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Battle For Georgia notes

15U

TSF Mack 2022

TSF Mack (Champions)

Bruce Thornton Jr.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.

Game Elite Big 5 (Runner-Up)

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.

Georgia Stars

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.

Team YRN

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.

Jermarhi Hill2022 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.

ATL Xpress

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.

16U

Game Elite 2021

Game Elite (Champions)

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.

Georgia Stars (Runner-Up)

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.

Atlanta Celtics

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.

HYPE Hawks

Matt Cleveland2021 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.

Team EAT

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.

17U

Georgia Knights

Georgia Knights (Champions)

Chris Youngblood2020 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.

Kirshon Thrash2020 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.

Atlanta Celtics (Runner-Up)

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.

Team Forrest

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.

Team Georgia Magic

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.

Adidas Atlanta Memorial Day Classic notes

17U

AJ Bouye Elite

2020 6-5 W Keith Lamar (Eagle’s Landing): Blessed with a college-ready body, Keith Lamar put his strength to work in a 65-58 loss to Powerhouse Elite, finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Lamar is an offensive threat that can score at all three levels but buttered his bread on Sunday by getting into the lane and finishing up close. When he makes up his mind to get to the rim, there aren’t many defenders that can deter his decision making.  Expect Lamar to draw some D-I attention over the next few months.

2020 5-10 PG Kameron Hobbs (Dutchtown): Coming in off the bench, Hobbs immediately changed the pace of the game with his sparkplug style of play. Hobbs tallied 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 7 steals in a stat sheet stuffing effort. Hobbs’ energy makes him a pest on both sides of the ball, playing the passing lanes on defense while getting into the teeth of the defense offensively creating for teammates. Hobbs plays longer than his 5-foot-10 build suggests.6

Powerhouse Elite

2020 6-1 W James Little (Shiloh): A physically strong guard, James Little played above the rim in an 18-point outing against AJ Bouye Elite. Little could stand to tighten up his ball skills, but his effort on the glass and his athleticism help make up for any deficiencies.

2020 5-8 PG D’vonja Frett (ML King): The feisty little playmaker hit some tough shots in a win over AJ Bouye Elite. D’vonja Frett’s quickness opens up opportunities to score the ball which Frett cashed in on with tough finishes in traffic.

Atlanta Celtics

2020 6-1 PG Dwon Odom (St. Francis): The Xavier-commit impacted the game in every phase as he always does, finishing with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals in a 67-45 win over Team T Gand. Odom was impossible to stop once he got downhill and drew numerous hand check fouls. He didn’t knock down any threes but hand some momentum building slams.

2020 6-0 PG Deivon Smith (Grayson): Deivon Smith has to be the best shot blocker in the nation that’s 6-foot or under. After averaging just under two blocks per game during the high school season, Smith climbed the latter to ferociously swat away two shots on Sunday. He had 16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals to round out an electric outing.

2020 6-5 W Toneari Lane (Shiloh): With Dwon Odom and Deivon Smith running wild in the backcourt, Toneari Lane was the beneficiary of some open looks as he cashed in two three-pointers and finished with 12 points on the day. Lane is one of the best wings available in Georgia’s 2020 class due to his mixture of toughness and skill. He can shoot the three but is punishing when getting to the basket.

Reach Higher Kings ATL

2020 5-10 PG Cody Gaynes (Marist): Cody Gaynes made winning plays down the stretch in RHK ATL’s 49-41 win over Team Florida. The floor general controlled the tempo and did the little things to help the Kings close out a signature victory. Gaynes had 14 points to lead RHK and won 50/50 balls that helped decide the game.

2020 6-6 F Sola Adebisi (Cambridge): Sola Adebisi had the highlight of the weekend with a posterizing one-handed jam over a 6-foot-6 defender. The springy big man is still more of an effort guy than a polished scorer offensively but his activity and athleticism make him a must-mark man to keep off the glass. Adebisi can knock down the jumper when called upon and will have plenty of opportunities this upcoming season at Cambridge to really boost his stock as an all-around player.

Game Elite Blue

2020 6-7 W Chase McKey (Johns Creek): Looking for a late-blooming sleeper that’s right under your nose in Metro Atlanta? Look no further than Chase McKey. The long combo forward doesn’t have much fan fare but there should be some intrigue around his game. McKey can score inside and out and has a nice jump shot to go along with his length that helps him finish around the basket. Getting stronger and tightening up his handle will help him slash to the rim and finish through contact. He can alter shots on defense and is a capable rebounder. McKey should be a name that D-II and D-III schools circle and should check in on periodically throughout his senior season. He hasn’t had a ton of notable success on the varsity level, so its now or never for McKey to piece together all his god given tools.

16U

D-Favors Celtics

Jamichael Stillwell2021 6-6 F Jamichael Stillwell (South Atlanta): Transferring from Douglass to South Atlanta for the 2019-2020 season, Jamichael Stillwell showed what type of promise he holds in the Hornets’ frontcourt in D-Favors’ 59-25 rout of MS Hawks Elite. Stillwell double-doubled with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 1 steal. Admittedly still a little raw offensively, Stillwell got a majority of his points in the paint off the glass. He missed a handful of close up bunnies, but often times he atoned for his mistakes and finished on his second and third chances. Stillwell is long and eager to rebound the ball. His footwork with his back to the basket needs some work but he does have the ability to shoot from the outside, knocking down a smooth looking three on Sunday. Stillwell should be a name that folks across Georgia will need to familiarize themselves with over the next two years, especially in Class 2A.

