AL.com Classic: What I liked on Tuesday

Eugene Leonard

The first day of the AL.com Classic tipped off on Tuesday at Grissom High School. With some of the top teams in north Alabama present, we were able to see some of the state’s best talent.

Here are nine things I liked about the day…

I liked the guard play at Columbia. Heading into the tournament, the Eagles weren’t getting a lot of attention. However, Miguel Williams and Cameron Phillips changed that on Tuesday. The senior backcourt was impressive against James Clemens. Columbia also has some length and youth in their program, too. Watch out for them as the tournament and high school season continues.

I liked the way 2019 Oxford (AL) point guard Eugene Leonard (pictured above) passed the basketball. The 6-foot-1 floor general was patient and eased into the game against Muscle Shoals, but once he got going, the junior was nearly impossible to contain off the bounce. Leonard did a fantastic job of driving and dishing, as well as making a living at the free-throw line.

I liked the young core that Mae Jemison showed in a win over Madison Academy. The Jaguars graduated eight seniors last year and are experiencing some growing pains this year. Don’t expect that for long, though. Isaiah Green and Nate Robinson (juniors), Tony Toney (sophomore), and Damarcus Thompson should be important pieces for Jemison in the future.

I liked the way Hazel Green senior Grant Perry shot the ball yesterday. The 6-foot-3 junior hit five 3’s in a win over Austin. Perry took advantage of the attention that Kira Lewis drew from Black Bear defenders.

I liked how Muscle Shoals’ sophomore duo of Mark Sears and Mikey McIntosh set the tone early for their team. Sears, one of the top point guards in the state, is a tough, savvy guard that made good decisions and ran his team well. McIntosh, an athletic 6-foot-5 forward, was all over the floor and made the hustle plays for Muscle Shoals.

I liked the way 2019 guard Leyton Owens got to the free-throw line for St. John Paul II Catholic. He scored 32 points against Grissom, including 14-15 from the charity stripe. He was the top scorer from Tuesday’s action.

I liked the resiliency Mountain Brook showed against Bob Jones on Tuesday. Just a few days removed from returning home from the City of Palms in Fort Myers, the Spartans got off to a slow start against the Patriots. Nevertheless, they fought through the pain and tiredness and was able to put away Bob Jones in convincing fashion. The Spartans could potentially play nine games in 12 days when it’s all said and done.

I like the way Darron Howard has started off his senior campaign at Sparkman. The 6-foot-3 wing is one of the best unsigned seniors in the Huntsville area. He showed that against Madison County, as he scored 20 points in a win. Howard is a prospect JUCO programs will want to keep tabs on.

I really like the depth and weapons that first-year Grissom head coach Stu Stuedeman has at his fingertips with the Tigers this year. Seniors Dakota Myers and Phillip Desrosier have received a lot of attention up until this point of the season, but juniors Charlie Gossett and Jervae Peters are also capable of stepping up and leading the team on any given night. With all the weapons and the well-roundedness that Grissom has, it’s hard not to like their chances going forward. 

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