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Best of the South: Josh Tec's Notes from Opening Day

7, Jul 2022

Best of the South: Josh Tec's Notes from Opening Day

ATLANTA—This is like the Wrestlemania of independent AAU basketball. It’s massive. It’s the grandest of stages. The Georgia World Congress Center feels like a big-time stage only paralleled by the Expo Center in Louisville where we’ve run the Grassroots Showcase in the past. 


Thursday’s opening day at Best of the South lived up to the enormous atmosphere. 


Faulkner closes with a bang 


Atlanta Allstars forward Dylan Faulkner closed out Thursday with one of his best games of the travel season. 


The 6-foot-9 forward had his full complement of skills on display against 3D Empire with plenty of college coaches on hand. Faulkner brought his high energy on defense and on the boards. Whether he’s blocking shots, altering them, or getting deflections, Faulkner is one of the top defensive bigs in the building. When it comes to rebounding, double digits are the norm, and I’d venture to guess that he was around that mark on Thursday night. 


He was also feeling it on offense with 17 points and showed that he’s comfortable scoring from all over the floor. 


In all of the Best of the South previews, you’ve probably seen me tout him as a player that I’ve been expecting a big weekend out of. Well, on Thursday evening, on the big stage, he made me look smart. I can’t say that happens every day. 


The Purple Heart goes to…


Team Swish’s Jacob Tiller. If there’s a tougher player here, I certainly didnt see them. This guy is toughness personified. There’s nothing soft about his game whatsovever. 


When I sat down to take in Swish’s afternoon game, Tiller impressed with his defense and effort on the glass. Then he injured his hand and went off the trainer’s table. After coming back to the bench, visibly in discomfort, Tiller entered the game and played even harder than he did before. He hit two tough layups through serious contact. I was sold on his toughness then. 


As the game went on, he kept diving for loose balls, battling for rebounds, and playing hard-nosed defense. I said it while watching him, and I’ll say it again now, he might not finish with the most points, but his heart and effort can’t be applauded enough. Tiller was easily one of my players of the day. 


Cole McCormick shines 


With some mid major programs on hand, Team Mookie’s 2024 G Cole McCormick starts his weekend off on the right foot. The 6-foot-5 guard had it all going in the first half with 11 of his 17 points coming early on. He showed a versatile scoring package with a few 3-pointers and the ability to maneuver his way to his spots off the bounce. 


When his scoring slowed in the second half, he used his ability as a creator to set up his teammates with open looks. McCormick also made several tremendous plays on defense with aware, hustle plays that often led to steals, deflections or altered shots.


Moving forward, McCormick is a name that should continue to be on coaches’ radars. This Mookie team has more than McCormick as well. Fred Bailey, Maddux Bodenhamer and Kavien Jones also had great outings. 


Quick Hitters


Houston Superstars duo Keylon Dorsey and Jared Harris opened the weekend with a combined 35 points in a win over a tough AE5 group. Several Texas-area schools were on hand to take in this game. The pair should be drawing attention from coaches throughout the weekend. 


The greater Atlanta area gets a lot of the love when it comes to basketball in the Peach State, but there are plenty of great hoopers from other parts of Georgia. If you’re looking to see some of the state’s best, venture to a Georgia South game this weekend. On Thursday, they picked up a great win against Illinois Flight. Jay King and Tycen McDaniel make for one of the better tandems I saw on the opening day of BOTS. The pair combined for 27 on the day, which is subdued by their standards. 


Cade Simmons poured in 17 points for Norcross Heat in the afternoon session of games. The sharpshooter did his thing and drained four 3-pointers and got fouled while shooting another. Simmons is deadly from the perimeter when he gets in a groove, and he proved that to be the case on Thursday.  


Josh Tec

Josh Tec is a Georgia State graduate with a degree in journalism. Tec aspires to work in basketball media as his career continues. At Georgia State, he graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors and was recognized as a leader in the classroom. Outside of basketball, Tec loves movies and perpetually seeks out his next favorite film.