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Georgia State Session II Under The Radar Teams

By Trent Markwith   (@TMarkwith14)

John’s Creek

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


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


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

Holy Spirit Prep

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

Cobb SSA Fall League Recap

Alpharetta 58, Kell 44

Kell really struggled to get FGCU-commit Brian Thomas the ball
Kell really struggled to get FGCU-commit Brian Thomas the ball

With a handful of important football players not in attendance, Alpharetta led wire-to-wire against Kell. 6-foot-4 senior Garrett Davis got the Raiders off to a quick start, scoring all six of his points in the first half. Davis, a dirty-work type of player, not only found baskets in the paint, but helped defend Florida Gulf Coast-commit Brian Thomas while giving up nearly four inches and 30+ pounds.

Davis along with 6-foot-3 junior forward Ryan Jenei kept a body on the 6-foot-8 big man throughout the game and didn’t give him any easy looks. Thomas was held to six points, 11 rebounds and four blocks as the Raiders forced the Kell guards to try and beat them.

Alpharetta held a 14-6 lead and took off once Westlake transfer Brandon Barron was inserted into the game. The 5-foot-10 sophomore point guard took over in the first half scoring 12 of his game-high 15 points.

Barron created off the dribble, showing a quick first step to get past defenders.

Barron got to the basket, stopped on a dime from the mid-range and even floated a teardrop over the elite shot blocker Thomas. Once Barron came in off the bench, the Alpharetta offense really started to click as he got open looks for Jenei, who hit two threes in the first half and finished with 10 points.

The Raiders held a 34-22 lead at the half and never let Kell back into the game. Junior point guard Jahwan Smith totaled seven points and three assists and Caelon Ball got hot down the stretch, hitting two late threes and finishing with 10 points and four rebounds but it wasn’t enough. Alpharetta’s guards protected the ball and won their individual battles on defense as the Raiders came away with 10 steals led by senior guard Jaylen Young’s five. Young also added six points and five rebounds. Senior David Swillum netted nine points and battled on the glass with seven rebounds.

Junior RJ Pass provided steady guard play and senior Tariq Latchison gave Alpharetta a boost with his hustle off the bench.

Kell could not establish Thomas inside, but it wasn’t all his fault. Too many entry passes were thrown away errantly either too high or too low. Whenever Thomas did get a clean ball, Alpharetta crashed down and physically put a body on him. For the Longhorns to build on their 16-win season, working on getting the ball to Thomas on the low block will be a priority. Feeding Thomas will help loosen up the perimeter defense to give players like Ball, Smith and Demetris Page open looks.

 Lovett 69, Woodstock 59

Dylin Hardeman created opportunities for others, picking up 5 assists
Dylin Hardeman created opportunities for others, picking up 5 assists

Both Lovett and Woodstock were far from full strength thanks to football season with the Wolverines missing juniors Dominic Hewitt, Noah Frith and Sid Mesumbe while 6-foot-4 D-I hopeful guard senior Tyreke Johnson and junior Quentin Doby were not there as well. Lovett was missing a handful of football players too, highlighted by sharpshooter Crawford Schwieger, Nick Jackson, Peyton Ringer and Evan McKown out, meaning only sophomore point guard Ryan Greer was on the floor with any significant varsity experience.

Greer proved to be more than enough for the Lions.

The super sophomore tormented Woodstock with a silky touch and a red-hot motor that saw him collect eight rebounds in the first five minutes of the game alone. Greer finished with 32 points (20 in the second half), 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. His poise with the ball and all-around winning mentality consumed the game.

Greer scored from all over the floor, but he’s at his best attacking the basket. He’s not afraid to mix it up with the bigs inside and has crafty finishes around the hoop. While his mid-range game was on point all night, Woodstock hung around and never let in.

Georgia Tech baseball-commit 6-foot-6 left-handed senior Brant Hurter came out firing. He scored nine points in the first half with his soft touch from the block and the high post and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Lions held a 27-22 advantage at the half before Greer and senior Ryan Pate turned on the afterburners. Pate, a seldom used guard last year, put on a shooting display in Schwieger’s absence, playing Greer’s right-hand man knocking down three first half threes and finishing with five on the night en route to 20 points, five rebounds and three steals. The two combined for 31 points in the second half.

At the 9:50 mark it looked like the Lions were going to race away from the Wolverines but instead Woodstock’s role players took aim. Sophomore Chris Carroll bombed a three followed by a Nate Garner triple, making it 51-45 with nine minutes to play. Greer pushed the Lions ahead 56-45 with 7:23 to play and managed to hold off Woodstock.

Both teams have used the Fall League to build depth and it shows.

Pate looks like a valuable piece from the perimeter when he’s on target, giving Greer another option next to Schwieger from deep. Woodstock received 11 points apiece from Carroll and Garner, a junior. Cameron Crowe struggled early, but came on strong late, the 6-foot-6 forward finishing with nine points and five rebounds. Dylin Hardeman wasn’t hunting his shot in Johnson’s absence and instead helped out in other ways with a team-high five assists.

Cobb SSA Summer Team Camp Analysis

Day 2 of All Tournament Players Park (aka Cobb SSA)’s, Summer Team Camp took place on Tuesday. From 6/13-16, the 10-team field will take the court, playing two games a night. The participants include: Woodstock, Westminster I & II, Kell, Osborne, Lovett, Cumberland Christian, King’s Academy, Active Elite (AAU) and AC Georgia (AAU).


