By DAVID DORSEY
FORT MYERS – Trevon Duval heard his coach with clarity. Almost 96 feet away from him stood teammate DeAndre Osuigwe, wide open.
“I told DeAndre to go hide in the corner, Bradenton IMG basketball coach Vince Walden said. Then Walden shouted to Duval to get him the ball. It didn’t take long for the 6-foot-3, 195-pound point guard, one considered the best in the class of 2017, to comply.
Duval threw a one-handed, full-court outlet pass to Osuigwe, who had open space to make a shot in the quarterfinals Monday night of the 44th Annual Culligan City of Palms Classic.
“It was old-school, no question,” Walden said of the pass.
IMG broke open a 47-47 game on its way to a 71-56 victory against Philadelphia Neumann Goretti at Florida SouthWestern State College’s brand new, $28 million Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
IMG broke open the game when Duval broke through a slow first half. He had five points at halftime on 2-of-5 shooting and finished with 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He also had three assists and six rebounds, playing in front of an array of Division I basketball head coaches and assistants from his final five program choices: Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Seton Hall.
All but Baylor so far have sent coaches to Fort Myers. Duval said he would not decide until after the high school season ends. Duval broke down all five schools here and is targeting a spring decision.
“I knew I had to pick it up,” Duval said of his play. “The second half, I played with a different mindset. Now, we’re playing for a championship. That’s my goal. We’ve done a great job of coming together as a team.”
IMG, ranked No. 6 in USA Today’s Super 25, plays No. 4 Montverde Academy at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals.
Kansas assistant Norm Roberts, Arizona assistant Book Richardson and Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard and assistant Shaheen Holloway watched Monday’s game. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistants Jon Scheyer and Jeff Capel watched Duval score nine points with seven assists and two rebounds during 32 minutes of action of Friday night’s first-round game, a 62-59 victory against Norcross (Georgia).is busy trying to recruit players like Mohamed Bamba, Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox to Kentucky, went for 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 10 turnovers in the loss. The 6-11 Bamba, who is considering Duke and Kentucky among others, looked on at the Duval-Green matchup after his Westtown (PA) team beat DeAndre Ayton and Hillcrest Prep (AZ) on Sunday.
With a minute and 45 seconds remaining Saturday against Neumann Goretti, Roberts watched as Duval dribbled down the court and then lofted, underhanded and with a high-arcing spin, the ball to 6-8 junior teammate Emmitt Williams, who is also making a name for himself while playing not far from his Lehigh Acres home.
Williams threw down the slam.
Duval showed a few other moves in the second half: A stutter step while dribbling to throw off his defender, creating an open jump shot opportunity. Duval swished the shot.
Duval also made a slam dunk, then seconds later made a steal but couldn’t keep control of the ball. In the fourth quarter, Duval made an off-balance, reverse layup.
Williams recalled his first practice with Duval, who joined IMG this year.
“He’s a good lob passer,” Williams said. “When Trevon first got here, I told him, ‘You throw that ball up there, I guarantee you I’m going to go get it.’”
“He’s going to be a killer on the next level.”
Originally from Delaware, Duval played as a freshman and sophomore at St. Benedict’s in New Jersey, then at Advanced Prep International last season in Dallas before heading to Bradenton for his third high school in three years.
Walden said it didn’t take long for the red flags of recruiting a well-traveled player to disappear.
“As talented as he is, he came into our program, and he’s two feet in,” Walden said. “I’ve got to have him on the floor, because he’s a big part of our culture. He’s talented. He’s tough. He’s a winner. He’s unbelievably humble. He’s a killer at the same time on the court.”
Walden called Duval — the projected No. 6 pick in 2018 by DraftExpress.com — the best point guard in the country.
“He’s two or three steps ahead of everyone else,” Walden said. “He sees things that other guys around him don’t see. That’s why he’s the No. 1 point guard in the country.”