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Lambert Summer Showcase (6-5)

Lambert

Mountain View: 55-54 (W)
Peachtree Ridge: 77-49 (L)

2020 6-6 SF Luke Champion was a marksman, hitting nine threes on the night. He hit three in Game 1 for 9 points while sitting in the corner and draining six in Game 2 for 18 points. Champion is a sizeable shooter which bodes well for his future with the current state of how the game is played. He should be a very valuable piece, stepping in for Austin Deckard (GCSU) as the Longhorns’ primary floor spacer. Like I say with all great shooters, Champion will have to prove he’s more than just a specialist and that he can create his own offense off the dribble.

2020 6-8 PF Colin Granger posted 13 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in Game 1 and had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block in the night cap. Granger struggled to finish around the rim, using some great moves to get to the basket, but failing to convert. He had a few lapses of focus that got him in the doghouse in Game 2. Without Mitch Ganote in attendance, it was Granger’s team to carry last night. Even though it wasn’t his best day of work, Granger still contributed in the paint. He has a chance to develop into one of the state’s best big men with the continued refinement of his game.

2019 6-4 W Thomas Hickey had a nice night, finishing with 15 points and 2 blocks in Lambert’s 55-54 win over Mountain View, including the game-winning goaltended layup. Hickey is a steady role player that can get hot and provide good minutes. He has valuable size on the wing and is a hard worker on the floor. Overall it was a good showing for the wing who should see an elevated role his senior season.

2022 6-2 SG Chance Thacker was thrown into the fire as a rising freshman and held his own. His best game came against Mountain View when he posted 4 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Thacker has a good feel for the game. Defenses pressured the youngster when he got the ball, but he did a fine job of keeping his composure, even though his ball handling and overall experience at the varsity level is still in its infancy.

Mountain View

Lambert: 55-54 (L)
St. Francis: 65-47 (L)

2019 6-4 SG Nahiem Alleyne was mightily impressive now that the offense runs through him. Quick and shifty with the ball, Alleyne was able to free himself consistently with a tight crossover. The lefty can score at all levels with a nice jumper, hitting six three-pointers on the night. In Game 1 he finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Game 2 saw Alleyne tally 17 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal. Alleyne will serve the role of playmaker with the ball in his hands, something Coach BJ Roy must feel good about after seeing his play on Tuesday night. Alleyne plans on reclassing to 2020, something to keep an eye on.

2019 6-4 SG Elijah “Malik” Wilson showed flashes of breakout potential at his new home. Coming in from Collins Hill, Wilson may mold into being the No. 2 option behind Alleyne. The two are similar in the fact that they love the outside jumper, but both must make sure they don’t fall in love with it to the point that it takes away from their opportunities to get to the rim. Wilson finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds against Lambert, knocking down 3 threes. In Game 2, his shot wasn’t on, ending with 6 points. Defensively, Wilson has the length to defend multiple positions on the perimeter and could fit a “3 & D” type niche with the Bears.

2019 6-5 F Eric Jones was effective against Lambert’s frontline of 6-8 Colin Granger and 6-6 Kedric Barrett. Jones collected 10 points, 12 rebounds, 1 steal and 4 blocks. In Game 2, he had 5 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block. Jones isn’t an elite athlete or have the most non-stop motor, but he has a nose for the ball and effects plays. He has a quality outside shot which netted him three deep balls on the day. He might have a little more value at the small forward position, but his ball handling isn’t tight enough to consistently play on the wing. Jones broke his hand last season which put his development on hold. Jones has a chance to be an important player that can steal time at positions 3-5 for the Bears.

St. Francis

Mountain View: 65-47 (W)
Peachtree Ridge: 59-49 (W)

2020 6-1 PG Dwon Odom did what Dwon Odom does: Win. He had 14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in Game 1 followed by 24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 1 block in the nightcap. Odom’s three-point shot wasn’t that accurate, but he managed to sink three of them over the course of the day. I never seem to come away disappointed with Odom. He always finds a way to fill the stat sheet, even when he’s not at his best.

