The University School (F.L.) returns this season as one of the top teams throughout the country. The Sharks came up just short in the Geico Nationals Championship game last year to Montverde Academy, so there is plenty of motivation heading into this season. Contrary to most of the programs ranked this high on the list, the University School isn’t a boarding school. This is one of the few reasons why their program is so special. With head coach Jim Carr leading the way and having prospects like Vernon Carey and Scottie Barnes on the team the Sharks are capable of beating anyone in the nation. Carr is taking it day by day with this group.
“The mindset is you have to get better today,” said Carr. “We have a different team this year as we have graduated three senior guards from last year. We are just making sure to be better than yesterday. Last year, we didn’t go into the season with the mindset that our goal is Geico Nationals. Our goal is and always will be to win a state championship. That’s the most important thing to us.”
It’s tough to decide on one star between five-star Vernon Carey and five-star Scottie Barnes, but if one needed to be chosen it would be the senior Vernon Carey. Carey makes a strong case that he should be regarded as the top prospect in the class of 2019. With his size and physicality at 6’10”, athleticism and continued improvement with his skill set Carey is unstoppable on the high school level. Like they did last year, the Sharks will look for the senior big man to lead the team on both the offensive and defensive end.
There is a lot to like about this year’s team and as much you want to look at just Vernon Carey and Scottie Barnes, the Sharks are more than that. Their frontcourt has depth with prospects like Jace Howard and Jalil Beaubrun and their guard play will be highlighted by talented players like Roger McFarlane, David Perez, Jett Howard and Logan Alters. Coach Jim Carr broke down what he sees from some of his players this upcoming season.
“I think our strength is our forwards, which is unusual in high school basketball,” Carr said. “When you like at Vernon Carey you see great scoring, unbelievable physical presence, he’s great in the post and he continues to improve on his outside game. Vernon is a special generational type player. Scottie Barnes is the ultimate competitor and winner. He’s another kid who’s come a long way offensively, is a great playmaker and can guard any position on the floor. Jace Howard is someone that can step out and make shots, has a great motor with a great basketball I.Q. Off the bench we are going to bring 6’7” Jalil Beaubrun who will give us some really good minutes defensively.”
“Roger McFarlane is one of the first names that comes to mind with our guards,” he said. “He’s a great defender and attacks the rim very well. At one point in the summer he was leading the Under Armour circuit in scoring. David Perez just transferred in and he will play a significant role for us with his Ivy League level recruitment. Freshman Jett Howard is another guard who will play a big role for us. He just got back from playing in the USA Basketball minicamp and is playing at a high level for a 15 year old. Logan Alters is also another piece for us who has been great for us. He is headed to Cal-Berkeley next year who can really shoot it.”
The University School had one of the most successful seasons last year with a City of Palms Championship, being a runner up in Geico Nationals and more. Head coach Jim Carr attributes that all to how unselfish the team was.
“I think we gelled and had a great defensive mindset,” he said. “I think we are an extremely unselfish team with us having six different players last year lead us in scoring, which is unique when you have players as talented as ours. I just think we guarded really well.”
It’s not often you see a team that was this successful return to this year as possibly being even better. The Sharks are not a team to be messed with and should drive opponents crazy all year long.