Marreese Speights, all 6-foot-10, 240-pounds of him, hasn’t even tipped the iceburg of what kind of player he can become. The big man from St. Petersburg (Fla.) Admiral Farragut has reclassified to the class of 2006 and his game has made serious strides since late July. Schools from the ACC and SEC are taking notice and hoping he will continue to improve at their respective schools.
Speights, who began to open eyes in Orlando at the AAU Super Showcase in July, has improved ten fold since his days at Disney. A move from Gibbs High School to Admiral Farragut has something to do with it, too, he says.
A relative newcomer to the game, Speights said he has only been playing hoops for three years. Before taking the hardwood he was playing baseball and according to his new head coach Michael Wells, the big fella could toss a football 75-yards down the field.
“I feel like this is my breakout season,” Speights said. “I’ve never been in as good as shape as I’m in right now. I feel like I can run up and down the floor better than I’ve ever been. I’m going to try to prove to people that I can play.”
So far he has. In two preseason games, the big man has averaged 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. A handful of ACC and SEC schools are watching him, too. Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Florida State and Miami have all been in to see Speights this season. According to the big man, those five are the ones sitting atop his short list at the moment. Wells knows why the colleges are coming.
“Maurice is an outstanding big man both inside and out,” Wells said. “He has the perfect body and he’s got the capability of being a four man in the NBA. That is how high his ceiling is. I think he is a major Division I prospect.”
Speights is still a work in progress but the improvements made in just four months are astounding.
“Marreese has really good hands and he passes the ball really well,” Wells added. “His court vision from the high post is great. If you are cutting to the basket, he’s going to find you.”
There are some concerns with his academic standing, thus his recent reclassification to the class of 2006 this season. After his time at Admiral Farragut, Speights will need to go to a prep school for another year and possibly two, says Wells.
At any rate, many believe Speights could be a big-timer at the end of the year.