Category Archives: Analysis

Best of the South/Summer Classic 16U Team Spotlight

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.

Vanguard Elite

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.

Best of the South 17U Team Spotlight

By Trent Markwith    (@TMarkwith14)

Atlanta All-Stars

Ben Miller has cemented his All-Stars program as one of the best in Georgia from year to year and the story is no different this season. Alex Jones is the unquestioned leader for this team; he is a proven winner and floor general who controls the game with great poise. Jones can take over a game with either his passing or scoring, it is not hard to see why he has become such a hot recruit this year.

Adam Flagler and Arusha Hunter are pure scorers for the All-Stars, coming into each game with an aggressive approach and understanding how to score in a variety of ways.

David Viti and Austin Deckard are excellent shooters on the outside for the team, connecting on 3’s consistently when Jones found them. It seems like Viti made a good choice to come over to the Allstars from Southern Stampede for July; he had a big weekend and should be getting calls from coaches.

Cole Guenther is another solid shooter for this team and has great height and length to go with his shooting ability. When you pair him with Adrian Cohen and Christian Koneman, you have 3 versatile forwards who can go inside or outside and give good boosts to the team.

Last but not least is Gabe Bryant, an explosive forward who puts his imprint on games with physical play and thunderous dunks in traffic. The All-Stars have taken home championships in both live periods so far, look for them to end with a bang in Orlando this week.

Georgia Bulls

I watched this Bulls team a good amount during the first live period and I was impressed with them once again this week. They have a lot of solid prospects who aren’t always talked about much but who will be good additions to a college team.

The Bulls are led by Ryan Jolly, a calm, smooth PG who can dominate with his scoring ability. Jolly is also a very good passer and has a nice understanding of when to distribute or get his own shot. Also in the backcourt with Jolly are Michael Dukes and 2019 Kalen Williams.

Williams is an ultra-quick guard who can really fill it up and plays with a lot of confidence and energy. Dukes has a strong build for a wing player and used that strength and his athleticism for some eye-popping dunks this week. He is also skilled on the perimeter, hitting 3’s and getting by guys for tough layups.

Austin Canaday and Cameron Armstrong are two other productive perimeter players for the Bulls; both of them are good shooters and have a solid feel for scoring the ball.

The only true big man for the Bulls is 6’8” Brady Spence, a 2019 player. I had heard some good things about Spence when he was with Team Forrest in the spring and he has now made the jump to 17U with the Bulls. Spence has had some good moments so far with his new team; he moves well and is seen blocking shots and running the floor in transition frequently. Spence also has good touch inside and from the mid-range area, he is a prospect with a lot of upside in Georgia’s 2019 class.

Atlanta Timberwolves

The Timberwolves had a very good weekend going 5-1 and are another team with some nice prospects who are overlooked. Controlling the team at point guard is a player I loved in June: 2019 Matt Gonzalo. Gonzalo is exactly what you would call a pass first PG, always keeping his head up and finding guys at the right time and in the right place. He uses his speed to blaze past people and create things on offense with regularity, whether that’s for himself or others.

Dylin Hardeman was great this week for the Timberwolves, giving defenses fits with his scoring prowess. Hardeman is a knock-down shooter from the outside and showed a lot of craftiness on his drives to the basket. It seemed liked every few possessions Hardeman showed me something new in his offensive repertoire.

Along with Hardeman on the wing is Will Bracknell. Bracknell had some excellent play with his Chattahoochee team and kept it up this week. Bracknell is just one of those guys who knows how to put the ball in the basket. He never seems to be in a rush, using his strength and ball-handling ability to get to his spots with ease. Bracknell can score from all 3 levels and takes whatever the defense gives him.

Ryan Jenei also impressed me with his play this week. Jenei has a good body that he can use to get inside from the wing but what stood out to me this week was what looks like an improved outside shot; he was confident and effective from deep, which is a huge boost for the Timberwolves.

FCI Warriors

This team comes out of the Southeast Basketball Academy (SEBA), and although they may not have players who are garnering Division 1 interest, they carry a handful of guys who should have the attention of lower level coaches.

Joshua Strong takes a lot of ball-handling responsibilities for FCI and pushes the pace whenever possible. Strong can score from anywhere on the court, whether that be draining 3’s, hitting tough floaters, or shifting past defenders to reach the rim.

