basketball Edit

Anthony, Carey headline City of Palms Classic Evans Awards

RANKINGS: 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2019 Team Rankings

Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony (Nick Lucero/

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The City of Palms Classic sits among the select few for hosting the best high school event in any given year. This week’s one was nothing outside of the norm as we hand out our awards headlined by Cole Anthony, Vernon Carey, Scottie Barnes and Dug McDaniel.

MORE CITY OF PALMS: Barnes draws national attention | Cockburn set on final five


There is not a consensus top-ranked player in the 2019 class throughout the industry, but Vernon Carey has been our guy for two years now and after what transpired during his stay in Fort Myers, there doesn’t look to be much of a change atop the Rivals150. Carey played like a man possessed and in his first outing on the national stage following his commitment to Duke, it might have been the best that he ever looked. Kicking things off with a dominant 35-point, 13-rebound effort, Carey’s pledge makes one believe that the drop-off in Durham won’t be as severe next year once RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson depart.


Bring up the name of Trendon Watford and the offensive repertoire out of the five-star is usually the first thing that comes to mind. What doesn’t is his willingness and capabilities on defense, but that should be put to bed as Watford has caused major issues as a backline defender due to his awareness, vocal nature and superior length. While this is great for his long-term projections, things still begin and end on offense for Watford. He is shooting it better, playing harder, showcasing the ability to create half-court offense for both himself and others, and rebounding at a high rate. Watford is one of the biggest mismatches in high school ball and Alabama, Indiana, LSU or Memphis will pick up a dynamic piece that they can run their offense through beginning next season.


Cam Thomas
Cam Thomas (Matthew Hatfield,

Cole Anthony has garnered most of the attention and talk regarding the Oak Hill Academy program this and rightfully so but it should not be swept under the rug just how good Cam Thomas is. The 6-foot-2 guard is ingrained to score and that he did at a high rate. While he is not an explosive athlete, he does find a way to score in traffic and against others much bigger than him.

However, Thomas’ three-level scoring package is something else. Whether it is off of the elevated pull-up jumper, catch-and-shoot three, or the slippery side-step move that he has incorporated into his arsenal, it is safe to say that he is a top-five scorer in America, regardless of class. He averaged over 26 points during his first two contests in Florida and has already taken an official visit to NC State.


Things begin and end with Anthony in discussing the top point guard prospect in the 2019 class. if there ever was room for an argument for dislodging Anthony off of the totem pole, now might not be the best time to make one. He was phenomenal beginning his time at the City of Palms Classic and while he still has to lower his turnover numbers, it is also what makes Anthony such a productive player. He has the desire to make plays happen and is not afraid to do so regardless of the prior sequence of plays. Explosive, confident, talented and with a wealth of abilities, Anthony just missed a triple-double by one rebound in his opening night affair. Oregon and UNC seem to be the two to beat for the five-star guard as each had a coach on hand for is early tournament affairs.


Is there a more versatile player in high school basketball? I sure don’t think so. Scottie Barnes can touch the final box score like no one else, case and point the triple-double that he notched on Tuesday evening, doing so in less than 26 minutes of action. Barnes will continue to be knocked for his shaky jump-shooting abilities but whenever you mix his outgoing personality, dominance on the defensive end, and elite passing skills, there just is not many that the high school realm has seen in recent years like the top-five junior. Barnes is not going to light up the scoreboard, but he is the ultimate teammate, the type of junkyard dog that any coach in America would love to throw onto his team and roll with into the most extreme environments.


‘The Kid’, as I am going to plaster the nickname alongside of, was again tremendous going up against another group of nationally recognized competition. Dug McDaniel announced himself onto the national scene two weeks ago, holding his own against the premier talent that Montverde and Nicolet boasted.

At the City of Palms Classic, McDaniel wowed the crowd again with his remarkable playmaking acumen, dribble wizardry and quickness. Wake Forest offered McDaniel earlier this month but before long, don’t be surprised if and when the entire ACC has. McDaniel is mature beyond his years and also unafraid. He is one of the purest lead guards in America and despite his age and stature, there are not many that I would want running my team than the freshman star.


A dead heat between Mario McKinney and Malachi Wideman. McKinney, a senior who signed with Missouri, is going to be fun to watch in Columbia. Reminiscent of the throwback guards that VCU relied upon in creating their Havoc brand, Cuonzo Martin may have to reign McKinney in every now and again but it is his motor, toughness and explosiveness that makes him unique.

In a similar manner, Wideman, a member of the 2020 Rivals150, Wideman has played football for just two years but can practically name whichever program that he wants to attend and they’d gladly accept him. He has become a better jump shooter and playmaker in recent months and could actually be one of the few to compete at the highest levels in both sports in college.


The Terps had all three members of its 2019 class on display in Florida and with an assistant on hand for each of their first few contests, one can bet that he returned to College Park vocalizing to Mark Turgeon that the program is in safe hands.

Makhi Mitchell averaged a double-double during his first few contests and while his twin brother, Makhel, did not have as good of start to the week, he bounced back with a double-double of his own. A tough, skilled and talented frontline is headed to Maryland which is supported further by Donta Scott. The Rivals150 prospect would make for the ultimate small ball power forward in college but it is his grit and motor that will most definitely be relied upon. A void may be left quickly if Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith depart this spring but with the enrollments of the three Rivals150 prospects, Maryland’s frontline should remain sturdy.