Powder Springs, Ga - Saturday - 11/10/2018 - McEachern High School was the site for the 3rd annual Georgia Elite 8 Tip-Off Classic. My day started off pretty early as I woke up around 6:30 am for no apparent reason because my alarm was not set to go off until 8:15 am. I can only assume it was the sub-conscience excitement to watch some great High School Basketball. I arrived in the middle of the 1st quarter of the 1st game because I ran into some random I-20 traffic. I found a seat in the stands and witnessed an evenly matched Double OT thriller.
Game 1 – Cumberland Christian vs. The Walker School
Jerry Vaughn – Is a pass first PG with good vision and the ability to create his own shot, has good size and played mature beyond his years.
Ike Ugonna – Was great on C&S 3pt opportunities as he knocked down 4 in the 2nd half. He also has good footwork and a decent handle to create for himself off the bounce
Jovan Tucker – Is a shifty slashing wing that was in constant attack mode for the duration of the game and he finished in the lane early and often with an assortment of shots.
The Walker School
Omar Cooper – Small PG in size & stature but controlled the tempo, found open teammates and finished in the lane with runner and floaters.
Burke Chebuhar – Is an undersized big at 6’6 but has long arms good hands and feet. He was dominant on the offensive boards. Showed great skill off the bounce as well finishing in the lane with a euro here and there. Has great touch around the rim also.
Chandler Baker – Is a big guard who has a smooth up & down jump shot w/great touch from 15-18 ft. he banged well in the paint to secure rebounds and hit the game-winner with 2.0 seconds left on the clock from the FT line.
Game 2 Miller Grove vs Trinity Christian School
Trinity Christian School
Giancarlo Bastianoni Sanchez – the 6’6 forward is extremely skilled around the rim with soft hand and good footwork. He is a great passer out of the post and is extremely polished fundamentally. However, he does lack athleticism necessary to make up for is lack of stature as a post player.
Game 3 Lincoln Academy vs Greater Gwinnett Christian
Lincoln was led by Seniors MiKale Stephens, Elias King (Mississippi State) and Moulaye Sissoko (Dayton) but the 3 DI seniors really did not play that much, unfortunately for GGC Lincoln is loaded with young DI talent that was itching for a chance to showcase their skills. Noteworthy was Cam McDowell, Perry Smith, Jr., Bretner Mutombo, Frank Aslelem, Jalen Carruth and Rafael Pinzo. They all displayed their unique skill-sets but I was most impressed with Rafael Pinzo the 6'6 PG has great length as he was disruptive in the passing lane, good vision as he dropped off several dimes to his teammates and an ability to create off the bounce to break down the defense for himself.
Game 4 The Heritage High School vs Mt. Bethel High School
The Heritage High School
Lance Terry (Gardner-Webb) - Had a smooth 30pts as he put on display his hard-nosed high-energy brand of basketball. He ran the floor hard and got out on the break for a couple one hand throw downs. He hit a few deep step-back jumpers from well beyond the 3pt line and he got after it on the defensive end as he was a continued annoyance to whoever he guarded.
Ebenezer Dowuona - The 6'10 Junior was the defensive anchor as he was in constant communication with his teammates yelling out screens and switches. He also held down the paint with his ability to block and alter shots. He did foul out late in the 4th Qt, which is what I attribute to Mt. Bethel making a push and sending the game into OT.
Kasen Jennings - The 6'4 PG was in control of the entire game, he never allowed himself to get sped up and did not force anything. He created for himself off the dribble, hit shots from the perimeter and found open teammates for easy baskets.
Mt. Bethel High School
Stanley Eze - The 6'6 Wing Has an absolute MOTOR!!! He is long, rangy and active. He seemed to be in the middle of every play, whether it was battling for rebound, diving on the floor for loose balls or getting out on the breaking in transition and finishing above the rim. He is the type of player that every coach should want on their team.
Jordan Meka - He challenged every shot at the rim. He was dominant on the offensive and defensive boards. He finished well around the rim but he does need to work on his footwork and try to develop some low post skills.
Game 5 TSF Prep vs Massanutten Military Academy
Both these teams are absolutely loaded with DI talent so I will not even attempt to list all the prospects who showcased their talent but I will list one from each team.
