No. 9 Cherokee 52, No. 4 Mt. Pisgah 49
Class 7A No. 9 Cherokee (13-1) led Class A-Private No. 4 Mt. Pisgah (10-2) 38-29 at the end of three before the Patriots press began to rattle the Warriors.
Class 7A No. 9 Cherokee (13-1) led Class A-Private No. 4 Mt. Pisgah (10-2) 38-29 at the end of three before the Patriots press began to rattle the Warriors.
2022 6-2 PG Bruce Thornton Jr. (Milton): Bruce Thornton Jr. made his case for No. 1 point guard in the 2022 class in a big way. With the stage set to battle the likes of Scooter Henderson and USA Basketball’s Dillon Hunter, it was Thornton who reigned supreme and seized the moment. The powerful point led TSF to an 85-71 championship win over Game Elite Big 5, pouring in 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals against Henderson, highlighted by three straight threes in the second half to blow the game open after going for 21 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists in a 64-55 semifinal victory against Hunter’s Georgia Stars. What separates Thornton from other guards in the state is his constant influence on the game. He has a true stranglehold on the game from the moment he steps on the floor. You always know Thornton is on the court with how he controls the flow and doesn’t waste any possessions. While his star-studded opposition had strong moments sprinkled throughout their matchups, they never could impose their will like Thornton was able to. The future All-State guard never forces the issue and is always looking to set up his teammates. His physical strength allows him to rebound at a high level and his lateral quickness helps him stay in front of speedy guards that like to get downhill. The Class 7A Freshman of the Year is ready to take off.
2022 6-8 F Chauncey Wiggins (Eastside): Going up against already established star Joyful Hawkins in the 15U championship, Chauncey Wiggins set the tone early in the first half to help TSF take a double-digit lead into halftime. Wiggins turned heads with his soft stroke from the outside. At 6-foot-8, the lanky stretch forward buried jumper after jumper to loosen the defense. He hit two threes en route to 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Wiggins’ favorite move was a fadeaway jumper out of the post, an unblockable shot. He loved taking Dirk Nowitzki-esque one-footed turn-around’s from the mid-range. Wiggins’ ceiling is among the highest in the 2022 class. Adding more weight on his frame will help him become a better rebounder. Wiggins projects to be a High Major recruit.
2022 6-1 PG Kobe Davis (Langston Hughes): In the two games I saw, Kobe Davis played the best I’ve ever seen him play, averaging 12 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 assists. Davis was more aggressive finding his shot than he usually is with Langston Hughes and had his outside shot locked in, hitting two threes apiece in each of his games. Davis benefited from playing off the ball with Bruce Thornton and Devin Farrell, two other guards that do a great job of swinging the ball around until an open shot is found. Davis excelled with his willingness to rebound and helped start fastbreaks.
2022 6-0 PG Devin Farrell (Milton): Sometimes an unsung hero due to his willingness to share the ball, Devin Farrell is quickly emerging as one of my favorite guards in the 2022 class. A well-built football player, Farrell is a quarterback on the court with his vision. He averaged 5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists and showed the ability to knock down the open three. Farrell won’t put up the offensive numbers that some of his teammates will, but he’s a reliable pass-first guard that will only improve as he gets older.
2022 6-2 PG Scooter Henderson (Kell): Scooter Henderson blew up over the NCAA Live Period and continued his strong play at Battle For Georgia. He went toe-to-toe with Bruce Thornton and had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Henderson is aggressive getting to the rim. In his matchup against Thornton, he looked more explosive and bouncier than Thornton whereas Thornton seemed stronger. Either way, both guards were effective in their own styles of play. Henderson has a toughness about his game and competes on both ends.
2022 6-8 F Joyful Hawkins (Brunswick): Put in pick-and-roll situations, Joyful Hawkins is one of Georgia’s elite when it comes to diving to the basket, catching and finishing. He carried the Big 5 with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks in the championship game. The majority of his points came at the rim but Hawkins is a capable mid-range shooter as well. His length and strength and ability to finish with authority makes him a tough matchup at the 15U level.
2022 6-2 SG Cameron Johnson (Harrison): Gifted with a physical frame, the bowling ball off-guard showed his scoring touch as the third option for the Big 5. He had 15 points and made three threes in the process. Johnson got into the lane and hit some tough shots in traffic as well.
2022 6-6 W TJ Grant (Veterans): I liked what I saw out of TJ Grant in his first impression as he collected 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in a loss to TSF. Grant is a big wing that is shifty when getting to the basket using euro-steps. He can pluck rebounds and start his own fastbreak with his ball handling. Overall, I liked his aggressiveness and effort. I’d like to see more of him.
2022 6-4 W Robert Cowherd (Denmark): The thing that stood out to me most about Robert Cowherd was his motor and constant effort, even when the Stars weren’t going to complete a comeback. Cowherd played hard and his stat line reflected it, posting 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. He hit two threes to balance his offensive attack.
2022 6-5 PG Dillon Hunter (Westlake): Dillon Hunter was on double duty, splitting time with the 16U and 15U Georgia Stars. Against Bruce Thornton and TSF, Hunter had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 1 block. Hunter has a good future ahead of him and the natural tools to become a star, but he isn’t quite as polished as Thornton and faded in and out of the game at times. Hunter’s first instinct is to get to the lane where he had some success in traffic. As he develops a three-point shot, he will become even better. He could become a defensive standout with his length in due time.
2023 6-2 CG David Thomas (Eagle’s Landing): David Thomas has long been a burgeoning star just waiting to get to the high school ranks and the GHSA. As an eight grader, he led New Creation Christian Academy in scoring and now shifts over to Eagle’s Landing to embark on his GHSA career. Thomas is a strong and smooth guard that knows how to score. He had 9 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in a 70-47 blowout of Atlanta Xpress. Thomas has a high release point on his jumper and gets his shots off in a variety of ways. He will be an impactful piece at Eagle’s Landing.
2022 6-3 G Jermarhi Hill (Berkmar): A wiry guard that transferred in from Alabama, Jermarhi Hill was instant offense off the bench for YRN. He had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He brought energy on both sides of the ball. Hill is good at snaking into the paint and has good vision when dumping off to open teammates. His feel for the game looked advanced.
2022 6-0 CG Kami Young (North Cobb Christian): A compact strong combo guard, Kami Young is a strong shooter that can open the floor. He came out hot with eight of his 13 points coming in the first few minutes of the first half. He tacked on 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals in an ugly loss to Team YRN. Young is a good scorer but he had opportunities to showcase his calmness as a ballhandler against a relentless YRN press that turned the Xpress over countless times. Next time against a team like that, I’d like to see him help stabilize the offense with the ball in his hands.
