With summer halfway over, Kyle looks at some of the most notable moves across the GHSA thus far.
Known for always having a plethora of talented players, Duluth did not disappoint. The guard play of seniors Lorin Taylor and Hector Rosario paced the Wildcats in a 48-41 win over Parkview. 6-foot-7 senior Devin Evans showed flashes of having a breakout season. He is long and mobile with the ability to play minutes at the wing when he isn’t playing in the post. Evans is a threat from the mid-range offensively. The Richard Hardy Memorial School transfer started at Rockdale County.
With the transfer of Ahmir Langlais, the Panthers are in search of an identity after a 5-20 season. Senior point guard Jamiel Wright is crafty with the ball and create for his teammates. Cutting down on turnovers and making sure not to do too much will be the next step in his maturation as a player. Parkview lacks a true go-to guy or star power in the unforgiving Class AAAAAAA, but the Panthers play hard. 6-foot-5 sophomore Seth Cushenberry has some promise down low. He is a big body with post moves. He will need to improve his finishing through contact. Senior guard Greg Blackwell can carve out a niche as a three-point shooter, drilling three in the first half against Duluth.
Coach Greg Moultrie described his group as a bunch of blue collar guys. I would agree with that assessment. South Cobb doesn’t wow you with any elite size, but their non-stop energy at the guard position makes it hard for opponents to ever find a rhythm. Without returning leading scorer Markeith Browning who is still recovering from a finger injury, it was cat-quick senior point guard Raejon Jones’ turn to step up. One of the smallest players on the floor at about 5-foot-9, Jones’ jitterbug quickness caused problems for Duluth. He finished with 17 points and 4 steals, proving to be the catalyst in an impressive 60-39 win. Fellow 2019 backcourt members Demetrius Bowen and Jaiden Diamond sparkled as well. Bowen finished with 12 points while Diamond shined on defense. The elite athlete posted 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks.
North Atlanta has looked like a team ready to take the next step all summer long and they continued their impressive play with a 46-42 win over defending Class AAAAAA state champs Langston Hughes. Coming off of an Elite Eight run, the Warriors are led by dynamo senior point guard Messiah Thompson. Thompson has wowed every time he has stepped on the floor. The only knock on Thompson is his height at 5-foot-8, but make no mistake, he has a D-I skill set. His court vision is uncanny and he has no problem snaking his way into the lane. He had 10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the win. Thompson has help in the form of 2019 athletes Josh Johnson, Jaylen Bates and Andrew Robinson, who all attack the glass and play above the rim. Johnson had 11 points and 6 rebounds while Robinson collected 6 points and 3 blocks and Bates added 5 points and 4 rebounds.
2020 6-4 SG Patrick Carter Jr. was red-hot for the defending champs, burying four threes for 19 points while adding 4 rebounds. Carter is a smooth scorer with all the makings of a D-I guard that can find points at all three levels. He along with 2019 6-4 SG Tyrel Morgan will be asked to carry the Panthers. Morgan has shades of a poor man’s Derrick Cook. He has the build, the look and the ability to stuff stat sheets, but he’s not much of a shooter or a playmaker with the ball. Morgan is a very good rebounder however and he can affect games without scoring. He finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.
2019 6-4 SG Nahiem Allenye poured in 26 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in Mountain View’s 56-47 win over Starr’s Mill. The Panthers had no answer for the tough shot maker. Allenye can score in the half court, transition and in isolation. He knows how to shake free and hit contested shots. He drilled three deep balls. With Elijah Wilson sidelined, 2019 6-5 F Eric Jones played some of his best ball. The combo forward showed that he can step up and score when needed, pumping in 23 points to go with his 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Jones knocked down three threes. His versatility was impressive. He is a solid well-rounded player with upside.
2019 6-7 C Nate Allison is a sturdy post player that finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block, but he hardly ever went to the low block, negating his physical size advantage. Allison spent way too much time on the perimeter attempting long twos and threes. He showed that he could put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop, but he needs to play inside to really impact games, especially against smaller teams. All in all, Allison does have a nice skillset and he should draw some attention during recruitment.
