Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
Rifen Miguel, a native from Angola, a country in Southern Africa has only been stateside for over a year now, but has quickly drawn the attention of several top tier division one programs due to his size and innate ability to pass for a big man with his stature. Miguel takes great pride in his vision and passing ability as he labels it one of his strengths of his game.Miguel has been labeled as a space eater in the post who gets great positioning while there also. Miguel who currently plays for West Oaks Academy in Florida was recruited to come to America in 2014 when he was playing for the African National Team in the 16 and under championships. While he said the the play style between the two countries was different, the transition wasn’t that tough to overcome.
Miguel will be attending our event in Orlando ready to go up against all the talented big men and other competition. Miguel will definitely be someone to watch during the event as he has his eyes set on destroying the competition and separating himself from everyone else. How he handles himself against Vernon Carey, Jr., Kentrevious Jones,and several other talented big men will be something to keep an eye on. Rifen and I touched on a variety of topics recently.
How’s your season been going this year?
Very great. My season will be over in two weeks, we just have a couple of games left.
Do you guys have a good shot at making the state tournament?
Yes we do.
Awesome. I believe I read somewhere that you’ve only been stateside for a year now, can you just give me a little brief insight on where you’re from and how you ended up in the United States?
Yeah, of course. I am from Angola, I was recruited to play high school in America in 2014 when I was playing for my national team in the African under 16 championships.
So you’ve been playing basketball for a while now? I know a lot of kids who come over to the United States from different countries usually have only been playing since they’ve come over.
Yeah, I’ve been playing for a while.
What was the transition like coming over from Africa? Is the style of play in America different than Africa?
Yeah, it’s real different.
For people who have never seen you play, how would you describe yourself as a player?
I’m always aggressive in the paint and can score over anyone, I can also shoot 3’s.
Think I read somewhere that you’re a pretty good passer as well, do you enjoy getting your teammates involved?
Yeah, I like to play with vision.
That’s awesome and always a great trait to have. A big man with an exceptional passing ability from the post and all-around is great for any team. You play high school ball down in Florida, you guys definitely face a ton of competition, who’s the hardest player you have guarded or had to play against this year?
The hardest player I have had to guard this year was Bruno Fernando, he plays center for IMG.
Fernando is a big guy. Really good. IMG is really good as well. How’d you do against him?
Bruno is like my brother, he plays on my national team. I did pretty good against him.
At least you held your own, have you been hearing from any colleges yet?
James Madison, Chattanooga, FGCU, with interest from Louisville, Memphis, and Samford.
You graduate in 2019, right? So you have some time to pick up some more offers. Obviously the Louisville interest is big time, they’re a prestigious program. Have they talked to you at all, or mainly through your coaches?
Yeah, they talk to my AAU coach.
Is it just a timing thing before they offer?
Yeah, it is.
I hope you get that offer, that’s a highly regarded offer. You’re coming to our event in Orlando, are you excited about that?
Yeah, of course.
Lots of big names will be there, do you have any goals for the event?
I’m coming to kill every big man in the camp.
Love the tenacity and mentality that you’re going to bring. Do you play with that same mentality every game?
I can show you better than I can tell you.
I love that! Now you’ve got me excited to see what you bring in Orlando. What excites you the most about the event?
Being able to match up against other top players.
Awesome, who do you like to compare/model your game after?
Boogie. (Demarcus Cousins)
Boogie does have that killer mentality, not a bad one to model your game after. What’s one of your weaknesses that you’re really trying to improve before the AAU season?
Improving my body.
Trying to improve your conditioning?
Yeah, conditioning as well.
That’s a huge part to anything. Anything you’d like to tell our readers or attendees before our event in Orlando?
I don’t want to talk too much, I just want to wait for the day and ball.
I like it. Awesome, thanks for taking the time out of your day to talk to me! Can’t wait to watch you in Orlando!
Gotcha, boss. Thanks!
Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
The Top Rank National Showcase in Orlando, Florida has come and gone, and after carefully evaluating the prospects over the entire weekend, the staff all put their heads together in order to create a list of top ranked prospects from the event. After careful deliberation, here is how the kids stacked up against one another...
#TRSORL TOP RANK TOP 50
Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
6’1” 2018 PG Jaylen Jones
Booker High School (Sarasota, FL)
Jones entered the event as virtually an unknown until he began lighting up teams in the scrimmages. Jones dropped 26 on IMG Academy earlier in the year and he showed that he deserves recognition. Jones, the breakout player of the camp and the MVP made himself well known at the camp. A guard with a nice handle and range that extends beyond the 3 point line can do it all. Opposing defenses were on their heels all day as the guard was getting in the lane and finishing with ease. The crafty guard can score at all 3 levels. Jones had a scoring barrage during the Top 20 game while connecting on 4 three pointers in a row. Jones also played the passing lanes well on defense, showing he could be a ball hawking guard on defense.
5’10” 2018 PG Rahsaan Lewis
Windermere Prep (Windermere, FL)
Lewis, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis was as good as it gets. Lewis, who could have been co-mvp with Jaylen Jones was just as impressive. He takes great pride on the defensive side of the ball and it shows. Lewis was tasked with locking up Jones after he made four straight three’s and did just that. Lewis was the best defender of all the players. Lewis showed his ability to drive to the hoop and find the open man when the defense collapsed as well. The outside shot for Lewis wasn’t falling as much but he still showed his ability to hit it.
6’2” 2019 G James Lee
Vanguard High School (Lake Wales, FL)
James Lee took home the #1 prospect ranking after his stellar play during the weekend. Lee is an athletic guard who can jump out of the gym. Even though he didn’t take home MVP honors he was easily the most impressive prospect in the gym. Aside from his elite athleticism, Lee showed his ability to shoot from outside and added an impressive mid-range game. Lee also showed that he could get to the rim with ease while driving through the lane. Only a sophomore, Lee still has a lot of time to get incredibly better. With some strong performances during the summer Lee can move up in the rankings of the 2019 class and garner more offers.
5’9” 2018 PG Devon Knaub
Oviedo High School (Oviedo, FL)
Knaub was one of the smallest guards in attendance but that didn’t slow him down. Knaub quickly impressed all of the coaches and staff with his handles and his fearlessness against the bigger guards. Knaub can hit the 3 and drive to the rim and finish through contact as well. He compares his game to Isaiah Thomas and it shows. He’s not scared of anyone he goes against and his confidence is through the roof. His height will certainly be a question mark, but he showed that it should be overlooked. He will be a big time playmaker.
6’5” SG Alec Sherman
Mitchell High School (New Port Richey, FL)
One of the unknowns coming into TRS Orlando, Sherman had a productive day and found himself playing his way into the Top 20 game. Despite being ranked as #11 on the prospect rankings, Sherman was a standout player due to doing just a little bit of everything. Sherman played great defense, finished well at the rim, and shot the ball from outside consistently. Sherman will be a steal for any college that starts to show interest as he knows how to get it done on both sides of the ball and does the little things.