2021 6-7 PF Ja’Heim Hudson (South Gwinnett): Every time I watch Ja’Heim Hudson play, I fall more and more in love with his game. Hudson was outstanding in Game Elite’s comeback win over the Georgia Stars for the 16U Championship. Game Elite trailed 33-22 at the half before Hudson took over down the stretch and helped propel them to a 72-64 win. The big fella scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to pair with his 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Hudson is ambidextrous on the low block, able to score with both hands. He is a savvy passer out of the post and a stronger rebounder. He plays above the rim with his finishes and defensively, is a strong rim protector. Hudson even went 3-for-3 from the foul line. The great thing about Hudson is that he knows what he’s good at and sticks to it. He doesn’t stray away from his strengths and provides production night in and night out. Mid-Major schools should start the recruitment process.
2021 6-5 PF Robbie Armbrester (Therrell): After somewhat of a slow start, Robbie Armbrester got back to playing bully ball and helped ignite the comeback. Armbrester feeds off of intensity and emotion and once he got the juices flowing, there was no taming him. He pounded away for 12 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. By now you should know what to expect with Armbrester. All effort, all energy, all in the paint.
2021 5-10 PG AJ White (Chattahoochee): The undersized scoring dynamo averaged 11 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his two final games of the day. In the semifinals, he caught fire with three straight threes to spark a 17-0 run which erased an 11-point halftime deficit against the Atlanta Celtics and pushed them to a 70-68 victory. White is an elite shooter with microwave tendencies. Continuing to improve his point guard skills and his ability to get in the lane and finish through contact will help round out his game. Defensively he provides some scrappiness and fights over screens well.
2020 6-6 W Quincy Ademokoya (Dacula): Playing down a grade and with rumors swirling that he will be transferring across Gwinnett County and eventually reclassifiying, Quincy Ademokoya looked much more decisive and crisper with the Georgia Stars. He had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in the championship game and knocked down two threes.
2021 6-2 G Myles Rice (Eastside): Myles Rice put together a strong game against the Georgia Stars with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Rice has good size and can play either guard position. He has a scorer’s mentality and can get points at all three levels. He knocked down two threes and scored off the dribble.
2021 6-1 PG Danny Stubbs (Pebblebrook): Danny Stubbs has a mature feel to his game as a lead guard that scores when needed but excels at getting his teammates easy buckets. He had 9 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal vs. the Georgia Stars. Stubbs is good at probing the defense and knowing when to pull back for a jumper.
2021 6-6 W Matt Cleveland (Pace Academy): Fresh off an invite to the USA Basketball Minicamp later this month, Matt Cleveland was masterful in an 85-41 destruction of Team EAT. Cleveland scored 24 of his game-high 29 points in the first half and added 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 steals to boot. Cleveland was electric in transition, living above the rim and throwing down a handful of poster dunks throughout the day. He covers so much ground when attacking the basket in such a short amount of time, defenders aren’t able to wall up and cut him off. Cleveland looks ready to assert himself for a full 32 minutes for a full season at his new home at Pace Academy. Cleveland should have the Knights as a favorite to win the Class 3A state championship with his silky-smooth play.
2021 6-7 PF Devin McGlockton (South Forsyth): The more I see Devin McGlockton play, the more I see a future D-I player. McGlockton has made the most out of his opportunities with the HYPE Hawks, especially when Cole Middleton went down with another injury. Now that Middleton is back, McGlockton still looks like a blossoming big in the 2021 class. He reminds me a of current Mercer freshman James Glisson – a strong bodied forward that can score in the paint, rebound, alter shots and step outside to the three-point line. McGlockton might not be as good on the perimeter as Glisson was, but the other traits are starting to shine through. He had 12 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block against Team EAT. Low Majors and strong D-II programs should keep an eye on him.
2021 6-4 F Christian Sadler (Druid Hills): Christian Sadler played bigger than his size and provided a toughness and mean streak for Team EAT. Sadler had 4 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 7 blocks in his lone game. Sadler has long arms and good defensive timing.
2020 6-4 SG Chris Youngblood (East Coweta): Just when you think you’ve said everything that’s been needed to say about Chris Youngblood, you find yourself scrambling for more words to describe just how good he is and how meteoric his rise has been. The 17U MVP was the best player in the gym the entire event. Youngblood was unstoppable, averaging 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals over his three-game stretch, hitting 6 threes and going 9-of-15 from the line. The Kennesaw State-commit has firmly asserted himself as one of Georgia’s elite scorers and possibly its best shooting guard. His mixture of physicality and finesse makes him the complete package. Against nationally ranked blue-chip prospects of the Atlanta Celtics, Youngblood had 32 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal in the 17U Championship as the Knights held on 80-79 after Youngblood fouled out with 48.1 seconds left. Out of his 32 points, 30 came via inside the arc. Youngblood was locked in all day with pull-ups from the mid-range, strong finishes in the paint and from the three-point line. Youngblood is a program changing player at Kennesaw State, a school which may mirror East Coweta. Youngblood didn’t step into a perfect situation in Sharpsburg but has seen his win totals increase from 5 before he was a freshman to 14 to 13 to last season’s 24-win campaign. Youngblood could provide a similar impact at Kennesaw State and cultivate a winning culture.
2020 6-4 G Kirshon Thrash (Eagle’s Landing): As good as Chris Youngblood was, Kirshon Thrash was equally impressive and rose his stock through the roof, solidifying him as a future D-I player in my eyes. I’ve been intrigued with Thrash for a while now but that intrigue has grown into love for what he is as a player. Thrash is a grown man at guard or whatever position you’d like to classify him as. He is truly positionless; he is a producer. Thrash is the state’s best rebounding guard bar none and is probably in the discussion for best rebounder regardless of position. Thrash can play every position at the high school level. In the championship against the Atlanta Celtics, he spent time at point guard on offense while defending 6-foot-9 Mississippi State-commit Bayron Matos on the low block and holding him to 2 points and 1 rebound. Thrash is the ultimate stat sheet stuffer and jack-of-all-trades. Thrash kicked off the event by bullying Team Georgia Magic for 24 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. In a blowout of Team Forrest he had a modest 3 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists, but ramped it back up in the title game, going for 13 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Thrash uses his body so well in every facet of the game whether it be angling for rebounds, defending the post or using his shoulders to drive by defenders. Thrash is a bulldog on the offensive glass, recording a countless amount of put-backs. On offense, Thrash is a capable three-point shooter but prefers the mid-range and in. He hit some tough pull ups off the dribble throughout the day. Thrash will be a super glue guy at the next level. He can affect games without pouring in points. Presbyterian was the first to offer the bowling ball guard. I think it would behoove more Low Majors to start evaluating Thrash ASAP.
