The NFL officially kicked off this Sunday but instead Kyle Sandy was in Grovetown to check out some of the CSRA’s top players at Will Avery’s Fall 48 Invite camp. Each team had a handful of players evaluated with UCLA (3:05-8:40), Georiga (8:44-13:47), Georgetown (13:50-19:11), Duke (19:13-23:14), Oregon (23:16-26:10) & Kentucky (26:11-31:54) all discussed.
William Avery’s Fall 48 Invite featured some of the CSRA’s top players with a few of the surrounding areas’ standouts sprinkled in. While there was no cell service in the gym to recap the action live on Twitter, I was still able to take some quick notes. Many players will be broken down into further detail on this week’s Spielin’ & Dealin’ Podcast.
Back in Action
The Augusta Chronicle’s reigning Player of the Year, Aquinas’ Tre Gomillion, looked like he didn’t miss a step. Just a week removed from receiving clearance to return to action after meniscus surgery, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard had coaches in attendance turning their heads with his new trimmed down look, improved outside shot and his trademark explosion to the basket. The 2016 Class A-Private All-State Second Teamer registered 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in his usual stat sheet stuffing fashion. Gomillion attacked the basket and finished around the rim with power. More importantly, he went 2-of-4 with his jump shot, hitting a three to open up play. His communication on defense and ability to clog gaps as a help defender was also a big improvement from last year.
Glenn Hills Gang
Timmy Sellers, Tim Williamson and Tre Whitehead played on separate teams, but will join forces at Glenn Hills on what should be one of the area’s best teams and a threat to make a deep run in Class AA.
Sellers, 6-foot-8 with a South Carolina State offer, didn’t get many post touches but showed nimble footwork when working the baseline with a propensity to finish on the other side and use the rim to shield defenders. He finished with six points, eight rebounds and one block. His final hoop of the game came on a coast-to-coast drive after snagging a rebound off the glass. That kind of versatility should make him a popular name among Low Majors his senior season.
Williamson, who transfers in from Hephzibah for his senior season, is a 6-foot-4 guard that can help out on both ends. He put up 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and one block in a balanced game. Williamson is best at getting to the lane, but he also knocked down a few outside shots including a three. His length makes him an intriguing defender on the perimeter.
Whitehead, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, has one of the highest ceilings in Augusta. The athletic slasher has a nice feel for the game which helped him post 10 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one steal in a track meet. If Whitehead can develop a three-point shot, he has a chance to pick up some Division-I interest before all is said and done.
A slew of Braves joined the fun from Milledgeville and did not disappoint. 2019 shooting guard Donte Justice was in attack mode from the opening tip, showing that he is wired to score. The football standout is quick off the bounce and hunts his shots. He drilled four three-pointers en route to a loud 23 points, four rebounds and three assists.
2018 guard Brenden Robertson scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half. Known for his effort and motor, Robertson wore down his opponents adding eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. He is someone that smaller college programs should check into.
Junior point guard Torez Hicks had 11 points, two assists and three steals in his outing. Hicks wasn’t as flashy scoring the ball as his teammates were, but Hicks brought energy and clearly took pride in his defense. It isn’t often that you see a point guard set up to attempt to take three charges in a showcase camp. Little things like that are what win ball games and hopefully get you noticed by college coaches – I know I took notice.
Donald Henley Jr. (2018) of Laney and Richard Crawford III (2019) of Greenbrier looked good. Henley is small in stature (5’9”) but the tough point man has jets. He can race down the floor and create offense for himself and others. He tallied nine points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal in a win. Crawford was smooth in his game and did a little bit of everything, totaling 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Crawford has a sweet jumper and knows when to pick his spots. He gives me reason to believe that Greenbrier should be much improved this season.
Many of the aforementioned players from the Fall 48 Invite have been regulars on Sandy’s Spiel, but one player who hasn’t seen the publicity yet and now has earned it, is Grovetown senior point guard Eric Graham II. The 6-foot-1 guard was one of today’s best performers. He scored the first 11 points of the game for his team and finished with 18 points, three rebounds, five assists and one block. The 6-foot-1 guard isn’t overly intimidating with a nice smile full of metal but the senior showed he has some bite to him.
