Battle For Georgia notes

15U

TSF Mack 2022

TSF Mack (Champions)

Bruce Thornton Jr.2022 6-2 PG Bruce Thornton Jr. (Milton): Bruce Thornton Jr. made his case for No. 1 point guard in the 2022 class in a big way. With the stage set to battle the likes of Scooter Henderson and USA Basketball’s Dillon Hunter, it was Thornton who reigned supreme and seized the moment. The powerful point led TSF to an 85-71 championship win over Game Elite Big 5, pouring in 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals against Henderson, highlighted by three straight threes in the second half to blow the game open after going for 21 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists in a 64-55 semifinal victory against Hunter’s Georgia Stars. What separates Thornton from other guards in the state is his constant influence on the game. He has a true stranglehold on the game from the moment he steps on the floor. You always know Thornton is on the court with how he controls the flow and doesn’t waste any possessions. While his star-studded opposition had strong moments sprinkled throughout their matchups, they never could impose their will like Thornton was able to. The future All-State guard never forces the issue and is always looking to set up his teammates. His physical strength allows him to rebound at a high level and his lateral quickness helps him stay in front of speedy guards that like to get downhill. The Class 7A Freshman of the Year is ready to take off.

2022 6-8 F Chauncey Wiggins (Eastside): Going up against already established star Joyful Hawkins in the 15U championship, Chauncey Wiggins set the tone early in the first half to help TSF take a double-digit lead into halftime. Wiggins turned heads with his soft stroke from the outside. At 6-foot-8, the lanky stretch forward buried jumper after jumper to loosen the defense. He hit two threes en route to 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Wiggins’ favorite move was a fadeaway jumper out of the post, an unblockable shot. He loved taking Dirk Nowitzki-esque one-footed turn-around’s from the mid-range. Wiggins’ ceiling is among the highest in the 2022 class. Adding more weight on his frame will help him become a better rebounder. Wiggins projects to be a High Major recruit.

2022 6-1 PG Kobe Davis (Langston Hughes): In the two games I saw, Kobe Davis played the best I’ve ever seen him play, averaging 12 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 assists. Davis was more aggressive finding his shot than he usually is with Langston Hughes and had his outside shot locked in, hitting two threes apiece in each of his games. Davis benefited from playing off the ball with Bruce Thornton and Devin Farrell, two other guards that do a great job of swinging the ball around until an open shot is found. Davis excelled with his willingness to rebound and helped start fastbreaks.

2022 6-0 PG Devin Farrell (Milton): Sometimes an unsung hero due to his willingness to share the ball, Devin Farrell is quickly emerging as one of my favorite guards in the 2022 class. A well-built football player, Farrell is a quarterback on the court with his vision. He averaged 5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists and showed the ability to knock down the open three. Farrell won’t put up the offensive numbers that some of his teammates will, but he’s a reliable pass-first guard that will only improve as he gets older.

Game Elite Big 5 (Runner-Up)

2022 6-2 PG Scooter Henderson (Kell): Scooter Henderson blew up over the NCAA Live Period and continued his strong play at Battle For Georgia. He went toe-to-toe with Bruce Thornton and had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Henderson is aggressive getting to the rim. In his matchup against Thornton, he looked more explosive and bouncier than Thornton whereas Thornton seemed stronger. Either way, both guards were effective in their own styles of play. Henderson has a toughness about his game and competes on both ends.

2022 6-8 F Joyful Hawkins (Brunswick): Put in pick-and-roll situations, Joyful Hawkins is one of Georgia’s elite when it comes to diving to the basket, catching and finishing. He carried the Big 5 with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks in the championship game. The majority of his points came at the rim but Hawkins is a capable mid-range shooter as well. His length and strength and ability to finish with authority makes him a tough matchup at the 15U level.

2022 6-2 SG Cameron Johnson (Harrison): Gifted with a physical frame, the bowling ball off-guard showed his scoring touch as the third option for the Big 5. He had 15 points and made three threes in the process. Johnson got into the lane and hit some tough shots in traffic as well.

Georgia Stars

2022 6-6 W TJ Grant (Veterans): I liked what I saw out of TJ Grant in his first impression as he collected 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in a loss to TSF. Grant is a big wing that is shifty when getting to the basket using euro-steps. He can pluck rebounds and start his own fastbreak with his ball handling. Overall, I liked his aggressiveness and effort. I’d like to see more of him.

2022 6-4 W Robert Cowherd (Denmark): The thing that stood out to me most about Robert Cowherd was his motor and constant effort, even when the Stars weren’t going to complete a comeback. Cowherd played hard and his stat line reflected it, posting 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. He hit two threes to balance his offensive attack.

2022 6-5 PG Dillon Hunter (Westlake): Dillon Hunter was on double duty, splitting time with the 16U and 15U Georgia Stars. Against Bruce Thornton and TSF, Hunter had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 1 block. Hunter has a good future ahead of him and the natural tools to become a star, but he isn’t quite as polished as Thornton and faded in and out of the game at times. Hunter’s first instinct is to get to the lane where he had some success in traffic. As he develops a three-point shot, he will become even better. He could become a defensive standout with his length in due time.

Team YRN

2023 6-2 CG David Thomas (Eagle’s Landing): David Thomas has long been a burgeoning star just waiting to get to the high school ranks and the GHSA. As an eight grader, he led New Creation Christian Academy in scoring and now shifts over to Eagle’s Landing to embark on his GHSA career. Thomas is a strong and smooth guard that knows how to score. He had 9 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in a 70-47 blowout of Atlanta Xpress. Thomas has a high release point on his jumper and gets his shots off in a variety of ways. He will be an impactful piece at Eagle’s Landing.

