The Best of The Best 8th Annual Middle School Showcase
‘The Magic Was Back In Orlando’
As we continue to recap the Best of the Best Showcase we are going to use Part 4 of the recap to focus on the 2025 class. When thinking about the 2025 class, the name of the camp did this class all of the justice in the world. The only question when it came to the talent in the 2025 class, is who do I talk about first. Well, let me close my eyes and just point to a name on my paper, literally, that is how much talent that was in the class of ’25 at the #BOTB. Jaheim Gouldbourne, you’re it…let’s go.
Jaheim Gouldbourne – 2025 / 6’0 / Small Forward
Margate Middle School (Margate, FL)
AAU Team: South Florida Heat Elite
Make no mistake about it, Jaheim brought a high level of energy every second of the clock that he was on the court. His athleticism was consistently on display. Now take what I just said and couple that with a high motor, and you can just imagine how exciting Jaheim is on the court.
He was extremely physical on both ends of the court and was a man on the boards.
He has obviously begun his work in the weight room because you could see his strength in comparison to his peers. His handles are ok but he will need to continue to improve in this area of his game, but in the manner that he played, he did not need a flashy handle. Jaheim stayed in attack mode with the ball in his hands. Often, he would grab the board on the defensive end and start the break, taking the rock coast to coast. He wasn’t fancy on the offensive end, he knew what he wanted to do and that was to get downhill and get to the rim. Jaheim is extremely quick off his feet, and his second jump is what separates him on the boards. Now there are some basics that he is going to have to continue to work on to expand his game. Depending on how much more he will grow, he will have to get a better handle as well as work on his perimeter shot to stretch his game out. He finishes strong at the rim, but he will need to continue to add finishing moves to his toolbox. If his effort in workouts and practice is anything like what he displayed in camp and he catches a couple more inches in height, he can be a very good player at the high school level. The things that we cannot measure at this moment, that remains to be seen, will forecast his collegiate career.
I am closing my eyes and pointing at my notebook again and next up is Jahlon Blain.
Jahlon Blain – 2025 / 5’7 / Point Guard
Glades Middle School (Miramar, FL)
AAU Team: South Florida Heat Elite
Jahlon had an extremely good feel for the game. He consistently played at a pace that he set. He did not allow the game or defenders to speed him up. He was one of very few that played under control throughout the camp.
From controlling the tempo to having a high IQ, to the ability to create for his teammates, to making on-time and on-target passes, Jahlon is what you are looking for at the PG spot.
There is so much to say about his game because he has obviously put the work in when no one has been watching, which is why one day in FL, everyone could be watching. He has the tools and skills for the PG spot at the high school level. He has to start hitting the weights. In high school, the physical grind of getting to the paint, which he does often, can take a toll on his body if he isn’t prepared. I didn’t see, not to say it didn’t occur, action in ball-screens, but playing in the ball-screen is what I am going to be looking for as I keep track with Jahlon. A mid-range game will elevate his game and make him an even tougher match-up than what he is currently.
I am closing my eyes and pointing at my notebook again and next up is Ian Kyler.
Ian Kyler – 2025 / 5’7 / Shooting Guard
Farnell Middle School (FL)
AAU Team: Tampa Wardogs
Let me just go ahead and get this out of the way. If there would have been a 3-point shooting contest at the camp, give me Ian.
This young man can shoot the rock baby. I am going to say it again, just in case you were reading fast, but this young man is a big-time shooter.
Whether it was in transition or catch and shoot opportunities, the nets were barely moving. Now there are several things that Ian is going to have to add to his toolbox because the word is probably already out that he needs to be guarded as soon as he walks into the gym. As defenders run him off the line, he is going to have to get his handles better to create his shot off the bounce (with 2-3 dribbles). As with many kids, growth is going to be a big factor for Ian. Just in case Ian is blessed to get those inches, I’d like to see him develop in the following areas: Getting open without a screen, getting separation off the catch with both feet out of triple threat, and mastering screens in particular pin downs and staggers.
I am closing my eyes and pointing at my notebook again and next up is Anthony Jones.
Anthony Jones – 2025 / 5’10 / Guard
Turner Bartles Middle School (FL)
AAU Team: N/A
The ceiling is high for Anthony.
A rapper said there are levels to it and Anthony scores at all levels.
Extremely tough off the bounce and to have such an amazing offensive prowess to score, he is equally as unselfish. He is a creative passer and was one of the better passers at the camp in all age divisions. He is instinctive on both ends of the court. He has a repertoire of finishing moves. Big shout out to his coaches and trainers for the development of this kid. He has the skill set to make noise in high school, and if he keeps working can find his name on recruiting boards in the office of college coaches. As with any player at this age, there are some kinks in the armor, but just watching this kid on and off the court, he has the support system in place that will help him stay on track on and off the court. The weight room will help with his strength and explosiveness. I know many campers’ focus at camps is not on the defensive end, but Anthony has the ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor, as well as to be a good rebounding guard. Coaches, I see a lot of promise with this one, keep your eyes on his development.
The final 2025 player for Part 4 is Justin Bandy.
Justin Bandy – 2025 / 6’3 / Point Guard
Florida Virtual (Fort White, FL)
AAU Team: Florida Blaze
Yes, you read that correctly Justin is a 6’3 PG. The talent in this age group was on every court. When looking at Justin at first glimpse because of his height I was interested to see what post skills he had. Well as you can imagine, I was floored watching Justin be a true facilitator on the court. Larry Bird once said, ‘First, master the fundamentals.’ Justin has done just that. I was very impressed with Justin and the amount of confidence he played with on both ends of the court. He is very heady and makes the right plays.
On top of being a coach on the court, he is a big-time shooter from behind the arc.
He has a swag about him that will intrigue many over the next few years, but one thing to know about Justin is that he is a steady presence on the floor and is the type of player that keeps the game plan flowing. He has some intangibles that cannot be seen but proves that he has been studying the game around knowledgeable coaches. He is going to have to continue to work on his speed and getting stronger. He will have the opportunity to prove himself in high school, and that can determine his potential to play at the next level after that.
Stay tuned for Part 5, as we look to take another look at the Class of 2025 from the Best of the Best Middle School Showcase