By Trent Markwith (@TMarkwith14)
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.