Julius Lymon2021 6-6 F Julius Lymon (South Atlanta): Enjoying his new found durability, all of Julius Lymon’s early career injury setbacks are now hopefully behind him. Lymon showed flashes on Sunday of what he could develop into one day. Lymon posted 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. He moves exceptionally well and is working on improving his ball-handling, apparent as he had a few nice strong drives to the basket. Once Lymon develops a go-to move on offense, he will force his way onto college radars. His defense is ahead of his offense but his motor makes him a handful from 10-feet and in.

Atlanta Celtics

2022 6-1 G Chase Cormier (St. Pius X): Cormier scorched the nets again in a 62-30 win over Chattanooga Elite. The three-point marksman drilled four trifectas en route to a team-high 17 points. Cormier finds a way to impress each and every weekend. He’s earned the right for a neon greenlight but even with that trust, he still hardly ever takes any bad shots. Cormier knows his range and is expected to connect whenever he gets a clean look.

2021 6-3 SG JoJo Peterson (Mt. Pisgah): An off-guard with good size, JoJo Peterson has the makings of becoming one of the 2021 Class’ top guards when all is said and done. Possessing all the tools, Peterson can score the ball at all three levels but he is also a talented playmaker that gets his teammates involved. He had 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block on Sunday. With Quinn Richey off to James Madison, the young Mt. Pisgah Patriots will be looking for a go-to guy and a leader this upcoming season. If Peterson can hone in on an alpha dog mentality, he could step up and become one of the state’s most improved players in 2019-20 for new Head Coach Matt Hixenbaugh.

Team Forrest

2021 6-9 C Ryan Mutombo (Lovett): Ryan Mutombo controlled the paint in Team Forrest’s 58-41 win over South Florida Steel. With 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks, Mutombo showed a nice variety of skills. He defended on the perimeter and blocked jump shots while on the offensive end knocked down an easy 15-footer without hesitation. Inside, he had a solid drop step and finished through defenders. Mutombo had some great moments at Lovett this past year but expect his junior season to be when he really takes off and garners some national attention.

2021 5-6 PG Khi Cook (Greenforest): The smallest man on the court by far, Khi Cook didn’t let his size stop him from playing big. The jitterbug point guard facilitated beautifully with 8 assists to pair with his 6 points and 3 steals. Cook whipped in tight passes and displayed an advanced court vision on multiple occasions. The speedster even showed off some crafty body control as he finished two And-1s. Cook knows how to run an offense and has experience being undersized, so much so that it feels like the height disadvantage doesn’t affect him all that much.

2021 5-10 PG Jason Edwards (Grayson): Wired to score, Jason Edwards is instant offense at the guard position. Much like older brother Nick, Edwards just has a knack for putting the ball in the basket. He came off the bench against South Florida Steel and immediately drained two three-pointers before finishing with 14 points, 2 assists and 2 steals. Edwards has some wiggle and knows how to get to his spots. Creating more opportunities for his teammates will be the next step in his development as a lead guard.

Jaylen Jackson2021 6-4 W Jaylen Jackson (Douglas County): No one turned more heads than high-flyer Jaylen Jackson. The Westlake transfer will join an already athletic frontcourt in Douglasville. Jackson finished with 18 loud points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. He scored three straight baskets in a span of less than a minute with two dunks that ignited the crowd. Jackson is more than just a highlight reel dunker however. He hit a few shots off the dribble including draining a step back three from the left wing. If Sunday’s performance was more than just a flash in the pan, Jackson might be the latest sleeper out of West Georgia that could garner some college interest.

15U

Atlanta All-Stars

Jared Russo2022 6-7 F Jared Russo (River Ridge): In a rare 65-61 loss to GME 2022, Jared Russo was excellent inside with 22 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 blocks. Since seeing him last summer, Russo has matured by adding on some muscle and more noticeably, growing three inches into a true game-changing post presence. In fact, Russo is a program-changing big man. River Ridge finished 3-23 last year but Russo managed to earn All-Region Honorable Mention. Not many 3-win programs would be all that attractive but first-year Head Coach Aaron Darling is inheriting a workhorse anchor in the paint. Russo has a soft touch inside and patient footwork. He high points rebounds and can rebound out of area, covering ground with his long strides and longer arms. Russo might not look like an overly physical interior player, but he has functional strength and can handle some banging. Defensively, Russo is an excellent help-side defender that erases shots at the rim. Offensively, he is an underrated passer that knows where he is going with the ball before he even catches it, leading to quick dump offs to open teammates. Russo is also a quality athlete that uses all 6-foot-7 of his frame to play above the rim. In a state that recently has seen itself starved for true quality big men, Russo is well ahead of the curve and looks like the best post prospect the 2022 class has to offer right now. If Russo continues to progress along the rate that he is improving, he should be a no-brainer D-I recruit.

2022 6-3 G Chance Thacker (Providence Christian): Expected to follow his father to Providence Christian after landing the head coaching gig, Chance Thacker will instantly make the 3-win program a better team. Coming from Lambert, Thacker is wise beyond his years and knows how to compete at a high level. Thacker can impact games without scoring, using his IQ and hustle to make everyone around him better. Thacker had a quiet offensive game with 6 points, but added 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. He is a glue guy that will do what’s best for the team. Thacker has a Jaxon Etter-like feel to his game.

2022 6-1 CG Jordan Brown (St. Francis): The state champion guard is a shot creator but shined in his newfound role of point guard, finishing with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Playing at St. Francis along with Xavier-commit Dwon Odom, Brown won’t handle any point guard duties until his junior season, but playing with the Atlanta All-Stars has thrusted him into a role that can only help his development. Brown got into the lane and dropped off a handful of assists to Jared Russo down low, showing the ability to spoon feed in tight quarters. On the perimeter Brown likes to wheel and deal before finding a mid-range shot he likes. Brown sometimes found himself torn between playing the role of facilitator vs. scorer, but overall he did a very nice job of balancing his duties.