HoopSeen Tip-Off notes

Meet BJ

BJ Wright - Perry High School
BJ Wright

Walking out of the gym on Sunday afternoon after a fun day at the HoopSeen Tip-Off, something caught my eye on Court 4. That something was 6-foot-7 2021 forward BJ Wright of Perry High School. Playing with the 16U Middle Georgia Ballers, who don plain all-red uniforms, Wright’s strong build caught my eye and when I found out he was only a freshman this season, I knew I had to stay.

It wasn’t the best litmus test, a 29-point blowout win, but the raw tools were too much to ignore. Wright scored 13 points on a bevy of highlight dunks. Wright plays more on the wing with some trips to the block, giving him elite size at his age and position. He had one nice assist on a pick-and-roll slip which provided a glimpse into what his potential might be.

With all young players, college ball is still in the distant future, but that future will come quick. Wright has the god given body and natural skills to become an interesting prospect. He will need to continue to work on his craft and more importantly, everything else away from basketball. If he can put school first with basketball a close second, it will be very fascinating to see what the narrative is surrounding Wright come 2021.

Henry County height

LayPonius Davis
LayPonius Davis

Coming off of an extremely successful 18-11 campaign with a state playoff berth in Year 1 under Coach BJ Thomas, the War Hawks have even more reason for optimism, and that’s not even taking into account that their top two scorers are set to return.  The 2020 class holds two potential breakout candidates on the varsity level in 16U Georgia Impact frontcourt mates 6-foot-6 LayPonius Davis and 6-foot-4 Jeqhuan Carter.

They might not set the world on fire, but they will be usable pieces for Coach Thomas. Davis is a long shot blocker that also posts up well. He will need to get stronger and work on keeping rebounds high, but his size and willingness to run the floor bode well. He had 4 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 blocks in a win.

Jeqhuan Carter
Jeqhuan Carter

Carter is the physical garbage man inside. What Davis might lack in bulk, Carter makes up for with his bullish presence in the paint, most notably on the glass. He collected 15 points and 13 rebounds. Though he doesn’t have the elite leaping ability right now, Carter could provide a similar skill set that ‘17 Kovi Tate brought to the table during Henry County’s 2017 Final 4 run.

Super Smash Bro Kirby

Ja'Queze Kirby
Ja’Queze Kirby

2020 6-foot-6 forward Ja’Queze Kirby isn’t pink and isn’t round, but he can float above the rim just like his video game predecessor. The Class AA First Team All-Stater has long been known for his electric athleticism, but this weekend with 16U Upward Stars SE he showed more than just his hops. Kirby piled in his customary 20 points but drilled four three-pointers in the process. Defensively he moved his feet well and came away with two blocks. Kirby is one of the state’s best prospects and the gem of South Georgia. It’s easy to see how he stuffs stat sheets on a nightly basis at Jeff Davis; it’s harder to understand how he hasn’t received a scholarship offer yet – that will change soon.

15U War Eagles Elite

Derek McDonald - Marist
Derek McDonald

Marist’s 2021 group has some talent moving up the pipeline in the form of 5-foot-11 point guard Luke Benson and 6-foot-2 forward Derek McDonald. Benson is a crafty ball handler with poise and a little cool swagger. He gets some nice elevation on his jump shot and can pull-and-pop from the mid-range. McDonald is the workhorse. Already physically strong and to no surprise a football player, McDonald plays a 3/4 role as one of the tallest players on the team. He uses his strength to his advantage to attack the glass and finish drives. He is a high effort player that likes to stick his nose into the action. He has range to the three-point line but will need to solidify the shot as he gets older to make it a true weapon in his arsenal. He scored 16 points in a 45-43 OT loss.

17U SBC Select impresses

Donell Nixon
Donell Nixon

Led by 2019 5-foot-9 point guard Donell Nixon (Buford), SBC Select finished their weekend at the HoopSeen Tip-Off 3-0. Nixon scorched nets all tournament, drilling three after three. He nailed five in a win over the Greater NE GA Warriors, where he finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. His passing may have gotten a little overshadowed playing with Lipscomb-signee Alex Jones the past two seasons, but make no mistake, the dynamic dynamo can dish it out. Wofford, East Tennessee State and Rutgers have all shown interest.

Teammate Grant Van Beveren will see an uptick in his recruitment heading into his senior year. The 6-foot-6 post from Chattahoochee is a sturdy big man that knows how to use his body. You can pencil him in for 10+ rebounds a night. Offensively, Van Beveren showed he can knock down the straightaway three and even pull up off the dribble.