Coming off of a Class AA Elite Eight appearance, the Lions lose eight seniors. Luckily for second-year head coach Ryan Koudele, sophomore point guard Ryan Greer, sophomore post Nick Jackson and junior shooting guard Crawford Schwieger all return with plenty of experience under their belts. Lovett lost to Active Elite 57-53 and Westminster 53-50, but the Lion backcourt was dynamic.

Greer finished with 22 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals against Active Elite and followed up with 17 points and seven rebounds vs. Westminster. Greer attacked defenses all night, using a hesitation dribble to square his broad shoulders and finish in the lane. Once the defense was keen to Greer getting to the rack, he would stop on a dime and make a pocket pass to an open teammate. Greer plays beyond his years. His maturity level measures up with top seniors across the state.

Crawford Schwieger commanded constant defensive attention
Crawford Schwieger commanded constant defensive attention

Running mate Crawford Schwieger tickled the twine all night as he was the best shooter in the building. He canned six threes en route to a 20-point performance in Game 1, and knocked down three more on his way to 15 points in Game 2. Schwieger is a floor stretcher extraordinaire that commands attention as soon as he crosses over mid-court.

For an undersized post, Nick Jackson played tough inside and corralled 10 boards against Active Elite who featured big-man Chris Agbo.


A 22-3 season ended on a sour note last year as the Wildcats were stunned in the Region 4-AAA tournament and were denied a postseason bid after ranking in the Top 10 for much of the season. Will Benson, a 6-foot-5 workhorse forward, has graduated and was selected by the Cleveland Indians 14th overall in the MLB Draft last week.

The Wildcats scored a 53-50 win over Lovett thanks to the play of senior Mikael Sampson. Sampson, 6-foot-6, was anchored on the block last year. Now that Benson is out of the picture, the offense will run through Sampson. He looked much more confident against Lovett and Coach Tray Malloy put the ball in his hands, taking over the role Benson held. When Sampson put the ball on the floor, he was a freight train.

Mikael Sampson can now score inside and out
Mikael Sampson can now score inside and out

He finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, one steal and two blocks. Sampson has extended his game to the three-point line even, knocking down a straightaway three. Being able to play on the perimeter will greatly help his stock instead of solely being viewed as a back-to-the-basket energy big man. Sampson will have all the opportunity in the world to stuff the stat sheet his senior season as the offense will run through him.


After waiting 20 years for their first state playoff appearance, the Wolverines will look to build on their success behind a talented backcourt. The Wolverines thumped Cumberland Christian 90-48 and then trounced King’s Academy 71-44.

St. Francis transfer Dylin Hardeman powered Woodstock in the second half. The sophomore hit a three at the buzzer to extend their lead to 34-28 going into the break before he exploded for 12 of his game-high 19 in the final 20 minutes. Hardeman provides good size at the off-guard position standing 6-foot-3, and brings a confident swagger after having a great summer circuit with 16U Team Atlanta.

Senior holdover Tyreke Johnson has garnered the most interest from next level coaches. Johnson played well at the Kennesaw State Elite Camp on Sunday and continued where he left off last season, posting 17 points and five rebounds. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 17.6 points per game last year and shouldn’t have as much pressure on him to score the ball now that Hardeman is in the fold.

Late blooming stretch forward Cameron Crowe had a big game against King’s Academy with 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Crowe stands close to 6-foot-6 and brings with him some nice athleticism inside that will pair well with bruiser Brant Hurter. Crowe rebounded with two hands and showed a nice touch off the glass in the paint.

Rising junior Will Allen played sparingly last season but played exceptionally well off the bench on Tuesday. A long 6-foot-4, Allen drained three three-pointers and tallied 15 points, five rebounds and one block off the bench. He looked confident and wasn’t afraid to let it fly. Allen should be a very nice rotational piece in the mold of graduating forward Zack Wallace but with more aggression.

Once all of Coach Kingston Clark’s pieces are together, including Hurter and Noah Frith, Woodstock has to be an early favorite out of Region 4-AAAAAAA.

Chris Agbo

Senior center Chris Agbo suited up for Active Elite after playing with the Southern Stampede this summer. Agbo by far is the biggest, strongest player I have seen in the high school game since covering it this past year. At 6-foot-8, 250 pounds of all muscle, the Covenant Christian super hero is imposing to say the least.

Active Elite earned a 57-53 win over Lovett and Agbo was a big reason why. Early in the game, Agbo was laboring getting up and down the court, seemingly disinterested. Once he was subbed out, he was grimacing and holding his shoulder. He decided to change shoes and shook out his arms and looked fine the rest of the game. He wrecked the Lions frontline for 15 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks.

Agbo understands how to throw his body into defenders to square up his shoulders, but sometimes over does it when he doesn’t need to, drawing a few silly offensive fouls. He could still use some refining on the low block as far as post moves and counter moves go as he still can get away with overpowering opponents with brute force. Agbo tipped a lot of balls to himself on rebounds and got away with it because of his size. Against bigger opponents however, he will need to grab them with two hands consistently.

Overall, Agbo dominated the paint when he wanted to and came away with a monster stat line. The Nigerian native will warrant college looks from his size alone. If he can rev his motor up and play hard every possession, his recruitment will soar his senior season.