Mass. Military Academy
Dereon Seabron - Was impressive, with his unique physical attributes of being 6'6 with long arm and extremely athletic. He is a modern basketball player who can guard and play multiple positions. He seemed to be in the lane every time you looked up and I attribute that to him having a deceptively quick first step, a good handle and the ability to cover a lot of ground with minimal steps. I look forward to seeing where he lands next season.
Tony Johnson - Was the best player on the court during this match up. He filled the stat sheet up finishing with 24pts, 6reb, 3ast, and 2stl. He scored at all three levels, he knocked down several 3pt shots, hit a couple floater in the lane and got to the basket and finished around the rim. And he played a little defense as well.
Game 6 St. Francis High School vs Westlake High School
Chase Ellis - Is an elite Utility/Glue guy, he plays a lot bigger than he is.
He's physically strong and seems to understand angles and body position. He mixed it up with the bigs battling for rebounds pulling down 13, hit a few jumpers and created for himself off the bounce.
Dwon Odom (Xavier) - Was in attack mode the entire game!!! It seemed like he spent the entire game in the paint, as he got the rack at will. He was so explosive off the bounce, he was decisive with the dribble not over pounding and dancing with the ball. He did take a couple of ill-advised 3's but I think that was just the adrenaline.
D'Antay Page - Led a well balanced Westlake attack pouring in 19pts. He took advantage of a lot of 1 on 1 opportunities and was able to get into the lane and finish at the rim. He also created some easy opportunities for his teammates as well.
Chase Hunter - Can flat out shoot the ball, he has a seamless shooting stroke, gets up and down and disregards contesting defense. He didn't have an uber impressive performance overall but did but did showcase an improved handle to create for himself.
Dillon Hunter - Younger brother of Chase, is going to be an absolute stud in a few years. The 6'3 Freshman PG was vocal, he got his teammates in the right position. He got into the lane and had some nice drop-off passes and he knocked down a few buckets of his own for good measure.
Game 7 Wheeler High School vs Meadowcreek High School
Wheeler High School
This was a very intense match-up for 3/4's of the game. Wheeler played very hard and got contributions for pretty much everyone that touched the court, whether it was points, rebounds or just pure energy. Sam Hines, Jr. led the team in scoring with 14pts.
Meadowcreek High School
Damian Dunn (Temple) - Was absolutely amazing in this game. He Scored from all three levels, he hits 3's, mid-range pull-ups and finished at the rim. As the game was close in the fourth quarter he became the PG - he'd pulled down rebounds, handled pressure as he brought the ball up and initiated the half court set.
Game 8 Holy Spirit Prep vs McEachern High School
McEachern High School
Issac Okoro - Is a stud, he was bigger, stronger and faster then almost everyone on the court. He caught lobs, finished in the paint and around the rim. He ran the for well and rebounded at a very high clip.
Sharife Cooper - Is a pure PG, he plays with a calmness about him where he never allowed the moment to get too big for him. He drew and kicked at a very high rate. He plays with great pace as he knows when to turn the jets on and off. He can create space for himself off the dribble and he is excellent in the PnR. He capped off the night scoring 8 straight points to propel McEachern pass Holy Spirit.
Anthony Edwards - As a talent evaluator, I have never been in a situation where I didn't need to watch an entire game to get an idea about a players skill set. That all changed when Ant-Man walked on the court. It had to be the 2nd or 3rd possession for Holy Spirit when he caught the ball at the top of the key, he squared up and made a slow deliberate jab to his right, as the defender shifted his weight slighted he gave him a shoulder shimmy that sent him a good foot away from him. He then took one dribble and dunked it with two hands. I look at the guy next to me and said: "I'm good, I don't need to see any more". You don't see too may HS player make moves like that. Everything else was icing on the cake for me, the ease in which he pulls up for jumpers off the dribble, the way he stretched out PnR action to assure his teammates got open shots, the shifty handle to get in and around people in the lane. He's an NBA PRO...
In closing the Georgia Elite 8 Tip-Off Classic was a great introduction into Georgia High School basketball, S/O to Damon Wilson the tournament Co-Founder and Director for allowing me to come out to scout your event I can safely say I saw some great talent and every game was pretty competitive outside of one. We have some talent in this state and I saw guys that can play at the NAIA, NCAA DI, DII & DIII and I even saw an NBA guy, I'd say not a bad days work if you ask me, 13hrs well spent. Until next time......