A lanky 6-foot-7 spectator on the sidelines intently watched the CIA Bounce play Dorian’s Pride on July 24 in the AAU Boys Basketball Super Showcase at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
New Florida Gators assistant coach John Pelphrey, decked out in his Gators polo, did not move from his spot on the sidelines. There was no reason to, as 2012 power forward and Florida target Anthony Bennett was taking over on court seven.
Bennett, number 23 on CIA Bounce, displayed a smooth shot and ability to find the open man. He also had the luxury of playing with two seven-footers, Sim Bhullar and Tanveer Bhullar.
“I think I shot the ball well,” Bennett said. “I looked for my big man, Sim. I just got other people open.”
In addition to a Florida offer, the 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward has offers from other elite schools such as Connecticut and Kentucky. He appreciated the effort by college coaches to come scout his games.
“It makes me feel nice actually,” Bennett said. “They putting away their family time to watch me or watch the team play. I think that is really cool.”
The Canadian native, playing this year at Findlay Prep in Nev., quickly found himself in the national spotlight with his improved perimeter game. He’s with friends with Florida wide receiver Stephen Alli, which can’t hurt the Gators’ chances.
The Gators remain a possibility for the athletic forward.
“It is a really good school,” Bennett said. “I am actually considering them. If I had a top five, they would be in it.”
Top 2014 PG Joel Berry, Jr. to visit UF
With the likes of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun watching from the sidelines, 2014 point guard Joel Berry, Jr. put on a show.
The young Each 1 Teach 1 player operated the offense with poise beyond his years. Berry, Jr. demonstrated a wide array of moves once he dribbled past the defense inside the key.
At 6 foot 1, Berry, Jr. fits the mold of a prototypical point guard. His success at such a high level comes to no surprise to the standout sophomore. He has played in older divisions for a while now.
“I’ve been playing up for all my life, so I had to get used to it,” he said. “Now it is just easy.”
Not only does Berry, Jr. excel on the basketball court, he also played linebacker and quarterback for his football team last year.
After a discussion with his father, Berry, Jr. decided that another football injury was not worth hurting his basketball career.
The Florida Gators basketball program could reap the benefits of that decision in the coming years.
“I am going up to visit during the football season,” Berry, Jr. said. “That will be my first visit. I am really considering Florida, because it is close to home; and I want to stay home.”
He has stayed in contact through phone conversations with new Gators assistant Matt McCall. He said McCall seemed like a cool guy.
“I like the way the Gators play,” Berry said. “I think I would enjoy it if I go [to Florida].”
- BABC center Nerlens Noel backed up his high ranking in the 2013 class with an impressive defensive showing. He shared his thoughts about his teammate, 2014 small forward Wayne Selden.
“He is a really good team player and a great passer. He contributes in a lot of different ways,” Noel said. “He’s young, but he has a lot of upside and potential. He has a good future ahead of him.”
- Selden, at 6 foot 4, impressed with his passing ability. The prospect has offers from Connecticut and Pittsburgh in addition to attention from Kentucky
- 2013 prospect Cedric Hankerson, brother of Alabama guard Charles Hankerson Jr., has talked to the Florida coaching staff. The 6-foot-4 guard could be an option at point guard if Kasey Hill does not work out.
Hankerson, a starter at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Fla., averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds last year.