Big Orange Classic: What I liked on Thursday
Hoover’s annual Big Orange Classic continued on Thursday with some of the best teams in the Birmingham area present.
Here are some things I liked from Hoover…
I liked the toughness Hueytown played with. Led by Wingate signee Jermaine Marshall and senior Malachi Morton, they gave Wenonah – one of the best teams in the state, in my opinion – a dog fight on Thursday. When your two top dudes buy into playing hard and doing the little things, teammates will follow. That’s exactly what Marshall and Morton do for Hueytown. Hueytown is a scrappy, athletic bunch and could make some noise when the state playoffs come around.
I liked the calmness clutch ability that Wenonah point guard Cam Tucker has during the game. The 6-foot-1 guard is never fazed by anything. Despite a pesky Hueytown team, the junior stepped up to the free-throw line a couple of times and iced the game for the Dragons. Tucker is one of the toughest and most battle-tested guards the state has to offer.
I liked the sneaky matchup of Guntersville and Andalusia on Thursday afternoon. Guntersville has been a staple top ten squad in 5A, while Andalusia entered the Big Orange with an undefeated record before losing to Hoover Thursday morning. Andalusia came out on top with a 60-52 win, but I really liked the way Guntersville senior Logan Bonds played. The skilled, 6-foot-3 guard impacted the game in a positive way for the Tigers, whether it was scoring, rebounding, or assisting on scores. Bonds is capable of playing at a lower level collegiately.
I like (okay, I love) the upside and potential that 2019 forward Jeremiah Littlepage has for McAdory. A long, wiry forward at 6-foot-7, Littlepage is extremely versatile with his game. He is skilled and has the ability to step outside and play on the perimeter, but he can cause problems in the post, too. Littlepage has great hands and a soft touch. In fact, he is eerily similar to Parker standout Xavier Williams, a Troy signee. Littlepage erases his teammates’ mistakes on defense with his shot-blocking ability. He still has some work on his skinny, frail frame in the weight room, but Littlepage is a high-value prospect that college programs need to keep an eye on.
I liked (okay, I loved) the way sophomore big man Reginald Perry, Jr. (pictured above) scores around the rim for Fairfield. At 6-foot-7 and 240-pounds, Perry is hard to handle on the block. The young pup already understand show to use his body to his advantage, as he is extremely productive playing below the rim. He carves out space and is precise with his angles in the post. It’s still early, but Perry is one of the top big men in Alabama’s 2020 class. Samford is showing early interest.
I liked (okay, I loved) the way Hoover’s backcourt played on Thursday. Behind seniors Jamari Blackmon and Marion Humphrey and junior Ahman Ellington, the Buccaneers boast arguably the best backcourt in Alabama. All three guards bring a different style of play to the table. Blackmon is a gifted scorer and can score on all three levels; Humphrey is a world-class athlete and brings explosiveness and slashing; Ellington is poised and keeps everyone in line with his shooting ability. Behind these three guards, Hoover has made their case as the top team in the state.