2020 6-5 W Toneari Lane (Grayson): Steady as a rock. That is what you get out of Toneari Lane. While Deivon Smith and Dwon Odom might garner more of the headlines and be the highlight stars of the team, Lane is the hard-hat lunch pail guy that goes to work every day. Lane had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block in the championship. Lane is an efficient three-point shooter, hitting two in the title game. He has a nice jump shot but still the toughness to get a bucket when he puts his head down. Lane’s best moment for me however was when he consoled a teammate after a crucial mistake down the stretch. Instead of yelling at him like another player did, Lane calmly patted him on the chest to let him know that he was ok. Small little moments of maturity and leadership like that are part of what makes Lane such a strong player and person.
2020 6-6 W Melvin Edwards (Carrollton): When no one else could buy a basket in a 76-52 loss to the Georgia Knights, Melvin Edwards was the lone player that showed up in the semifinals. The big wing had 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Edwards has evolved into a reliably productive commodity. Great target for Low to Mid Majors.
2021 6-7 PF Quay Primas (Central-Macon): Anchoring a young group playing up, Quay Primas was great in the second half but couldn’t dig the Magic out of a 41-17 halftime hole, eventually losing 71-53 to the Georgia Knights. Primas scores in a variety of ways. He knocks down baseline jumpers, attacks from the high post and of course scores with his back to the basket. The big lefty has range out to the three-point line as well. He posted 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in his second Battle For Georgia.
2021 6-5 W Kowacie Reeves Jr. (Westside-Macon): All arms and legs, the spindly wing has blown up over a year’s time with a handful of Power 5 offers. He had 13 points, 3 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 block against the grown man backcourt of the Georgia Knights – a tough assignment. Reeves didn’t hit any trademark threes, but that’s a good thing for his development. Formerly just a three-point specialist, Reeves has begun rounding into a more versatile scorer. He had a beautifully smooth reverse layup – maybe the prettiest finish of the event – and showed more than just finesse when he threw down a wicked And-1 dunk. His activity on defense was a positive sign as well. Putting more of an effort into rebounding the ball will help provide value in the future.
2020 6-1 PG Jaylon Brown: The quick floor general nearly led the Cougars to a come from behind win against Berkmar before falling by two points. Jaylon Brown, known for his playmaking, showed leadership and a scoring touch in his 11-point, 4-rebound, 3-assist performance. Brown is a trusty high school guard that plays fast. Schools looking for a true point guard need to monitor Brown’s final season. If he can score the ball consistently his senior season, his stock will continue to rise.
2020 6-8 PF Bryce Robinson: After seeing his role grow over three seasons, learning behind The Citadel’s Brady Spence, Bryce Robinson is now fully ready to be Alexander’s bell cow big man. Robinson might not be quite as long as Spence was but he’s got a solid body and a fundamental skillset behind it. Robinson had 8 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 4 blocks against Berkmar. The big red head has a nice back-to-the-basket repertoire highlighted by a baby hook. Robinson battled Berkmar’s bigs exceptionally well, rebounding the ball with both hands in traffic. Robinson should follow in Spence’s foot steps and garner some D-I looks.
2022 6-9 F Malique Ewin: Berkmar hit the transfer market hard this offseason and scored a true gem in Malique Ewin. The Rockdale-native had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocks in a 37-35 win over Alexander. Ewin is a load inside at 238 pounds, but the skilled big handles like a guard. He moves great in transition and can catch and finish on the run. On the low block, he has good footwork and doesn’t get rushed. Ewin has a soft touch that extends to the three-point line as well. Big men usually take some time to develop but Ewin is the complete package already. Depending on how he fits into Berkmar’s style of play, Ewin could end up being the cornerstone to the Patriots’ success. I need to see more of him but in his limited sample size, Ewin looks like a High Major forward with a skyscraper’s ceiling. I’d be shocked if he isn’t in the discussion for being the top player in Georgia’s 2022 class three years from now.
2022 6-6 W Jaylon Taylor: The young long-armed wing made a good first impression in a win over St. Pius X, putting up 12 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Taylor showed range on him jump shot, hitting two threes while defensively, he guarded multiple positions. With plenty of opportunities now up for the taking at Buford, Taylor is on the right track.
2021 6-5 CG Taihland Owens: Cherokee County’s next big thing is starting to round into form. After piling in the points as a sophomore, its now time for the wins to follow. Up against Caleb Byrd of Rome, Owens posted 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in a 54-42 win in convincing fashion. Owens is a talented scorer that gets his points from all three levels. As he continues to grow his point guard skills and stays locked in on defense, more offers will pour in. Owens is a High Major player and one I’ve had my eye on since eighth grade.
2021 6-7 F Elijah Tucker: I will admit that Elijah Tucker did not make a great first impression last season in the only game I watched him: 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in a loss to Drew Charter, but the emerging combo forward has been making strides with his game ever since. Instead of floating away to the perimeter like he did in my first evaluation, Tucker was active and got his work done around the basket on Sunday. He had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 1 assist, never relenting on the glass and forcing defenders to hack away at him. He went 12-of-15 from the foul line. Tucker is still just scratching the surface of what he can become but with great blood lines (son of former Tennessee post player LaShonda Stephens Tucker), colleges have taken notice of his upside. St. Johns, Iowa, Northwestern and Middle Tennessee State all offered after camp.
2021 6-7 F Corey Thomas: The younger brother of former WNBA player Christi Thomas, Corey has some untapped potential that might come to fruition soon. He had 10 points and 8 rebounds in a loss to Evans. Thomas’ skills are still developing as he had some raw moments on the floor. Defensively he needs to wall up better and not get tempted to swat down at any shots. Offensively, he is still putting together go-to moves and an identity. Check back on him this time next year to see his progress.
2020 6-6 F Spencer McDonald: Watching Spencer McDonald for the first time in years left me extremely impressed. Possessing a strong rugged frame, McDonald assaulted Lithia Springs’ frontline with 18 points and 6 rebounds. McDonald was aggressive, scoring with his back to the basket and when facing up from 15-feet out. He had nice footwork out of both areas and finished above the rim a handful of times. If McDonald can consistently play like he did on Sunday, he should be a late blooming option for small colleges.
2020 6-6 PF Adonnis Tolbert: Coaches were buzzing about Tolbert’s performance against Hart County. A standout football player as well, the chiseled 205-pound wide receiver played above the rim like he does every game. Tolbert is one of Georgia’s most explosively powerful players, a true rim-rocker that rattles the backboard. He posterized one defender with a breathtaking jam. Tolbert is more than just an athlete however. He’s got a nice jumper out to 15-feet and elevates over defenders inside for turnaround jumpers and hooks in the lane. He had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks.
2021 6-3 CG Omari Fonteno: I liked Fonteno’s mindset and aggressiveness in Douglas County’s 50-49 OT win over Lithonia. The active guard scored the ball in a variety of ways including hitting two threes. Fonteno’s energy extended to the hustle stats as well, posting 10 rebounds to go along with his 2 assists.