Elberton’s Elite

AJ James - Elbert County
AJ James

Elbert County pieced together a 23-5 record and a trip to the Sweet 16 in Class AA. All-State Honorable Mention 6-foot-3 2019 forward AJ James played a massive role in the Blue Devils’ 9-win increase. James reminds me of current Piedmont Lion and former ’17 Lakeview Academy Lion, Josh Randolph. James is athletic and physical and plays all over the floor for his teams, usually positions 3-5. James bangs inside for the Blue Devils during the regular season, but his wing prowess was on display this weekend with the Greater NE GA Warriors. James posted 11 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks.

I love how he attacks rebounds. Maybe most impressive, is his fearless post defense. James is used to giving up size on a nightly basis and has had wars with 6-foot-7 North Georgia-signee Dylan Orr of Banks County. He had to tussle with big man Grant Van Beveren this weekend and give him fits with his blend of strength and quickness and ability to not foul when denying deep post position. James is a great glue guy that can help teams win on both sides of the ball at multiple positions.

Unsigned 2018 Seniors

A scouting report on some of the GHSA’s top remaining unsigned seniors

PG

  1. Jacolbey Owens (Warner Robins)
    + Elite level athlete that plays above the rim
    + Finishes through contact
    + Has improved his three-point shot tenfold from his junior season
    + Not afraid of the spotlight; Clutch in crunch time
    + High energy
    * Can continue to improve his point guard prowess
  1. Jarred Godfrey (Sandy Creek)
    + Elite size (6’4)
    + Scores over smaller defenders
    + Can score off the bounce
    + Soft mid-range touch
    + Patiently waited behind D-I guards
  1. Khalyn Weekley (Bradwell Institute)
    + Elite size (6’4)
    + Physically strong
    + Attacks downhill
    * Needs to solidify his outside shot
  1. Dwight Murray (Pebblebrook)
    + Shooter
    + Played against elite competition
    + Patiently waited behind D-I guards
    + Quick
    + Leader
    * Lacks size (5’11)
  1. Kris Gardner (Westover)
    + Playmaker
    + Scores at all three levels
    + Strong ball handler
    + Scoring-minded PG that also distributes
    + Quick hands on defense
    * Needs to make sure not to over dribble

Other Notables
Nick Edwards (Grayson); Kameron Pauldo (Dublin); Jah’Nile Hill (Manchester); Jay Jefferson (Troup County); Dalvin White (Norcross)

SG

  1. Tye Fagan (Upson-Lee)
    + Scores from all three levels
    + Improved consistency of three-point shot
    + Best post-up guard in class
    + Smooth athlete
    + Plays the passing lanes
    + Shot blocker
    + Can affect games without scoring
    + Court vision
    + Loyal
  1. Eli Lawrence (Tri-Cities)
    + Good size (6’5)
    + Tye Fagan-lite
    + Southpaw that can shoot the three & elevate to finish through traffic
    + Strong rebounder
    + Lets the game come to him
    Can continue to improve his playmaking with the ball
  1. Brandon Younger (Wheeler)
    + Elite size (6’7)
    + High upside
    + Can play multiple positions
    * Streaky; good in many areas but not great
  1. Adam Flagler (Duluth)
    + Elite shooter
    + Mid-range
    + Decision making
    + Can create off the dribble for teammates
    * Average height (6’2)
  1. Daniel Parrish (Aquinas)
    + Good size (6’3)
    + Can play either 1 or 2
    + Court vision
    + Passing in traffic
    + Plays passing lanes
    + Willing rebounder with good hands
    * Can be a streaky three-point shooter; must stay aggressive

Other Notables
Grant Howard
(Pebblebrook); Tim Williamson (Glenn Hills); Tre Gomillion (Aquinas); Adrian Martin (Lanier); Christian Jackson (Greenforest); Mandarius Dickerson (Collins Hill)

