Tag Archives: Analysis

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)

Spielin’ & Dealin’ Ep. 28: C.T.B.C. Elite Camp analysis

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Rameen Forghani took to the Riverside Epicenter in Austell on 9/24 to check out Torrey Bates’ Created To Be a Champion Elite Camp. Rameen shares his top performers from 4-on-4 & 5-on-5 play.

 

Spielin’ & Dealin’ Ep. 26: Fall 48 Invite

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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.

Fall 48 Invite analysis

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.

Baldwin Braves

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.

Good Guards

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.

Stock Riser

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