2020 6-2 G Christian Chambers: Out of the Augusta area, Christian Chambers is one of the better guards in the state of Georgia that doesn’t get as much attention statewide as he probably deserves. The southpaw can score the ball at all three levels and has nice length on the perimeter. He had 18 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in a 45-43 win over Cherokee Bluff. Chambers loves getting to his left hand but needs to get a little more confidence in his right to fully round out his offensive attack. Chambers at the very least should be on D-II radars and with a strong senior season could see some Low Major D-I schools offer.
2020 6-1 G JeKobe Coleman: Widely regarded as one of the best shooters in the state of Georgia, Coleman did not disappoint against Holy Innocents’, dropping in four threes en route to 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Coleman is a bit undersized for the shooting guard position at the next level and currently does much of his damage off the ball. Improving his point guard skills will help him prepare for college.
2020 6-11 F Christian Fussell: After an unstable first few seasons of transferring around the state, Christian Fussell has found stability and success at Greenforest as he has come into his own. Fussell has been one of the hottest big men prospects in the Southeast, picking up offers at a rapid rate due to his ability to shoot the ball. Fussell had 9 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in a win over Woodville-Tompkins. He has toughened up his game over the past three seasons and rebounded well at camp. Playing at Greenforest he seems more comfortable being able to spend time on the perimeter instead of solely playing inside. With other 7-footers now in the mix, Fussell has the chance to showcase his soft touch throughout his senior season. He is the definition of a stretch big.
2021 5-11 PG Kedrick Green: One of the state’s best table setters, Kedrick Green will have to do a lot for Greenforest after moving in from Meadowcreek. The Eagles run out a line up of three forwards 6-foot-8 or bigger and 6-foot-6 Lamar Oden on the wing. While Oden can handle some of the ball handling and playmaking abilities from time to time, it is Green’s responsibility for the full 32 to make sure everyone is where they need to be. He has to put Greenforest’s bigs in position to do the most damage possible, making his ability to spoon feed them for assists a key to their success. Green had 2 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists against Woodville-Tompkins. He is never asked to score much but can tack on some points when needed. Greenforest has the biggest front court in the state and possibly the nation, but one of the smallest backcourts with Khi Cook and Juwell Wilson both well under 6-feet. If Green’s passing wasn’t already highlighted during his time at Meadowcreek, it will surely draw praise this year as Green quite possibly may be the most important piece to the Greenforest puzzle.
2022 6-3 W JC Curry: With three key cogs out of the lineup, JC Curry had to step up. The frizzy-haired swingman buried three threes and completed an alley-oop layup before slamming his head in the second half. When Curry plays with confidence, his skill level exudes. He had 11 points.
2021 6-4 G Garrison Powell: Garrison Powell played free and flowing in 4-point loss to Fayette County. He collected 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals. Powell has a smooth game on the perimeter and a confident stroke. His rebounding stood out as an added plus.
2021 5-11 PG Justin Wilson: Justin Wilson has a good feel for the game from the point guard position. He’s compactly built and has strength when getting in the paint. He has good court vision and passes the ball well in traffic. He finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 1 block against Fayette County. With Chance Moore and Garrison Powell the obvious top two scoring options, Wilson is in a good position to rack up the assists and find his own open looks on ball reversals. I really enjoyed his style of play.
2021 6-4 F Landon Kardian: Rugged, relentless and fearless are three phrases that accurately describe Landon Kardian’s mentality on the court. The football wide receiver brings his toughness to a somewhat undersized group that desperately needs someone to play big. Kardian contributed 11 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block. The lefty seeks contact and powers his way through it. His can-do attitude on the floor left a lasting impression.
2020 6-6 W Ja’Queze Kirby: If you aren’t on the Ja’Queze Kirby bandwagon yet, you better hop on. Kirby had some jaw-dropping moments throughout camp but his drop-step splitting two defenders and finishing with a one-handed jam in traffic was something to behold. Kirby is a High Major recruit and one of Georgia’s most complete players. He had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in a loss to West Forsyth, hitting three three-pointers along the way. Kirby is a tremendous playmaker that makes everyone around him so much better. His motor when gassed up is as good as it gets. Mercer and Old Dominion offered after camp but I would be stunned if he doesn’t end up at a Power 5 school.
2022 6-0 SG CJ Parker: With college coaches lined up to watch Ja’Queze Kirby, CJ Parker made a nice impression with his shot-making ability. He had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Parker is a sharpshooter with a quick trigger, hitting two threes. Parker showed some toughness when getting to the basket. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Parker has a sneaky good future in Hazlehurst.
2020 6-7 F Perry Robinson: Schools looking for a bit of a sleeper with high upside should look no further than Perry Robinson. Robinson is a tweener combo-forward that can provide quality minutes at the wing but also thrive as a stretch-four. Robinson has some fast-twitch fibers that makes him quick and shifty with the ball when getting downhill. He likes to attack the basket but has a quality jump shot as well. He nailed two threes vs. Woodstock in an effort of 17 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. I’d like to see more of Robinson. He looks like one of the better forwards in the state of Georgia. Strong D-II programs and Low Majors should put Robinson on their watch list.
2020 6-8 C Zyon Gaddis: A big space-eater, Gaddis showed a nice touch at camp and a hunger for rebounding the ball. He had 14 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks against Woodstock. Not much of an above the rim player, Gaddis used his strong frame to position himself for caroms. He had soft hands around the rim scoring the ball with baby hooks. He can stand to trim up his body some more which will help his athleticism, but Gaddis looks like a useful piece at the collegiate level.
2022 6-0 PG MJ Matthews: Flying under the radar in the 2022 class is MJ Matthews. The tough point guard has a mature feel to his game. He gets two feet in the paint and either finishes strong at the rim or kicks out to open shooters. I liked his court vision and his overall competitiveness. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block. He is willing to mix it up on both ends of the floor. Developing a jump shot will be key over the next three seasons.
2022 6-4 W Elijah Walden: With PJ Carter struggling with his shot against Tift County, Elijah Walden provided value as a slasher and active rebounder. Blessed with a mature body already close to being college ready, Walden attacked on offense and gave Langston Hughes some much needed aggression on the perimeter. He had 9 points (1 three), 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in a 1-point loss. While Kobe Davis has drawn more attention from colleges thus far, I think Walden has a chance to become one of Georgia’s better prospects.
2020 6-1 G Anthony Hardy: The scoring dynamo didn’t disappoint against Creekview albeit a slow first half. Hardy ran wild in transition in the second half, scoring 16 of his game-high 20 points to go along with his 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Hardy isn’t the best athlete in Georgia, the most physically imposing or the top three-point shooter, but he is a wired-to-score bucket getter, something that can’t be overlooked or taught. He thrived off turnovers and turned his defense into easy offense.
