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Friday, December 21, 2012
Best of the City of Palms Day 3

By Paul Biancardi


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As the days go by here at the City of Palms Classic, the intensity level picks up as teams vie for a spot in Saturday’s championship game while hoping to avoid being sent to the consolation bracket.

Without a doubt, the game of the day on Thursday started at 11 p.m. and featured a pair of ESPN 25 teams in No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and ninth-ranked Whitney Young (Chicago). Montverde needed overtime but held on for a 68-65 victory.

Let's take a look at some of the best performances from Day 3 on Thursday.

Best Athlete

Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep)
2013, SF, 6-6, 205 pounds
Offers: Florida State , Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Kansas.

On a night when his outside jumper wasn't falling (1-of-5 from 3s), Wiggins still dominated with his freakish athletic ability and wound up scoring 31 points. Wiggins makes defenders pay anytime he gets near the rim, as he can slice through the D with a quick jump to lay it in or rise up and slam it home. When he becomes comfortable behind the arc it will be bad news for opponents.

Best Passer

Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Scarborough, Ontario/Huntington Prep)
2013, SG, 6-3, 180
Signed with Florida State

Wiggins stole the show with incredible finishes but he should credit his teammate for frequently setting him up during Rathan-Mayes’ 14-assists efforts. Known more for his outside shooting, Mayes displayed good vision and unselfishness throughout the contest as he continues to add new facets to his game. If he continues this type of playmaking, he will have a real chance to play point guard in the future.

JaJuan Johnson
Marquette signee JaJuan Johnson is a big-time producer who can score in a variety of ways.

Best Scorer

JaJuan Johnson (Memphis/Southwind)
2013, SG, 6-5, 180
Signed with Marquette

You have to love the way Johnson attacks the basket with strength, power and excellent body. He can bury the 3-point shot and gives the ball up easy when he needs to. Johnson is a big-time scorer and a good playmaker for Southwind. Once he gets a middle game, watch out.

Best Versatility

Justin Jackson (Houston/HCYA)
2014, SF, 6-8, 185
Offers: Ohio State, North Carolina, Louisville, Arizona, Virginia, Duke, Texas, Kansas and Baylor

Jackson is a skilled player whose scoring can seriously impact a contest. He displays a soft touch inside the paint, especially on his floater, and can play in the lane or behind the arc. Defensively, he has good timing on blocking shots and anticipates rebounds well. Would like to see him grab more rebounds and take full advantage of his length and athletic ability .

Best Floor General

Kasey Hill (Eustis, Fla./Montverde Academy)
2013, PG, 6-0, 170
Signed with Florida

I can’t think of many other guys I want to have the ball at the end of the game than Hill. He has blazing speed in the open floor -- the kind of speed you only see in a select few elite players. In the half court set, he keeps his teams scoring at a high level by setting them up with easy looks at the basket. Defenders rarely stop him, they just hope and pray they can stay in front of him. Hill must continue developing his long-range jumper but the Gators have a stud heading to Gainesville.

Most Seen College Coach

Leonard Hamilton, Florida State
He put in the man hours today. Hamilton checked in on his top recruit (Rathan Mayes) and his top target in Wiggins. Then he stayed for the entirety of the thrilling final game between Montverde and Whitney Young. Hamilton got back to his hotel around 1:30 a.m. and had a wakeup call less than four hours later to make a 6:30 flight to catch up with his team for practice in Charlotte, N.C.