Geico Nationals: Link Academy vs Montverde Acad. (Pt. 1) FORT MEYERS, FL—It’s hard to believe but Geico Nationals is in its thirteenth year of existence and its been quite a ride with a staggering amount of players that have ended…
Geico Nationals: Link Academy vs Montverde Acad. (Pt. 1)
FORT MEYERS, FL—It’s hard to believe but Geico Nationals is in its thirteenth year of existence and its been quite a ride with a staggering amount of players that have ended up in the NBA, including Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Scottie Barnes, and Jaylen Brown to name a few. This year is no different as there are a plethora of highly-talented ballers in Jordan Walsh Jordan Walsh 6'7" | SF Link Academy | 2022 #31 Nation MO , Chris Livingston, Dariq Whitehead Dariq Whitehead 6'5" | SF Montverde Academy | 2022 State #5 Nation FL , Keyonte George Keyonte George 6'5" | SG IMG Academy | 2022 State #4 Nation FL , and Gatorade National POY Gradey Dick. Montverde would pull off another championship, yet again, with help from Championship game MVP, Dillon Mitchell Dillon Mitchell 6'7" | PF Montverde Academy | 2022 State #38 Nation FL (pictured).
Jordan Walsh Jordan Walsh 6'7" | SF Link Academy | 2022 #31 Nation MO (Link Academy)
2022, F, 6-foot-7, 195 pounds
Joel’s Take: Overall, Walsh had a scintillating tournament, but he just couldn’t get it going in the championship tilt. He had some quality moments like a pull-up jump shot, playmaking, and his usual defensive havoc. However, he didn’t have his typical energy, sprained his ankle, and his usual production never came to fruition. In any case, Arkansas is getting an immediate impact player and I’ll be shocked if he isn’t in the NBA in a couple of years.
Armando Bacot type
Malik Reneau Malik Reneau 6'7" | PF Montverde Academy | 2022 State #33 Nation FL (Montverde Academy)
2022, F, 6-foot-9, 225 pounds
Joel’s Take: Reneau was arguably Montverde’s most consistent performer. The unsigned senior was as efficient as it gets operating on the block. Scoring with either hand and exhibiting impeccable footwork were on display. His distributing skills were on display with a drop-off pass and He has a nose for the ball and showed glimpses of an Armando Bacot (North Carolina) type of prospect, albeit Reneau exhibits a softer touch around the rim.
Dillon Mitchell Dillon Mitchell 6'7" | PF Montverde Academy | 2022 State #38 Nation FL (Montverde Academy)
2022, F, 6-foot-7, 195 pounds
Joel’s Take: Mitchell averaged a double-double throughout these championships. The consistency in production was one of his greatest attributes. He has a knack for always being around the ball as he hit the glass with a vengeance. Whether it’s getting put-backs or slashing his way to the rim, Mitchell is at his best. In addition, he converted a nice turnaround jump shot and he is excellent off the pick and roll. Definite All-Tournament selection here.
Diamond in the Rough
Julian Phillips Julian Phillips 6'8" | SF Link Academy | 2022 #19 Nation MO (Link Academy)
2022, F, 6-foot-8, 190 pounds
Joel’s Take: Phillips never really had an elite performance, but his impact was felt throughout. He’s a high-level athlete with a terrific upside. He showed great lift on his shot as he converted a couple of 3-pointers and he can finish in the paint due to his body control and bounce—including an acrobatic lob-catch in transition. Going forward he is a diamond in the rough as he has all the traits to be an elite wing going forward in college and beyond.