Tournament of Champions Holiday Classic: Wednesday Standouts, pt. I
JOHNS CREEK, Ga.—The Tournament of Champions Holiday Classic is one of the annual hallmarks for Georgia hoop heads.
It’s a holiday tradition that pits several of the best teams in the area against each other and against top teams from out of state as well.
From five-star, highly-touted prospects to emerging underclassmen, the event provides quality evaluation opportunities from morning to night.
The 2023 installment was no different than its predecessors.
I was on hand for most of the day, and here are some of the eye-catchers from the games I saw.
Five-star forward Caleb Wilson is known for boasting big, stat-stuffing numbers whenever he takes the floor. That was the case yet again on Wednesday night.
Without official stats, one would assume that Wilson finished with a triple-double with points, rebounds and blocks. He was up to his usual do-everything expectations. His defensive aptitude shined above all else. Wilson rose up for audacious blocks that generated buzz from the stands.
Wilson finished with 22 points to lead Atlanta (Ga.) Holy Innocents’ to a win over reigning 6A champs, Alexander.
Ragland’s stock is steadily rising this high school season. The 2025 forward is an eye-catcher because of his size, but his skill is what his game is predicated on.
There aren’t many players at his size that play with the finesse that Ragland employs. He was able to use ball skills, footwork, and shooting touch to score against the long, lanky Josh Hill. Ragland also used his size to move Hill under the basket when he needed to just back him down.
Ragland finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead Lilburn (Ga.) Berkmar to a win.
Josh Hill against Mekhi Ragland was the matchup of the day. The two talented, skilled forwards put on a show. While Berkmar got the win, Hill was nothing short of sensational for Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler.
The 6-foot-10, 6-foot-11 Hill had his jumper working at its best. He couldn’t miss in the first half when he dropped in four 3-pointers and several mid-range jumpers en route to 23 points. He added two more 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 36 points.
Hill’s jumpshot has been a consistent weapon in his arsenal as of late. It adds another dimension to his game that was built on defensive upside above all else.
Hill is committed to Arkansas State.
An available senior, Josiah Lawson has been on a mission with Tucker (Ga.) this high school season.
He’s one of the most skilled bucket getters in Georgia. Lawson can consistently score from all levels. He doesn’t need much room to get his shot off, and he can use his craft to make plays happen off the bounce. He’s been putting up eye-popping scoring numbers against some of the most well-regarded players in the state.
His latest efforts saw him drop 29 points. Lawson should garner significant D1 attention.
A new name to my list, 2026 W Kevin Thomas caught my attention in Weston (Fla.) Sagemont’s win on Wednesday.
At around 6-foot-6, or so, Thomas opened his day with a trio of 3-pointers and showed athleticism at the rim. Thomas has all of the makings of a player that gets significant attention this spring and summer when the 2026 class becomes one of the focuses of national scouts and media.
Hampton (Ga.) Dutchtown is best known for its duo of big men, but guard Jamir Russell was the story for them on Wednesday.
Russell was their best source of offense. He efficiently knocked down shots from mid-range to the 3-point line. Russell was the hot hand for much of the afternoon, but he only took what the game gave to him. He took good shots and kept the ball moving when he didn’t have a look he wanted.
The Bulldogs are one of the more dangerous squads in 5A, and if Russell can provide more of what he did on Wednesday, they’ll be a tough out in February and March.