The subject of this week’s HoopMIA player spotlight is a new arrival this season to the South Florida basketball scene. Anthony “AJ” Lopez, a native of Brooklyn, New York, is the leading scorer for the Schoolhouse Prep Wolfpack and recently picked up an offer from McNeese State. The 2020 prospect is seeing his stock rise with a strong senior campaign. He discussed picking up the offer and what he feels are the strengths of his game.
“It felt great getting the offer,” said Lopez. “I felt that I have been working really hard and it is starting to pay off. My recruitment has started to pick up over these last couple of months. I feel the strength of my game is my ability to keep the defense honest because I can shoot and drive. I can also get my teammates involved.”
Lopez is averaging 23.5 points 5 rebounds 3 steals 3 assists and 2 blocks per game and has truly emerged as one of the top scorers in the area. He is a solid three point shooter and has a strong mid range jumper. He is a slippery driver and finishes with athleticism and skill at the basket. He talked about playing for Coach Colin Campbell at Schoolhouse and how his adjustment to South Florida basketball has been.
“It has been great with Coach Campbell. He pushes me everyday to be a better player on both ends of the court. I feel he is helping my game tremendously. In South Florida, you play against a good team every night. There are no days off. I think my biggest adjustment was just preparing myself for a battle in every single game.”
The 6-foot-4 guard has been instrumental in Schoolhouse getting off to a 10 and 5 start against a brutal schedule. The Wolfpack have defeated power programs like Miami Norland, Stranahan, The Rock, Chaminade Madonna, and Westminster Christian so far this season. Lopez is a major reason why the team has their sights on their first ever state championship. Coach Colin Campbell talked about Lopez as a player and what he has meant to their program so far this season.
"AJ is a tireless worker who loves the game,” said Campbell. “AJ would be in the gym all day if he could and that has really carried over for other guys in our program in terms of putting in the work after hours to hone his craft.”
Schoolhouse lost in the State Final 4 in Lakeland last season, in Campbell’s first season with the program. The Wolfpack led by Lopez, point guard Jose Benitez, and ultra athletic combo guard Jimel Cofer are the favorite in the region. They will have to contend with Champagnant Cathotic and Grandview Prep to reach Lakeland again this season. Lopez talked about his goals for the rest of the season and what he loves about the sport.
“My personal goal and team goal is to win a state championship,” said Lopez. “We also want to have a winning record and win as many games as possible. What I love most about playing is the competition, and the fact that this sport can really change a person's life”
Lopez is a natural scorer and is enjoying a remarkable senior season up to this point. He seems to be improving on a daily basis which is a testament to his work ethic. The Wolfpack are one of the most talented teams in the state and have the potential to win the state title. Lopez will be one of the keys to the teams stretch run and it will must watch finish to the season for him and Schoolhouse.