TERRIFIC 20: Meet 20 of the area's top boys basketball players

Basketball season is in high gear, so read up on Southwest, West Orange's top boys basketball players for the 2023-24 season

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The West Orange and Southwest Orange communities are boys basketball hotbeds — home to some of the most talented players in the state and various teams constantly vying for championships.

The 2023-24 season shouldn’t be any different. 

With Windermere High, Windermere Prep, Olympia and others returning star players from their quality 2022-23 teams and up-and-coming teams unearthing new talent to build their programs around, we should expect this season to be phenomenal. 

Here are 20 of the area’s top boys basketball players. 

Editor’s note: Statistics were compiled from online data. Athletes are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

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Julian Anderson, The First Academy 
Forward | Senior | No. 4 

As the Royals’ top returning rebounder from 2022-23, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound football player is an athletic force on the inside. Last season, he averaged 7.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. So far this season, he’s again using his powerful frame, quick feet and general bounciness to wreak havoc on the interior for a team that likes to play with four on the outside. 

Cameron Basden, Foundation Academy 
Guard | Senior | No. 3 

Through four games, the Windermere Prep transfer has done it all for the Lions. He leads Foundation with 13.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and four assists a game. 

Brandon Bass Jr., Windermere Prep
Wing | Sophomore | No. 1

The son of former NBA player Brandon Bass, Junior has all the makings of being a longtime professional player too. As a freshman last season, Bass led the Lakers in points with 17.4 points a game and was named the Class 3A, District 11 player of the year. The four-star prospect was key in a successful 24-8 season that ended with Windermere Prep as the 3A state runner-up. 

As a high school player and prospect, Bass has it all. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor and has a 6-5 frame. He’s bouncy, can finish at the rim and is stellar at creating space on off-the-ball cuts to set himself up for catch-and-shoot threes. 

Right now, if you combine the above with his willingness to defend, he already has the skills to be a successful three-and-D player at most D-1 colleges (he already has offers from LSU, Stanford, UCF, Houston and others). But the scary thing is, he has almost three full seasons to develop the impressive flashes of three-level scoring into consistent dominance on the offensive end before he heads off to college.

Adonys Christo, Horizon
Guard | Senior | No. 1 

Christo, a transfer guard from The First Academy, has gotten comfortable quickly in his new home upping his points per game average from 4.9 last season to 15 points a game in the early part of this season. Beyond draining threes, Christo also is adding 2.3 assists and two rebounds a night for the Hawks.

Nathan Earl, Windermere
Guard | Sophomore | No. 3

With D-I offers on the table from the likes of Stetson, St. Bonaventure and others, the Georgia transfer is a quality addition to one of the area’s best teams. At 6-2, with good strength and athleticism, Earl is a defensive menace as an on-ball defender. He also excels in the open floor and at attacking the rim. Add in the capability to hit open shots, and you can see how a player like Earl would be a coveted asset to any team.

Sinan Huan, Windermere Prep
Center | Sophomore | No. 32

While Bass led the Lakers on offense, Huan was the anchor for their defense. The four-star 7-footer averaged a whopping 4.7 blocks a game, to go along with his 6.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. 

His obviously impressive frame is matched by his ability to time his jumps to protect the rim without fouling. His aggressiveness and athleticism not only are on display on defense, but also the Chinese international is developing into a dominant force on the interior of the offensive end.  

Huan’s impressive freshman season gave him a chance to represent China at the 2023 FIBA U16 Asian Junior Championship in Qatar. He projects to be a high-level college player as well, with offers from Alabama and Mississippi State. 

Lorenzo De Jesus, The First Academy
Guard | Senior | No. 2 

De Jesus is the top returning scorer —12.6 ppg — for the Royals 2022-23 team that went 16-10, that also averaged 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season. His solid handle and 6-2 frame are key to his ability to get to his game, which is getting his shots off from three-point—land. 

Kalleal Jones, Dr. Phillips
Wing | Senior | No. 11 

Jones is a big, strong and athletic wing who can finish at and above the rim while making it look effortless. His jump shot looks beyond solid, and at 6-4, the Panthers’ senior has the look of a D-1 college basketball player by every measure.

Ta’Veon Jones, Windermere
Guard | Senior | No. 0 

After leading the Wolverines to a 21-8 record and a berth in the Class 7A region finals, Jones and his team-leading 16.5 points a game, 5.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 steals return to help a reloaded Windermere get to the next level. 

