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Georgia Tech camp Team Reviews Part 2

By Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)

Gainesville

I was able to see the Gainesville squad at both Georgia State early on Friday and then at Georgia Tech on Saturday and Sunday. Although they were without KJ Buffen, the team was still impressive and showed why they were an Elite 8 team this past season. I loved the game of Xavier Bledson, a big guard with terrific passing ability. Bledson also absorbs contact easily when he drives inside, displayed confidence shooting from the outside this weekend, and plays with an edge about him.

To go along with Bledson, the Rosser twins (Jarred and Jarrel) really used their length and athleticism well on defense, in transition, and on the offensive glass. Bailey Minor is another key player for the Red Elephants. Minor provides toughness and a nice inside-out game for the team at the forward spot with good touch around the basket and a smooth shot from deep. When all 4 of these guys get going and fulfill their roles, Gainesville is a tough team to stop. Expect Gainesville to be a contender for a state championship once again with their surplus of versatile weapons.

North Atlanta

The Warriors only had 7 players available for most of Saturday but that did not stop them from being one of the most active and energetic teams at the camp. North Atlanta has gained a big-time addition in Messiah Thompson, who went to NAHS his freshmen year before transferring to Pebblebrook for his sophomore season. Thompson is a shifty guard with quick handles and solid overall scoring ability for his size. He also plays feisty defense and gets out in transition whenever possible; his pace set the tone for the North Atlanta team and the others followed suit.

The Warriors were missing one of their leading scorers from last season, Dominic Ham, but 2019’s Josh Johnson and Andrew Robinson stepped up in his absence. Johnson and Robinson have similar games on the wing for North Atlanta. They both have good athleticism and strength that they use to attack the basket and rebound for this under-sized Warriors team. Johnson may have an edge in scoring between the two right now, but they will both give nice boosts to this team because of their activity and toughness. It would help if a few other players emerge for the Warriors as most teams will try to key in on Thompson, who will be the go-to guy. It will be interesting to see how this team develops before the winter.

Holy Spirit Prep

The reigning GISA state champion came to GT without 3 main players and faced some of the bigger GHSA teams in attendance. Although it’s just summer league, HSP proved that they can hold their own against these teams, which some have doubted. The Cougars got a huge pickup with Anthony Edwards, a 2020 guard who is one of the leading scorers on the 16U UAA circuit. Edwards has good size at 6’5” and everything looks effortless for him on offense where he dominates opponents with an impressive combination of athleticism, power, and touch.

The Cougars have another stud in 2018 Kamani Johnson, a 6’8” forward who has been on the rise since coming to Georgia. Johnson displays a lot of versatility for his size; he can post-up effectively, slash from the wing, and push the ball himself in transition. If Johnson continues to develop as an outside shooter, it will be scary.

2019 guard Kye Jeremiah will also be a key contributor for HSP this year. Holy Spirit is trying to mold Jeremiah into a PG, which could be a good spot for him with his size and strength. If you combine Jeremiah’s attacking ability with more experience and instincts at the point position, he could be a very nice prospect. Pairing these 3 with George Maslennikov and Miles Wallace (both out this weekend) will form a core group that will spell trouble for any GISA team.

Dacula

Leading returning scorer Arusha Hunter was dominant for the Falcons throughout the weekend, as expected. Hunter had a full offensive skill-set on display at Tech, highlighted by his ability to draw contact on drives and get to the free-throw line at will. With one of their main guys in Mekhail Bethea being hampered by injury, other players also stepped up for the Falcons.

I was intrigued most by Quincy Ademokoya and Reggie Horton for Dacula. Ademokoya created some buzz by moving in from Illinois and showed he will be a nice piece on the team. After a rough game against North Atlanta on Saturday, Ademokoya responded with a strong game on Sunday. At 6’6”, he hit multiple corner 3’s and used his length to rebound and slash from the wing for finishes at the basket. Horton may lack size but the guard was not afraid to go inside amongst bigger players. Horton exhibited some very impressive athleticism when he attacked by elevating, hanging, and adjusting for difficult layups multiple times. Dacula has firepower on the perimeter that will be a problem for opponents this upcoming season.