Jermarhi Hill2022 6-3 G Jermarhi Hill (Berkmar): A wiry guard that transferred in from Alabama, Jermarhi Hill was instant offense off the bench for YRN. He had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He brought energy on both sides of the ball. Hill is good at snaking into the paint and has good vision when dumping off to open teammates. His feel for the game looked advanced.

ATL Xpress

2022 6-0 CG Kami Young (North Cobb Christian): A compact strong combo guard, Kami Young is a strong shooter that can open the floor. He came out hot with eight of his 13 points coming in the first few minutes of the first half. He tacked on 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals in an ugly loss to Team YRN. Young is a good scorer but he had opportunities to showcase his calmness as a ballhandler against a relentless YRN press that turned the Xpress over countless times. Next time against a team like that, I’d like to see him help stabilize the offense with the ball in his hands.

16U

Game Elite 2021

Game Elite (Champions)

2021 6-7 PF Ja’Heim Hudson (South Gwinnett): Every time I watch Ja’Heim Hudson play, I fall more and more in love with his game. Hudson was outstanding in Game Elite’s comeback win over the Georgia Stars for the 16U Championship. Game Elite trailed 33-22 at the half before Hudson took over down the stretch and helped propel them to a 72-64 win. The big fella scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to pair with his 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Hudson is ambidextrous on the low block, able to score with both hands. He is a savvy passer out of the post and a stronger rebounder. He plays above the rim with his finishes and defensively, is a strong rim protector. Hudson even went 3-for-3 from the foul line. The great thing about Hudson is that he knows what he’s good at and sticks to it. He doesn’t stray away from his strengths and provides production night in and night out. Mid-Major schools should start the recruitment process.

2021 6-5 PF Robbie Armbrester (Therrell): After somewhat of a slow start, Robbie Armbrester got back to playing bully ball and helped ignite the comeback. Armbrester feeds off of intensity and emotion and once he got the juices flowing, there was no taming him. He pounded away for 12 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. By now you should know what to expect with Armbrester. All effort, all energy, all in the paint.

Georgia Stars (Runner-Up)

2021 5-10 PG AJ White (Chattahoochee): The undersized scoring dynamo averaged 11 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his two final games of the day. In the semifinals, he caught fire with three straight threes to spark a 17-0 run which erased an 11-point halftime deficit against the Atlanta Celtics and pushed them to a 70-68 victory. White is an elite shooter with microwave tendencies. Continuing to improve his point guard skills and his ability to get in the lane and finish through contact will help round out his game. Defensively he provides some scrappiness and fights over screens well.

2020 6-6 W Quincy Ademokoya (Dacula): Playing down a grade and with rumors swirling that he will be transferring across Gwinnett County and eventually reclassifiying, Quincy Ademokoya looked much more decisive and crisper with the Georgia Stars. He had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in the championship game and knocked down two threes.

Atlanta Celtics

2021 6-2 G Myles Rice (Eastside): Myles Rice put together a strong game against the Georgia Stars with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Rice has good size and can play either guard position. He has a scorer’s mentality and can get points at all three levels. He knocked down two threes and scored off the dribble.

2021 6-1 PG Danny Stubbs (Pebblebrook): Danny Stubbs has a mature feel to his game as a lead guard that scores when needed but excels at getting his teammates easy buckets. He had 9 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal vs. the Georgia Stars. Stubbs is good at probing the defense and knowing when to pull back for a jumper.

HYPE Hawks

Matt Cleveland2021 6-6 W Matt Cleveland (Pace Academy): Fresh off an invite to the USA Basketball Minicamp later this month, Matt Cleveland was masterful in an 85-41 destruction of Team EAT. Cleveland scored 24 of his game-high 29 points in the first half and added 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 steals to boot. Cleveland was electric in transition, living above the rim and throwing down a handful of poster dunks throughout the day. He covers so much ground when attacking the basket in such a short amount of time, defenders aren’t able to wall up and cut him off. Cleveland looks ready to assert himself for a full 32 minutes for a full season at his new home at Pace Academy. Cleveland should have the Knights as a favorite to win the Class 3A state championship with his silky-smooth play.

2021 6-7 PF Devin McGlockton (South Forsyth): The more I see Devin McGlockton play, the more I see a future D-I player. McGlockton has made the most out of his opportunities with the HYPE Hawks, especially when Cole Middleton went down with another injury. Now that Middleton is back, McGlockton still looks like a blossoming big in the 2021 class. He reminds me a of current Mercer freshman James Glisson – a strong bodied forward that can score in the paint, rebound, alter shots and step outside to the three-point line. McGlockton might not be as good on the perimeter as Glisson was, but the other traits are starting to shine through. He had 12 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block against Team EAT. Low Majors and strong D-II programs should keep an eye on him.

Team EAT

2021 6-4 F Christian Sadler (Druid Hills): Christian Sadler played bigger than his size and provided a toughness and mean streak for Team EAT. Sadler had 4 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 7 blocks in his lone game. Sadler has long arms and good defensive timing.