Jordan Brown

2022 6-0 CG Jordan Brown will play a huge role in the success of St. Francis this upcoming season. While the Knights still lack a true game-changing big man, another steady guard can’t hurt. The younger brother of former Northview standout Justin Brown, the baby Brown has big time skills for a freshman. He is like a right-handed version of 2019 sharpshooter CJ Riley, who had 18 and 7 points in his two games. Brown has a good looking outside shot like Riley, but he’s more of a point guard and more assertive attacking defenses. Brown hit from the three-point line (3 total), mid-range and finished all the way at the rim. In Game 1 he had 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. In Game 2 he went for 10 points and 1 steal. Brown logged good minutes last weekend at Georgia Tech as well, proving he’s here to stay. He may be next in the long line of talented young guards to come out of St. Francis.

Peachtree Ridge

St. Francis: 59-49 (L)
Lambert: 77-49 (W)

2019 6-11 C Richard Rivers is a big boy. He weighs in over 250 pounds and is the epitome of a space-eater. Rivers has an extremely soft touch which is important for a player that plays below the rim. His mobility is still an issue, but he gets up and down the floor. On the low block, Rivers is extremely methodical. His first instinct is to look to pass. Rivers has great court vision and uses his size to dump off assists to open cutters. When he does make a move to score, he has a gentle hook shot that should rarely get blocked, even though he doesn’t have much lift off the ground. He is a threat to knock down the three from the top of the key. Rivers’ limitations come from his lack of athleticism, but the skill is most definitely there offensively. Defensively, he is a stationary post defender that isn’t going to collect any weak side blocks, but if you go straight into him, he will have his hands up to alter any looks. In Game 1 Rivers finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds, while in Game 2 he put up 8 points (2 threes), 2 rebounds and 3 assists.  Rivers should find himself on a college roster as long as both player and coach understand the role he best serves.

2019 5-11 PG Kamerron Oyala is a spunky lead guard that plays with pace. He will be asked to run the offense and provide a spark on both sides of the ball. Oyala had 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in Game 1 before going for 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in a rout.

2020 6-3 SG Christian Williams drilled three three-pointers and finished with 15 points against Lambert. The lefty showed he could knock down shots and could provide some offense for a Lions team searching for a new leader after the graduation of Devin Vassell (FSU).

Georgia Tech Team Camp Standouts

D'Antaye Page2019 6-4 W D’Antaye Page (Westlake)
Looking like one of the state’s most improved players, D’Antaye Page has come out of nowhere, flourishing over the past two weeks. At the Adidas Memorial Day Classic, Page had outbursts of 37 and 32 points with the GA Elite Ballers. This weekend, Page continued his unassuming offensive onslaught. He pumped in 23 points and 6 rebounds in 52-49 win over Upson-Lee. Page doesn’t have eye-popping athleticism or elite size, but what he does have is a scoring touch. He drilled two threes and went 5-of-9 from the line on Friday night. Page says that he has been working extremely hard in the offseason. His recent switch to the GA Elite Ballers has now given him a platform to showcase his hard work and the early returns are nothing but positive.

Messiah Thompson2019 5-9 PG Messiah Thompson (North Atlanta)
Locked up in a 2019 point guard battle with Upson-Lee’s Zyrice Scott, Thompson came out in attack mode and willed his team to a 37-35 victory with 21 points (9-17 FG; 1-2 3PT; 1-4 FT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 turnovers. Thompson likes to force the issue and put pressure on the defense, attacking the basket even with his lack of size. He has an array of floaters and pull-ups that make him a tough cover. For North Atlanta to live up to expectations, Thompson has to toe the fine line of being aggressive while still getting his teammates involved.