Graham played with patience and composure and was crafty and reliable with the ball in his hands. He knocked down contested jumpers, including three from distance. Graham isn’t a player that will ‘wow’ you, but he was on the top of his game in front of Augusta State and a handful of other schools. It was a good first step to get himself on the radar to play at the next level and if he can be a leader on a team that won just 5 games a year ago and help the Warriors to the postseason, his career should be deemed a successful one.
Tune into Spielin’ & Dealin’ later this week for more in-depth analysis on more players from all six teams
By Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)
A player’s junior season is a very important one. While some prospects have already solidified themselves early in their high school careers, there are many rising juniors who are under the radar and looking to make a name for themselves. In a state like Georgia that is filled with talent, it is easy for solid players to be overlooked. I saw a bunch of Georgia prospects in June and July who either aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, or have shown the potential to emerge from the shadows and be a key contributor on their high school team. Here are some of the hidden gems that could make noise in Georgia this winter.
Note: This is a list of under the radar players; if you are already well established as a prospect in Georgia, you won’t be on it. Also, this list is composed of players I saw this summer, so if I haven’t seen you play, I can’t include you. As necessary, I will make additions to this list between now and the start of the season after watching fall league games and individual camps.
David Banks (Cambridge)- SF
Eli Barry (Westminster)- PG
Lance Beck (Lovett)- SG
Ryan Billig (Pope)- SF
Bryce Boutelle (Cambridge)- SG
Niko Broadway (St. Pius)- SG
Terrell Burden (Campbell)- PG
Luke Chism (Dawson Christian)- PG
Jaylen Dunham (Holy Spirit)- SG
Roscoe Eastmond (Wheeler)- PG
Jaxon Etter (Etowah)- SF
Christian Fussell (Holy Spirit)- PF
Mitch Ganote (Lambert)- PG
James Glisson (Southwest DeKalb)- PF
Matt Gonzalo (St. Pius)- PG
Donaven Hairston (Milton)- PG
Reco Hallmon (Grayson)- CG
Armani Harris (Newton)- PF
Davis Herndon (Riverwood)- SG
Miles Herron (Roswell)- PG
Kevin Hester (North Cobb)- PF
Neil Ilenrey (Johns Creek)- SG
Nick Jackson (Lovett)- SF
Luka Jaksic (Furtah Prep)- PF
Kye Jeremiah (Holy Spirit)- CG
DaMarcus Johnson (Tri-Cities)- CG
Josh Johnson (North Atlanta)- SF
Joe Jones (Northview)- PG
Jordan Krueger (Walton)- SF
Brady O’Connell (Milton)- SF
Carter Oesterling (Westminster)- SF
DJ Patrick (Sprayberry)- SG
Micah Paulk (Pope)- CG
Zach Ranson (St. Pius)- PF
Kamar Robertson (Cambridge)- PG
Andrew Robinson (North Atlanta)- SF
Zyrice Scott (Upson-Lee)- PG
Romano Solis (Furtah Prep)- C
Brady Spence (Alexander)- PF
Messiah Thompson (North Atlanta)- PG
Myles Todd (Pace)- SG
Kalen Williams (Lakeside)- PG
Kalik Brooks (Alpharetta)- PG
Brandon Barron (Alpharetta)- PG
By Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)
The inaugural FreshmanU camp was held this past Saturday at Central Gwinnett High School. This showcase brought about 100 of the top rising freshmen in Georgia together, and provided a great platform for these young prospects to display their skills. Talent was abundant at the camp, but a few players rose to the top and stood out. Let’s see who made their mark on FreshmanU.
Out of all the players in the camp, there were three in particular who really separated themselves from the rest of the field: Tyler Shirley, Travis Burrus, and Ashton Malone.
Shirley (Pebblebrook) was the best performer at the camp and made it known every game. He is a versatile forward who can bang inside, slash from the wing, and connect on outside shots. Shirley played with a great motor, putting that together with his skills and physical tools created a nightmare for opponents.
