Updated: Aug 5, 2021
It's official, High School basketball is underway with this past weekend "Georgia's Elite 8 Tip-Off Classic" (GE8TOC) hosted by the good people from McEachern High School and A.O.T. They did an excellent job with the match-ups as most of the games were decided by a few possessions.
I arrived at the gym about 45 minutes before game 1 because I would be calling game 1 & 2 for SUVtv. So if you tuned in via https://thesuvtv.com you would've heard me doing my best Marv Albert impression, which failed miserably. Luckily, I was paired with one of the best Play by Play analysts in Georgia High School Sports, Dwayne Walker. Who was gracious enough to carry me for both broadcasts which I am truly thankful for.
Now to highlight some of the most noteworthy performers from the event.
Christian Bacon | C/O 2023 | PG | Cumberland Christian
Christian most the dominant player on the floor and that's saying a lot considering his team was facing 6'11 Senior Center Ebenezer Dowuona (E.D.). He controlled the tempo of the entire game as he was consistently in the paint collapsing the defense and finding open teammates for wide-open shots. He was also the catalyst for his teams' defensive efforts as they put unrelenting pressure on the ball-handlers from Heritage. He also took drew two offensive fouls, one of those led to the early departure of E.D. However, the thing that was most impressive about Christian performance was he did all of this without scoring a single point in the game. I look forward to watching his progression over the next 4 years.
Brian Lee | C/O 2020 | PG/SG | Core 4 Prep
Brian has a nice combination of athleticism and elite shot-making ability. Throughout the game, he attacked the basket finding ways to finish in the lane around the large front-line. He also displayed his abilities to shoot it off the dribble & catch with range. He also did a good job on the defensive end as he was able to defend the wings and point guards from Hargrave.
Kenon Martin Jr. | C/O 2020 | PF | IMG Academy
I was impressed with Kenon's motor, his ability to play hard for the duration of the game was very special to watch. He can defend 1-5, he rebounded at a high clip, blocked shots and finished around the rim.
Kai Sotto | C/O 2021| PF | TSF Prep
Kai did a good job of keeping his defenders off balance as he mixed them up playing inside/out throughout the game. He took smaller players to the block and displayed nice foot-work and a soft touch around the basket. He took the more physical players out on the perimeter as he showcased his off the ball skillset, using back cuts and a quick release coming off of curls and pin downs.
Westlake vs Kell was a premiere match-up for me as they matched-up two of the best PG prospect in the country, Dillon Hunter and Sterling "Scoota" Henderson. While Scoota and Dillon didn't disappoint in the faceoff I would like to highlight a couple of players who I believe deserve a bit of ink today.
Roberto Ward | C/O 2020 | PG | Westlake
Roberto is shifty with the ball in his hands as he was able to create for himself off the bounce at will. He also displayed a craftiness to finish around the rim with either hand off the right or left foot. I look for him to solidify himself as a very comparable second option a Westlake team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Najhae Colon | C/O 2021 | PG | Kell
Najhae took on the challenge of defending Dillon Hunter 94ft and was successful as he drew two offensive fouls during the game. He played with great intensity and an extremely high motor throughout the game. I've seen him play defense before so I wasn't necessarily surprised by his output as he got steals, drew charges and pestered ballhandlers the length of the court. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by his offensive production as he poured in 18 points knocking down a couple 3's, getting out in transition and made his free-throws. If he can keep this up, he'll be considered one of the best two-way players in the state.
Gai Chol | C/O 2023 | PF/C | Greenforest
Gai is long and rangy big that takes up so much space in the middle of the zone. He is very fluid with his movement but needs to continue to get stronger and add some polish to his overall offensive package. I was impressed with how he ran the floor in transition and finished at the rim. He can also block shots and rebound at a high clip.
Jalen Deloach | C/O 2020 | SF/PF | Berkmar
Jalen played with a ton of energy and emotion throughout the game. He did a good job showcasing his footwork as he scored on several post touches. He also his ability to handle the ball as he attacked the rim on straight-line drives. He is quick off his feet as he snags offensive rebounds and puts them back before the defense could react.
Sharife Cooper | C/O 2020 | PG | McEachern
Sharife came out on fire as he scored 12 of his team's first 14 points and he didn't slow down as he finished the game with 37. What I love about his game is his ability to always keep the defense off balance and his willingness to accept and initiate contact for his benefit. I have said it before, he is the best finisher in the country if his feet touch the paint you might as well chalk it up as 2 points. Overall, I was impressed with his ability to knock down the 3 point shot consistently as well as his ability to find teammates out of Pick n Roll action.
In closing my I would like to thank Damon Wilson & Omar Cooper for allowing me to come back to scout their great event again. I would also like to thank SUVtv for allowing me to get on the microphone and call a few games during the event. This event was loaded with talent and the match-ups were superb. I was able to track several prospects progression and identified many more that I'll need to track moving forward. I have to say, another long day in the gym well spent. Until next time.....