The HoopSeen Shootout and Fall League was a great stage to preview the upcoming high school season here in Georgia. We had over 30 high school aged teams at Suwanee Sports Academy and a full day to take in the action.
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George Maslennikov of Holy Spirit Prep was the most skilled post player on Saturday. The Ukrainian big man scored with both hands in the paint and displayed nifty, and shifty, footwork in the low blocks. He scored over the shoulder, with jumpers and off dump passes from his creative and fast guards. It was quite the display from the 6-foot-9 forward. We’ll enter Maslennikov into our next update of our 2018 Georgia player rankings.
Kamani Johnson, the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder center Dakar Johnson, is now at Holy Spirit Prep after playing at Monteverde Academy in Florida. The younger Johnson is an intriguing big man at 6-foot-8. He’s a high-energy forward that showed an ability to step out and knock down the face-up jumper all the way out to the three-point line. Johnson said he was recently offered by Memphis.
Trey Doomes has watched Ephraim Tshimanga run the show at Cobb County powerhouse Allatoona for the last two years and patiently waited his turn to be next for Markus Hood’s program. The 6-foot-2 guard will be the first option for the Bucs and we caught a glimpse of what is to come with the class of 2018 guard. Doomes mixed scoring from the wing, at the line and with drives to the lane at the Shootout.
Ducula will try to replace some seasoned players from last year’s playoff team. Gary Bishop will play a prominent role for the Falcons. He should also be a popular guy for schools in the Peach Belt Conference. Bishop was outstanding throughout the day at both guard positions.
Junior colleges will want to keep an eye on Rod Rapley of Douglasville (GA) Alexander this season. He’s an aggressive scorer with battle-tested experience. Rap has been good in our Fall League for Jason Slate’s team and should be one of the top scorers in Region 5-AAAAAA.
Grayson graduated a lot from last year’s 22-win team but this year’s team doesn’t look like they will drop off that level of expectation. No, the Rams are ready for another go round in Gwinnett County. Anchored with good guard play, move-in Gerald Buncam should help inside. The senior came to Gwinnett County from Jack Britt in N.C. and should provide some power in the paint.
White County wing John Ward should be a guy that Division II programs take a good, long look at. The 6-foot-5 senior has been a big part of the team’s yearly improvement. He’s a skilled and athletic option for Sam Burg’s program and a guy that we’ve liked on the Georgia Cup circuit with the Atlanta Timberwolves.
Jalyn McCreary of the Cherokee Spurs/Kennesaw Mountain opened some eyes with his play at the Shootout. The 6-foot-4 guard from the class of 2019 scored 22 points against a good Grayson team. He played his way onto our sophomore class depth chart.
Cabral Huff is back on the sidelines in Georgia high school basketball after a two-year stint at the college level. He will lean heavily on forward Jalen Hodges, who was an absolute highlight film on Saturday. The athletic 6-foot-5 forward could be an all-region performer this season for Duluth.
In the three fall league games I’ve seen of Eagle’s Landing 2018 SG Brandon Thomas this season, he may have impressed me the most of all of the players in the league. The 6-foot-4 guard knows how to get and find shots. Thomas is good off the bounce and creates very well for himself. He told Carter Wilson that he holds offers from Kennesaw State and Florida Gulf Coast.
Absolutely loved the effort from 2018 forward Julian Baldwin of Etowah. The 6-foot-7 forward is a motor man in the middle for the Cherokee County team. The class of 2018 forward will be one to watch at our Fall Preview on Oct. 15.
Well, hello! Class of 2019 guard Neil Ileney made a strong impression with the Georgia Elite Ballers on Saturday. The built-like-a-running back point guard scored 28 points from all over the floor. He’s at Johns Creek and should be a big part of Keenan Temple’s team this season. We’ll be watching Ileney closely at the Fall Preview on Oct. 15.
Here’s a bold prediction for ya: Dwon Odom of St. Francis will be the leading scorer in Georgia for the class of 2020. The freshman has been a scoring machine in the Fall League.
Mountain View junior guard Spencer Rodgers should be one of the top shooters in Gwinnett County. He hit seven three-pointers in two games on Saturday.
Gainesville forward Bailey Minor has been a monster in the paint over the years at Suwanee Sports Academy, playing with his high school and middle school teams and the North Georgia Elite team. He’s great on the glass and effective in the paint as a scorer. On Saturday at the Shootout, the 6-foot-5 junior forward drilled five three-pointers for the Red Elephants.
Don’t be surprised to see Xavier Bledson become a hot name this season for Gainesville. The 6-foot-3 strong-bodied junior can really shoot and score. We saw him produce at a consistent clip this travel season with North Georgia Elite. He was at it again at the Shootout.