17U

Georgia Knights

Georgia Knights (Champions)

Chris Youngblood2020 6-4 SG Chris Youngblood (East Coweta): Just when you think you’ve said everything that’s been needed to say about Chris Youngblood, you find yourself scrambling for more words to describe just how good he is and how meteoric his rise has been. The 17U MVP was the best player in the gym the entire event. Youngblood was unstoppable, averaging 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals over his three-game stretch, hitting 6 threes and going 9-of-15 from the line. The Kennesaw State-commit has firmly asserted himself as one of Georgia’s elite scorers and possibly its best shooting guard. His mixture of physicality and finesse makes him the complete package. Against nationally ranked blue-chip prospects of the Atlanta Celtics, Youngblood had 32 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal in the 17U Championship as the Knights held on 80-79 after Youngblood fouled out with 48.1 seconds left. Out of his 32 points, 30 came via inside the arc. Youngblood was locked in all day with pull-ups from the mid-range, strong finishes in the paint and from the three-point line. Youngblood is a program changing player at Kennesaw State, a school which may mirror East Coweta. Youngblood didn’t step into a perfect situation in Sharpsburg but has seen his win totals increase from 5 before he was a freshman to 14 to 13 to last season’s 24-win campaign. Youngblood could provide a similar impact at Kennesaw State and cultivate a winning culture.

Kirshon Thrash2020 6-4 G Kirshon Thrash (Eagle’s Landing): As good as Chris Youngblood was, Kirshon Thrash was equally impressive and rose his stock through the roof, solidifying him as a future D-I player in my eyes. I’ve been intrigued with Thrash for a while now but that intrigue has grown into love for what he is as a player. Thrash is a grown man at guard or whatever position you’d like to classify him as. He is truly positionless; he is a producer. Thrash is the state’s best rebounding guard bar none and is probably in the discussion for best rebounder regardless of position. Thrash can play every position at the high school level. In the championship against the Atlanta Celtics, he spent time at point guard on offense while defending 6-foot-9 Mississippi State-commit Bayron Matos on the low block and holding him to 2 points and 1 rebound. Thrash is the ultimate stat sheet stuffer and jack-of-all-trades. Thrash kicked off the event by bullying Team Georgia Magic for 24 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. In a blowout of Team Forrest he had a modest 3 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists, but ramped it back up in the title game, going for 13 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Thrash uses his body so well in every facet of the game whether it be angling for rebounds, defending the post or using his shoulders to drive by defenders. Thrash is a bulldog on the offensive glass, recording a countless amount of put-backs. On offense, Thrash is a capable three-point shooter but prefers the mid-range and in. He hit some tough pull ups off the dribble throughout the day. Thrash will be a super glue guy at the next level. He can affect games without pouring in points. Presbyterian was the first to offer the bowling ball guard. I think it would behoove more Low Majors to start evaluating Thrash ASAP.

Atlanta Celtics (Runner-Up)

2020 6-5 W Toneari Lane (Grayson): Steady as a rock. That is what you get out of Toneari Lane. While Deivon Smith and Dwon Odom might garner more of the headlines and be the highlight stars of the team, Lane is the hard-hat lunch pail guy that goes to work every day. Lane had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block in the championship. Lane is an efficient three-point shooter, hitting two in the title game. He has a nice jump shot but still the toughness to get a bucket when he puts his head down. Lane’s best moment for me however was when he consoled a teammate after a crucial mistake down the stretch. Instead of yelling at him like another player did, Lane calmly patted him on the chest to let him know that he was ok. Small little moments of maturity and leadership like that are part of what makes Lane such a strong player and person.

Team Forrest

2020 6-6 W Melvin Edwards (Carrollton): When no one else could buy a basket in a 76-52 loss to the Georgia Knights, Melvin Edwards was the lone player that showed up in the semifinals. The big wing had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Edwards has evolved into a reliably productive commodity. Great target for Low to Mid Majors.

Team Georgia Magic

2021 6-7 PF Quay Primas (Central-Macon): Anchoring a young group playing up, Quay Primas was great in the second half but couldn’t dig the Magic out of a 41-17 halftime hole, eventually losing 71-53 to the Georgia Knights. Primas scores in a variety of ways. He knocks down baseline jumpers, attacks from the high post and of course scores with his back to the basket. The big lefty has range out to the three-point line as well. He posted 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in his second Battle For Georgia.

2021 6-5 W Kowacie Reeves Jr. (Westside-Macon): All arms and legs, the spindly wing has blown up over a year’s time with a handful of Power 5 offers. He had 13 points, 3 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 block against the grown man backcourt of the Georgia Knights – a tough assignment. Reeves didn’t hit any trademark threes, but that’s a good thing for his development. Formerly just a three-point specialist, Reeves has begun rounding into a more versatile scorer. He had a beautifully smooth reverse layup – maybe the prettiest finish of the event – and showed more than just finesse when he threw down a wicked And-1 dunk. His activity on defense was a positive sign as well. Putting more of an effort into rebounding the ball will help provide value in the future.

NCAA Georgia GHSA Team Camp notes

Alexander

2020 6-1 PG Jaylon Brown: The quick floor general nearly led the Cougars to a come from behind win against Berkmar before falling by two points. Jaylon Brown, known for his playmaking, showed leadership and a scoring touch in his 11-point, 4-rebound, 3-assist performance. Brown is a trusty high school guard that plays fast. Schools looking for a true point guard need to monitor Brown’s final season. If he can score the ball consistently his senior season, his stock will continue to rise.

2020 6-8 PF Bryce Robinson: After seeing his role grow over three seasons, learning behind The Citadel’s Brady Spence, Bryce Robinson is now fully ready to be Alexander’s bell cow big man. Robinson might not be quite as long as Spence was but he’s got a solid body and a fundamental skillset behind it.  Robinson had 8 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 4 blocks against Berkmar.  The big red head has a nice back-to-the-basket repertoire highlighted by a baby hook. Robinson battled Berkmar’s bigs exceptionally well, rebounding the ball with both hands in traffic. Robinson should follow in Spence’s foot steps and garner some D-I looks.