F

  1. KJ Buffen (Gainesville)
    + Versatile with size (6’7)
    + 7-foot wingspan
    + Plays with energy
    + Active on glass
    + Can put the ball on the floor when needed
    + High ceiling. Still maturing after missing bulk of junior season. Younger than most of his grade.
    * Will need to improve outside shot to play on perimeter
  1. Jamari Dean (Cedar Grove)
    + 6’6
    + Elite second leap on offensive glass
    + Workhorse inside
    + Finishes through heavy contact on low block
    + Mid-range game
    + Interior passing
    * Could be a tweener. Good enough shooter/slasher to steal minutes at the 3. Defensively can handle switches on multiple positions.
  1. Clarence Jackson (Dublin)
    + 6’7
    + Does the dirty work inside
    + Likes to rebound
    + Slasher
    + Versatile defender
    Needs to improve outside shot
  1. Brandon Suggs (McEachern)
    + 6’7
    + Defensive-minded
    + Length
    + Played elite competition
  1. Cole Guenther (McIntosh)
    + 6’7
    + Three-point shooter
    + Shot-blocker
    + Has improved ball handling
    + Length
    Struggled with consistency from three (29%)

Other Notables
ZyTavian Hill (Central-Talbotton); Drew Hudson (Starr’s Mill); Greg Holloway (Westside-Macon); Jarred Rosser (Gainesville); Jarrel Rosser (Gainesville); Kerry Richardson (Elite Scholars)

Post

  1. EJ Montgomery (Wheeler)
    + 6’10 All-American
    + Length to rebound anything in his area
    + Post scoring
    + Outside shot
    + Can handle the ball
    + Consistent
    * Improved his toughness. Can always get stronger mentally and physically.
  1. Timmy Sellers (Glenn Hills)
    + 6’8
    + Athletic
    + Handles the ball; can create own fast break
    + Euro step
    + Shot blocker
    + Still improving
    Not an overly elite rebounder. A little unorthodox. Needs to stay aggressive.
  1. Carlos Curry (Dougherty)
    + 7’0
    + Rebounding
    + Willingness to shoot from the outside
    + Mobile
    * Still raw. Can be timid around the rim. Can shy away from contact. Hasn’t seen D-I competition during high school career at Dougherty.
  1. Kevin Paige (Miller Grove)
    + 6’8
    + College body
    + Rebounder
    + Shot blocker
    + Has improved steadily over career
    + Decent footwork around the rim
    * Physical space eater whose defense is ahead of his offense.
  1. Alex Johnson (Lowndes)
    + 6’8
    + Late bloomer
    + Can handle the ball on the perimeter
    + Range stretches out to three-point line
    + Post defense
    * Will continue to improve as he gets stronger. Best basketball ahead.

Other Notables
De’Undra Singleton (Stephens County); Bryce Brown (Archer); Tylan Grable (Wilkinson County); Tyler Culbreth (Lee County); Jermon Clark (Miller Grove); Ja’Quez Hicks (Heritage-Conyers); Kennedy Willis (St. Pius X); Ta’San King (South Gwinnett); Brandon Favors (Westlake); Julian Baldwin (Etowah)

2018 GACA All-Star Games

Junior (2019) Girls Game

STATS
MVP: Deasia Merrill – 20p 6r 1a 1s 1b
Deasia Merrill

MVP: India Bellamy – 23p 8r 5bIndia Bellamy

North2018 GACA Junior Girls North All-Star Team
Nekiyah Thompson – 5p 3a 2s
Torrion Starks – 6p 5a 2s
Tomiyah Alford – 7p 3r 3s
Georgia Stockton – 2p 3r 2s 1b
Kaylee Sticker – 13p 7r 2a 1b
Sydney Rosant – 13p 3r 2b
Amari Robinson – 8p 3r 2s 1b
Jordan Bailey – 9p 6r 2s 2b
Ashlee Austin – 8p 8r 2b
Chellia Watson – 7p 5r 4a
Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu – 6p 4r 2a 3s

South
2018 GACA Junior Girls South All-Star Team

Zamiya Passmore – 3p
Mataea Boyd – 4p 4r
Kianni Westbrook – 2p 6r
Jada Claude – 5p 3r 2s
Nia Allen – 2p 6r 2a 2s 2b
Destanee Wright – 8p 3r 4a 1b
Janya Love-Hill – 17p 3r 2a 2b
Kayla Garrett – 6p 5r 1b
Jailyn Shaw – 7p 4r 2s
Jasmine Blevins – 10p 2r 2a 1b
Paris Mullins – 0p 3r