Burrus (Marietta) is a skilled lefty PG who dominated with his ball-handling and scoring ability. Burrus broke down defenders and got into the paint whenever he wanted, showed an exceptional outside stroke, and plays with a competitive fire that you love to see.
Malone (Norcross) proved to be the best defender at the event early on. Malone is feisty on the perimeter and will lock down anyone you put in front of him. The tough PG is an effective scorer and displayed excellent passing ability as well.
The camp was guard-heavy and there were numerous lead guards outside of Malone and Burrus who impressed throughout the day. If you were looking for a floor general on Saturday, Sutton Smith (King’s Ridge) was your guy. Smith’s poise and IQ with the ball allowed him to make the right pass time and time again, setting up his teammates for easy baskets often. Smith is a serious threat from the outside and knows how to finish inside around bigger defenders.
Two other crafty guards were Broc Bidwell and Will Kolker. Bidwell (West Forsyth) is patient off the dribble and can score from anywhere on the court in a variety of ways. Bidwell has good vision on the move and has added some athleticism to his game, which proved to be a big boost at camp.
Kolker (Pope) carried on his confidence from July, when he made some noise at Best of the South. The deceptive lefty was one of the best passers in the camp, dropping pin-point dimes through traffic that caught everyone’s attention. Kolker also scores well with soft floaters in the lane and a consistent shot from deep.
Rounding out the group is Danny Stubbs of Pebblebrook. Stubbs has a solid frame and an aggressive mindset, which he uses to attack on offense and impact the game on defense. Stubbs also made some tough pull-ups and played with a lot of energy whenever he was on the court.
There were also some good-looking wings prospects at camp who showed promise that they will be key contributors during their high school careers. At a very young age, RJ Noord (Columbia) has already made a name for himself in Georgia’s 2021 class. Noord’s smooth game was on display again on Saturday, letting things come to him and making it look easy on offense. Another thing you have to love about Noord is his defensive desire; he takes pride in his defensive effort and uses his length well to cause problems on that side of the floor.
One of my favorite players at the camp was Chance Moore. Moore (Chamblee) is an effortless scorer; he glides by defenders with long strides and takes whatever the defense gives him. Moore’s patience and well-rounded skills on offense will allow him to have an easy transition to the high school level.
Jamill Giles (Wheeler) is used to playing on the wing but had to take somewhat of a different role at camp. He was one of the bigger guys on his team and made a point to run the floor hard and live around the basket. He was great inside and you have to appreciate his determination to contribute without having the ball in his hands a lot.
The last two in this group are Matthew Cleveland and Davon Cottle, both versatile prospects with a lot to like.
Cleveland (Cambridge) has a good feel for scoring in the half court and showed some ball-handling ability in transition. He has the size, length, and touch to finish all over the paint, he should be a very good player for the Bears down the road.
Cottle (Westlake) shot the ball very well at camp and was smart off the ball, moving and spacing to create good looks. Cottle also rebounded consistently and had some good moments on fast breaks.
Size was at a premium at FreshmanU but for the few true post players, it was a perfect opportunity to assert themselves and make big contributions.
Julius Lymon had a very good showing at camp. Lymon (South Atlanta) is a physical forward with athleticism and an impressive motor. Lymon overpowered defenders inside on both ends and showed some confidence from the mid-range area. As he continues to develop his touch and dexterity at the basket, he will be a problem.
Dara Olonande was one of the more steady, consistent performers on Saturday. Olonande (Berkmar) has some strength to him and knows how to use his length around the rim. Olonande stayed within himself at camp; he did not overdo things with the ball, protected the rim and rebounded, and converted inside frequently.
Isaac Abidde created buzz all over the gym at camp because of his upside. At 6’6”, Abidde (Westover) has good mobility and can step outside to slash from the wing. Abidde was an excellent rebounder and rim protector at camp, there weren’t many people who could challenge him inside. You would like to see him get more aggressive and physical on the block offensively, but the potential is definitely there for Abidde.
By Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)
The majority of my time at Best of the South was spent watching 17U games, but I was able to take in a good amount of 16U action at the Champion’s Summer Classic at Wheeler and a few good 16U games at BOTS as well. Here are the 16U teams that I saw a lot of and impressed me with their play.
Game Elite (Hallmon)
This group was the most impressive 16U team I saw the whole weekend, they are loaded with prospects and have incredible size for this age level.
Electric guards Brenden Tucker and Reco Hallmon lead the Game Elite backcourt. Tucker is a freak athlete who throws down huge dunks and wreaks havoc on defense. Tucker has improved as a shooter and this really opens things up for him as a scorer off the dribble, which is where he excels. Hallmon has good shooting ability also and is super energetic on both ends of the floor. He gets the team going with his intensity on defense and puts pressure on opponents with the ball in his hands.
Dacula standout Mekhail Bethea and Kamar Robertson also get a lot of time at the guard spots. Bethea just joined the team and is still getting a feel for being with them, but his scoring ability was on display as usual. Robertson is a solid PG who has a smooth game off the dribble and a nice stroke from deep.
The Game Elite frontcourt is a huge problem too, composed of Rodney Howard, Luka Jaksic, Romano Solis, and Armani Harris. Howard is a fast-developing big who is a great rim protector and a physical presence inside on offense, his recruitment is really starting to pick up.
Jaksic and Solis both bring versatility to the team with good touch from mid-range and around the basket while also providing rebounding. Harris does it all as a forward; he is a bouncy athlete, a great mid-range shooter, and is extremely active on defense with tons of rebounds and blocked shots. This team is a scary sight for anyone in front of them.
After seeing this team multiple times during the spring, I was excited to see how they have developed since May. The group challenged themselves against multiple Adidas teams this week and I had a few new observations after watching.
First, I felt like Terrell Burden established himself as the leader and alpha-dog on the team. Burden won’t let his lack of size stop him from being effective; he is ultra-competitive, fearless when he weaves through defenders on his way to the basket, and showed an improved jumper.
A very undersized team, I liked how Abraham Onkoyi and Sebastian Mallory used their athleticism and energetic play to provide toughness and rebounding inside for Vanguard.
Alongside Burden in the backcourt, Donaven Hairston continued to show that he is a solid 3-level scorer and looks even better slashing and finishing at the basket. The same goes for Myles Todd, who displayed more of a willingness to attack the basket and was hitting mid-range shots with consistency.
Already a very good shooting team with a bunch of guys who can heat up from deep, Vanguard has added two more perimeter players in Davis Herndon and Sam Jennings. Both Herndon and Jennings are smart shooters with decent ball skills and good feel for how to score. Only their first week with the team, if these two are productive in Orlando and Vanguard can get DJ Patrick and Morgan Mulrain going from 3-point land, this team will be dangerous during the last live period.
Game Elite Orange
This 16U Game Elite crew, just like the other, has some prospects that will attract a bevy of coaches. This team is led by Malachi Rhodes, Isaac Martin, and Roscoe Eastmond. Eastmond sets the tone for the team; he plays gritty defense, forces turnovers, and pushes the pace off of these turnovers. Eastmond is no slouch on offense either, he makes good reads on pick and roll opportunities and makes up for his size with a variety of finishes and floaters inside.
Rhodes had a good start to July during the first live period and maintained this momentum at Wheeler this week. Rhodes has a non-stop motor and grabs every rebound in sight, which are both qualities you love to see from an athletic forward like him. Rhodes stays within himself and keeps things simple, making his mark with activity and toughness in the paint.
Martin pairs with Eastmond to form a solid backcourt duo for Game Elite. He has great size for a shooting guard and a nice lefty stroke to go with it. Martin has shown some strides off the bounce as well; he is more determined to drive to the basket and is looking for his pull-ups often instead of settling for threes.
Another productive player for this team is Kevin Hester. The big, burly forward provides physical play for the team and showed a nice skill-set from 15 feet and in. Hester isn’t a guy who demands the ball much but he is efficient and makes the most out of his opportunities.