2019 6-1 PG Zyrice Scott (Upson-Lee)
The first 10 minutes of the game, Zyrice Scott and Messiah Thompson matched each other point for point, assist for assist and turnover for turnover. As the game went on, Thompson ramped up the scoring while Scott continued to share the ball. Scott scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the first half. He shot 4-13 FG; 1-2 3PT; 7-9 FT. After a big first half with Thompson guarding him, North Atlanta switched over to 5-foot-8 Virginia-transfer Jarontez Garrett, who really slowed down Scott (1-8 FG second half). While his scoring dried up, Scott still played like a true lead guard, collecting 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal while turning it over 4 times. In their 52-49 loss to Westlake, Scott finished with 19 points (8-19 FG; 2-3 3PT; 1-1 FT), 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and 5 turnovers. Scott will have a high usage rate this year as the Knights’ only true point guard and their top perimeter scoring option.

Christian Wright2020 6-2 PG Christian Wright (Milton)
A smooth guard with maturity beyond his years, Christian Wright was in complete control playing in front of a Georgia Tech staff that has already offered. He opened up camp with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block against Kennesaw Mountain. Later vs. Sandy Creek, Wright finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals, keying a late flurry that led to a 68-61 win. Wright drilled two threes apiece in each game and scored from all three levels.

Hasahnn Reynolds2019 6-4 CG Hasahnn Reynolds (Discovery)
The transfer from Immokalee, FL fit in seamlessly with his ability to share the lead guard duties. Reynolds can run the offense and facilitate or play off the ball. He’s got a knack for delivering flashy passes on point. He has a nice stroke and a slender build that helps him slip past defenders. Reynolds finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in a 63-60 overtime win against Sandy Creek.

TJ Bickerstaff2019 6-8 SF TJ Bickerstaff (Sandy Creek)
TJ Bickerstaff will shoulder a lot of the load his senior season as the Patriots try to work some rotational players into bigger roles while also bringing up younger players to the varsity level. In their loss to Milton, Bickerstaff finished with 18 points (7-8 FG; 2-2 3PT; 2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. Later on Friday night, Bickerstaff’s efficiency rolled on, going 13-of-14 from the line to post 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal against Discovery.

Jalyn McCreary2019 6-7 F Jalyn McCreary (Kennesaw Mountain)
In Kennesaw Mountain’s 64-59 win over Milton, Jalyn McCreary totaled 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. McCreary used his size advantage to attack the rim and score around the paint. The lefty still has a few unorthodoxed kinks in his game, but they make him a tough cover as defenses never know what angle he will attack from. McCreary will take his game to the next level as he matures with his shot selection and lets the game come to him.

2020 6-3 CG Khalil Shaheed (Kennesaw Mountain)
Khalil Shaheed is a big, physical, explosive guard that likes to get his feet in the paint. He uses his quickness and strong frame to turn the corner past opponents to get to the rim. He had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block. The combination of Jalyn McCreary and Shaheed should lead to a lot of victories this upcoming season as a reliable cast of role player with their own functionable skill sets are in place at Kennesaw Mountain.

2020 6-6 F Ja’Queze Kirby (Jeff Davis)
Coming up from Hazlehurst, GA, the Top 100 recruit did not disappoint. Although Jeff Davis might take a step back this year due to an important 2018 class graduating, Kirby won’t let that stop him from carrying his team to a potential playoff berth. Kirby’s elite athleticism was on full display against Westlake while his ability to take over a game offensively shined through against North Atlanta. Kirby is an active rebounder with a quick jump. He has to play every position for Jeff Davis which allows him to serve as a playmaker. Kirby’s floor vision standouts. He had a few great passes that looked like easy assists get fumbled away by an inexperienced supporting cast. Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner was courtside for every one of Kirby’s Friday night matchups. As a passive team-oriented player by nature, Kirby will have to be assertive this year and get more selfish at times. On Saturday against Southwest DeKalb, he did just that, hitting five threes to finish with 30 points and 5 assists in a 5-point win.

