The 2021 City of Palms Classic was back and running this high school season after being forced to cancel last season due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The annual and famous event down in Fort Myers featured some of the top prospects across the country and some of the top programs across the country. There were a bunch of next level prospects on display and below we put out the best ten guys who stood out during their time in Southwest Florida.
2022 F Taylor Hendricks (Calvary Christian)
The Central Florida commit made his case as one of the most versatile prospects in that 2022 class. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 14.7 PPG while shooting 64% from the field, 58% from the perimeter, 6.5 RPG, and 2.5 BPG in his four game stretch with Calvary Christian. Hendricks is a productive forward that staying home headed to Central Florida next season. He displayed his versatility offensively, effective shot blocking abilities defensively, stretching defenses with his outside shooting, and being an asset on the glass. Taylor has incredible potential and has improved so much physically over the last year or so.
2022 SG Dariq Whitehead (Montverde Academy)
Dariq Whitehead is arguably the number one ranked prospect in the 2022 class to some. The Duke commit averaged 17.3 PPG while shooting 47% from the field and 50% from the perimeter. The 6-foot-6 wing has just been on another level mentally since the spring, summer season running with Team Durant (MD) in the Nike EYBL. Dariq knows what he is capable of and has been playing with a lot more confidence. He proved his improved 3PT shooting through the four games with Montverde, scored in transition, displayed his athletic ability, and motor on the floor. His elite play helped the Eagles capture yet another City of Palms Classic championship.
2022 F A.J. Casey (Whitney Young)
One of the best prospects out of the Midwest region, A.J. Casey, had himself an impressive outing down in Fort Myers at the City of Palms Classic. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 19.0 PPG while shooting 63% from the field and 7.6 RPG in his three games with powerhouse Whitney Young. The Miami commit was extremely impressive. Casey showed he can be a versatile stretch four type prospect. He was knocking down his perimeter jumpers consistently, running the floor, finishing inside around the basket, and showed his impact on the defensive end of the floor. Some of the best games I have witnessed him play whether in person or on film.
2022 G Judah Mintz (Oak Hill Academy)
Judah Mintz is one of the top senior prospects on the market currently after recently de-committing from Pittsburgh a few months back. He averaged 18.2 PPG while shooting 56% from the field and 71% from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-4 guard is a straight dog on the floor and plays with terrific toughness. The senior guard plays with such a high motor, a pesky defender, will always be one of the first to hit the floor, and finishes through contact on a consistent basis. Mintz was outstanding down in Fort Myers and will be an elite contributor to whichever college he decides to attend next season.
2022 SG Keyonte George (IMG Academy)
Keyonte George is already considered one of the best all around scorers in that 2022 class. The future Baylor Bear certainly does much more than just score the ball. He averaged 18.7 PPG while shooting 57% from the field and 40% from the perimeter. The 6-foot-4 guard has unique talents and such an elite competitor. Now it might not necessarily show up on the stats, but Keyonte gets things done and shows consistently that he is more than a scorer. His willingness to rebound, dive on the floor for loose balls, and defend at a high level is amazing. An all around guard heading to Waco next season.
2022 SG Riley Kugel (Dr. Phillips)
Ben Howland and the Mississippi State coaching staff have got themselves a real steal in Riley Kugel out of Dr. Phillips High School. The 6-foot-6 wing made his statement known from day one of the tournament and averaged 17.5 PPG shooting 47% from the field throughout his four games. Riley holds great size at the wing position, physically looked good, was able to score in a variety of ways, displayed his athleticism, and found scoring opportunities for his teammates as well after finishing a couple games with at least seven or more assist. His defensive instincts and awareness was on display as well as he averaged 2.5 steals per game and had a couple games where he finished with four steals.
2022 C Ernest Udeh Jr. (Dr. Phillips)
One of the nation’s top bigs put on a consistent show for the national scouts and media in attendance at the famous City of Palms Classic. The 6-foot-10 big averaged a double-double with 16.0 PPG and 12.0 RPG through four games at the tournament. The Kansas commit is an elite mobile big whose presence on defense definitely did not go unnoticed. Ernest was able to block and/or alternate shots at the rim, display his athleticism, lateral quickness, and had some explosive power finishes at the rim. He was able to catch and finish lobs and had his hands active defensively as well as he had a couple games with at least three steals.
2022 SG Nick Smith Jr. (North Little Rock)
Nick Smith Jr. ran the show for one of the top public schools in the country, North Little Rock, down in Fort Myers. The future Arkansas Razorback averaged 18.0 PPG while shooting 38% from the field. Smith Jr. showed his versatility running the point guard position for most possessions throughout his four games in the tournament. Besides his outstanding ability to score the ball, he was able to get his teammates involved, help on the glass, and just be an elite competitor on the floor. The 6-foot-5 guard has always had the playmaking skillset in him and will be a versatile piece next season for Eric Mussleman.
2022 PG Bruce Thornton (Milton)
The Future Ohio State Buckeye, Bruce Thornton, should be on the all-tournament team and all-first team of the City of Palms Classic after his outstanding play with Milton High School, one of the top public schools in the nation. The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 19.7 PPG while shooting 50% from the field through the four games played. Bruce is one of the most consistent prospects in the 2022 class. His leadership on the floor goes unnoticed every time you watch him play. He has an amazing ability to facilitate and score the ball at the same time. He was able to utilize his football-like frame to finish at the rim, make great reads on both ends of the floor, and got his teammates involved with the scoring when needed.
2022 SG Chance Westry (AZ Compass Prep)
Chance Westry was just one of the standouts that was apart of the loaded AZ Compass Prep squad that came down to Fort Myers for two games. The 6-foot-6 guard had his time to prove and show his versatility offensively with 2022 G Dylan Andrews (UCLA) out with an ankle injury. Westry has a unique feel for the game and has already been considered one of the best scorers in his class. The Auburn commit was able to be the distributor for the Dragons. Chance displayed his playmaking abilities, three level scoring, and active hands on the defensive end as well. The senior guard has proved time and time again that no matter what players he is playing around he will always be adaptable and never play out of his game.