Tri-Cities

The Bulldogs have 3 players with excellent scoring ability in Damarcus Johnson, Eli Lawrence, and Jonathan Young. Johnson runs the point for TC and while he is lethal from outside, he also knows when to mix it up inside to create for himself and his teammates. Lawrence has good size on the wing for the Bulldogs and is efficient with his scoring opportunities. The smooth lefty has a quick release off the catch and also utilizes mid-range shots off the bounce where he elevates for easy looks.

Young is a new member of the team and caught the attention of many during the weekend with his play. Young comes in to form a dangerous backcourt duo alongside Johnson, he has good shooting ability and showed that he can put it on the floor and penetrate as well.

Zach Morgan is another player to keep an eye on for the Bulldogs team. Morgan is a forward with a strong, athletic frame that provides toughness and rebounding for TC. He also was not afraid to put the ball on the deck himself and if he can become another viable scoring option for the team, that would be huge. With their current weapons, Tri-Cities will not have any problem putting up points this season.

Georgia Tech camp Team Reviews Part 1

By Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)

Southwest DeKalb

Coach Eugene Brown addressing the Panthers after a win over St. Pius

With the departure of some 2018 players, SWD sported a very young team at GT this weekend. Even with this youth, SWD looked pretty good and had nice wins over Milton and St. Pius. SWD looks to be led by KD Johnson, who has been making some noise with the GA Stars on the travel circuit. Johnson is a fiery competitor and exceptional athlete who gets to the basket whenever he wants, he is a prospect to keep an eye on in Georgia’s 2020 class. Along with Johnson in the backcourt is Eugene Brown III, another 2020 guard. Brown is a long, wiry player who displayed a nice offensive skill set with solid ball-handling and finishing in transition, and an effective jumper. SWD also has two productive forwards in James Glisson and Demarion Johnson. Glisson provides a big body down low, has a soft touch around the basket, and stays active on the glass on both ends. Johnson is a tough player who plays with a lot of energy and excels in his role on this team as someone who doesn’t demand the ball much but defends, rebounds, and finishes inside. This SWD team could definitely have a successful year as their young players continue to develop and mature.

Milton

Donaven Hairston

This weekend, Milton was led by three different players who all had impressive moments throughout the camp. Christian Wright, Ulyric Linton, and Donaven Hairston all look ready to have solid seasons for the Eagles. Wright (2020) and Hairston (2019) share ball-handling responsibilities in the backcourt and are both confident with the ball. Wright has a crafty handle and mature body for a 2020 player, which he uses to get inside for either fancy finishes or kick-outs when the defense collapses. Hairston is a speedy guard that can score in bunches with finesse inside and perimeter shots off both the dribble and catch. Linton (2018) was aggressive the entire weekend; the strong, left-handed wing was consistently looking to get inside and finish through contact in each of Milton’s games. Others who saw a lot of time were Evan Hurst, Vince Graves, and Brady O’Connell. Hurst, a 2020 guard, has a smooth game and provided some scoring for the Eagles. Graves and O’Connell both give good length and athleticism to the team; look for new coach Allen Whitehart to get more out of them in terms of activity and intensity. Milton definitely missed the production and energy of JP McGhee this weekend but expect Coach Whitehart to have this squad prepared for 2017-18 as they become more disciplined and find their identity.