2020 6-4 G Jaden Walker (Discovery)
The size, ball handling, shooting and overall smoothness of Jaden Walker’s game makes him an easy target to breakout this year. Walker hasn’t had the success at the varsity level that some other 2020 guards have already had, but the reins may finally be off. In a 63-60 overtime win against Sandy Creek, Walker drilled four threes en route to 21 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals. The Titans will put out a solid starting five next season and if Walker is truly ready to orchestrate the offense, Discovery could develop into one of the tougher teams in Class AAAAAAA.

2019 5-11 PG Donaven Hairston (Milton)
Coming off a shoulder injury, Donaven Hairston looked energized to be back on the court. He had 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals against Kennesaw Mountain before going for 14 points, 5 rebounds 1 assists and 5 steals against Sandy Creek. Hairston is a shifty guard with a nice touch. He isn’t afraid to finish through contact. Most impressive is his on-ball defense. Hairston gets into ball handlers and has a knack for knocking balls loose.

Brandon Barron2019 5-9 PG Brandon Barron (Alpharetta)
Brandon Barron was simply electric to kickoff Day 2 of Georgia Tech Team Camp. No one helped their stock more than the elusive 5-foot-9 point guard on Saturday. Locked up with fellow dynamic scorer 2019 PG Da’Marcus Johnson of Tri-Cities, it was Barron who stole the show and carried the Raiders to a 61-49 win. He exploded for 32 points (11-15 FG; 4-6 3PT; 6-6 FT), 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 block and 0 turnovers. Barron thrives in a pick-and-roll heavy offense, splitting defenders and getting into the lane. His great leaping ability negates the fact that he is usually the smallest player on the floor. Barron scored all over the floor with his quickness leaving defenders in the dust. Barron is looking for a travel team to finish his summer with.

Dwon Odom2020 6-1 PG Dwon Odom (St. Francis)
It is hard not to fall in love with Dwon Odom. He turned himself into one of the best point guards in the state, regardless of age last season and now he is continuing to build on it. It’s poetry in motion watching him dissect defenses and hardly ever make mistakes. His freakish athleticism lets him glide past defenders to set up his pinpoint passing or his thunderous dunks. Odom’s jump shot is getting better each season. He posted 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block against Tri-Cities; 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals against Dacula and 17 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals including the game-winning layup after rallying the Knights from down 14 points against Drew Charter. The stat sheet stuffer may end up as one of the nation’s top point guards come 2020.

Mekhail Bethea2019 6-2 PG Mekhail Bethea (Dacula)
If Brandon Barron is lightning and Dwon Odom is thunder, then Mekhail Bethea is Mr. Ice. So calm and so suave with the ball, Bethea is heavily underappreciated by colleges even though he is a consensus Top 5 point guard in the state. Bethea does a great job of shielding the ball when getting to the basket, finishing tough hoops through contact. He has a nice outside jumper that rounds out his game. Sometimes Bethea can be too unselfish, deferring to the likes of Brenden Tucker, Quincy Ademokoya and the recently graduated Arusha Hunter. Bethea is a guy that can get you 18 a night if he wanted, but is content with being a pass-first point guard that will settle for 14 & 5. With no Tucker or Ademokoya this weekend, it was time for Bethea to shine with a ton of new faces angling to play alongside the star guard come the Winter. Against St. Francis, Bethea finished with 14 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists; he had 17 points, 1 rebound and 4 steals vs. Greenforest and against Morrow, Bethea tallied 16 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal. Bethea is a high academic D-I point guard.

2019 6-0 SG CJ Riley (St. Francis)
CJ Riley is a three-point specialist that has improved his game off the bounce and defensively. He will make a college program very happy as a shot maker. Playing alongside one of the best passers in the state in Dwon Odom, Riley has the perfect situation to flourish in Coach Drew Catlett’s offense. He heated up as the day went on, scoring 8 points against Dacula, 17 (2 threes) against Tri-Cities and capping his day with 18 points (4 threes) against Drew Charter.

