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The inaugural Each One Teach One (E1T1) National Invitational is in the books. While there wasn't a standout performance, a number of prospects raised their stock over the weekend with impressive play at the Orlando Sports Center.
Hailing from Bosnia, most in attendance got their first in-person look at class of 2015 South Alabama commit Nikola Marijan. The 7-foot, 230-pound center scored mostly on put-backs, but he also posted up on the low block, called for the ball and sealed his man. He showed some toughness, mixing it up on the glass on the offensive end. He boxes out and didn't shy away from contact; in fact he fouled out early in the fourth quarter. Marijan runs the court relatively well. His Tampa Bay Warriors team played a 2-3 zone, but he was enough of a shot-blocking presence to alter shots. Though still learning the American game, Marijan is a nice pick up for South Alabama.
Florida Class 2A All-State first-team member Blake Morrow put on a shooting display Saturday morning of the E1T1 National Invitational, connecting for 27 points in a win for E1T1 16U Red. The sophomore can shoot it from deep and also drive the ball to the rim. When fouled, he's money from the charity stripe. Morrow is also a good passer but make no mistake, he is a scorer not a setup man. He showed some late-game poise in the semi-finals, knocking down free throws with the game on the line. An average athlete, if Morrow can improve his lateral quickness he'll be a better defender and be able to take his man off the bounce to score with a mid-range game.
Jeffrey Holland of the North Florida Spartans caught our attention late Sunday afternoon. The 6-foot-8, 186-pound forward ran the floor well, showed a willingness to set screens, finished through contact and showed unselfish play. He has a quick jump which helped him rebound well in his area. The Spartans used a 4-out 1-in offense so Holland was often positioned in the corner; however he was most effective from 15-feet in. Holland showed that he was physical and athletic enough to score in the paint and in traffic.
The Jacksonville Nets have an intriguing player in sophomore Jeremy Meyer. The Nets were missing their starting post player so the 6-foot-6 Meyer played out of position but it gave him the chance to show that he can play inside or out. He has good shot mechanics and can do damage beyond the arc, particularly shooting the corner three. Meyer was able to get by most defenders and has a nice pull-up jump shot. He also makes good decisions with the basketball in his hands and is a decent on-ball defender. Meyer appeared to not be fully engaged at times, but when he was, he was a difficult cover.
Austin Williams of E1T1 16U Red is a hard working 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward with nice touch around the cup with either hand. He caught everything we saw thrown at him, runs well and has a decent handle at full speed which allows him to grab a rebound and push the ball on the break. He's not quite strong enough to guard a center and we didn't see him step away from the basket to knock down any 3-pointers, but he has the physical tools that have attracted attention of Jacksonville, North Florida and Central Florida.
The Gainesville Kings won the 11th grade gold bracket behind the solid play of 2015 guard Ikeon Smith's 19 points in the championship game. "Ike" can shoot off the move and is a solid free throw shooter. He's athletic and strong enough to get to the rim through most contact. He also showed the mental toughness to take a shot when his team needed a basket. If he can improve his ball handling and his ability to get the ball to open teammates while he's on the move; interest in Smith will pick up.
Since moving to North Florida, Trenton, NJ product Jefferson Coulanges has had to adjust to a different style of play. This weekend in Orlando his craftiness was on full display. The 2016 guard is very good in the pick and roll; he sees the floor well and set his teammates up for easy shots. When he improves his jump shot he'll be hard to defend.
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