2020 6-1 G Antonio Lewis: While Anthony Hardy got the majority of his points in run outs and hard drives to the basket, Antonio Lewis sniped away from distance, hitting three threes and multiple jumpers en route to 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Lewis’ ability to stroke the ball gives him value at the next level. He and Hardy make up a great 1-2 punch in West Georgia and a must-see backcourt for colleges looking for scorers.
2020 6-2 PG Eric Gaines: The uber-athletic string bean stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks against Douglas County. Gaines plays with panache, a human highlight whether streaking to the rim for an electrifying dunk or dishing off a flashy assist. Gaines hasn’t popped with colleges or national recruiting services yet but make no mistake, he is one of the best in Georgia’s deep 2020 class at the lead guard position and a valid D-I level prospect.
2020 5-6 PG Javontae Jackson: The Chapel Hill transfer is a speed merchant with the ball. He had 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Jackson is a pest on defense, able to get up under ball handlers and apply pressure.
2022 6-2 G Domonik Henderson: The reigning Class 3A Freshman of the Year turned heads at camp. An elite athlete with a motor to boot, Henderson was constantly involved in every play in a 48-32 win over Johnson-Gainesville. Henderson is tenacious on-ball defender with the upside of being truly elite. His hunger to play defense separates him from most players his age. Offensively his three-point shot is still coming along and he’s more of a slasher. He had 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals and 1 block. Under the new tutelage of Coach Michael Hoffpauir, Henderson has a chance to turn into something special.
2021 5-11 PG Derrius Martin: 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals against Northeast-Macon, Derrius Martin continued with his strong summer impressing me yet again. Martin is tough with the ball and makes good reads. He’s got a knack for getting into the paint and finishing through contact. Martin is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
2020 6-8 W Xavier Valley: Xavier Valley is a streaky shooter at times but he’s got the ability to score in bunches. He hit five threes and finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block. Missouri State offered him at camp. He’s got the tools to solidify himself as a premier wing in Georgia. Boston College, UConn, Memphis, VCU and Georgia already have offered.
2021 6-6 W Matt Cleveland: In a loss to Sequoyah, Cleveland had some “wow” moments. To start the game he had an emphatic block and then swooped in for a dunk on the other end – illuminating his skill on both sides of the ball. Cleveland finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. His play over camp has led to offers from Kansas State, Miami, Maryland, Florida and Iowa State.
2021 6-7 F Blake Hadley: Out of all of Pebblebrook’s talented wings and forwards in the 2021 class, I had heard the least about Blake Hadley. Listed at 220 pounds, Hadley is a strong well-built forward that is tough to keep off the glass. He had a solid game against Woodville-Tompkins with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 blocks. With a James Madison offer already in hand, I expect more offers to come for the rugged post presence.
2021 6-0 PG Danny Stubbs Jr.: With a stable of talented wings and forwards, Danny Stubbs Jr. has a plethora of weapons at his disposal. Stubbs is tough in transition but even in the half court, his smooth approach to the game is apparent. Stubbs has a sweet jump shot and enough quickness to get inside the paint. His passing and on-ball defense are underrated aspects of his game. He had 10 points (2 threes) and 4 assists in a win over Woodville-Tompkins.
2020 6-2 G Caleb Byrd: A great athlete, Caleb Byrd plays bigger than his size thanks to his bounce and his scoring prowess. He had 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in a loss to Cherokee. He didn’t hit any threes against the Warriors but when he’s locked in, its easy to see why he averaged over 25 points per game last season. Mercer, Appalachian State, South Alabama and Murray State all offered after camp.
2020 6-3 W Jacksen Greco: Not many players rose their stock quite like Jacksen Greco did. The unorthodoxed sharpshooting lefty lit it up all weekend, especially against Pace Academy when he hit four threes and finished with 23 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. Formerly just a three-point specialist, Greco has evolved his game into becoming a well-rounded scoring threat, complete with floaters in the lane and the ability to draw contact when driving to the rim. He scored at all three levels and colleges took notice as Mercer became the first school to offer the southpaw. Greco still has a unique look about him, an Adam Morrison-esque flow and a similar scoring prowess. He probably doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves, but Greco is a greatly improved athlete which shines through most when he comes flying in for rebounds.
2022 6-1 G Chase Cormier: Cormier picked up a Kennesaw State offer and had SEC schools in attendance regularly at his games. He averaged close to 20 points per game on the weekend, drilling a handful of threes each game. He netted three in a 15-point outing against Buford and impressed with his ball-handling and court vision over the weekend. Cormier will be the focal point of the St. Pius offense and will have a lot on his plate his sophomore season.
2020 6-3 G Zarion Griffin: Zarion Griffin shot the ball well in a 41-26 loss to Washington County. He scored 14 points and hit three threes. Griffin has nice size on the perimeter and a scorer’s mentality. He didn’t have enough help to keep pace with Washington County but challenged their defense with his shot-making. Griffin holds a 2.4 GPA and claims interest from Georgia Southern.
2021 6-6 F Jatarion Warren: One of South Georgia’s hottest prospects, Jatarion Warren made the most of his time in Metro Atlanta, leading Tift County to a 43-42 win over Langston Hughes to kick off camp on Saturday. Warren had 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks and the game-winning free throw in sudden death overtime. Warren was all over the floor on both ends of the court, flying in for rebounds and swatting away shots to protect the rim. Offensively, Warren hit jumpers with his high release including a three-pointer and scored efficiently around the basket. As far as wing skills go, it looked like Warren’s outside shooting might be a little ahead of his perimeter ball handling, but his motor on the glass and defensively make him one of South Georgia’s most impactful players.
2020 6-2 PG Jarden Maze: Maze owned the stage in a South Georgia showcase game vs. Statesboro. His playmaking ability shined as he split defenders and got to the rim on multiple occasions. Maze has a slippery way about him, making him a tough cover. He had some nice finishes at the basket but more impressive was his passing. He is able to find open teammates in tough spots and makes everyone around him better. Maze had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. He is a capable three-point shooter, making him a threat at all three levels. Maze looks like a breakout candidate that will be known statewide if he isn’t already. He maintains a 3.7 GPA and has interest from Furman.
2020 6-4 W Joseph Staiti: Cousin of current UGA post player Jenna Staiti, Joseph was outstanding against Ja’Queze Kirby and the Jeff Davis Yellowjackets. Staiti is a true inside-out threat from the wing position. He’s a grinder that can play both forward spots. He had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Staiti’s jumper was honed in, nailing four threes. Small schools need to keep an eye on his progress and make sure he doesn’t slip through their fingers.
2021 6-4 F Ezekiel Pettway: A live body on both ends of the court, Pettway applied pressure on opponents with his steady motor. He had 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist in a loss to Kennesaw Mountain. Pettway has a good-looking stroke and an inside-out feel to his game.