On the wing for FCI are Christian Kelly and Micah McCuen. Kelly and McCuen have different offensive games but both can be effective. McCuen excels in transition, where he takes the ball down the court himself and uses his length to finish and draw fouls. Kelly is more of a half-court player, he is very patient in looking for opportunities to score and had some good moments off the dribble but also has an effective outside shot.

Jackson Baylark is basically a hybrid for this team, doing whatever the team might need depending on the game. He is really athletic, plays extremely hard and uses his athleticism to the best of his ability; you’ll see him flying in for blocks, rebounds, and dunks with regularity.

Down low for FCI is Kyler Ingram. Ingram has a big, wide body and is an enforcer inside both offensively and defensively. Nothing gets past him in the paint, swatting shots like nobody’s business and securing big rebounds. On offense, Ingram moves defenders wherever he wants and puts himself in easy positions to score around the basket, where he finishes through contact consistently.

Georgia State Session II Player Standouts

By Trent Markwith   (@TMarkwith14)

Holy Innocents’: Garrison Powell, Alex Hyatt

Powell and Hyatt look like they’re ready to take the reins at Holy Innocents after the graduation of three important seniors. Powell is only a rising freshman but he is extremely confident on offense and for good reason. He gets to wherever he wants on the court and can score in a variety of ways, Powell always plays with an intensity about him that you don’t usually expect to see from such a young player.

Hyatt had a strong sophomore season for the Bears but is looking to take on an even bigger role this season. Hyatt has an exceptional mid-range game, hitting time and time again with his soft shot. Although undersized for a forward, Hyatt has solid length and good touch around the basket. Look for these two to have big seasons for HIES.

Milton: Brady O’Connell

After the Georgia Tech team camp, I mentioned O’Connell as a long, athletic prospect who could help himself with a more active approach. O’Connell did just that this weekend at GSU. He was much more aggressive in half-court scoring opportunities, slashing from the wing and using his length and touch to convert inside frequently. O’Connell also got out in transition often this weekend, getting out ahead of the pack and putting his athleticism on display with some impressive dunks. If O’Connell continues this type of play, it will add another dimension to this Milton team and will go a long way in their success.

Northview: Matt Davis, Joseph Jones

Joseph Jones Northview
Joseph Jones

Northview’s team is highlighted by PG Justin Brown who had some absolutely dominant stretches this weekend. Brown is a well-known commodity for the Titans but Jones and Davis are both nice pieces on the perimeter for this team as well. Jones has made some noise on the travel circuit with AC Georgia and is one of the more athletic players you’ll see. He blows by defenders with tremendous speed in the half-court and transition but is not just an athlete, Jones has a good feel for game and nice skill-set to go with it.

Davis a lanky player on the wing for the Titans; he has a high, quick release from the outside and is very confident shooting. Davis is not afraid to go inside and while his lack of strength can limit him there at times, it is nice to see that he is willing to attack. Only a 2020 prospect, as Davis gets stronger he could turn into a very good all-around scorer for the Titans.

Dawson Christian AcademyLuke Chism, Ahmad Kamara

Dawson Christian went 27-5 this past season but now the Eagles have lost their three top scorers to graduation and are looking for others to step up. Chism played a big role as a sophomore last season and will now be the main guy for DCA. Compared to his JC Ballers team that I saw in May, it looks like Chism will have to be more of a scorer for this Eagles team, a job that he has embraced. He is very aggressive attacking the basket and has good touch and length when he gets there. Adding strength and consistent perimeter shooting should be his areas of focus over his last two years.

Kamara gives DCA another aggressive scorer. You can tell Kamara plays football, he loves contact and is fearless going inside with his strong build. I like how Kamara bangs down low and knows how to use his body even though he may lack height.

Duluth: Will Huzzie, Lamont Smith

Adam Flagler has been getting some publicity for the Wildcats recently and he displayed his scoring ability at all three levels again this weekend, but Huzzie and Smith are two other guys to keep an eye on this year for the Wildcats. Huzzie an ultra-athletic wing forward for this team and sets the tone for Duluth with his energy. He excels at the top of Duluth’s full-court zone press, wreaking havoc with his active hands and forcing turnovers that turn into powerful dunks for Huzzie at the other end.

