HoopSeen Tip-Off is Underway, here's what Josh Tec saw.
SUWANEE, Ga—Now that we’re back to more of a regular recruiting schedule, there’s a live period coming up in just a matter of weeks. There’s no better platform to get geared up for the opportunity to play in front of college coaches than HoopSeen’s Tip-Off. It’s a platform to gain some steam going into an important weekend, and the first night of the weekend was a hit.
Before we delve into the details of the night, how cool were those HoopSeeen 100 banners? Man, the list of players who have made a name for themselves on this stage is impressive. I can’t wait to see who ends up on the HoopSeen 200 banners in the future. Perhaps it will be someone mentioned in these notes.
Stars Guards Star
Man oh man, the Georgia Stars brought some dudes to Tip-Off. Their 2024 and their 2023 teams both played in the 17U division, and they both wowed with their performances.
Starting with their 2024s, highly-touted 2024 G Karris Bilal had himself an evening for the Georgia Stars 2024 group. He led the way for them in their win with a whopping 28 points. Bilal is such a smooth scorer that can pour it in from all levels. Whether he’s using his athleticism and bounce to hang from the rim or knocking down shots from the perimeter, Bilal is always a threat when he has the ball in his hands. It’s no surprise to hear that Bilal has been invited to some high-level, national camps and that his recruitment has generated some buzz.
His backcourt mates, Trajen Greco and Rodrigo Farias, were both tremendous as well. They combined for an additional 26 points. It’s early in the AAU season, but I can’t imagine that I’ll see many more backcourts as explosive and potent as this Georgia Stars 2024 group.
Later in the evening, the 2023 Georgia Stars team followed up their younger cohorts with a dominant win of their own. In this one, Anthony Robinson and Jelani Hamilton impressed. They’re a scary, lethal pair that’s capable of turning games into blowouts in the blink of an eye. Both skilled and athletic, there’s not a great way to stop either guard. What makes them more difficult to deal with is that they have all sorts of uber-talented weapons around them, so it’s not like teams can just focus on stopping Hamilton and Robinson.
If you’re looking for guards, look at the Georgia Stars program. They have a lot of them.
I feel like I haven’t shut up about how good Ace Bailey is since I saw his debut with McEachern in January. This guy always impresses, and Friday night was no different. He dominated. Plain and simple.
He led AOT to a win to kick off the weekend with 24 points, but it’s always his rebounding that I walk away raving about. I don’t know that I’ve been at a game that he’s played where he hasn’t pulled double-digit boards. I wasn’t officially keeping track on Friday night, but he had to have been in the neighborhood of 15 rebounds. He owns the glass.
At 6-foot-8, he’s already got impressive size, and he pairs it with an ever-developing ability to make plays from the perimeter. I already think he’s one of the best players in the state, and probably the best in his class, but I have to imagine that he’s also one of the best in the country as well. The sky’s the limit for this guy.
I love Julian Walker’s ability to protect the rim for BCB Black. His combination of long arms and impeccable timing make him a brick wall in the paint.
I’ve seen Walker put up impressive block numbers in the past. He eclipsed double digits in a game I saw him play with North Gwinnett this season, so when I watched BCB play and saw him swat a few into oblivion, I wasn’t surprised.
It made me happy to hear other members of the HoopSeen staff get to see him do his thing for the first time. He has to be one of the best rim protectors in the state, right?
Sure, the 7-footers over at Greenforest probably take the cake, but what makes Walker so impressive is that he’s not overwhelmingly big. He just has a knack for blocking shots.