Known for always having a plethora of talented players, Duluth did not disappoint. The guard play of seniors Lorin Taylor and Hector Rosario paced the Wildcats in a 48-41 win over Parkview. 6-foot-7 senior Devin Evans showed flashes of having a breakout season. He is long and mobile with the ability to play minutes at the wing when he isn’t playing in the post. Evans is a threat from the mid-range offensively. The Richard Hardy Memorial School transfer started at Rockdale County.
With the transfer of Ahmir Langlais, the Panthers are in search of an identity after a 5-20 season. Senior point guard Jamiel Wright is crafty with the ball and create for his teammates. Cutting down on turnovers and making sure not to do too much will be the next step in his maturation as a player. Parkview lacks a true go-to guy or star power in the unforgiving Class AAAAAAA, but the Panthers play hard. 6-foot-5 sophomore Seth Cushenberry has some promise down low. He is a big body with post moves. He will need to improve his finishing through contact. Senior guard Greg Blackwell can carve out a niche as a three-point shooter, drilling three in the first half against Duluth.
Coach Greg Moultrie described his group as a bunch of blue collar guys. I would agree with that assessment. South Cobb doesn’t wow you with any elite size, but their non-stop energy at the guard position makes it hard for opponents to ever find a rhythm. Without returning leading scorer Markeith Browning who is still recovering from a finger injury, it was cat-quick senior point guard Raejon Jones’ turn to step up. One of the smallest players on the floor at about 5-foot-9, Jones’ jitterbug quickness caused problems for Duluth. He finished with 17 points and 4 steals, proving to be the catalyst in an impressive 60-39 win. Fellow 2019 backcourt members Demetrius Bowen and Jaiden Diamond sparkled as well. Bowen finished with 12 points while Diamond shined on defense. The elite athlete posted 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks.
North Atlanta has looked like a team ready to take the next step all summer long and they continued their impressive play with a 46-42 win over defending Class AAAAAA state champs Langston Hughes. Coming off of an Elite Eight run, the Warriors are led by dynamo senior point guard Messiah Thompson. Thompson has wowed every time he has stepped on the floor. The only knock on Thompson is his height at 5-foot-8, but make no mistake, he has a D-I skill set. His court vision is uncanny and he has no problem snaking his way into the lane. He had 10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the win. Thompson has help in the form of 2019 athletes Josh Johnson, Jaylen Bates and Andrew Robinson, who all attack the glass and play above the rim. Johnson had 11 points and 6 rebounds while Robinson collected 6 points and 3 blocks and Bates added 5 points and 4 rebounds.
2020 6-4 SG Patrick Carter Jr. was red-hot for the defending champs, burying four threes for 19 points while adding 4 rebounds. Carter is a smooth scorer with all the makings of a D-I guard that can find points at all three levels. He along with 2019 6-4 SG Tyrel Morgan will be asked to carry the Panthers. Morgan has shades of a poor man’s Derrick Cook. He has the build, the look and the ability to stuff stat sheets, but he’s not much of a shooter or a playmaker with the ball. Morgan is a very good rebounder however and he can affect games without scoring. He finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.
2019 6-4 SG Nahiem Allenye poured in 26 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in Mountain View’s 56-47 win over Starr’s Mill. The Panthers had no answer for the tough shot maker. Allenye can score in the half court, transition and in isolation. He knows how to shake free and hit contested shots. He drilled three deep balls. With Elijah Wilson sidelined, 2019 6-5 F Eric Jones played some of his best ball. The combo forward showed that he can step up and score when needed, pumping in 23 points to go with his 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Jones knocked down three threes. His versatility was impressive. He is a solid well-rounded player with upside.
2019 6-7 C Nate Allison is a sturdy post player that finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block, but he hardly ever went to the low block, negating his physical size advantage. Allison spent way too much time on the perimeter attempting long twos and threes. He showed that he could put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop, but he needs to play inside to really impact games, especially against smaller teams. All in all, Allison does have a nice skillset and he should draw some attention during recruitment.
The pieces are in place for Mundy’s Mill to return to the state playoffs for the first time since 2015-16. The dynamic duo of seniors 6-foot-7 Jordan Black and 6-foot-5 Rayquan Brown is as long as it gets. Black missed the majority of the first half in a 64-40 win over Lakeside-DeKalb due to a college visit, but he still managed to finish with 13 points and 4 rebounds. Black can play from the wing or face up from the mid-range in. His quickness and long stride make him able to get to the basket in a hurry. Brown might have the most upside. He is uber bouncy and a nightmare to score on with his wingspan. He finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Brown knocked down two three-pointers and did damage on the glass. One question may be his motor. Sometimes he looks like he is coasting or can hang his head after a miss. It could just be his gangly nature, but I would like to see him play with a little more fire. If he can keep his motor running, Brown really has a chance to bust out as a D-I prospect. 6-foot-4 senior post Demarcus Fannin is going to be a huge help inside for the Tigers. The big man is physical and can score with his back to the basket. He rolls hard on screens and can bury opponents under the basket when he seals. Fannin finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block. 2020 6-4 SF Mason Pierre caught my eye as well. He has a nice frame and brings some glue-guy intangibles to the table. He is an active slasher that can help on the glass.