The pieces are in place for Mundy’s Mill to return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2015-16. The dynamic duo of seniors 6-foot-7 Jordan Black and 6-foot-5 Rayquan Brown is as long as it gets. Black missed the majority of the first half in a 64-40 win over Lakeside-DeKalb due to a college visit, but he still managed to finish with 13 points and 4 rebounds. Black can play from the wing or face up from the mid-range in. His quickness and long stride make him able to get to the basket in a hurry. Brown might have the most upside. He is uber bouncy and a nightmare to score on with his wingspan. He finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Brown knocked down two three-pointers and did damage on the glass. One question may be his motor. Sometimes he looks like he is coasting or can hang his head after a miss. It could just be his gangly nature, but I would like to see him play with a little more fire. If he can keep his motor running, Brown really has a chance to bust out as a D-I prospect. 6-foot-4 senior post Demarcus Fannin is going to be a huge help inside for the Tigers. The big man is physical and can score with his back to the basket. He rolls hard on screens and can bury opponents under the basket when he seals. Fannin finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block. 2020 6-4 SF Mason Pierre caught my eye as well. He has a nice frame and brings some glue-guy intangibles to the table. He is an active slasher that can help on the glass.
August 4, 2018
Time: 9am – 6pm
Location: Pope High School 3001 Hembree Rd NE, Marietta, GA 30062
sportalXposure is an individual player event for high school and middle school players across Georgia.
Play against high level competition and be evaluated by our media staff led by Kyle Sandy of Sandy’s Spiel. You will have the opportunity to be featured on the sportalspace social media channels and the all-star games will be live broadcast on YouTube.
Players will be given a jersey to wear for the event.
Highlight Video: receive a highlight video of your player from the event. This video will be promoted on the sportalspace social media platform and delivered as a file for your personal use as well. $100.00 plus the processing fee.
Player Evaluation: receive an individual player evaluation of your participant’s strengths and areas for improvement from our media team led by Kyle Sandy of Sandy’s Spiel. $100.00 plus the processing fee.
Hillgrove: 53-33 (W)
South Atlanta: 76-62 (W)
Southwest DeKalb: 49-42 (L)
Through their three games on Saturday, Alexander looked like a team ready to make a run in Class AAAAAA. If they are able to navigate Region 5, the Cougars could be in good shape to take a deep march in the state playoffs. Two key additions will make an immediate impact.
2019 6-3 SG Malik Battle was brilliant throughout the day. The transfer from Douglas County made it obvious why he was First Team All-Region and an All-State Honorable Mention selection last year. Battle was unstoppable at times, averaging 20.3 points over the three games while drilling eight threes. He is a silky-smooth shooter but is good at getting to the rim. Outside of his knack for scoring, it was his mean streak that stood out. Battle is talker on the floor and his mouth is what ignited the final match-up of the day with Southwest DeKalb into feeling like a state playoff game with the intensity and high level of play. Battle is a no-brainer No. 1 option for the Cougars and he played like a legitimate D-I prospect this weekend.
2019 6-5 SF CJ Hawkins will fit an important role with the Cougars this season. The transfer from Maryland provides a little bit of everything. His toughness on the glass will help out Brady Spence immensely. Hawkins was consistent on the day, averaging 8.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Hawkins knocked down three three-pointers and provided energy. He had the highlight of the day when he went hard to the hoop and threw down a one-handed hammer dunk on two 6-foot-6 Southwest DeKalb defenders. Hawkins is a dangerous player that will do what he’s asked, but if needed, can be the second scoring option and give 10-12 points a night.
Alexander: 76-62 (L)
Only one starter from last season and five players suited up for Coach Michael Reddick, but that did not stop the proud program from competing. With no subs to turn to, the onus was on the five to make the most out of their opportunity.
2020 6-3 SG Ja’Quavian Florence will return with a good chunk of experience to a South Atlanta team that loses two of their winningest players in recent years, Dondre Barnes and Jalen Stegall. Florence looks ready to take over the mantle as being the next tough guard in the Hornet backcourt. Florence had a nice flow to his game. He not only dropped in 23 points, hitting three threes, but he led the short-handed Hornets with his overall floor game, collecting 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Florence didn’t force the issue and played within himself even though the bulk of the offense had to run through him. Florence has a nice jump shot that works best when he plays off the ball. Having a large ball handling role in the offense on Saturday should help him down the stretch to round out his offensive game.
2021 5-11 SG David Hollis stepped up in a major way, banging home five three-pointers en route to a team-high 25 points. The lefty is a tough player. His three-point shot is his best weapon but he still found chances to attack the hole. If he is able to grow some more, he will be better suited for his 2-guard position. He’s not quite ready to run an offense at the point guard position. If he can’t squeeze out any more inches, working on his ball-handling and ability to finish in the lane would be to area to improve on. Defensively, he has the athletic and strong frame to be able to frustrate weaker guards. Overall, it was a big step forward for the D-Favors Celtic.
