Practice Session: IMG Academy Varsity

BRADENTON, FLORIDA – I made a quick stop over to IMG Academy on Friday to check out the new state-of-the-art gym for varsity team practices.

Six of the squads took part in highly competitive scrimmages with a slew of college programs watching, including the likes of Michigan State, Old Dominion, Marist, Cleveland State and others.

2024 5-11 G Tyler Burton

From the jump in the opening game, 2024 guard Tyler Burton set the pace and made it clear he was going to score in bunches. He was knocking down 3’s, getting to the rim and scoring off the glass. Most importantly, he setup his teammates with nifty passes. Burton is a pacesetter and a true leader on the floor. Coming down from Pennsylvania, he’s in for a rock-solid junior campaign.

2024 6-6 G Jacob Hammond 

There is so much to like with 2024 guard Jacob Hammond. The lengthy athlete takes smart jumpers and simply can battle inside on both ends of the court. His leaping ability is always on display and I absolutely appreciate his vocalness and willingness to keep his teammates informed of what he is seeing out there. Hammond certainly has a chance to carve out a name for himself this fall. I was instantly sold on his abilities.

2024 6-3 G Gerard O’Keefe

Mature leadership truly sums up 2024 guard Gerard O’Keefe in one sentence. He is confident as a floor pusher and a crafty scorer inside and out. O’Keefe’s toughness is what shines brightly anytime I see him play and on Friday it was no different. He’s going to be a tough cover for defenses all season long.

2024 7-6 C Olivier Rioux

Yes, 7-6 is not a typo for 2024 center Olivier Rioux (for anyone that doesn’t know him by now from his viral social media clips). His footwork has improved two-fold since last season and he can grab inside feeds and put it away more comfortably because of that. Rioux still has work to do, but he’s a determined prospect and a true student of the game. Any college coach that sees him will simply have to monitor his progress.

2024 6-9 F Jackson Roberts

A transfer from Tampa Catholic, 2024 big man Jackson Roberts already looks like a different player. He’s slimmed down and toned his body. On top of that, he has a variety of post moves and has a good amount of burst to his game. If he continues to develop, it will be hard for college teams to ignore him much longer.

2026 6-9 F Tim Winkler

Coming down via Chicago, 2026 6-9 forward Tim Winkler is an incredibly long prospect. He has all the tools and upside to get to where he needs to be and he should be able to develop in due time at IMG. Shots weren’t falling at a high clip early on, but he kept battling and moved on to the next play. Winkler is the youngest prospect on this list, but college coaches need to track his growth immediately.

2023 5-11 G Eishin Naito

A Japanese-born guard, Eishin Naito is a super talented point man and distributor. He’s a quick-twitched ballhandler and has the vision that sets his teammates and burns defenses often. Naito has full control of the ball, even against taller defenders. I like his chances as one of the most gifted 2023 point guard prospects at IMG.

2024 6-3 G Colin Ndaw

There were quite a few bright moments for Colin Ndaw on the day. The longer-bodied lefty has a nice combination of burst and pure athleticness to his game. His mid-range shot and floater were working early and often and he simply took good shots. Ndaw certainly can get stronger in his upper body, but he has a nice chance to really excel as a junior in the program.

Jake Perper has covered sports as a writer since 2010 and a basketball scout since 2015. He was the Southeast Scouting Director for the Prep Hoops Circuit and the lead scout for Prep Hoops’ Florida site for seven years. You can follow him on Twitter @thehoopvibe.