries jumpers and looks to have big upside. He is still relatively slight of build, but his length and ability to finish with floaters or either hand near the rim make him just as much of a threat off the drive as he is with the jump shot. This fall, Isaac has started to add scholarship offers as schools find out about him. "I have three offers right now," Isaac told "Arkansas State, UCF and Mississippi State are the schools that have offered." However, word is starting to leak out about Isaac's ability and he has recent interest from programs like Florida State, Alabama, Texas, East Carolina, Kansas State and South Carolina among others. If Isaac continues to perform at a high level, he is headed for four-star status and several more offers. In an age where some prospects get nervous about offers during their junior seasons, he knows that it is just a matter of time before he has a brighter spotlight shining on him. "People are really just starting to find out about me," said Isaac. "I'm being recruited as a two and a three and feel good about that." Major attention for Azubuike The highest ranked player at The Workout on Saturday, No. 14 in the class of 2016 Udoka Azubuike, was also the biggest player in attendance. His listed height of 6-foot-11 is probably a bit generous, but his long arms, powerful playing style and intensity allow him to play like somebody that size. Consider this: Azubuike just turned 15 years old two weeks ago, which means he is two years young for a high school junior. Yet he has the build of a player that is at least two years old for his class and he plays with the physicality of a college veteran. A true power player around the rim, Azubuike embraces that his strength is playing near the rim and trying to dunk everything possible. He has outstanding hands and after missing the end of the summer doing to shin and ankle problems, he showed surprising endurance and energy throughout the course of a long day of basketball. According to Azubuike, he has offers from Wake Forest, Florida State, Georgetown and Maryland. He said that both Kentucky and Kansas have been in to see him lately and he feels that they are close to offering scholarships. Others mentioned by Azubuike include LSU, Virginia Tech, Iowa, North Carolina and Duke. Stone favors Florida The No. 127 player in the class of 2015, Keith Stone is a guy that high major programs are going to continue to take a long look at. Billed as a combo forward, the 6-foot-7 product of Deerfield Beach (Fla.) Zion Lutheran looked more like a true small forward on Saturday.
Stone is excited about the Florida Gators.
A good shooter who has a balanced game, Stone can drive for towering dunks off of one foot or pull-up from mid range. He likes turnaround jumpers off of either jumper and because of his size can play as a stretch four man. Earlier in the fall Stone took a visit to Florida that had been reported as an official visit. However, it turns out that the visit was unofficial and he and the Gators are still working to set up an official visit date. Taking things a step further, Stone said that he favors the Gators but they are in a scholarship crunch so he is keeping his options open and will wait until the spring to make a decision. In the meantime, he said that South Carolina, West Virginia and Alabama had ramped up their interest. "It's been good," said Stone of his recruitment. "I've been having a lot of fun getting to know these coaches." Young for the class of 2015, Stone won't turn 18 until after he arrives on a college campus. He embraces his late bloomer status. "I'm a late bloomer," said Stone. "I've just really started getting noticed and I'm improving fast." More Saturday notes from The Workout Ranked No. 75 in the class of 2016, 6-foot-4 shooting guard Trent Forrest is an intelligent player who understands his strength, which is his ability to be a physical driver and his bouncy athleticism. He rebounds exceptionally well for a wing player, finishes above the rim in transition and has added a nice looking floater to go along with his powerful drives. Forrest recognizes that his jumper needs work and he also knows that some are skeptical because he plays small school ball at Chipley (Fla.) High. As far as is concerned, there shouldn't be much skepticism about his game - he is a legitimate high major prospect. Forrest lists offers from Wichita State, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee and UCF while others like Stanford and Texas A&M have been in to check on him.
2016 guard Trent Forrest is a high-major prospect.
Committed to Marquette, four-star wing Haanif Cheatham got off to a little bit of a slow start on Saturday. By the end of the day, though, the utility guard was showing why he ranks No. 68 in the class of 2015. A southpaw, Cheatham has been very dependent on that left hand in the past. However, on more than a handful of drives he was able to stay with and finish right handed on plays that he would have undoubtedly turned back to his dominant hand even four months ago. By the end of the day he started to knock down some shots. Combine that with his above average passing and defense and you have a very solid guard. Committed to Central Florida, three-star shooting guard Chance McSpadden has built his reputation as a scorer and shooter. On Saturday, his outside shot betrayed him a bit so the long and quick 6-foot-4 shooting guard attacked off the dribble instead. Still lean, McSpadden showed some surprising toughness and finished through contact better than anybody might expect him to. The sooner he finds more balance between his jump shooting and driving, the sooner he can help out the Knights. Headed to Florida, power forward Kevarrius Hayes is starting to add some very much needed bulk to his skinny frame. The three-star, who ranks No. 138 in the class of 2015, is all about playing hard, quickness and an ability to run and make plays at the rim. He is a very good rebounder, plays committed defense and tries to dunk everything he can. How quickly he can add SEC level strength and add to his overall package of skill will play a huge part in whether he is more of a role or featured player during his tenure in Gainesville. Contributing analyst Russ Wood identified class of 2016 guard Leandro Allende as a nice prospect. A well built wing player, Allende sports a balanced game and solid athleticism. He is an outstanding passer in transition, can shed contact to finish at the rim and shoots well enough from deep to keep defenders on their toes. At a minimum, he appears to be a good mid major prospect and he will get plenty of looks this winter. Another player who impressed for the second weekend in a row was shooting guard Amaru Bryant. He is a speedy transition player with athleticism who plays with a high motor and does the little things when he can't score or his jump shot fails him. He has to get a bit stronger and tighten his handle a bit, but his motor and effort will earn the junior guard college admirers.

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