Berkmar

2022 6-9 F Malique Ewin: Berkmar hit the transfer market hard this offseason and scored a true gem in Malique Ewin. The Rockdale-native had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocks in a 37-35 win over Alexander. Ewin is a load inside at 238 pounds, but the skilled big handles like a guard. He moves great in transition and can catch and finish on the run. On the low block, he has good footwork and doesn’t get rushed. Ewin has a soft touch that extends to the three-point line as well. Big men usually take some time to develop but Ewin is the complete package already. Depending on how he fits into Berkmar’s style of play, Ewin could end up being the cornerstone to the Patriots’ success. I need to see more of him but in his limited sample size, Ewin looks like a High Major forward with a skyscraper’s ceiling. I’d be shocked if he isn’t in the discussion for being the top player in Georgia’s 2022 class three years from now.

Buford

Jaylon Taylor2022 6-6 W Jaylon Taylor: The young long-armed wing made a good first impression in a win over St. Pius X, putting up 12 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Taylor showed range on him jump shot, hitting two threes while defensively, he guarded multiple positions. With plenty of opportunities now up for the taking at Buford, Taylor is on the right track.

Cherokee

Taihland Owens2021 6-5 CG Taihland Owens: Cherokee County’s next big thing is starting to round into form. After piling in the points as a sophomore, its now time for the wins to follow. Up against Caleb Byrd of Rome, Owens posted 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in a 54-42 win in convincing fashion. Owens is a talented scorer that gets his points from all three levels. As he continues to grow his point guard skills and stays locked in on defense, more offers will pour in. Owens is a High Major player and one I’ve had my eye on since eighth grade.

Elijah Tucker2021 6-7 F Elijah Tucker: I will admit that Elijah Tucker did not make a great first impression last season in the only game I watched him: 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in a loss to Drew Charter, but the emerging combo forward has been making strides with his game ever since. Instead of floating away to the perimeter like he did in my first evaluation, Tucker was active and got his work done around the basket on Sunday. He had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 1 assist, never relenting on the glass and forcing defenders to hack away at him. He went 12-of-15 from the foul line. Tucker is still just scratching the surface of what he can become but with great blood lines (son of former Tennessee post player LaShonda Stephens Tucker), colleges have taken notice of his upside. St. Johns, Iowa, Northwestern and Middle Tennessee State all offered after camp.

Cherokee Bluff

2021 6-7 F Corey Thomas: The younger brother of former WNBA player Christi Thomas, Corey has some untapped potential that might come to fruition soon. He had 10 points and 8 rebounds in a loss to Evans. Thomas’ skills are still developing as he had some raw moments on the floor. Defensively he needs to wall up better and not get tempted to swat down at any shots. Offensively, he is still putting together go-to moves and an identity. Check back on him this time next year to see his progress.

Creekview

Spencer McDonald2020 6-6 F Spencer McDonald: Watching Spencer McDonald for the first time in years left me extremely impressed. Possessing a strong rugged frame, McDonald assaulted Lithia Springs’ frontline with 18 points and 6 rebounds. McDonald was aggressive, scoring with his back to the basket and when facing up from 15-feet out. He had nice footwork out of both areas and finished above the rim a handful of times. If McDonald can consistently play like he did on Sunday, he should be a late blooming option for small colleges.

Denmark

Adonnis Tolbert2020 6-6 PF Adonnis Tolbert: Coaches were buzzing about Tolbert’s performance against Hart County. A standout football player as well, the chiseled 205-pound wide receiver played above the rim like he does every game. Tolbert is one of Georgia’s most explosively powerful players, a true rim-rocker that rattles the backboard. He posterized one defender with a breathtaking jam. Tolbert is more than just an athlete however. He’s got a nice jumper out to 15-feet and elevates over defenders inside for turnaround jumpers and hooks in the lane. He had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks.

Douglas County

2021 6-3 CG Omari Fonteno: I liked Fonteno’s mindset and aggressiveness in Douglas County’s 50-49 OT win over Lithonia. The active guard scored the ball in a variety of ways including hitting two threes. Fonteno’s energy extended to the hustle stats as well, posting 10 rebounds to go along with his 2 assists.

Evans

Christian Chambers2020 6-2 G Christian Chambers: Out of the Augusta area, Christian Chambers is one of the better guards in the state of Georgia that doesn’t get as much attention statewide as he probably deserves.  The southpaw can score the ball at all three levels and has nice length on the perimeter. He had 18 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in a 45-43 win over Cherokee Bluff. Chambers loves getting to his left hand but needs to get a little more confidence in his right to fully round out his offensive attack. Chambers at the very least should be on D-II radars and with a strong senior season could see some Low Major D-I schools offer.

Fayette County

2020 6-1 G JeKobe Coleman: Widely regarded as one of the best shooters in the state of Georgia, Coleman did not disappoint against Holy Innocents’, dropping in four threes en route to 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Coleman is a bit undersized for the shooting guard position at the next level and currently does much of his damage off the ball. Improving his point guard skills will help him prepare for college.

