City of Palms: Five-stars dominate first day of action

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The City of Palms is annually one of the top high school events in the country and this years crop of talent is certainly as good as it gets. Action started on Friday at Bishop Verot High School and the five-star prospects in attendance like Kevin Knox, Michael Porter and Lonzo Ball didn't disappoint.

I’ve witnessed some high point totals at the City of Palms Classic and for a couple quarters it looked like St. John's signee Shamorie Ponds was gunning for the record books. Ponds, a 6-foot-1 guard, had 25 points, including a trio of three-pointers at half time. He cooled off a little in the third quarter, before picking it back up in the fourth and finishing with 40 points on 14 of 25 shooting. Ponds is extremely quick and tough to defend off the dribble and Chino Hills had trouble keeping him in front. Ponds lived in the paint and once he was there showed just how good of a finisher at the rim he is, especially considering his size and athleticism. Ponds is crafty around the basket, finishes with either hand and has great touch. Despite the loss, it was a special showing for Ponds.

With UCLA assistant David Grace looking on, Lonzo Ball led Chino Hills to a one-point victory over Brooklyn (N.Y.) Thomas Jefferson. Ball, a 6-foot-5 lead guard, showed off his elite passing ability. Ball has terrific court vision and instincts. More often than not, his passes on the money and he’s always looking to push the ball ahead. Ball, who has good length, was also active on defense and had two key blocks late in the game. Ball finished 9-for-18 from field. He scored 22 points, tossed out 10 assists and recorded five blocks.

Five-star junior forward Kevin Knox performed well in the Sunshine Series on the opening day of the City of Palms Classic. An impressive athlete, Knox is quick off his feet and active and aggressive on the glass. Knox is also good at snagging those boards and immediately starting the break the other direction. For his size (6-7 or 6-8), Knox has a good skill level and has clearly spent a considerable amount of time working on his ball handling. He was also effective from the mid-range area, as well as the rim, where he finished well and at times with authority. Knox finished the game with 27 points on 11-for-22 shooting and 12 rebounds.

Michael Porter is one of the highest rated prospects in the event and he certainly didn’t disappoint on day one, pumping in 34 points on 9-for-17 shooting. Porter was efficient on offense and didn’t force the issue. Known for his long-range shooting, the 6-foot-8 wing only shot a pair of threes, connecting on of them. Instead, Porter did majority of his work from mid-range, where he made multiple shots, and in the paint. Porter was particularly impressive on the glass, where he reeled in 17 rebounds. Not necessarily known for his rebounding prowess, it was evident that Porter is focusing on being more effective as a rebounder.

Miami signee Dewan Huell scored 24 points and added 12 rebounds in Miami (Fla.) Norland’s win over West Linn (Oreg.) High. The 6-foot-9 power forward was efficient on offense and did majority of his work from the elbow and in. Huell has good touch on his mid and short-range shots and he connected on a handful of shots from that area. He also finished well around the basket. Huell has good mobility, runs the floor with ease and is a good all around athlete. Huell, who will need to add some weight to his frame, will help the Hurricanes on the interior as soon as he gets to campus.


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