2020 6-7 F Bernard Pelote: Pelote garnered a lot of attention last weekend from college coaches and national media alike. To be honest, he did not have his best offensive game with him but it was his motor and effort that carried him through rough shooting stretches. Pelote had some big matchups against some of Georgia’s longest teams. Against Pebblebrook’s highly touted junior class filled with 6-foot-7 wings, Pelote pounded away with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 1 block. Later in the weekend, he had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block vs. Greenforest before getting hurt early in the second half. Pelote handled the ball well for his size throughout camp. He will have to carry more of the offensive burden now that the 2019 class is gone which will help him develop confidence and refine his skillset from the wing. His shot was off, especially against Pebblebrook as he left nearly everything short, but like a good player should, he was able to find his points by attacking the glass for second chance opportunities and by slashing to the basket. Pelote has a nice-looking jumper but it’s still a little inconsistent at this point. He projects to be a wing and is more of a combo-forward right now. I think his defense and rebounding ability is what sets him apart from other wing/forwards in the 2020 class.
2020 6-2 W Omar Starr: There was nothing flashy about Omar Starr’s game but it got the job done. Starr stuck his nose in every 50/50 ball and seemingly had an influence in every play. Starr impressed me with his toughness and his overall effort. He’s a fearless slasher that gets into the heart of the defense and challenges shot blockers. He had 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. Pebblebrook and had his best game against Greenforest, going for 11 points and 7 rebounds while giving up close to a foot to almost every player that the Eagles dispatched. Tough-nosed guys like Starr might not get the headlines but they are the type of players that help win a lot of games.
2020 6-6 F Melvin Edwards: Every time there was a rim being rocked on another court, I’d turn my head and see that it was Edwards doing the damage. The high-rising combo forward continued his blow-up summer by dunking everything possible and running the floor in transition. I identified Edwards as a possible D-I recruit at the HoopSeen Tip-Off back in March and college coaches have wisely agreed with Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern and Presbyterian all offering. Edwards is a match-up problem with his versatility scoring inside and out. He has the feel of becoming a special player once he gets to college.
2020 6-3 CG Marcellious Lockett: In an early morning bout with Grayson, Lockett shined with his play on both sides of the ball. He turned defense into offense by playing the passing lanes and getting after it with his on-ball defense. When he had the ball in his hands, he created offense for himself and others, riffling in some no look passes for easy buckets when he wasn’t hunting his own shot. Lockett scored from all three levels and completed some tough finishes at the rim. Lockett hasn’t garnered the D-I offers that Edwards has gotten yet, but if he is patient, I wouldn’t be surprised if some schools start his recruitment if he puts together a strong showing at the NCAA Georgia Live Period Event this weekend.
2020 6-4 SG Caleb Murphy: In a 68-53 win over Tri-Cities, the Norcross transfer looked like he was more than capable of being a number one option on a top team, posting 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal with Deivon Smith out of town. Murphy operated in tight spaces with the ball on a string as he wriggled his way out of traps to find freedom. He’s got a quick first step that helps him get into the paint and finish at the rim. He had a nice day with Georgia State’s staff attentively watching.
2021 6-7 PF Ian Schieffelin: Often lost in the shuffle with the great high-flying backcourt of Grayson, since Day 1 when he first dawned the Green and Gold, Ian Schieffelin has been a hard-nosed lunch pail type of post willing to do the dirty work inside. In their win over Tri-Cities, he contributed 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 blocks. Schieffelin snatched down some grown-man rebounds that not even the peskiest of guards would consider swiping at once he controlled it. The former quarterback has a soft touch with the ball and can extend his range to the three-point line when asked to stretch the floor. Schieffelin understands his role and flourishes in it. He was rewarded with an offer from James Madison last weekend; his first scholarship offer.
2020 6-4 W Demetrius Rives: One of Fulton’s counties premier fearless slashers, Demetrius Rives, battled Grayson’s high-profile front court and came away with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. Rives is a strong well-built athlete that’s primary goal on offense is to get to the rim. He attacks the basket with bad intentions. He is a strong rebounder for his wing position, using his strength to stay on the glass. Being able to consistently knock down jump shots is an area he will need to improve upon his senior year.
2021 6-2 CG Peyton Daniels: Though he didn’t have his strongest game, Peyton Daniels still hit three threes and finished with 13 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists vs. Grayson. Daniels has a smooth stroke that he can get off the dribble. With DaMarcus Johnson graduating, the team officially belongs to Daniels now. He will be relied upon to score but also create for teammates as well.
2020 6-1 PG Angelo Grimes: A solid athlete with a calm floor general demeanor, Angelo Grimes averaged 11.5 points over two games and stuffed the stat sheet in a 64-57 win over Johns Creek with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. Grimes did a good job of getting into the paint and kicking out to teammates. He is a pass-first point guard who does his scoring at the rim.
2021 6-2 W JaCorye Favors: The lefty was one of Georgia State Team Camp’s best discoveries on the day. Against Johns Creek he tallied 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block and vs. Mt. Pisgah added 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Favors is an active guard that crashes the glass and plays bigger than his size. He can knock down the open three but did most of his damage slashing to the basket and on the offensive glass. He is transferring in from Maynard Jackson and should be able to give Douglass an immediate lift in Region 6-AA.
2021 6-3 G Steven Lyles: Just looking at Steven Lyles, the upside he possesses is apparent. Lyles is a gifted athlete with a tremendous frame for a guard. He had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block in a loss to Douglass. He drained two threes but his most eye-opening play was his acrobatic 360 layup on a defender. Lyles is a name to keep in the back of your mind for the next two years.
2021 5-11 G Chase Tucker: No one was more impressive with their jump shot than Chase Tucker was. The three-point specialist was dialed in, banging in eight threes for 24 points in a 53-41 win over Douglass. Tucker was in a special zone, sinking nearly every attempt he fired up. He carried the load without JoJo Peterson available.
2021 6-7 PF Nate Gordon: Nate Gordon put up 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block against Douglass. At times Gordon still looks a little raw around the basket but he had a few strong finishes when powering up for dunks. Improving his footwork with his back to the basket will open up more scoring opportunities.
2021 6-2 G Micah Bell: I’d heard good things about Micah Bell over the past year and the wiry guard did not disappoint, albeit vs. a JV Lovejoy team. Bell is excellent in transition and gets downhill when attacking the basket. He is a bit slight of frame, but takes contact extremely well and finishes through defenders. Bell has some wiggle and bounce to his game and has a knack for scoring. He knocked down two threes in his 25-point outburst to go along with his 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Bell reminds me just a little bit of 2020 Lithonia PG Eric Gaines.