Greenforest

2020 6-11 F Christian Fussell: After an unstable first few seasons of transferring around the state, Christian Fussell has found stability and success at Greenforest as he has come into his own. Fussell has been one of the hottest big men prospects in the Southeast, picking up offers at a rapid rate due to his ability to shoot the ball. Fussell had 9 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in a win over Woodville-Tompkins. He has toughened up his game over the past three seasons and rebounded well at camp. Playing at Greenforest he seems more comfortable being able to spend time on the perimeter instead of solely playing inside. With other 7-footers now in the mix, Fussell has the chance to showcase his soft touch throughout his senior season. He is the definition of a stretch big.

2021 5-11 PG Kedrick Green: One of the state’s best table setters, Kedrick Green will have to do a lot for Greenforest after moving in from Meadowcreek. The Eagles run out a line up of three forwards 6-foot-8 or bigger and 6-foot-6 Lamar Oden on the wing. While Oden can handle some of the ball handling and playmaking abilities from time to time, it is Green’s responsibility for the full 32 to make sure everyone is where they need to be. He has to put Greenforest’s bigs in position to do the most damage possible, making his ability to spoon feed them for assists a key to their success. Green had 2 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists against Woodville-Tompkins. He is never asked to score much but can tack on some points when needed. Greenforest has the biggest front court in the state and possibly the nation, but one of the smallest backcourts with Khi Cook and Juwell Wilson both well under 6-feet. If Green’s passing wasn’t already highlighted during his time at Meadowcreek, it will surely draw praise this year as Green quite possibly may be the most important piece to the Greenforest puzzle.

Hart County

2022 6-3 W JC Curry: With three key cogs out of the lineup, JC Curry had to step up. The frizzy-haired swingman buried three threes and completed an alley-oop layup before slamming his head in the second half. When Curry plays with confidence, his skill level exudes. He had 11 points.

Holy Innocents’

2021 6-4 G Garrison Powell: Garrison Powell played free and flowing in 4-point loss to Fayette County. He collected 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals. Powell has a smooth game on the perimeter and a confident stroke. His rebounding stood out as an added plus.

2021 5-11 PG Justin Wilson: Justin Wilson has a good feel for the game from the point guard position. He’s compactly built and has strength when getting in the paint. He has good court vision and passes the ball well in traffic. He finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 1 block against Fayette County. With Chance Moore and Garrison Powell the obvious top two scoring options, Wilson is in a good position to rack up the assists and find his own open looks on ball reversals. I really enjoyed his style of play.

2021 6-4 F Landon Kardian: Rugged, relentless and fearless are three phrases that accurately describe Landon Kardian’s mentality on the court. The football wide receiver brings his toughness to a somewhat undersized group that desperately needs someone to play big. Kardian contributed 11 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block. The lefty seeks contact and powers his way through it. His can-do attitude on the floor left a lasting impression.

Jeff Davis

2020 6-6 W Ja’Queze Kirby: If you aren’t on the Ja’Queze Kirby bandwagon yet, you better hop on. Kirby had some jaw-dropping moments throughout camp but his drop-step splitting two defenders and finishing with a one-handed jam in traffic was something to behold. Kirby is a High Major recruit and one of Georgia’s most complete players. He had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in a loss to West Forsyth, hitting three three-pointers along the way. Kirby is a tremendous playmaker that makes everyone around him so much better. His motor when gassed up is as good as it gets. Mercer and Old Dominion offered after camp but I would be stunned if he doesn’t end up at a Power 5 school.

2022 6-0 SG CJ Parker: With college coaches lined up to watch Ja’Queze Kirby, CJ Parker made a nice impression with his shot-making ability. He had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Parker is a sharpshooter with a quick trigger, hitting two threes. Parker showed some toughness when getting to the basket. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Parker has a sneaky good future in Hazlehurst.

Kennesaw Mountain

Perry Robinson2020 6-7 F Perry Robinson: Schools looking for a bit of a sleeper with high upside should look no further than Perry Robinson. Robinson is a tweener combo-forward that can provide quality minutes at the wing but also thrive as a stretch-four. Robinson has some fast-twitch fibers that makes him quick and shifty with the ball when getting downhill. He likes to attack the basket but has a quality jump shot as well. He nailed two threes vs. Woodstock in an effort of 17 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. I’d like to see more of Robinson. He looks like one of the better forwards in the state of Georgia. Strong D-II programs and Low Majors should put Robinson on their watch list.

Zyon Gaddis2020 6-8 C Zyon Gaddis: A big space-eater, Gaddis showed a nice touch at camp and a hunger for rebounding the ball. He had 14 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks against Woodstock. Not much of an above the rim player, Gaddis used his strong frame to position himself for caroms. He had soft hands around the rim scoring the ball with baby hooks. He can stand to trim up his body some more which will help his athleticism, but Gaddis looks like a useful piece at the collegiate level.

MJ Matthews2022 6-0 PG MJ Matthews: Flying under the radar in the 2022 class is MJ Matthews. The tough point guard has a mature feel to his game. He gets two feet in the paint and either finishes strong at the rim or kicks out to open shooters. I liked his court vision and his overall competitiveness. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block. He is willing to mix it up on both ends of the floor. Developing a jump shot will be key over the next three seasons.

Langston Hughes

2022 6-4 W Elijah Walden: With PJ Carter struggling with his shot against Tift County, Elijah Walden provided value as a slasher and active rebounder. Blessed with a mature body already close to being college ready, Walden attacked on offense and gave Langston Hughes some much needed aggression on the perimeter. He had 9 points (1 three), 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in a 1-point loss. While Kobe Davis has drawn more attention from colleges thus far, I think Walden has a chance to become one of Georgia’s better prospects.

