Kyle Sandy's Georgia Cup II Saturday Notebook
17U Da House is a strong favorite to bring home the cup and for good reason. Even though they weren’t at full strength, the group from Mississippi was clicking on all cylinders on Saturday. In a 74-35 win over the Runnin’ Rebels, Da House let it be known they are on a business trip. Energetic guards DeAnthony Tipler, MaDarius Hobson and Axavius “Tada” Stricklen put on a show with their aerial escapades. Tipler finished with 8 points and 5 assists while Stricklen added 8 points and 5 rebounds. Hobson collected 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals to go with his 4 points. Tylandrius Parks knocked down two threes and scored 14 points but it was 6-foot-7 forward Tyler Stevenson (pictured) who impressed the most. Out of New Hope High School in Columbus, Mississippi, the active slasher showed flashes of break out senior season to come. Stevenson netted a game-high 19 points and blocked three shots. He excelled at getting to the rim and handled the ball well for his size. He stretched out the defense with his ability to shoot from deep and punished defenders in the open floor. He names Southern Mississippi, Middle Tennessee State and East Tennessee State as his early suitors.
Large & In Charge
One of the biggest frontlines this weekend at the Georgia Cup belongs to 17U Atlanta Select Team Elite. They throw out 6-foot-10 Yarden Willis, 6-foot-8s Kennedy Willis & Aaron Palmer along with 6-foot-7s Kahriff Gibbs and Julian Baldwin. Team Elite won 54-43 over the Running Rebels and received strong play from Baldwin. Hailing from Etowah High School, Baldwin is a physical stretch forward that bangs down low. He finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds, scoring from the block, the mid-range and off the bounce. The Eagles’ program has seen a revival under first year head coach Allen Whitehart and with Baldwin back in the fold for another season, the Towne Lake crew could advance past this year’s Sweet 16 finish.
Willis (St. Pius) played strong inside for Team Elite finishing with 10 points and 7 rebounds. Adding strength to his frame will be a main focus for him as he enters his senior season. Gibbs (Clarkston) added 6 points and 6 rebounds. He is very raw but athletic and can help defend the paint.
Chicago vs. Atlanta
The 14U Division saw Team Rose come down south to battle Atlanta Xpress Bogan. Xpress survived 61-54 after a 15-point fourth quarter lead shrunk to 52-47 with 1:29 left to play. Darreonte Gainer was the X-Factor for the Xpress. The long small forward poured in a game-high 24 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks. He netted 16 points in the first half and scored from all three levels. Gainer drained two threes and even threw down a one-handed flush in transition. He got timely help from future Terrell County High School big man Justin Carter. The space eating center had 14 points (6-6 FT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks. Carter has a soft touch from the line and finishes well around the basket. He doesn’t panic on post touches and passes the ball well when pressured.
Team Rose was led by Juwaun Millhouse. After a sluggish first half, Millhouse scored 12 of his team-high 20 in the second half to pace the comeback bid. He nailed three three-pointers and collected 5 steals.
Unsigned Senior Watch
17U Team Affect’s Jordan Thomas (Heritage-Conyers) has had a big weekend, capped by his 28-point outburst this afternoon. Thomas is as good a shooter as anyone and proved it by canning eight threes in a win.