All Florida Gulf Coast star forward Sherwood Brown has done since walking on as a freshman is skyrocketed to Atlantic Sun conference Player of the Year and led the Eagles’ improbable run to the Sweet 16.
College recruiting sites and scouts whiffed big time on Brown then and appear to be doing the same four years later with Blanche Ely’s Darrion Allen and Hialeah Gardens’ Adrian Gonzalez.
Even with three combined state titles between them and a body of work worthy of a college scholarship, Allen and Gonzalez inexplicably remain unsigned.
Both seniors hope an impressive showing at the RMF Magazine Best of the Best Unsigned Senior Showcase at Cardinal Gibbons High School on Saturday gets them off the recruiting board.
“There is nothing more I could have done to get a Division I scholarship,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know where I’m going yet but I’m not frustrated. It’s not where you start, it’s where you end.”
Gonzalez’s rèsumè should speak for itself. A long 6-5 wing, Gonzalez averaged 18 points and 6.7 rebounds as a junior to lead the Gladiators to their first state basketball title, then 25 points and 8 rebounds as a senior, despite constant double teams.
Already at a decided advantage as a lefty, Gonzalez gave opponents fits with his perpetual movement and ever-expanding scoring arsenal.
“It’s a tough situation knowing Adrian hasn’t signed,” Gladiators coach Marcos Molina said. “Recruiting is not a perfect system. Sometimes kids get lost in the shuffle. Colleges only get to see kids once or twice now. They make bad decisions sometimes. All I know is a Division I program is going to get a steal with Adrian.”
Other notables scheduled to compete include Miami American’s 6-3 Prince Foster, Pines Charter’s 6-7 Justin Satchell, Miami Norland’s 6-6 Maljhum McCrea, University School point guard Mikon Hewitt and Gibbons’ shooting ace Ryan Andino.
Allen averaged 10 points and five rebounds in helping lead MaxPreps No. 9 Ely (27-1) to its second consecutive Class 7A state title but those modest numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Even while deferring to Dallas Cameron, Lance Tejada III, Khalil Thomas and Richard Lee, Allen showed flashes of star potential that would likely make him the go-to player on another marquee team.
Ely coach Melvin Randall called Allen’s number against Deerfield Beach, the No. 2 team in 8A for most of the season, and the 6-3 Allen unleashed the freakish athletic ability of a high division one talent.
Allen went for a career-high 27 points, including two spectacular dunks, 8 rebounds and three steals to spark a 72-60 victory.
“I think about what I could have averaged at other schools a couple times but I’m just happy we won states again,” Allen said. “The other guys I played with put in the work too. I think I’m a Division I player. I can’t do anything about it. All I know is I’m going to use this as motivation. I love to prove people wrong.”