Most of us remember Shaquille O’Neal for his rim shattering dunks. Die hard basketball fans can scroll their memory all the way back to when Shaq faced off against a Christian Laetner led Duke team. Where after being defeated by Duke, Shaq was minimized as a “maybe” future NBA star. Those who said that would later eat crow when Shaquille O’Neal became a hall of famer as the most feared inside presence in the history of the NBA. Scroll life forward to the present and now comes Shaquille O’Neal’s son, Shareef O’Neal, who is his father’s clone with his heart, his drive, his presence on the floor but he adds a couple of more components to his own game. The true basketball mind would immediately ask what an athlete could possibly add to the game of a hall of famer and more than that how could someone, even if it’s Shaq’s son, become better than the original number 32. Here’s how. Shareef O’Neal has the favor of NBA legends on his side mainly Kobe Bryant who he schedules workouts with. Between arguably the best basketball center in history and one of the top three overall players in Kobe Bryant, Shareef O’Neal will have some of the best training that a prospect can come by. The younger O’Neal may very well rise up to the top spot for co’18 prospects. Currently the 6’9 power forward attends Crossroads School located in California.
What makes Shareef O’Neal one of the top recruits in the class of 2018? Besides the fact that he is the most athletic swingman in his class, he is quickly learning how to defend. A defender with his length and potentially high basket IQ that will be attained from training with NBA legends will be nothing less than lethal on the floor. In fact when he learns how to play defense with the fierceness of the elder O’Neal, things could get downright frightening for his opponents. Offensively, he already has a very effective midrange jumper. While Shaq’s finishes at the rim were at minimum sinister to his competition, Shareef O’Neal’s dunk ability has been described as violently poetic. This touches to the fact that while there are many similarities in the father and son’s game, the younger O’Neal is also turning into a perimeter threat. While there are other prospects that can match skills with the young prospect, Shareef is developing floor leadership skills, an NBA caliber handle, and a defensive prowess that has now made him the prime target of every major basketball program in the NCAA. There are murmurings in the basketball world of the elder Shaq wanting his son to attend Kentucky. Whether Shareef chooses the Wildcats remains to be seen. What we do know though is that he will continue to terrorize his opponents on the high school level and is set to be a sleeker version of the original diesel. Would a fitting nickname be Diesel 2.0? Stay tuned. www.besquadsport.com
When I first received a heads up on a division one caliber defensive end playing out in North Carolina, I shrugged my shoulders. He was probably one in many prospects in that area. So what? Another one, but okay lets take a look at him. And then he proved himself to be “The Minister of Sinister.” In the game of football nicknames are given out like mouthpieces during equipment hand out, but Joe Kane happened to be the young man given this tag. It would be putting things lightly to say he’s earned it.
Kane attends Heritage High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Besides being a national sack leader and garnering defensive mvp honors as an underclassman, the amount of hoopla surrounding Kane has spilled from his town to the entire east coast. His measurables are that of a prototype defensive end. At 6’3.5 and 258 pounds, Joe Kane adds 4.85 speed to the mix. While this would be considered comme il faut by the smoother talking experts, it is better than average for a prospect with at least two summers of training left before his first college football game.
Besides his measurables what makes Joe Kane a marked defensive prospect for the class of 2018? Try his alley-brawl style of intimidation or his high end energy that he brings for four quarters. Bragging up ball players who have yet to play one down of college ball can be somewhat premature but Kane is a prospect that 95% of coaches and scouts would warrant success. It would not surprise any of his high school coaches and peers to see Kane choose a regional division one school for his college football experience. Four division one powerhouse programs are within a couple hours drive of Kane’s hometown. Those programs include Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State. In Kane’s mindset decisions can wait until later. Right now he’s all about getting his team to the state championship while bringing home the national sack title. Stay tuned. www.besquadsport.com
With recent news of dual threat quarterback Tua Tagovailoa committing to the Alabama Crimson Tide, the college football world is now openly recognizing the island of Hawaii as a great source for top prospects.