Lithia Springs

Anthony Hardy2020 6-1 G Anthony Hardy: The scoring dynamo didn’t disappoint against Creekview albeit a slow first half. Hardy ran wild in transition in the second half, scoring 16 of his game-high 20 points to go along with his 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Hardy isn’t the best athlete in Georgia, the most physically imposing or the top three-point shooter, but he is a wired-to-score bucket getter, something that can’t be overlooked or taught.  He thrived off turnovers and turned his defense into easy offense.

Antonio Lewis2020 6-1 G Antonio Lewis: While Anthony Hardy got the majority of his points in run outs and hard drives to the basket, Antonio Lewis sniped away from distance, hitting three threes and multiple jumpers en route to 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Lewis’ ability to stroke the ball gives him value at the next level. He and Hardy make up a great 1-2 punch in West Georgia and a must-see backcourt for colleges looking for scorers.

Lithonia

Eric Gaines2020 6-2 PG Eric Gaines: The uber-athletic string bean stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks against Douglas County. Gaines plays with panache, a human highlight whether streaking to the rim for an electrifying dunk or dishing off a flashy assist. Gaines hasn’t popped with colleges or national recruiting services yet but make no mistake, he is one of the best in Georgia’s deep 2020 class at the lead guard position and a valid D-I level prospect.

2020 5-6 PG Javontae Jackson: The Chapel Hill transfer is a speed merchant with the ball. He had 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Jackson is a pest on defense, able to get up under ball handlers and apply pressure.

Monroe

Domonik Henderson2022 6-2 G Domonik Henderson: The reigning Class 3A Freshman of the Year turned heads at camp. An elite athlete with a motor to boot, Henderson was constantly involved in every play in a 48-32 win over Johnson-Gainesville. Henderson is tenacious on-ball defender with the upside of being truly elite. His hunger to play defense separates him from most players his age. Offensively his three-point shot is still coming along and he’s more of a slasher. He had 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 1 block. Under the new tutelage of Coach Michael Hoffpauir, Henderson has a chance to turn into something special.

North Clayton

Derrius Martin2021 5-11 PG Derrius Martin: 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals against Northeast-Macon, Derrius Martin continued with his strong summer impressing me yet again. Martin is tough with the ball and makes good reads. He’s got a knack for getting into the paint and finishing through contact. Martin is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

Xavier Valley2020 6-8 W Xavier Valley: Xavier Valley is a streaky shooter at times but he’s got the ability to score in bunches. He hit five threes and finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block. Missouri State offered him at camp. He’s got the tools to solidify himself as a premier wing in Georgia. Boston College, UConn, Memphis, VCU and Georgia already have offered.

Pace Academy

2021 6-6 W Matt Cleveland: In a loss to Sequoyah, Cleveland had some “wow” moments. To start the game he had an emphatic block and then swooped in for a dunk on the other end – illuminating his skill on both sides of the ball. Cleveland finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. His play over camp has led to offers from Kansas State, Miami, Maryland, Florida and Iowa State.

Pebblebrook

2021 6-7 F Blake Hadley: Out of all of Pebblebrook’s talented wings and forwards in the 2021 class, I had heard the least about Blake Hadley. Listed at 220 pounds, Hadley is a strong well-built forward that is tough to keep off the glass. He had a solid game against Woodville-Tompkins with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 blocks. With a James Madison offer already in hand, I expect more offers to come for the rugged post presence.

2021 6-0 PG Danny Stubbs Jr.: With a stable of talented wings and forwards, Danny Stubbs Jr. has a plethora of weapons at his disposal. Stubbs is tough in transition but even in the half court, his smooth approach to the game is apparent. Stubbs has a sweet jump shot and enough quickness to get inside the paint. His passing and on-ball defense are underrated aspects of his game. He had 10 points (2 threes) and 4 assists in a win over Woodville-Tompkins.

Rome

2020 6-2 G Caleb Byrd: A great athlete, Caleb Byrd plays bigger than his size thanks to his bounce and his scoring prowess. He had 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in a loss to Cherokee. He didn’t hit any threes against the Warriors but when he’s locked in, its easy to see why he averaged over 25 points per game last season. Mercer, Appalachian State, South Alabama and Murray State all offered after camp.

Sequoyah

2020 6-3 W Jacksen Greco: Not many players rose their stock quite like Jacksen Greco did. The unorthodoxed sharpshooting lefty lit it up all weekend, especially against Pace Academy when he hit four threes and finished with 23 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. Formerly just a three-point specialist, Greco has evolved his game into becoming a well-rounded scoring threat, complete with floaters in the lane and the ability to draw contact when driving to the rim. He scored at all three levels and colleges took notice as Mercer became the first school to offer the southpaw. Greco still has a unique look about him, an Adam Morrison-esque flow and a similar scoring prowess. He probably doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves, but Greco is a greatly improved athlete which shines through most when he comes flying in for rebounds.

St. Pius X

2022 6-1 G Chase Cormier: Cormier picked up a Kennesaw State offer and had SEC schools in attendance regularly at his games. He averaged close to 20 points per game on the weekend, drilling a handful of threes each game. He netted three in a 15-point outing against Buford and impressed with his ball-handling and court vision over the weekend. Cormier will be the focal point of the St. Pius offense and will have a lot on his plate his sophomore season.

Statesboro

Zarion Griffin2020 6-3 G Zarion Griffin: Zarion Griffin shot the ball well in a 41-26 loss to Washington County. He scored 14 points and hit three threes. Griffin has nice size on the perimeter and a scorer’s mentality. He didn’t have enough help to keep pace with Washington County but challenged their defense with his shot-making. Griffin holds a 2.4 GPA and claims interest from Georgia Southern.