St. Pius X

The Golden Lions played like you would expect from a state runner-up at Tech. Pius is one of the most well-rounded, fundamental teams that you will see in Georgia and that was on display this weekend. Highlighted by crisp ball movement and unselfishness on offense, Pius was able to get quality looks throughout the camp. They also played suffocating full-court defense that you might not expect from a team in early June, this pressure surprised teams and forced them into frequent turnovers. It seems like this team will be led by scorer Everett Lane and facilitating PG Matt Gonzalo, but there are many other capable players on the Pius team that will give quality minutes. Zach Ranson, Brian Gonzalo, Troy Stephens, Niko Broadway, and Patrick Snipes will all produce for the Golden Lions as well. I was most impressed with the energy and chemistry that Pius plays with. There aren’t any players with their own agenda on this team, things flow smoothly because it doesn’t matter who scores and each player wants to see the others do well. The entire team, whether on the bench or in the game, is loud and you can sense energy being given off from one player to another. These traits keep Pius intense and locked in the whole game, it easy to see why they have been one of the better programs in Georgia for a while now.

Etowah

Adrian Cohen lines up a foul shot

Coming off a region championship and Sweet 16 appearance, Etowah is looking to follow up with success again this season and showed the potential to do so over the weekend. New coach Jason Dasinger is one of the most intense coaches you’ll see and he has his guys playing with great effort. The Eagles were led by versatile backcourt players Jaxon Etter and Adrian Cohen, both are bigger guards that can handle the ball. Etter is fearless going to the basket and gets there with ease due to his combination of speed and strength. Etter has also improved as a shooter since I saw him in the spring, hitting multiple mid-range shots and threes. Cohen is a well-built slasher who excels in transition and is starting to develop a reliable outside shot. In the frontcourt, Julian Baldwin is a long, athletic player who rebounds well and finishes with ease off of put-backs and drop-offs. With Baldwin gone on Sunday, Carter Ingersoll picked up his play and had a good day. Ingersoll showed good post moves and footwork inside, to go along with a nice short corner jumper. Ingersoll may be somewhat undersized for a post player but he is an excellent rebounder and understands how to score down low. Etowah’s offensive skill paired with their defensive energy should have this Eagles team poised to make a run at another region championship.

Georgia Cup Finals – 14U Notes

News & Notes from Saturday (6/3/17) at the Georgia Cup Finals
Contributed by Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)

WE Elite

After close battles to win their first two games, the Marist War Eagles crew had another strong outing against the Georgia Kings. Led by Derek McDonald, WE was able to get great looks in the half court and get out in transition frequently. McDonald does it all for WE; just in this game I saw multiple 3’s, high post jumpers, full-court transition finishes, offensive rebounds, and big blocks on defense. He finished with 27 points but WE has some other weapons also. Charles Fleming is an assassin from deep, hitting (3) 3’s in the first half; Luke Benson runs the show at PG where he excels at facilitating; and Richard Reynolds is a solid forward who is tough inside but can also stretch the floor with his shooting. It looks like Marist has some good ones coming up to the high school level.

Walton Flames

This Flames team has 4 perimeter players who gave them great production in a nice afternoon win over Hoops 360. Combining for 66 of their 79 points, Grant Shobe, Jason Edwards, Charles Bradley, and Gabriel Farmer all proved themselves scoring the ball. To start off, Shobe has a very unique offensive game. He totaled 18 points from (3) 3’s and also made some difficult push-shots, floaters, and reverse layups that seemed to surprise everyone that was watching when they went in. Edwards is extremely shifty and had a variety of wild finishes inside while also showing that he would not hesitate to shoot from way beyond the line, ending with 16 points. I really liked Bradley’s efficiency on offense; he is reliable on catch and shoot opportunities, but when that is taken away he uses just 1 or 2 dribbles to get to the rim and also gets putbacks, finishing with 18 points. Farmer did not waste any opportunities either, hitting 3’s, weaving through the defense and getting easy baskets off of sneaky cuts for 14 points. The Flames are an explosive team when all 4 of these guys are in a groove.

