The Shot Clock with Josh Tec: Best of the South Preview
I hope everyone out there had a great extended weekend and Fourth of July. The Shot Clock is back to tick down the seconds until the weeked, and there just happens to be a big one on the horizon. We have the first July live period coming up, and that means it’s Best of the South season here in Georgia.
This is going to be an edition that’s heavy on Best of the South previews. Think of it as the event primer. But, there is some significant news to get into before taking a look at BOTS.
Two top 2023s are off the board
Jelani Hamilton and Brigham Rogers were among the top uncommitted prospects in Georgia’s 2023 class heading into last week, but that’s no longer the case as they have made their pledges to Iowa State and Belmont respectively. What are those schools getting?
In Hamilton, TJ Otzelberger and the Cyclones are getting a 6-foot-6 guard who can absolutely fill it up. He can score it from all over the floor, and he’s consistent in his production too. Iowa State struggled on the offensive end in Otzelberger’s first season, but Hamilton is a guy who’ll be able to help in that regard if those issues continue to linger in Ames.
Brigham Rogers is one of the south’s biggest stockrisers this spring and summer. It was only a matter of time before his recruitment took off with his combination of size, skill and feel for the game. Belmont is getting a 6-foot-9 forward that I’d project to be an all-league player before his time in college is up.
BOTS watch list
Watchlists are hard because of the revolving-door roster turnover in this community. However, there are a few teams and players that I feel comfortable projecting because of overall program continuity and, well, because some of them have already posted rosters. As the event progresses, and I can see who’s playing with who, I’ll revise this list to provide a more comprehensive list of prospects and teams for coaches to watch. For now, consider this as a good foundational starting point.
The Atlanta Allstars program is a great place to start for college coaches this week at BOTS. Brandon Rechsteiner is one of the hottest prospects in the entire country right now after amassing a lengthy list of high major offers in June. While Brigham Rogers is off the board, Spencer Elliot and Dylan Faulkner are must-see frontcourt players for D1 coaches. Both are 6-foot-9 and versatile much like their Belmont-committed counterpart. Elliot and Faulkner are two of the better defensive bigs that I’ve seen this spring and should be able to help a team in that regard right away. Mason Etter is a name that has to end July with some offers under his belt. He brings so much to the floor on both ends, and he has a lethal mid-range package. He’s as steady of a player as you’ll find at BOTS. A new piece to the 2023 roster is 6-foot-5 guard Noah Melson. He’s a guard with D1 upside and plenty of quickness. Those are just some of the names on the 2023 Allstars team to monitor, but their 2024 team has some guys to get a head start on too.
Jax Abernathy just visited Furman and should be pulling interest from a number of mid major programs right now. He’s been one of the consistently great players on the HoopSeen platform this season. Ernesto Almonte is coming off of playing internationally with the Dominican team. He’s a guy that will do anything and everything for a team. The 6-foot-4 SF/G can play as a small-ball big because of his relentless motor and willingness to do the dirty work, and he can thrive out on the perimeter as well. Liam Mullins is an upside guy who I think will be someone that continues to emerge as a name that coaches need to know. He’s a 6-foot-5 guard that has all of the tools to continue to develop into someone who takes major steps forward going into the high school season. At the end of the day, I would feel comfortable saying that every player on the 2023 and 2024 Allstars teams will have the opportunity to play college basketball at some level. This program has something for everyone, so coaches from all levels, lock them into your plans for the week.
Another Georgia team that I want to spotlight here is Norcross Heat. They have several prospects that have next-level potential. Keishawn Hampton has led the way for Norcross Heat all spring. He’s a consistent point guard that can absolutely shoot the lights out when he’s on. Hampton has been a great assist man too. When they take the floor, I feel comfortable expecting around 15 and 5 out of Hampton, and that may be being too judicious. This team has a good group of forwards too. Among them is Soloman Mustafa-Reid. The 6-foot-8 big man brings nice length and athleticism to the floor and is deserving of some more looks from coaches at the next level. While I focused on Hampton and Mustafa-Reid here, Norcross Heat has a lot more to offer to coaches stopping by to take in a game of theirs too.
A final team that I want to hit on is BCB. This is a team that has maintained buzz throughout the spring. Prospects like Jadon Yeh and Julian Walker have been among the state’s more undervalued. Yeh is a tough, smart guard that can score in bunches and create for everyone else around him too. Walker is a high-level defender and rim protector with a great motor and nose for the ball. He’ll win you a lot of rebounding wars. Someone from this squad who has steadily opened eyes has been Blake Seitz. He’s been playing some of his best basketball as of late and would provide a college program with a 6-foot-6 shooter with some bounce to his game.
Some notable matchups
Planning a trip to BOTS can be a lot to take in at first, but when you sit down and deliberate for a moment, you’ll find out that there are no bad options. This is truly a one-stop-shop for college coaches. There will be great games and matchups all weekend long, and three immediately jump out as eye-popping, must-sees that should have college coaches swarming the sidelines. Because the weekend will revolve around bracket play, schedules are relatively limited, so all of these games are scheduled for Thursday.
The first marquee matchup that I want to mention is George Hill All Indy against Florida Pro at 2:10 on court 22. This is going to be a war. Florida Pro has proven to be a consistent winner on our platform, and they’ll have a hefty task on their hands when going against Xavier Booker, Garvey Dual and company.
3:15 on court 22 will see MidPro Academy take on AE5. I would tab MidPro Academy as one of the best independent teams in the country. They might even be at the top of my list. AE5 has some of the best players from Georgia on it. This will be a great opportunity to see how the Peach State stacks up against some of the Midwest’s best. I’m especially intrigued by the matchup between Brock Harding and AE5’s tough stable of guards made up of guys like Da’Avion Thomas and Kory Mincy.
Staying put on court 21, 3D Empire takes on the Atlanta Allstars in a rematch from last year in which the Allstars won. That game is at 6:30 and should be one of the weekend’s best. This is the kind of matchup that only the HoopSeen and NY2LA partnership can bring. It’s a battle of one of Texas’ best independents and one of Georgia’s best independents. From high major to D3, there are going to be players all over the court for all levels of college basketball. Two of the nations biggest stockrisers in Gehrig Normand and Brandon Rechsteiner will be representing each team along with several other can’t-miss prospects.