The hyper-quick lefty — with offers to play at the next level — has a nasty handle and isn’t afraid to attack the basket, often finishing over larger defenders with his go-to floater or finding his open teammates as defenses sell-out to stop him. He’s also a feisty defender who at a moment’s notice can strip the ball-handler and flash down the court for an easy fast-break bucket. 

Travis Ligene, Lake Buena Vista
Guard | Junior | No. 1 

Through five games, the explosive guard has led the Vipers with 14.6 points per game while adding 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists. With Ligene as its go-to player Lake Buena Vista has had a pleasant start to the season with a 3-3 record, after finishing 7-19 last year. 

Jacob Osborne, Foundation Academy
Guard | Senior | No. 4 

Alongside Basden, Osborne has been another key piece to the Lions winning start in 2023-24. Through five games he is averaging 11.8 points and seven rebounds a night for Foundation. 

Marko Pandiloski, Central Florida Christian Academy
Wing | Senior | No. 20 

After losing its five top scorers from a team that finished with an 18-11 record last season, Pandiloski, a 6-6 wing who transferred from Windermere Prep, has helped fill the scoring void by averaging 14.8 points a game to go with his 5.8 rebounds through five games. 

Khori Polarchy, Legacy Charter
Guard | Sophomore | No. 1

Through six games in the 2023-24 season, the 6-1 guard has led the Eagles in points with 10.3 per game to go along with his 3.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals. 

Gustavo Roca, Windermere Prep
Guard | Freshman | No. 3

According to his coach, Brian Hoff, the 6-3 guard is one of the most prepared freshmen he’s ever coached. The Puerto Rican international — who already has offers from Stetson and New Mexico State — will be a secondary ball-handler for the Lakers and a consistent floor-spreader with the ability to take over a game any given night. 

Samuel Shoptaw, Windermere Prep
Guard | Junior | No. 23 

A transfer from Georgia, Shoptaw is a perfect fit for this young Lakers team. He’s a big point guard who has a great handle, can get to the rim, can hit an open three and is a sensational passer. Expect Shoptaw to help run the offense, consistently find his teammates and limit mistakes on the offensive end. 

For Lowndes High last season, he averaged 10 points and 2.2 assists a game and holds offers from Jacksonville University and the University of South Alabama.

Justynn Thomas, Ocoee
Guard | Senior | No. 2 

The quick guard has lit it up for the Knights in his senior season, growing his scoring average from last season 11 points per game to 17.3 through four games this season.

The always-willing shooter is also grabbing 3.5 rebounds a night and dishing out 2.3 assists for Ocoee. 

Chalier Torres, Windermere
Wing | Senior | No. 1 

A U17 Puerto Rican national team player — averaging 11.8 points a game as a member of the 2023 FIBA Centrobasket championship-winning team — with offers to play at the college level, Torres is a complete wing who can shoot the lights out of the ball. 

At 6-4 with a solid handle, he’s proficient shooting both off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations. For Windermere last season, he averaged 14.6 points, five rebounds and 2.3 assists a game.  

Semaj Washington, Central Florida Christian Academy
Wing | Junior | No. 2 

Along with Pandiloski, Washington has been vital to filling in the numerous gaps for an extremely young Eagles team. Washington, through five games, is averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and four assists a game. His tight handle and good pull-up jumper make him a fun watch.

Kaiden White, Olympia
Wing | Senior | No. 1 

The 6-4 combo guard is the top returning scorer — at 10 points a game — from a Titans team that finished last season with a 26-3 record. Through five games for Olympia, White has increased his offensive output as one-half of the Titan’s one-two punch, averaging 14 points a game while adding 3.2 assists. 

With his big frame, defensive tenacity and a shooting range that stretches far beyond the three-point line, White is one of the best players in the area and will assuredly play at the next level; he already has an offer from FIU.

Kameren Wright, Olympia
Wing | Senior | No. 3 

A transfer from Gainesville, Wright has fit in just fine at the Southwest Orange hoops powerhouse. Through five games, he is leading Olympia in points with 14.2 a game while grabbing 4.2 rebounds and snatching 2.8 steals per game. 

The 6-6, four-star is an all-caps ATHLETE who has everything you look for in a modern-day wing scorer. He has a tight handle, good footwork and a jump shot that’s as smooth as silk. Throw in his ability to jump out of the gym, and it’s no wonder he has offers from Missouri, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and countless others.

Sam Albuquerque is the Sports Editor for the Orange Observer. Please contact him with story ideas, results and statistics.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @SamBAlbuquerque
Instagram: @OrangeObserverSam



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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