MTXE

The group of St. Pius boys had a tight game on Saturday night against the Warner Robins All-Stars that made for an entertaining matchup. MTXE is a well-rounded, fundamental group that gets contribution from nearly everyone. They had 10 different players score with one who stood out above the rest: Kyle Seramur. Seramur connected on 5 threes for a total of 18 points and did this while only missing a few shots. Other main guys for MTXE are Carter Williams, Daniel Beverly, and Jack Verrill. Williams is a sound PG with outside shooting ability and makes sure to control things on offense for MTXE. Beverly is an athletic forward who makes a lot of energy plays, uses his length to finish, and plays with an edge about him. Verrill is an intriguing young player; he has great height and length for a player his age but is still raw and has to grow into his body. Verrill did display soft hands and some touch inside on offense, and altered shots consistently on defense.

Warner Robins All-Stars

 The Warner Robins squad recognized an advantage in strength and athleticism over MTXE early on and had success throughout the game using these qualities. The 3 standouts for the All-Stars would have to be Gregory Jones, Rashaun Tomlin, and Andrew Grane. These 3 combined for 40 of Warner Robins’ 60 points and were key down the stretch for their team. Jones (11 points) and Tomlin (12 points) were huge inside for Warner Robins. Jones made hard drives in both transition and the half-court often, where he absorbed contact and finished consistently. Tomlin was a beast on the offensive glass, grabbing everything in his area and then putting it in the basket. Grane (17 points) displayed an advanced offensive skill-set, attacking fearlessly but knowing when to quickly pull-up and use his mid-range jumper, which he did multiple times. This attribute kept the defense guessing when Grane had the ball and resulted in easy looks for him.

Warrior Elite

Out of Cleveland, GA, Warrior Elite is another team with a lot of depth. They carry 9 players and all of them get solid minutes. There is not much, if any, of a drop-off between the team’s starters and reserves; 7 Warrior players scored 6 or more points in a late Saturday night bracket play win. The team plays an unselfish brand of basketball and thrives in transition because of their surplus of smart, athletic players. Dakota Orr and Cooper Turner were very impressive for the Warrior team. Orr presents a great combination of height, athleticism, and touch for 14U player. As he continues to add strength and develop his awareness, he could turn into an attractive prospect. Turner is a fast, physical guard who seeks out contact whenever he gets in the lane where he draws fouls and finishes through hits with regularity. Another Warrior player that got my attention was Eli Pitts. This may have not been his best scoring performance but he showed high IQ and good penetration ability that resulted in solid passes to open teammates. In other games, this penetration may have provided scoring opportunities for Pitts but he recognized that dishing to others was the best option in this game.

Bob Gibbons – Saturday 17U Eye Openers

Contributed by Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)

Riley Wolgamott (Pro One Select White)– Wolgamott showed a lot of different parts to his game in a tight afternoon win. A very quick, deceptive PG, Wolgamott sliced through the defense relentlessly throughout the game and made crafty passes to his teammates often. He also used his quickness and ball-handling ability to attack the rim himself, while also showing he could shoot from the outside, finishing with 16 points for the Alabama-based program in a win over Game Elite Blue.

Evan Spiller (CBA United)- Spiller is a solid wing out of Florida who stayed within himself and never overdid things. He used his length and athleticism to his advantage, penetrating inside quite often where he displayed a nice in between game and soft touch around the basket. It was clear that Spiller has a high IQ, making the simple, correct play time and time again. The smooth lefty was a vital part in CBA’s comeback win over Palmetto Elite, ending the game with 18 points.

CJ Sabb (Palmetto Elite)- Sabb is an unsigned CG from South Carolina and definitely played like it today. Sabb looked like a veteran in the first half against CBA United and led his team with 12 first-half points coming in a variety of ways. As things got going for CBA in the second half, Sabb tried to get others involved and keep his teammates composed. Although Palmetto suffered a 2-point loss, it was an impressive performance overall for Sabb, who finished with 17 points.