Smith is a speedy guard who handles PG responsibilities for the Wildcats. Smith has scoring ability but it looks like he enjoys being a distributor for the team whether it’s him getting a steal and finding guys in transition or controlling things in the half-court. Smith averaged over 4 APG last season and I expect this number to rise this year. These two to go along with Flagler and Christian Kelly in the backcourt forms a very good core for Duluth.

King’s Ridge Christian: Eric Coleman

Eric Coleman

Coleman has been on the rise recently as a prospect, receiving offers from Mercer, Kennesaw State, and Western Carolina over the past few weeks. After seeing Coleman this weekend, it is easy to see why college coaches are starting to give him attention. Coleman is going to have to do a lot on offense for a Tigers team that lacks scoring but it doesn’t seem like he has a problem with that. At about 6’6”, Coleman has a very smooth outside shot for his size and has solid athleticism when attacking the basket. It also looks like he has improved his ball-handling ability, which is a big plus for a wing with his size. Look for Coleman to continue to solidify himself as one of the better 2019 prospects in Georgia.

Georgia State Session II Under The Radar Teams

By Trent Markwith   (@TMarkwith14)

John’s Creek

The Gladiators are a team that doesn’t have a bunch of size down low, but this squad has a trio of guards that will be expected to do a lot this season. 2019 Neil Ilenrey is a really strong, physical guard who seeks out and absorbs contact on his way to the basket. Ilenrey finished through hits with regularity and was not afraid to take perimeter shots either. Will Penland is an outside specialist for Johns Creek; he can get hot quickly with his high-arcing shot and when he does, it is big trouble for the opponent. Rising senior Nate Gauthreaux may have been the most impressive of the three Gladiators. Gauthreaux is an exceptional shooter who can hit from a lot of different areas on the floor. He also displayed the athleticism and ball-handling ability to push in transition and weave through the defense for layups. Johns Creeks will depend on these guys in 2017-18 and it looks like they are ready to carry the load.

Westminster

The Wildcats came to Georgia State without two key players in Paris Howland and Carter Oesterling, but others rose to the occasion and the team had some nice moments during the camp. Westminster sported an undersized squad this weekend but was successful on offense with a lot of half-court movement, unselfish play, and outside shooting. Niki Manocha, TJ Malloy, David Perchik, and Chance Hausman all showed confidence shooting from deep in different games for the Wildcats. Eli Barry is another Westminster guard that played well; Barry is a high IQ player who consistently scored and facilitated while also having an impact on defense. Matt Howard and Charlie Ham manned the forward spots for the team; although neither are the tallest, Howard used his wide body and Ham used his athleticism to be effective inside. Oesterling and Howland will give Westminster two needed ball-handlers to deal with pressure and score. This team may struggle against bigger, more athletic opponents in 2017-18 but the Wildcats will be able to find success due to their fundamental, patient style of play.

Lovett

This weekend was my first time seeing the Lovett squad without transfer Ryan Greer. Although they will definitely miss Greer, the Lions have several capable players that will have solid seasons. Nick Jackson looks ready for a big year; you can’t label him with a specific position but Jackson has a non-stop motor on both ends and makes things happen on offense with great strength and the ability to penetrate. Lovett has two players that can light it up from the outside: Crawford Schwieger and Lance Beck. Schwieger has made his mark previously as a shooter and can hurt teams with either threes or mid-range jumpers. Beck has good size for a shooter and a quick release to go with it, he also showed glimpses of slashing ability when defenders flew at him on the perimeter. Mike Hardee saw a lot of time at PG for the Lions this weekend and showed the potential to make plays off the dribble, which Lovett needs more of. Evan McKown and Peyton Ringer were both out this weekend but will help the Lions a lot. I’m interested to see what Ryan Koudele has in mind for this team, he always gets the most out of his guys.

Holy Spirit Prep

The Cougars are a team that I highlighted after the Georgia Tech camp, mentioning Ant Edwards, Kamani Johnson, and Kye Jeremiah. This trio performed well again this weekend, but there were a few other HSP players that also showed they will contribute this season. Incoming transfer Jaylen Dunham was with HSP for the first time at GSU and had some solid performances. Dunham is a strong lefty with some shooting ability, but he is at his best when he gets to his left hand where he slashes aggressively and finishes through contact. Nick Maddox played with a lot of aggression for the Cougars; Maddox used his strength to get inside and go into defenders for layups while also showing some touch on his mid-range shots. Christian Fussell is another transfer that could end having an impact for HSP. Fussell is a long forward that has a smooth, soft shot with range out to the 3-point line. Fussell is pretty mobile and athletic also, as he gets stronger he could be a problem around the basket, which would create a nice inside-out package for the 2020 prospect.