Alexander: 49-42 (W)
The starting five of Southwest DeKalb is intimidating walking off the bus, going 6-1, 6-4, 6-6, 6-7, 6-7. The Panthers will need to get production out of 6-foot-7’s 2021 Rion White and transfer from Florida 2019 Jalen Pittman. If the two bigs can control the paint and do the dirty work, Southwest DeKalb will be a scary proposition with the big three already in place.
2020 6-1 PG KD Johnson to no surprise, was the difference maker in a trash talk, highlight filled Saturday finale with Alexander. Johnson applies pressure on defenses from the second he steps foot on the court. He is in attack mode for the entire game and wears down his opponents. After scoring eight points in the first half, Johnson finished with a game-high 25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He buried three three-pointers and picked up 10 points from the foul line. Locked up with Jaylon Brown, a steady 2020 PG prospect in his own right, Johnson showed Brown what a D-I guard right now looks like. Defensively, Johnson rarely ever gives up on plays and notched one of his trademark chase-down blocks that stirred the crowd. His physicality can really bug guards that aren’t used to his in-your-face defending. His fire was lit after Malik Battle started jawing with him and the Southwest DeKalb bench. Bad idea. A player like Johnson doesn’t need any extra motivation, especially in a summer league game.
2019 6-6 PF James Glisson III can sometimes get lost in the shuffle with the high-flying escapades of KD Johnson and the sharpshooting of 2020 6-4 SG Eugene Brown III, but Glisson is uber-important to the success of the Panthers. A big body, Glisson still has the skills to play minutes on the wing, even though I feel he is at his best with his back to the basket. Glisson had 9 points (1 three), 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. He will have games this year where he will carry the Panthers with his offensive rebounding and inside scoring. I view Glisson as one of the top 2019 power forwards in the state.
2019 6-2 F Ashlee Austin (Northview) is no stranger when it comes to GHSA basketball fans, opposing coaches and national scouting agencies. Austin picked up where she left off last season, leading Northview to a 1-0-1 start to open camp. She dumped in 23 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals against GAC before wrecking Hillgrove’s frontline for 25 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Her size and touch were on full display, stepping out to hit three threes on the day. Austin is a physical rebounder that can score through contact. She went 9-for-9 total from the foul line. The UGA coaching staff had a hawk’s eye on her throughout camp.
2019 5-8 SG Chellia Watson (Winder-Barrow) will have to carry the Lady Doggs offense her senior season. While losing an All-American and a D-I signee obviously hurts, Winder-Barrow will still be competitive on the back of Watson. She ignited the action, drilling five threes in the first game of the day. Watson was able to create her own shot off the dribble. She has a strong build which allows her to get into the paint and finish against bigger defenders. Watson finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks.
2020 5-8 CG Caroline Martin (North Forsyth) dropped in 22 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in a come from behind win against Winder-Barrow. Martin’s three-point shot opened up driving lanes. She nailed three three-pointers and weaved through traffic to get to the hole. She had a meaningful first step that was quick enough to put defenders in the dust. Martin is a well-polished guard that knows how to win games.
2019 5-8 CG Michelle Smith (Hillgrove) was the biggest eye-opener at UGA. Smith is an athlete with tight movements and a silky-smooth jump shot. Hillgrove was at their best when she had the ball in her hands. She was a playmaker, getting the ball in the right spots. Northview was never able to fluster her. Smith was in complete control with a strong handle. She posted 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals and 1 block. It would behoove Hillgrove to run the offense through Smith and let her create her own offense or find shooters Logan Van Arsdale and Breah McGrady on the perimeter. Smith was a Second Team All-Region 3-AAAAAAA selection last season. In Athens, she looked like a future D-I player.
2019 6-2 F Deasia Merrill (Villa Rica) is rolling in D-I offers with Clemson and Duke the latest to pop. More are coming for the extremely skilled big. Merrill has a wide base and knows how to use it to her advantage, whether shielding defenders away or getting in position to rebound. Her court awareness is as high as anyone’s in the state. She is a great passer and truly makes everyone on her team better. Her hands are outstanding on defense and when rebounding. While defenses will do everything in their power to slow her down, Merrill can still affect games in other ways than just scoring. She posted 10 points, 19 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks in a dominating performance against Rabun County.
2019 5-8 CG Georgia Stockton (Rabun County) provided a spark for the Lady Cats in their duel with Villa Rica. Stockton started slow, but the Presbyterian-commit got hot, drilling four three-pointers to get Rabun County back in the game. The Region 8-AA Player of the Year pumped in 19 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 7 steals. Stockton is a leader on the floor and an extension of Coach DeeDee Dillard. Her attitude and play on both ends of the floor is infectious.