Sharp-shooting guard Peter Krivokapic, who recently signed with FIU, is one of numerous local players from the Class of 2020 who earned Division I scholarships.
Krivokapic, who is a Montenegro native, helped Miami Prep to a 41-5 record during his time with the program.
FIU’s other three signees in this period were all transfers: JaVaunte Hawkins from Butler Community College; DJ Mitchell from Hutchinson Community College; and Radshad Davis from Texas Arlington.
Meanwhile, two of South Florida’s top basketball talents for the Class of 2021 — 6-6 Northeast guard Wesley Cardet and 6-5 Miami High wing Justin Neely — are gaining momentum as prospects.
Cardet has offers from Miami, Clemson, Florida and Alabama, but there are other schools in play. Iowa State might have an edge because one of its assistant coaches, James Kane, is a Northeast High graduate. Iona, which recently hired controversial coach Rick Pitino, is making a strong push, and the same is true for Maryland and Kansas State.
“I don’t have a front-runner yet, but Iona has been calling a lot, telling me about their school,” Cardet said. “Miami offered, but they haven’t been in touch with me in a while.”
Cardet won’t sign in the early period in November but instead will wait until April 2021. By that time, he will have a clearer picture regarding coaching changes and player movement on the rosters he is considering.
Northeast coach Zac Gillion said many coaches call a recruit they want on a daily basis. And when the calls from coaches are less frequent, recruits take notice.
“Miami is a school I like for Wes,” Gillion said. “If you are a guard, Miami is a great coaching staff for you. [Miami coach Jim] Larranaga is trying to win, but they have backed off [on Cardet].”
Ironically, Gillion said Larranaga came to Northeast High last November and watched Cardet for 30 minutes in practice.
“Larranaga said, ‘I want this kid. He is 6-6, athletic, can handle and shoot the ball. I don’t need to see anymore’.”
After that, Miami invited the entire Northeast team to its Duke game, but it appears the Hurricanes may have lost interest in Cardet.
Neely, who broke Miami High’s single-game scoring record with a 60-point eruption against Coral Park this past season, has offers from Washington State, Temple, Rice, VCU, Texas-San Antonio and Stetson.
“His recruitment has gained momentum,” said his father, Damond Neely, who is a former Hurricanes offensive lineman. “Coaches like his versatility, playing multiple positions.”
Meanwhile, South Miami’s Arturo Dean, a quick 5-10 point guard with good court vision, has offers from Florida Gulf Coast, Stetson and Mercer.
Jordan Shorter, a 6-5 small forward with offers from Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Florida, Saint Louis, FIU and South Florida, has transferred from Fort Lauderdale to the Orlando area (West Oaks).
Gillion said the best is yet to come in local recruiting.
“I think South Florida’s Class of 2023 will be the best ever,” Gillion said. “There are so many top kids, it’s mind-boggling. At least 15 guys will be ranked among the top 100 nationally.”
The class of 2023 includes 6-6 forward Scottie Middleton (Columbus); and 6-9 twins Matthew and Ryan Bewley (Northeast).
Mater Academy’s Malik Reneau, a 6-7 forward, leads a strong Class of 2022. He has offers from Miami, Oklahoma State, FIU and UCF.
The Class of 2022 also includes 6-4 shooting guard Jett Howard, 6-6 forward Greg Glenn and 6-8 forward Ben Middlebrooks.
Jett Howard, one of the sons of ex-NBA star Juwan Howard, has reportedly transferred from University School to IMG and is expected to sign with Michigan, where he would play for his father.
Glenn, who plays for Calvary Christian, has offers from Miami, Florida, Iowa State, Florida State and Oklahoma State.
Middlebrooks, who plays for Westminster Academy, has offers from USF and Florida Gulf Coast.