Tift County

Jatorion Warren2021 6-6 F Jatarion Warren: One of South Georgia’s hottest prospects, Jatarion Warren made the most of his time in Metro Atlanta, leading Tift County to a 43-42 win over Langston Hughes to kick off camp on Saturday. Warren had 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks and the game-winning free throw in sudden death overtime. Warren was all over the floor on both ends of the court, flying in for rebounds and swatting away shots to protect the rim. Offensively, Warren hit jumpers with his high release including a three-pointer and scored efficiently around the basket. As far as wing skills go, it looked like Warren’s outside shooting might be a little ahead of his perimeter ball handling, but his motor on the glass and defensively make him one of South Georgia’s most impactful players.

Washington County

Jarden Maze2020 6-2 PG Jarden Maze: Maze owned the stage in a South Georgia showcase game vs. Statesboro. His playmaking ability shined as he split defenders and got to the rim on multiple occasions. Maze has a slippery way about him, making him a tough cover. He had some nice finishes at the basket but more impressive was his passing. He is able to find open teammates in tough spots and makes everyone around him better. Maze had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. He is a capable three-point shooter, making him a threat at all three levels. Maze looks like a breakout candidate that will be known statewide if he isn’t already. He maintains a 3.7 GPA and has interest from Furman.

West Forsyth

Joseph Staiti2020 6-4 W Joseph Staiti: Cousin of current UGA post player Jenna Staiti, Joseph was outstanding against Ja’Queze Kirby and the Jeff Davis Yellowjackets. Staiti is a true inside-out threat from the wing position. He’s a grinder that can play both forward spots. He had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Staiti’s jumper was honed in, nailing four threes. Small schools need to keep an eye on his progress and make sure he doesn’t slip through their fingers.

Woodstock

2021 6-4 F Ezekiel Pettway: A live body on both ends of the court, Pettway applied pressure on opponents with his steady motor. He had 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist in a loss to Kennesaw Mountain. Pettway has a good-looking stroke and an inside-out feel to his game.

Woodville-Tompkins

2020 6-7 F Bernard Pelote: Pelote garnered a lot of attention last weekend from college coaches and national media alike. To be honest, he did not have his best offensive game with him but it was his motor and effort that carried him through rough shooting stretches. Pelote had some big matchups against some of Georgia’s longest teams. Against Pebblebrook’s highly touted junior class filled with 6-foot-7 wings, Pelote pounded away with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 1 block. Later in the weekend, he had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block vs. Greenforest before getting hurt early in the second half. Pelote handled the ball well for his size throughout camp. He will have to carry more of the offensive burden now that the 2019 class is gone which will help him develop confidence and refine his skillset from the wing. His shot was off, especially against Pebblebrook as he left nearly everything short, but like a good player should, he was able to find his points by attacking the glass for second chance opportunities and by slashing to the basket. Pelote has a nice-looking jumper but it’s still a little inconsistent at this point. He projects to be a wing and is more of a combo-forward right now. I think his defense and rebounding ability is what sets him apart from other wing/forwards in the 2020 class.

2020 6-2 W Omar Starr: There was nothing flashy about Omar Starr’s game but it got the job done. Starr stuck his nose in every 50/50 ball and seemingly had an influence in every play. Starr impressed me with his toughness and his overall effort. He’s a fearless slasher that gets into the heart of the defense and challenges shot blockers.  He had 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. Pebblebrook and had his best game against Greenforest, going for 11 points and 7 rebounds while giving up close to a foot to almost every player that the Eagles dispatched. Tough-nosed guys like Starr might not get the headlines but they are the type of players that help win a lot of games.

Georgia State Team Camp Session II notes

Carrollton

2020 6-6 F Melvin Edwards: Every time there was a rim being rocked on another court, I’d turn my head and see that it was Edwards doing the damage. The high-rising combo forward continued his blow-up summer by dunking everything possible and running the floor in transition. I identified Edwards as a possible D-I recruit at the HoopSeen Tip-Off back in March and college coaches have wisely agreed with Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern and Presbyterian all offering. Edwards is a match-up problem with his versatility scoring inside and out. He has the feel of becoming a special player once he gets to college.

2020 6-3 CG Marcellious Lockett: In an early morning bout with Grayson, Lockett shined with his play on both sides of the ball. He turned defense into offense by playing the passing lanes and getting after it with his on-ball defense. When he had the ball in his hands, he created offense for himself and others, riffling in some no look passes for easy buckets when he wasn’t hunting his own shot. Lockett scored from all three levels and completed some tough finishes at the rim. Lockett hasn’t garnered the D-I offers that Edwards has gotten yet, but if he is patient, I wouldn’t be surprised if some schools start his recruitment if he puts together a strong showing at the NCAA Georgia Live Period Event this weekend.

Grayson

2020 6-4 SG Caleb Murphy: In a 68-53 win over Tri-Cities, the Norcross transfer looked like he was more than capable of being a number one option on a top team, posting 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal with Deivon Smith out of town. Murphy operated in tight spaces with the ball on a string as he wriggled his way out of traps to find freedom. He’s got a quick first step that helps him get into the paint and finish at the rim. He had a nice day with Georgia State’s staff attentively watching.