Georgia State Session II Top Teams

By Trent Markwith   (@TMarkwith14)

Parkview Impresses

There was some talk surrounding the Panthers coming into June after losing three key transfers to Shiloh, but this team used the GSU stage to show that they are just fine. Anchored down by Ahmir Langlais inside, Parkview has a dependable post presence in the 2019 big. Langlais is tough and very active down low, but is also smart in the post, knowing when to kick to guards if he is doubled.

The Panthers made their mark this weekend with pesky defense in each game; they have a plethora of tough guards who take pride in locking down on every possession. Their guards were also reliable on offense with good production from Wilfred Campbell, Brandon Harvey, Jamiel Wright, and others.

The Parkview guards can shoot outside and penetrate, which ensures that teams cannot just harass Langlais in the post without any worries. This combination of defensive pressure and an inside-out presence on offense propelled the Panthers to impressive wins throughout the weekend, which ended with them winning the championship against Cedar Shoals, who had beaten them earlier on Saturday. New Head Coach John Collins should be excited to see what this group will do in the winter.

Cedar Shoals Reloads

With the departure of nine seniors, there may have been some uncertainty heading into 2017-18 for the Jaguars. However, the defending Class AAAAA state runner-up gained two nice additions in 2020 players Tyler Johnson and Quincy Canty from Athens Christian, to go along with some returners who are ready to step up. The Cedar Shoals squad looked very good at GSU, with wins over St. Pius and Miller Grove in bracket play before losing in the aforementioned championship game against Parkview.

Johnson showed a nice all-around offensive skill set for the team, capitalizing on catch and shoot opportunities and scoring off the dribble consistently during camp. Canty provides versatility as a forward for the Jaguars; he was effective on mid-range jumpers and was aggressive inside on both ends, using his athleticism to rise over defenders for rebounds and buckets.

Rising seniors Jaivanni McDavid and Keivaziay Ball also had solid performances for the team, putting them with Johnson on the perimeter creates a very nice trio of guards for the Panthers. McDavid and Ball both know how to fill it up and will provide toughness and leadership for the Cedar Shoals team this year.

St. Pius Strikes Again

St. Pius was one of my favorite teams at the Georgia Tech team camp and this weekend they were back at GSU with more impressive play. The Golden Lions displayed the same fundamental, energetic play throughout the camp that I saw before, but I also had a few new observations this weekend.

Both Gonzalo twins missed some time at GSU and without two main guys, I felt like Everett Lane solidified himself as the go-to guy and clear leader for the team this upcoming season. Lane is such a competitor and thrives in big moments when his team needs someone to step up.

Along with Lane, Troy Stephens and Niko Broadway both picked up their play at the camp, further proving themselves as key pieces for St. Pius in 2017-2018. Both of these guards showed good toughness and scoring ability for the Golden Lions. Zach Ranson, who always plays with a lot of passion, seemed to have raised his level of intensity even more this weekend. Ranson was fierce inside, converting on crafty reverse layups, throwing his body around, and running hard in transition for easy baskets.

Time To Shine For Harvey And Co. At Miller Grove

With the graduation of Tae Hardy, who averaged nearly 20 PPG last season, several players now have the opportunity to step into the spotlight for Miller Grove. Maurice Harvey is now the primary ball-handler for the Wolverines and excelled in his role at GSU. It was already known that Harvey was a freak athlete in transition and while he put that on display this weekend, he also showed some nice point guard skills. Harvey made good reads off the pick and roll, dumping down to the roll man and hitting mid-range pull-ups when defenders went under the screen.

Other standouts for the Wolverines were Jermon Clark and Kevin Paige, who have big, physical bodies that they used to their advantage during the Wolverines’ games. These mobile, athletic forwards were very aggressive and productive for Miller Grove during their time at GSU; they scored and rebounded with ease for the Wolverines and showed that they form a post duo that will create issues for opposing teams this season.