#OTRHoopsReport: City of Palms Classic – Dec. 24, 2013
The City of Palms Classic provided a perfect stage for Jahlil Okafor and Ben Simmons to show why they’re both considered as five-star prospects.
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The City of Palms Classic has established itself as the nation’s most prestigious tournament on an annual basis. The 41st edition of the event was no different. Save a facility change for the tournament’s 37th and final game, the classic was as easy of an event for us to cover as any that we will attend all year long. Two prospects stood out from the packed lineup of talent.
Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill.) – Whitney Young – 2014
The nation’s No. 1 prep prospect, Okafor made noise this fall by taking multiple official visits before deciding to attend Duke next fall. The 6-foot-11 center is a future USA Basketball Senior National Team member with play like what he showed on Monday night. Okafor has great hands and feet. He’s already a willing passer out of the double team. In that regard, he has the feel of a post player well beyond high school. Couple that with a shooting touch around the basket and from the free throw line that is uncanny for a HS prospect and it’s easy to see why our staff is so high on the potential No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Okafor finished the night with video game like numbers 23 rebounds and 22 points on 8 of 9 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line. We expect him to be a fan favorite for the Cameron Crazies next fall.
Ben Simmons (Melbourne, Aus.) – Montverde Academy – 2015
Simmons was the marquee player in the championship game that switched venues. A two-hour delay and scenery change didn’t affect the Louisiana State signee. A versatile forward at 6-9, Simmons size and skill set seemed tailor made for both the SEC and the NBA. He blocked shots, rebounded out of area and defended on the perimeter. Offensively, Simmons is still a work in progress with the skill set of a combination forward but lacking a specialty. His rise to elite status has a feel similar to Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon. Like Gordon this time a year ago, Simmons is recognized by recruiting pundits including our staff as a five-star prospect but he is not a household name in the general like the aforementioned Okafor is just yet. Both consistent production and time should fix that.
Brandon Clay is the Director of Scouting for the OTRHoopsReport.com. Clay is also the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc., and ProspectsNation.com. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as an evaluator, event operator and trainer. You can reach him at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com
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