2021 6-7 PF Ian Schieffelin: Often lost in the shuffle with the great high-flying backcourt of Grayson, since Day 1 when he first dawned the Green and Gold, Ian Schieffelin has been a hard-nosed lunch pail type of post willing to do the dirty work inside. In their win over Tri-Cities, he contributed 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 blocks. Schieffelin snatched down some grown-man rebounds that not even the peskiest of guards would consider swiping at once he controlled it. The former quarterback has a soft touch with the ball and can extend his range to the three-point line when asked to stretch the floor. Schieffelin understands his role and flourishes in it. He was rewarded with an offer from James Madison last weekend; his first scholarship offer.

Tri-Cities

2020 6-4 W Demetrius Rives: One of Fulton’s counties premier fearless slashers, Demetrius Rives, battled Grayson’s high-profile front court and came away with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. Rives is a strong well-built athlete that’s primary goal on offense is to get to the rim. He attacks the basket with bad intentions. He is a strong rebounder for his wing position, using his strength to stay on the glass. Being able to consistently knock down jump shots is an area he will need to improve upon his senior year.

2021 6-2 CG Peyton Daniels: Though he didn’t have his strongest game, Peyton Daniels still hit three threes and finished with 13 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists vs. Grayson. Daniels has a smooth stroke that he can get off the dribble. With DaMarcus Johnson graduating, the team officially belongs to Daniels now. He will be relied upon to score but also create for teammates as well.

Douglass

Angelo Grimes2020 6-1 PG Angelo Grimes: A solid athlete with a calm floor general demeanor, Angelo Grimes averaged 11.5 points over two games and stuffed the stat sheet in a 64-57 win over Johns Creek with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. Grimes did a good job of getting into the paint and kicking out to teammates. He is a pass-first point guard who does his scoring at the rim.

2021 6-2 W JaCorye Favors: The lefty was one of Georgia State Team Camp’s best discoveries on the day. Against Johns Creek he tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block and vs. Mt. Pisgah added 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Favors is an active guard that crashes the glass and plays bigger than his size. He can knock down the open three but did most of his damage slashing to the basket and on the offensive glass. He is transferring in from Maynard Jackson and should be able to give Douglass an immediate lift in Region 6-AA.

Johns Creek

2021 6-3 G Steven Lyles: Just looking at Steven Lyles, the upside he possesses is apparent. Lyles is a gifted athlete with a tremendous frame for a guard. He had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block in a loss to Douglass. He drained two threes but his most eye-opening play was his acrobatic 360 layup on a defender. Lyles is a name to keep in the back of your mind for the next two years.

Mt. Pisgah

2021 5-11 G Chase Tucker: No one was more impressive with their jump shot than Chase Tucker was. The three-point specialist was dialed in, banging in eight threes for 24 points in a 53-41 win over Douglass. Tucker was in a special zone, sinking nearly every attempt he fired up. He carried the load without JoJo Peterson available.

2021 6-7 PF Nate Gordon: Nate Gordon put up 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block against Douglass. At times Gordon still looks a little raw around the basket but he had a few strong finishes when powering up for dunks. Improving his footwork with his back to the basket will open up more scoring opportunities.

Chapel Hill

2021 6-2 G Micah Bell: I’d heard good things about Micah Bell over the past year and the wiry guard did not disappoint, albeit vs. a JV Lovejoy team. Bell is excellent in transition and gets downhill when attacking the basket. He is a bit slight of frame, but takes contact extremely well and finishes through defenders. Bell has some wiggle and bounce to his game and has a knack for scoring. He knocked down two threes in his 25-point outburst to go along with his 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Bell reminds me just a little bit of 2020 Lithonia PG Eric Gaines.

2020 6-1 G Mike Bell: The older brother of Micah, Mike Bell is a stout guard with a three-point stroke. He hit three en route to 15 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and 3 steals. He showed good instincts with his on-ball defense and turned over his opponents. Mike might not be as electric athletically as Micah, but he’s still a reliable guard that helps the offense flow.

Peachtree Ridge

2021 6-4 F Navaughn Maise: Defensively is where Navaughn Maise made his strongest impact against Parkview. The strong framed forward contributed 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. He plays bigger than his size and has good hands in traffic. Maise is the type of player that coaches can trust to battle in the trenches.

Parkview

2021 6-3 W Miles Kelly: Miles Kelly heated up in the second half, scoring 11 of his game-high 15 points to lead Parkview past Peachtree Ridge 49-46. He hit two threes before going 5-of-6 from the line to close the game. Kelly has nice length on the perimeter and a good future ahead.

2020 6-2 G Allen Terrell: Allen Terrell kept constant pressure on opposing ball handlers and played a key role in Parkview’s comeback. Terrell had 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 6 steals and 1 block. His willingness to defend sparked the Panthers and his energy was contagious in the second half.

South Gwinnett

2021 6-7 PF Ja’Heim Hudson: Already known as a double-double threat, Ja’Heim Hudson could be on his way to becoming a D-I recruit. Hudson looked good in a 55-25 win over Marietta, scoring 8 points to go with his 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Hudson showed off a baby hook with both hands and had a strong drop step to square his shoulders and finish with authority. Hudson plays above the rim with powerful finishes and has nice court awareness when passing out of the post. By this time next year, expect Hudson to have a handful of offers.

Marietta

2021 6-0 PG Travis Burrus: Six seniors graduate from last year’s surprise Sweet 16 team, meaning it’s Travis Burrus’ time to take over the reins as a leader and go-to player. Burrus scored 8 points in a shorthanded loss to South Gwinnett. Burrus got into the paint with his quickness but also showed the ability to hit the three, drilling two. The lefty will need to balance finding his own offense with setting up teammates his junior season.

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