Consistency is a trait that sometimes goes unnoticed in a world of athletes, big men and big time scorers. But sit back and watch Josue Soto for a half dozen games and you'll see the same thing: great game control, poise and the ability to get the ball at the right place at the right time. The 5-foot-11, 150-pound point guard from Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla. did that game to game at the Academy National Invitational and several schools have taken note.
Soto, the No. 102 ranked player in the junior class by Rivals.com, was one of the top players last week and his play helped ACD rebound from a surprising first round loss to eventual champs Christ the King.
As fate would have it, ACD met up with fellow Florida team Montverde Academy matched up with each other in the consolation bracket. Many in the Sunshine State believed ACD and Montverde were two of the state's powers. So while the pro-Texas crowd at the Aldine Campbell Center waited to see some of their homegrown products, they were also able to see a great battle of two of Florida's best.
That is where Soto shined. He had 23 points and seven assists and helped his team claim the 66-44 victory.
"You know, everyone was saying that they were the number one team in the state and we had to prove to them that we had to beat them," Soto said. "It's harder to win here because we had to travel here and we had to be mentally focused. They had a good team but we stepped it up."
That was in large part to his composure and overall court sense. His calm demeanor transcended to the rest of his teammates and they looked like the team everyone excepted to see.
"I got confidence in my coach and my coach has confidence in me. He puts the ball in my hands," Soto said. "I'm just doing my job and trying to make my team better."
Ah, the words of a true point guard. Soto's improvement may go somewhat unnoticed in the deep point guard class in 2006. It shouldn't. His ability to run a college style offense with several Division I players will give Soto an advantage as a freshman.
ACD boasts a lineup with David Huertas, who will play at Florida next year; Brian Hoff, a 6-foot-5 unsigned senior who is getting looks from Ivy League and Patriot schools; Jason Bennett, a 7-foot-3 center that will most likely play at the highest level and Sammie Hernandez, a 6-foot-6 power forward who has signed with James Madison.
"I need to get better on defense and get stronger. That's going to come in time. I gotta train and work on that. I'm shooting 500 shots a day. I just want to get better for my team."
Indiana, Wake Forest, Florida "are the main three right now," Soto says. The Gators were in Houston to watch him play as well as seeing Huertas. Soto has also watched his teammate go through the decision making process and has come up with a game plan similar in fashion.
"I want to make my five official visits and see what's best for me and for my future. For me, it's better to have playing time rather than stay close to home. If it means I have to go other places, then I will go if I can play."