CORINTH, MS – It’s safe to say that this year’s Lighthouse Classic didn’t disappoint. With some of the top teams in the Southeast converging in Corinth, Mississippi for the event, there was plenty of top-tier talent on hand. As expected, some stars came to play, while some new, young names entered the limelight. Here are the top performers from Friday night’s action…
Lindy Waters, 2016 WF, Sunrise Christian (KS): Waters played in the final game of the day, but his appearance was well worth the wait. The 6-foot-6 wing had a great showing, as he showed off his shooting stroke with several 3s. The Oklahoma State signee has a great pace to his game and understands the game thoroughly – it showed Friday evening. He picked his spots to attack the defense and also did a nice job of making plays for his teammates. Waters had 16 points, but I’m convinced he can play virtually anywhere in the country.
Tyler Harris, 2018 PG, Cordova (TN): There were a lot of talented players on display Friday, but no one impacted the game more than sophomore point guard Tyler Harris. The Memphis product was a vital part of Cordova’s victory over Callaway (MS). He hit a deep three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, followed by some free throws at the end of the game to seal things. Harris shredded the defense with his speed and quickness; he constantly lived in the lane and made plays downhill. He finished with 17 points, but the most impressive aspect of his game was 14 assists – a Lighthouse Classic record. Harris did a fantastic job of creating and dishing the ball off to open teammates.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 2017 SG, Hamilton Heights (TN): It’s easy to see why high-major programs are hot on the trail of Alexander-Walker. Like Waters, the Canadian product was one of the top shooters that Day 1 brought to the court. At 6-foot-5 and great length, he can shoot the ball over the defense. He is a sniper from deep and could be an immediate impact with his shooting ability. However, there is still plenty of untapped potential for the junior. Alexander-Walker will only improve with time, and more and more schools will continue to enter the picture.
Tyrik Dixon, 2016 PG, Southwest Christian (AR): Two words describe Dixon perfectly: under recruited. The 6-foot-1 lead guard only has an offer from UL-Monroe and minimal additional interest, but it will be hard to find better mid-major point guard prospects than him at this point. The lefty understands how to score the ball. He is a good shooter off the dribble and has no problem getting his shot off against bigger opponents. Dixon handles the ball very well and can also serve as a set-up guy, but he is best at attacking and scoring. He wasn’t afraid to attack the rim against a big Hamilton Heights (TN) frontline, either. Any mid-major programs in need of a point guard heading into the winter, this guy deserves a look.
Justin Hopkins, 2016 SF, J.O. Johnson (AL): J.O. Johnson got off to a slow start and never really got into a groove, but that didn’t stop Hopkins from having a productive game. The 6-foot-4 forward is a consistent producer that plays with a constant motor. The Samford signee has a knack for getting fouled and making it to the free throw line. Hopkins did a nice job of finishing with contact and using his strength to fight through the defense. It’s hard not to like the senior’s toughness and bulldog mentality. He’s a consistent producer each time out. Friday afternoon, he scored 23 points in the Jaguars’ loss to Starkville.
Tyson Carter, 2016 CG, Starkville (MS): Carter had as good of a summer as anyone on the travel circuit, and it looks like things are carrying over to the high school season. The Mississippi State signee is gifted with his elite ball skills. He can play with both hands and does so effectively. In fact, the 6-foot-4 combo guard may have passed the ball more with his off left hand more than his right hand. Carter scored at all three levels as well. His versatility and skill set make him an intriguing prospect heading into the SEC next year.
Robert Woodard, 2018 SF, Columbus (MS): I’m a big fan of Woodard, and each time out he continues to improve on different facets of his game. The skill set and high IQ has been there since Day 1, but on Friday, the sophomore showed off a new side of his game. He played with a high motor and showed he wasn’t afraid to dunk on people (and he did that a few times). Woodard attacked the glass and finished above the rim several occasions. As usual, he did a great job of coming off screens and knocking downs shots all over the floor. He was most effective from the mid-range. Woodard had another productive outing, as he finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Rayshad Williams, 2018 WF, Lausanne (TN): Williams was the pleasant surprise of the day. Despite being a sophomore, the 6-foot-3 wing was the best player on the floor for a talented Lausanne team in their first game of the year. He passes the look test with great athleticism and length. His basketball skills aren’t bad, either. Williams did a nice job of playing anywhere from the 1-3, as he handled the ball along with slashing to the rim. He has plenty of upside for a young player and will only get better going forward. The most impressive aspect of his game was his shot-blocking. He blocked five shots in total, with many of them coming around the rim. It’s still early, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for mid-major and high-major schools to take a little peek at the Memphis talent.
EYES IN THE CROWD
Mississippi State had two assistants on hand to see 2016 combo guard Tyson Carter and 2016 big man Abdul Ado, along with 2018 forward Robert Woodard.
Samford and Austin Peay had assistant coaches in attendance. An assortment of JUCO and Divison II and NAIA schools were also in attendance.