2020 6-1 G Mike Bell: The older brother of Micah, Mike Bell is a stout guard with a three-point stroke. He hit three en route to 15 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and 3 steals. He showed good instincts with his on-ball defense and turned over his opponents. Mike might not be as electric athletically as Micah, but he’s still a reliable guard that helps the offense flow.
2021 6-4 F Navaughn Maise: Defensively is where Navaughn Maise made his strongest impact against Parkview. The strong framed forward contributed 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. He plays bigger than his size and has good hands in traffic. Maise is the type of player that coaches can trust to battle in the trenches.
2021 6-3 W Miles Kelly: Miles Kelly heated up in the second half, scoring 11 of his game-high 15 points to lead Parkview past Peachtree Ridge 49-46. He hit two threes before going 5-of-6 from the line to close the game. Kelly has nice length on the perimeter and a good future ahead.
2020 6-2 G Allen Terrell: Allen Terrell kept constant pressure on opposing ball handlers and played a key role in Parkview’s comeback. Terrell had 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 6 steals and 1 block. His willingness to defend sparked the Panthers and his energy was contagious in the second half.
2021 6-7 PF Ja’Heim Hudson: Already known as a double-double threat, Ja’Heim Hudson could be on his way to becoming a D-I recruit. Hudson looked good in a 55-25 win over Marietta, scoring 8 points to go with his 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Hudson showed off a baby hook with both hands and had a strong drop step to square his shoulders and finish with authority. Hudson plays above the rim with powerful finishes and has nice court awareness when passing out of the post. By this time next year, expect Hudson to have a handful of offers.
2021 6-0 PG Travis Burrus: Six seniors graduate from last year’s surprise Sweet 16 team, meaning it’s Travis Burrus’ time to take over the reins as a leader and go-to player. Burrus scored 8 points in a shorthanded loss to South Gwinnett. Burrus got into the paint with his quickness but also showed the ability to hit the three, drilling two. The lefty will need to balance finding his own offense with setting up teammates his junior season.
2020 5-10 PG Tailique Williams: A known commodity in west Georgia, the engine of Harris County led the Tigers to a few wins at Georgia Tech. The dual-sport athlete getting recruited to play football posted 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in a 52-46 win over Alpharetta. Williams’ quickness and football physicality allowed him to squeeze into the lane and tear the defense down from the inside out. He’s got a funky left-handed stroke but Williams hit a few jumpers through out the day. His court vision makes him one of the best true point guards in the Columbus area.
2021 6-3 W Marcus Dumas: Marcus Dumas is a wiry wing with a good motor. He did most of his damage slashing to the basket in his 14-point showing against Alpharetta. He collected 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block as well. Dumas’ energy on both ends of the floor played a key role in Harris County’s success at Georgia Tech.
2020 6-5 F Josh Spencer: In losses to Harris County and ELCA, Spencer contributed all over the floor. He had 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks vs. Harris County before going for 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block against ELCA. Spencer is a strong forward with a versatile skillset. He helps out on the glass and defensively, but maintaining an aggressive mindset offensively with consistency will be important his senior season. Spencer has enough talent to average close to a double-double this year – which Alpharetta will need – he just has to hunt his offense a little more.
2020 6-5 W Jayden Stephens: “Canada” got hurt in game two vs. ELCA but managed to post 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals against Harris County. Stephens is continuing to reshape his game to become more than just a three-point specialist. He scored some points in the paint and rebounded to earn second-chance opportunities. To round out his offensive repertoire, Stephens must improve his ball handling. He needs to be able to get to the basket from the wing more frequently. His length on the perimeter gives him the tools needed to become a plus-defender.
2021 6-1 SG Jamari Denson: Transferring in from Hillgrove, Denson looked comfortable as one of Alpharetta’s top scoring options. He had 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal against Harris County before netting 13 points in a 49-33 loss to ELCA. Denson has some smooth qualities to his game and a capable three-point shot to keep defenses honest. He will have plenty of opportunities to impact Alpharetta this season as a jump shot making two-guard.
2020 6-9 F Izzy Momodu: The gentle giant from London finally looks comfortable with ELCA and showed that he is ready to play big minutes after learning behind Maryville College-signee Felix Uadiale, a great role model for how bigs should play with energy. Momodu saw inconsistent minutes through ELCA’s run to the Class A-Private State Championship game as his fitness and overall fit were not quite in tune. Momodu showed flashes of his promise on Saturday at Georgia Tech, finishing with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal against Alpharetta. Izzy displayed signs of a developing low-post game, not always the smoothest with his footwork but patient enough to maneuver his way around defenders using an up-and-under. Against Harris County, he knocked down two three-pointers. His passing was impressive especially when working a two-man game with fellow forward Jordan Smalls; handling the ball from the wing, making eye-contact with Smalls and sending him baseline for a backdoor cut, a pretty assisted layup via Momodu threading the needle. Momodu is still not a finished product, but the pieces are moving closer and closer together which could materialize into some D-II offers depending on how his senior season plays out.
2020 6-6 F Jordan Smalls: To say his senior season will be a crucial one would be an understatement. With the graduation of a largely influential 2019 class, its time for Jordan Smalls to lead and take the reins of the offense. Smalls had 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in a win over Alpharetta. He got most of his offense on effort and using his length to his advantage. He had one pretty spin baseline out of the low block, an aggressive move that I would love to see more from him. Smalls can contribute here and there on both ends of the floor but locking in with an assertive mind set could help him really take advantage of his new found role in the offense. In an overtime win against Harris County, Smalls took over with four points, a block and two rebounds in the extra period. Smalls is a bit of tweener forward since he doesn’t have a consistent three-point shot that he turns to, an area of his game he could improve upon along with his handle. Overall, Smalls has the tools available for a breakout senior season.
2020 6-9 C Mohamad Diallo: Mo Diallo transferred from Arabia Mountain to Southwest DeKalb last season but was unable to see the floor. With how he played at Georgia Tech, he should be a front runner for the starting center job. Diallo had 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks against Jeff Davis but picked it up against Sandy Creek with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. Diallo is still raw, but he alters a ton of shots inside. The late bloomer needs to polish up some post moves, but he did try a few hook shots. He had three missed dunks on the day, trying to drop step and finish over smaller defenders, a good aggressive look but he will need to finish them off. The big lefty could use some more muscle but in a state that has a dearth of size, Diallo could play his way onto some college radars.
2020 6-6 W Eugene Brown III: After a devastating broken leg ended his season short, Eugene Brown looked fully healthy at Georgia Tech, not missing a beat. He was aggressive on defense, leading to easy buckets throughout the day. He had 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks against Jeff Davis before adding 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal vs. Sandy Creek. Brown did not connect on any of his trademark three-pointers but instead attacked the rim, especially in transition. His length led to many stolen passes which he took the distance. With ACC and Big East schools hot on his trail, Brown has plenty of options to choose from.