Tagovailoa is leading the pack for a host of top tier talent that many sports media outlets are saying will continue for the upcoming years. Some other names that have made it to the top of recruiting lists are class of 2018’s Samson Reed of Kahuku High and Jacob Isaia. Reed’s claim to high school football fame is that he is one of 10 defensive linemen in his class with the ability to play every position on the defensive line. Jacob Isaia has transferred to powerhouse Bishop Gorman but it is fair to say that he started his climb into the top prospect list during his tenure at Iolani. He takes a similar headline to the state of Nevada as being a versatile lineman, who is equally effective on both sides of the ball. And now comes Stephen Barber Jr. whose being held as another insanely accurate quarterback coming out of the class of 2018. (photo courtesy of hawaiiprepworld.com)
In terms of accuracy, Barber Jr. has been compared to Tim Couch, the former University of Kentucky star. Scouts will definitely keep the young prospect under a microscope with such a high caliber comparison. In terms of star power, Barber may come out of Hawaii as the best offensive threat in the past decade. Not to take away from what his athletic peers, mainly Tagovailoa, have accomplished, but the development of a young Barber will make for exciting prospect news for the months to come. If the poised quarterback is anything near the talent of Tim Couch, he will undoubtedly be considered not only one of the top prospects to come out of Hawaii, but one of the top overall passers all states combined. As more and more of the big time programs begin to make the trek for scouting (and some vacation time) in the beautiful island location, plan on more top prospects to continue to surface. Stay tuned.
Ball carriers who faced the defense of Louisiana’s St. Paul High School had two goals in mind this past season. Their secondary goal was to get to the endzone. Their primary goal was to avoid one of the most effective young defensive players in the class of 2018. Taylor Lacoste understandably ranks in the upper echelon of defensive prospects for his respective class.
Label the tactics of this young prospect as “tip of the spear” like. Watch Lacoste on film and you see zero discretion on his aggressive approaches to the opponent. Disregard any pundit talk about technique and overblown statistics when it comes to this type of athlete. Lacoste is a playmaker in the broadest sense of the term. The type of player that college coaches and scouts list as difference makers who can consistently interrupt any offensive scheme. With two years remaining in his high school career, this bona fide bluechipper will only get faster and stronger. He already has an aggressive style that will definitely solidify his division one recruiting. His knowledge of the game and position will be an often asked question amongst recruiting personnel. With the Alabama Crimson Tide being one of his favorite college teams, watching the Saban disciplined defense will teach the four star player a lot about basic linebacker responsibility. He will be well versed in backer standards such as the elimination of false steps and the importance of gap responsibility. Offensive coordinators won’t be fooled by the sitcom-like smile of Taylor Lacoste. Instead they will game plan for this talented athlete, knowing that he is indeed a sort of “smiling assassin” and always ready to wreak havoc on the opposing team. Expect this prospect to be at the top of linebacker ratings by the end of his junior season and one of the more coveted recruits for the class of 2018. Stay tuned.
The Hawaiian Islands have produced the first prospect from the class of 2018 that can play all five spots on the offensive line. Jacob Isaia has put Honolulu on the high school football map by earning a four star rating as an offensive tackle. It’s Isaia’s ability to play at each spot at a division one level that has college recruiters chasing him down and placing him high on their lists of lineman prospects..
This season, the strength of Iolani High school football has been a balanced offensive attack. Jacob Isaia has a lot to do with this but won’t hesitate to tell anyone who asks that the team’s success is the result of great coaching. We can only agree with that statement as Isaia’s line coaches have been able to make him a highly effective blocker at each guard, tackle and the center position. Although the young man loves it in Hawaii, it may be close to impossible to keep Isaia from taking the long trek to the local states for his college football experience. It would be a hefty jump when considering the broader range of talent but Jacob Isaia has affirmed in his mind to be the most valuable lineman prospect of his class regardless of location. It must be mentioned that there is a big difference between being the most valuable lineman and the best lineman. As any football fan knows, injuries are as much a part of the game as is turf and fan. Being able to fill in at any spot on the line whenever asked is as important as it gets. Moreover when an offense does not lose a beat because of the effectiveness of that athlete who does the filling, coaches can be more efficient with player substitutions. Not to mention the number of other positions coaches can fill on their rosters with scholarships, knowing that a young talent with Isaia’s ability can measure up with any high rated player. The offseason plan for the athletically gifted islander? Physically there will be a lot of focus on footwork and strength training. Mentally speaking, Isaia plans on training himself on how to expertly adjust to a position change without any fall off. Stay tuned.