NOTES

  • North: SG Tomiyah Alford (Lamar County) was impressive with her size (5-8) and athleticism. She posted 7 points and 3 steals. Her on-ball defense was suffocating at times, using her length to disrupt ball handlers. A three-sport athlete, as she improves her feel for the game Alford will continue to improve. She averaged 22.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 5.7 steals this season.
  • North: SG Kaylee Sticker (Dawson County) was active on the wing and crashed the glass, collecting 13 points and 7 rebounds. As a 6-foot swingman, Sticker showed that she could score at all three levels. Knocking down a three, hitting jumpers and cleaning up around the rim. The lean athlete averaged 17.6 points and 6 rebounds.
  • North: A streaky shooter, SG Sydney Rosant (Sequoyah) was locked in from the beginning.  She knocked down three trifectas and finished with 13 points and 2 blocks. Rosant likes crafty finishes when heading to the basket, using floaters and tear drops. Being able to get all the way to the rim consistently will strengthen her offensive game.
  • North: Class 7A Player of the Year PG Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu (Norcross) finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. Robinson is no stranger to filling up stat sheets, averaging 15.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 4.1 steals and 1.1 blocks. She was one of the smallest players on the floor at 5-foot-7, but the powerhouse guard was a playmaker, seeing the court and dropping passes in tight quarters to set up her teammates.
  • South: F India Bellamy (Dutchtown) took over down the stretch. The post presence showed that she could step out and knock down the open three and displayed enough agility to start her own fast breaks and finish in transition with either hand. She posted a game-high 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals.
  • South: C Kianna Westbrook (Burke County) didn’t score a field goal in the game, but at 6-foot-2, her ability to run the floor, rebound and alter shots shows that her best basketball is still ahead of her. She didn’t get too many low block opportunities, but if she can develop a go-to move in the post, she could have a bright future. She finished with 2 points and 6 rebounds.
  • South: G Janya Love-Hill (Carver-Columbus) is a microwave scorer on the perimeter. She isn’t afraid to pull the trigger from deep, but likes to attack the hoop. Love-Hill netted 17 points to go with her 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks.
  • South: F Jailyn Shaw (Carver-Columbus) loves to throw her body around and attack the boards. She’s a physical player that can mix it up and sticks her nose in 50/50 balls. She is a high effort player. Shaw tacked on 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.

Senior (2018) Girls Game

STATS
MVP: Tory Ozment – 13p 6r 2s 2bTory Ozment

MVP: Taylor Hosendove – 23p 15r 2a
Taylor Hosendove

North
2018 GACA Senior Girls North All-Star Team
Harper Vick – 12p 3r
Taylor Sutton – 8p 4a 3s
Lexii Chatman – 11p 7r
Kaila Hubbard – 14p 3r 4s
Amaya Register – 10p 3r 2a
Mya Jones – 8p 3r
Taniyah Worth – 4p 3r 2s 1b
Audrey Jordan – 5p 2r
Victaria Saxton – 4p 10r 3b
Devyn Wilson – 8p 6r 2a 1b

South
2018 GACA Senior Girls South All-Star Team

Jykiera Long – 0p 6r 3a
Brooke Moore – 10p
Jamesha Samuel – 8p 2s
Diamond Hall – 15p 7r 2a 2s
Za’Nautica Downs – 8p 2a 4s 1b
Ashley Foster – 8p
Brittany Davis – 13p 6r 2a 5s
Jewell Smalls – 11p 11r 2a

NOTES

  • South: G Jewel Smalls (McEachern) provided good work on the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds to go with her 11 points. She hit two first half threes. She often found herself in the right spot on the floor.
  • South: G/F Diamond Hall (Colquitt County) put up 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. She can provide minutes at positions 2-4 at the high school level but will need to find the right fit at the next level.

Junior (2019) Boys Game

STATS
MVP: Hunter McIntosh – 28p 5r 3a 2s
Hunter McIntosh

MVP: Jaxon Etter – 23p 3r 3a 3s
Jaxon Etter

North
2018 GACA Junior Boys North All-Star Team

Brenden Tucker – 15p 3r 4a 2s
Markeith Browning – 5p
TJ Bickerstaff – 8p 9r 4a
Tyrin Lawrence – 9p 7r 2a 2s
Malachi Rhodes – 3p 10r 2b
Alec Woodard – 15p 9r 2a 3s 1b
Nathan Presnell – 4p 6r 2s 2b
Ahmir Langlais – 8p 3a 1b
Jayvion Rucker – 9p
Jager Dickson – 2p 3r