Raphael Rogers, Christian McLean (Inspire Atlanta)- This wing duo accounted for nearly half of Inspire’s points (14 each) in their afternoon battle against Sports Academy South. McLean (Wesleyan) showed furious aggression in transition, almost too much for his own good at times, but this attribute is what makes him go. After getting to the basket a few times for scores, McLean had some nice dumps to teammates for easy buckets. If he continues to develop as a distributor as well, McLean will be a scary prospect. Rogers (Douglas County) has a nice, strong body for a perimeter player and displayed some good versatility to his game. He knew when to use his strength to get inside but also knocked down open outside shots and was quite unselfish in sharing the ball when he could have looked for his own scoring opportunities. It will be interesting to see how these two improve before the July live period.

Isaiah Bauman (Sports Aacademy South)- Bauman is a speedy guard out of Augusta and showed a full offensive arsenal in an OT win over Inspire Atlanta on Saturday afternoon. Whether it was a deep-ball, a mid-range pull-up, or a drive to the basket, it seemed that Bauman always had something up his sleeve for Academy. Whenever Inspire looked like they were gaining momentum, Bauman responded with a big play for Academy. Bauman controlled the game, played with solid change of pace, and finished with an impressive 18 points in the win.

Chris Barnette (NC Runnin’ Rebels)- Barnette, a guard from North Carolina, may have been my favorite player from the whole day. Barnette played with an endless motor and was bouncing around the court each and every play. He hounded the opposing team’s primary ball-handler every possession, got in passing lanes off the ball, and even snuck in for a few offensive rebounds. This goes without mentioning his superior shooting and passing ability; Barnette had 14 points on (3) 3’s, a plethora of assists in transition off his steals, and made sure there was crisp ball movement in the half-court. Barnette may not be the biggest player but his tremendous energy and activity really make up for it.

Bob Gibbons – Saturday 16U Eye Openers

Contributed by Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)

Bryson Childress, Levontae Knox (PSB Select)- Starting off with an early morning game in an off-site auxiliary gym didn’t seem to have any effect on the play of this PSB duo. Childress, a PG, and Knox, a wing, have nice chemistry together and had things rolling early against Vanguard Elite. Childress hit a few outside shots early and then began to facilitate to Knox and other teammates, a role in which he excelled. Knox was at his best attacking the rim in transition with the help of pesky defense by Childress, but also had some nice moments in half-court offense putting the ball on the floor to get inside and taking a few perimeter shots. Childress (9 points) and Knox (13 points) were two of the main pieces in securing the win for the NC program.

Jaxon Etter (North Atlanta Orangemen)– After a strong performance in the morning against Game Elite, Etter (Etowah) followed up with another effective outing against BCB on Saturday night. Etter has impressive size and physicality for a guard/wing at the 16U level, bullying his way to the basket where he both finished through contact and drew fouls. Etter also showed the ability to grab rebounds and push down the court into pull-up jumpers. His attack mentality led to 17 points on the night.

Ashton Young (BCB Black)- Going against Etter for BCB was Young, and he was an absolute beast. Young (Buford) scored solid 6 points in the first half, but took it to another level in the second half. The athletic, active wing was grabbing offensive rebounds, slashing from the perimeter, and ran hard in transition throughout the game. The Orangemen could not keep him away from the basket or free throw line and Young eventually finished with 27 points for BCB. His effort helped lead them to a close 58-56 win.

Drew Pember (EOTO TN)- In a bracket play matchup against Stackhouse Elite, Pember and his EOTO looked to continue to prove themselves on the big stage. The EOTO team encountered a lot of foul trouble and struggled to score in the first half, facing a 30-21 deficit at halftime. After a scoreless first half, Pember turned things around in the second half. Pember, a long, lean forward, proved that he can step out and shoot from the perimeter but also showed impressive mobility and athleticism. Pember scored 9 points in the second half and although the EOTO comeback just barely fell short, he and his team look like they should be followed closely in the future.