Williams, Bediako shine for IMG; more Sunshine Prep notes
BRADENTON, Fla. - The first day of the Sunshine Prep Showcase featured a slew of college-bound talent squaring off on two courts at IMG Academy. Teams from all over the country showed up to test their skill in the event. Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy was on hand to watch the action from start to finish. His news and notes from day one of the star-studded showcase can be found below.
HOSTS PACK A PUNCH
Thursday’s late game featured IMG Academy Sunshine Prep defeating Massanutten Military Academy 82-66, and the IMG stars showed up in the win. Syracuse commit Benny Williams wowed with versatility, knocking down jumpers from the corner, getting to the basket at will and playing steady defense that featured an emphatic block at the hoop. He finished the contest with 18 points, but it was his passing that was most impressive. Williams' court vision continues to improve, as the five-star spent the game throwing accurate passes through tight windows while almost never missing an open teammate.
Meanwhile, four-star big Charles Bediako made life difficult on anyone that came into the paint. Bediako is a certified rim protector that moves incredibly well for a prospect of his massive size, and he blocked no fewer than five shots Wednesday. Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan and others are involved. The Crimson Tide once seemed to be the team to beat, and they likely still are.
SON OF FORMER FIRST-ROUND PICK ANNOUNCES HIMSELF
One of the day’s most pleasant surprises, Chase McKey, turned heads with a well-rounded performance for The Skill Factory Prep. The 6-foot-9 forward is the son of former Alabama star and first-round pick Derrick McKey, but he arrived at the event with little recruiting fanfare. That may change soon, however, as McKey is starting to grow into his body and becoming a versatile player for a talented squad. McKey handles the ball incredibly well for a player of his size, sometimes even playing spurts of point guard for The Skill Factory. It’s his defense and his ability to score at the basket that garnered attention on Wednesday, however.
Old Dominion has already offered and other major schools are kicking the tires on his recruitment. According to McKey’s coaches, South Carolina has inquired and could be close to making things official. Richmond, Loyola Marymount and San Diego State have also inquired.
JOHNSON MAKES A SPLASH
Wednesday didn’t feature many individual performances on par with that of three-star guard Jackie Johnson, who scored 24 of his 26 points in the first half of a comfortable victory for his Hargrave Military Academy squad.
Johnson, who arrived at Hargrave from Wichita (Kan.) Southeast High School, showed off unlimited range while hitting six 3-pointers, a few of which came from NBA distance. The 6-foot Johnson lacks the length of some other prospects, but he has quickness and strength in spades to go along with impressive court vision. He’s certainly an interesting prospect and has the attention of the new coaching staff at Wichita State, which has already made contact. Johnson’s lone offer is from Utah Valley State, but his options should expand in the months ahead.
SCHOOLS CONTINUE TO INQUIRE ABOUT LENARD
Tulsa commit Teafale Lenard remains committed to the Golden Hurricane, but he elected not to sign during the early period because interest in the late bloomer’s services continues to grow. Lenard only recently landed on the radars of most colleges, so it stands to reason that the athletic wing wants to see what may develop this season. Leonard, who turned in an 18-point performance off the bench for Link Year Prep on Thursday, has seen schools such as Texas Tech, SMU and DePaul inquire about him in the past month.
There’s no reason to think a change of heart will take place, but it could be a situation to monitor depending on how involved high-major schools become between now and the late signing period.
GEORGETOWN SIGNEE IMPRESSES
Patrick Ewing’s program is getting a point guard capable of scoring at all three levels in Hargrave Academy standout Tyler Beard. Beard scored 14 points in a half of action on Thursday, as he spent the majority of the second half on the bench with his team leading comfortably. Beard’s vision was every bit as impressive as his ability to get to the basket, however, as he created opportunities for his teammates and got everyone on the floor involved in the offense.
Originally a member of the 2020 class, the Chicago native reclassified and enrolled at Hargrave last year. The decision seems to have worked out well for his development as a passer and a scorer.