South
2018 GACA Junior Boys South All-Star Team

Kalen Williams – 10p 7r 3a
Jordan Brown – 6p 3a
Quinton McElroy – 0p 2s
Dontavius King – 14p 9r 1b
Donovan Grant – 0p 4r 2a
Joshua Lusane – 11p 15r 5b
Mackenzie McFatten – 8p 5r
Jevon Tatum – 14p 7r 2a
Shamar Jones – 19p
Jayce Moore – 13p 3r

NOTES

  • North: PG Hunter McIntosh (GAC) put on his cape in the second half and nearly carried the North back from a 19-point halftime deficit. The heady guard drilled three of his five three-pointers in succession. He dumped in 28 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. McIntosh is among Georgia’s elite at the point guard position.
  • North: Coaches want players that have more than just one skill set and game-by-game, SG Alec Woodard (Morgan County) proves he’s more than just a great shooter. Woodard did his damage attacking the basket, finishing with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. He is a producer that relies on substance more than flash.
  • North: F Jayvion Rucker (East Hall) is a blossoming 6-foot-5 wiry athlete. If he can pack on some muscle to his frame, he could turn into one of North Georgia’s best big men. He had 9 points and held his own against bigger names.
  • South: It’s easy to see how F Dontavius King turned Dutchtown’s season around. The 6-foot-7 post is a physical presence with a big body. He has very good hands and is a pain to keep off the glass. He tacked on 14 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block. King is already one of the best back-to-the basket scorers in the class. He is more of a positional defender than a shot blocker.
  • South: F Joshua Lusane (Americus-Sumter) quietly did everything you want from a post player. At 6-foot-7, Lusane finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks. He cleaned up the trash around the basket and defended without fouling.
  • South: G Shamar Jones (Johnson-Savannah) is a free scoring guard. He likes to pull up from the mid-range, working the key and the baseline well. He will have to prove that he is more than just a scorer.
  • South: G Jevon Tatum (Tucker) is a steady scorer. He is strong enough to get into the paint and finish through contact, but also has a nice jump shot. He netted 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
  • South: G Jaxon Etter (Etowah) might be the state’s hottest prospect. A true winner that rises to the occasion, Etter knocked down four threes, dove on loose balls and powered his team to a win, earning MVP honors with 23 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Etter will suit up with the Atlanta All-Stars this off-season, marking just his second year of AAU basketball.

Senior (2018) Boys Game

STATS
MVP: Landers Nolley – 20p 6r 6a 2s
Landers Nolley

MVP: Kris Gardner – 27p 6r 5a 3s
Kris Gardner

North
2018 GACA Senior Boys North All-Star Team
Travis Anderson – 8p 4r 4a 2s
Nick Edwards – 9p 2r 7a 3s
Adam Flagler – 9p 4r
JoJo Toppin – 15p 5r
Spencer Rodgers – 15p 3r 2s
Dre Butler – 16p 4r
Devin Vassell – 17p 2r 2a 2s
Isaiah Kelly – 29p 3r
Christian Koneman – 4p 5r 2a

South
2018 GACA Senior Boys South All-Star Team

Tahj Jones – 11p
Dwight Murray – 15p 5r 2s
Timmy Sellers – 8p 2r 2s
Grant Howard – 6p
Kylan Hill – 10p 6r 3a
Amanze Ngumezi – 30p 3r 2s
Rashun Williams – 26p 3r 2a
Carlos Curry – 6p 3r
Adrian Cohen – 8p 3a

NOTES

  • North: G Nick Edwards (Grayson) is a quality guard that comes up big when it matters most. He should be in the discussion at the LM/D2 level. He needs to add some weight to his frame, but the 6-foot-1 guard is battle-tested and improved by leaps and bounds his senior season. Edwards finished his night with 9 points, 7 assists and 3 steals.
  • North: G Adam Flagler (Duluth) is an elite shooter left on the board. He canned three threes to finish with 9 points. He will add a great floor spacer to whichever team nabs him.
  • South: PG Kris Gardner (Westover) has the ball on a string. He is a precise dribbler that creates opportunities for his teammates off the bounce. When his jump shot is locked in, he is tough to slow down. He led the South to a 144-142 win, collecting 27 points (5 threes), 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
  • South: G Kylan Hill (Central-Macon) has transformed his game from being more of a forward and rebounder into being a strong guard on the wing. Outside of one lapse in judgement, Hill took the All-Star setting seriously and produced 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists while drilling two threes.
  • South: The biggest knock on PG Dwight Murray’s (Pebblebrook) game is something out of his control: his size. Murray is quick with the ball and a dangerous threat from deep. He will make a program happy with his ability to lead. He had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

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