2019 6-4 SG Marcus Foster (Drew Charter)
Getting my first look at one of the hottest prospects in Georgia, the physical Marcus Foster looked sharp in the first half against St. Francis. He muscled his way to 15 of his team-high 17 points in the opening 20 minutes, using his strength to fluster Dwon Odom and other defenders. Foster drilled two threes and finished at the rim. He tacked on 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. As Drew Charter faltered down the stretch, St. Francis made sure the ball stayed out of Foster’s hands. They pressed and trapped Foster, forcing him to give it up. A lack of another true ball handler really hurt the Eagles down the stretch. Foster could have stood to demand the ball more over the course of the second half.

Georgia State Team Camp Session II Analysis P. III

Head Turner

Avery Wilson of Forest Park can flat out score the ball. I said he was 6-foot-1 in my preview, but after shaking hands with him and meeting him face to face, he’s closer to 6-foot-3 or maybe 6-foot-4 on a good day. Stock up. The explosive guard didn’t play in the first half in a loss to Westminster but decided to give it a go in the second half.

Wilson was nursing a beat up ankle but that didn’t stop him from making an immediate impact. His first two touches in the second half? Two layups in a row, charging his way down the lane. Wilson wasn’t done there. Not just a put-your-head-down-and-attack guy, Wilson banged in three threes including a four-point play. He finished with 14 points, three rebounds and one steal in one half of work. Not bad, considering he hurt his ankle late in the game and did not re-enter. He’s healthy now and will continue to get buckets his senior season. Don’t sleep on the kid from Forest Park.

Bright Future

With Malik Beasley being the 19th pick in the NBA Draft, Kaiser Gates entering year two at Xavier, 6-foot-7 forward Chance Anderson gone to San Francisco and Kobi Simmons off to Arizona after a McDonald’s All-American career, one would think the St. Francis dynasty would finally be entering its twilight right? You might want to hold off on those predictions because Coach Drew Catlett is enamored with his group, especially his young talent that has worked its way up through the pipelines.

Freshmen Dwon Odom and Chase Ellis are ready to make an impact. Odom at 6-foot-2 but still room to grow a few more inches, is a freakish athlete that has had a great year. The 6-foot-2 Ellis might not have quite the athleticism or ceiling as Odom, but he is an elite scorer, pumping in over 1,000 points over his middle school career.

Final Four

Miller Grove 27, Cedar Shoals 24

Bucket-getter extraordinaire Tae Hardy poured in 13 points and three steals, including the game-clinching steal and dunk at the buzzer. Kevin Paige continued his strong camp with four rebounds and two blocks. Cedar Shoals received 12 points from Snipe Hall and five rebounds. Phlan Fleming finished with six points and three boards.

Woodstock 28, Parkview 27 

Cam Chavers, last season’s leading scorer for the Panthers as a sophomore, dropped in nine points and talented sophomore point guard Jamiel Wright added six points but the Wolverines were able to hold on. Late blooming post, 6-foot-5 senior Cameron Crowe was able to negate Ahmir Langlais’ dominance inside (four points) and outscored him with seven points of his own. Noah Frith, an active 6-foot-4 junior when healthy, tagged on six points in the win.

Championship

Miller Grove 35, Woodstock 18
Kevin Paige and Cameron Crowe battled inside. Both players saw their stock rise at GSU
Kevin Paige and Cameron Crowe battled inside. Both players saw their stock rise at GSU

The 7-time state champion Wolverines raced out to a 9-0 lead against the first time in 20 years state playoff berth Wolverines and never looked back on their way to the Session II title. Jalen Mason, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, poured in 11 points for Miller Grove. I liked what Mason did over the course of camp as an active defender on the perimeter that keyed a lot of breakouts over the weekend. Tae Hardy scored six in the win and Kevin Paige corralled six rebounds.

For Woodstock, Tyreke Johnson did everything he could to lead the Wolverines. Johnson, who had a strong showing at Kennesaw State Elite Camp which led to an invite back to practice with KSU, continued his hot summer. The 6-foot-4 guard netted 11 points in the loss. Cameron Crowe performed admirably against the bulkier Miller Grove front line coming up with three blocks.

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