2020 6-8 W Xavier Valley: One of Georgia’s potential breakout stars, Xavier Valley, showed flashes of what he could end up being. He struggled in a 60-37 loss to Langston Hughes, finishing with just 6 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks but against Milton he revved up his play to tally 22 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Valley came out of the gates hot against Milton, hitting three three-pointers after his jumper wasn’t falling against Langston Hughes. Valley has High Major size on the perimeter and a solid outside shot. Consistency on the offensive end will be what he needs to improve upon. Valley had a few lulls throughout both games. He has the ability to score on all three levels, he just needs to stay aggressive. On defense he was a reliable rim protector.
2020 6-6 PF Onuma Dieke: While the stat lines may not have been overly sexy, “OD”’s impact was definitely felt in both games. The long-armed athlete is a wide receiver recruit who boasts a 3.76 weighted GPA and will be dual-enrolled next year. As bright as he is in the classroom and on the football field, Dieke is equally as bright with his effort on defense and the boards. He put together games of 2 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks vs. Langston Hughes and a showing of 6 points and 7 rebounds against Milton. Dieke isn’t a huge offensive threat but he’s solid enough to finish around the basket when up close and is a handful to keep off the glass. While his future likely is in football instead of basketball, Dieke is all you can ask for from an athletic role-playing big man in high school.
2020 6-6 PF Jaimonnie Watkins-Causey: Back home at North Clayton, the rugged defensive-minded forward got to showcase more of his offense. He averaged 11 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1 block in two games on Saturday. Watkins-Causey was aggressive with the ball in his hands, trying to get to the basket from 15-feet out or when he faced up out of the low post. It looked like he forced a few bad shots at times trying to prove he’s a scorer but overall he had a strong day on both sides of the ball. If schools are looking for a hard-nosed forward, Watkins-Causey might be the right fit.
2020 6-5 SG PJ Carter: Langston Hughes’ next D-I player is PJ Carter. The sharpshooter did a fine job of replacing Landers Nolley (Virginia Tech) last season, averaging 19.1 points per game. Carter is swift to catch fire with his lightning-quick release. He drilled four threes en route to 24 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal in a win over North Clayton. Carter was one of Team Camp’s top performers and should start to become a priority for LM-MM schools looking for a scorer with a pure jump shot. He’s drawn interest from the likes of UT-Chattanooga, Wofford and Georgia Southern to name a few.
2022 6-2 G Bruce Thornton Jr.: Already a nationally known prospect, Bruce Thornton Jr. did not disappoint in Milton’s 49-42 win over North Clayton. The rising sophomore is not built like one. Blessed with a running back’s physicality, Thornton bullied his way to 19 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists while living at the line, going 9-of-12. North Clayton’s guards were unable to keep Thornton out of the paint and off the glass. Thornton has a coolness to his game and the poise of a senior. He didn’t have to show off his outside shooting too much at Georgia Tech, but adding a consistent three-point shot to his arsenal will further round out his mature game
2021 6-8 PF Austin Weiner: If Austin Weiner decides to stick with basketball instead of follow in his father’s NFL footsteps, I think he could end up being one of Georgia’s best 2021 big men. Weiner is a true back-to-the-basket grinder. The defensive end is a road grader on the hardwood, moving people out of the way with his 235-pound frame. While he may look like a below the rim player at first, Weiner has enough athleticism to punish the basket when he gets the chance. He has some nice footwork in the low post with some crafty finishes and a soft touch that extends out to the three-point line. He had 10 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist against North Clayton. Heading into his upperclassman seasons, Weiner is already one of the most physical players in the state.
2020 6-7 W Luke Champion: When Luke Champion is locked in from three after seeing a few drop in, it is going to be a long night for defenses. He caught fire against Mt. Bethel in a 42-37 win, draining four deep balls on his way to 16 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Champion did a little more with the ball than when I saw him last summer. He was able to put it on the floor for a few dribbles to free himself for open looks. As he continues to tighten up his handle and ability to get to the basket, it will open up more scoring opportunities. He had a quiet encore performance against Miller Grove with 6 points on two threes, but he had Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner intrigued with his floor stretching ability.
2020 6-9 PF Colin Granger: As far as true big men go in Georgia, Colin Granger might have the most present-day talent in the 2020 class outside of Walker Kessler but finding that consistent killer mentality on the low block is his final hurdle. You won’t find another post player that runs the floor as well as Granger does. Up against Jordan Meka of Mt. Bethel, Granger was up to the task, putting together 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block. Granger was always one of the first players down the floor which led to deep post position if he wasn’t catching passes in stride for lay-ins. Granger moves exceptionally well, especially considering the amount of muscle that he is carrying on his frame as one of the state’s sturdiest players. Granger knocked down two threes on the day and started his own fast break on numerous occasions. Sometimes he can try to do a little too much and turn the ball over, but his play on Sunday was the best I’ve seen out of him. Even in a loss to Miller Grove where he had a quiet first half, Granger finished the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 1 assist. Continuing to be coachable and accepting a leadership role are two big areas that Granger has a chance to capitalize on in his final season.
2020 6-8 PF Jordan Meka: Dripping with upside, Jordan Meka did not shy away from the physical opposition of Colin Granger and more than held his own against the burly big, posting 20 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks while going 8-of-11 from the foul line. The jumping jack still has his best basketball ahead of him but he is making strides to reach his potential as possibly Georgia’s highest ceiling post player in the 2020 class. Meka hit a couple hook shots in the lane and had a few patient post moves with his back to the basket. His moves may need a little more decisiveness at times, but he never rushed into any ill-conceived attempts. With the graduation of Coleman Boyd and Stanley Eze, Meka will be forced to shoulder some more of Mt. Bethel’s offense.
2021 6-2 G Zyair Greene: Tasked with helping lead a painfully young and inexperienced Miller Grove team last season, Zyair Greene averaged a team-high 17.3 points per game. Greene showed his same knack for scoring in a win over Lambert in which he went for 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Greene isn’t a freak athlete, a long guard or a dynamo three-point shooter, but what he is, is a solid bucket getter that knows where he’s most effective and players like that can be successful for a long time.
2022 6-0 CG CJ Parker: With JaQueze Kirby sidelined, someone had to pick up the slack for Jeff Davis and that someone was rising sophomore CJ Parker. After averaging 11.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as a freshman, Parker took it upon himself to carry the Yellow Jackets on Sunday. He piled in 21 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block in a 57-41 loss to Southwest DeKalb. Parker has quick trigger that helps him get off shots before defenders can close out which led to five three-pointers. Parker is wired to score and is the perfect outside shooting compliment to Kirby. Parker has room to grow with his ball-handling and ability to get in the paint. He is a guard to track in south Georgia and should end up as a 1,000+ point scorer once his career is said and done.