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October 2, 2012

The Workout: Durham is on the map

SARASOTA, Fla. - As is tradition, Sunday at The Workout was reserved for some of the top freshman and sophomores that the state of Florida has to offer. In many cases, this was the first chance for players to stand out in front of national scouts and freshman Juwan Durham and sophomore Haanif Cheatham were among the players making the most of their opportunity.

Durham puts himself on the map

Only time will tell what direction the development of freshman big man Juwan Durham will take. For now, though, the 6-foot-8 post player from Tampa (Fla.) Prep has put himself on the map as a player that high majors need to think about monitoring just in case it all goes well.

Outside of senior big man Joel Embiid, the class of 2016 prospect was arguably the best looking player that we saw over the weekend in Florida.

Yes, Durham is quite skinny and will have to grow into his frame. But, if he does, then he's got lots of tools with which to work. He ran the floor easily, has very good hands, looks to have a good base of skills and he's already a pretty good athlete.

Given that he hasn't played the first game of his freshman season, not many people know about Durham yet so his recruiting won't really get started until his season starts. However, he is definitely one that will get the attention of a lot of college coaches and Rivals.com will be following his development down the road.

Cheatham has some buzz

Of all the kids who took the floor on Sunday, class of 2015 combo guard Haanif Cheatham probably had the biggest reputation. After watching the 6-foot-4 southpaw, it looks to have been well deserved.

A sophomore at Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Charter, Cheatham plays a very confident game and he looks to be pretty skilled whether he is on or off the ball.

Because of his size and length, Cheatham is very intriguing as a point guard. On Sunday he looked to be very steady and played under control while still making things happen for himself and others. He dribbles heads up and is an excellent decision maker in transition. As a two, he gives you a good secondary ball-handler and he has a nice little mid-range game and a jumper that looks like it will be pretty reliable when it is all said and done.

According to his travel team coach Brandon McThay, Cheatham has already been offered by Miami and USF while others like South Carolina, Florida, UCF, Baylor, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Murray State have also shown levels of initial interest.

More of note from 2015 and 2016

One of the better guards on Sunday was Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely combo guard James Labadi. The 6-foot-1 sophomore was very good off the dribble and was one of the best players on the floor at getting to the rim and finishing. His jumper doesn't look too bad and he played with lots of confidence.

Like so many of the other big men at The Workout, 6-foot-8 sophomore Kevvarius Hayes has to get stronger. But, in terms of athleticism and willingness to go run down a loose ball, Hayes is ahead of the curve. He's bouncy around the rim, has great length, really ran the floor and played with a ton of energy.

One of the speediest players in attendance was Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage sophomore point guard Keyshawn Evans. Just a little short of six-feet tall, Evans is very fast with the ball and has a pretty good feel for distributing the rock.

In terms of effort and seemingly being all over the place to make plays, nobody was better than Pembroke Pines (Fla.) Charter sophomore Prince Ali. The 6-foot-4'ish wing played with loads of energy and really made a lot happen. He finished in transition, got on the offensive glass and also stuck several mid-range jumpers.

As one of the strongest players on Sunday, 6-foot-7 power forward Chad Brown was able to push some guys around. However, the sophomore from Deltona (Fla.) High also showed off plenty of skill and good touch. Looks like he can shoot it alright to around 12 feet, he's active around the basket and he plays with a bit of an edge to him.

One of the most versatile perimeter scorers was 6-foot-3 shooting guard Antonio Blakney. He can smoke jumpers from deep, showed the ability to get to the rim and is already a good athlete who should end up having pretty good size for his position. The sophomore has potential.

Given that he's built like a senior in high school or even some college freshman, it's hard to believe that 6-foot-6 combo forward Jean-Michele Tine is just 14 years old. But, the freshman at Sarasota (Fla.) Impact Academy is still a couple of months shy of his 15th birthday and definitely has abundant strength and athleticism for a guy his age. He plays tough, he plays athletic and his motor is great. How he develops his skill will be interesting to watch throughout his high school career.

Finally, he wasn't the biggest player in attendance, but 5-foot-9 sophomore Jean Johnathan really got the job done. The point guard was consistently making plays whether it be for himself or others and showed a tremendous hoops IQ. He's quick, a very good passer and he changes speeds and keeps the defense of kilter.



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