11 July risers from Tennessee
One of the great things about the July "live" period is that always the cream rises to the top. The best of the best get better, they shine, they come out to play, every cliché that we know is conjured up yet it all equals this - here are some of the top risers for the state of Tennessee during the July period.
Tyler Harris (pictured above)
5'9 Point Guard
The Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee, so lets not make it seem like he rose from nowhere, maybe he hasn't gotten the love on the national scene that he deserves but it is clear, crystal clear, that he belongs among the elite. He was invited to the prestigious Stephen Curry Camp after decimating the competition in July, including helping lead Team Thad to an 8-0 finish and the title at the Las Vegas Fab48. He will forever go down in Memphis hoops folklore with his 31 point second half effort, after being down by 30, to lead Team Thad to the victory in an early contest at the same event. He finished with 40 points and cemented his legacy as one of the top guards in the country, yeah I said it.
Webb School/Bell Buckle, TN
EAB Tigers 16U
Coming from an ultra small school, Keon erupted on the scene with several high profiles efforts against some sterling competition on the national scene. He has the ability to shoot the ball from every level, he handles with efficiency, he can be unselfish if the situation requires and he is not afraid to stick his nose in and plays some tough defense. His body is slight but he works hard and now has the taste of what to expect under his belt. He scored offers from MTSU and Florida International with many, many more on the horizon.
Upward Stars-Nashville 16U
In this day and age of social media it seems almost impossible to find that diamond in the rough. Not so fast my friends. Playing for a summer squad that never shown itself on the real national scene, here is a player that will draw some serious interest once his junior campaign kicks off. Great size, shoots the mid-range shot with ease, has a short hook over either shoulder, rebounds above the rim, blocks shots, passes well from the post, keeps the ball high, this kid is a nice prospect.
Thick guard with excellent skills and an elite work ethic. He joined Team Thad later in the summer and took full advantage of playing on the circuit. He is an elite defender using his bulk to deter, he rebounds well for a guard and he can score the ball in the paint or from the short perimeter. His best basketball is obviously ahead of him and he has the advantage of playing for a big time high school mentor with D1 coaching experience. He scored his first D1 offer with a pledge from Arkansas State and I fully expect several more down the road.
6'3 Point Guard
Grace Christian/Knoxville, TN
There is no denying the talent and confidence this young, lanky competitor possesses. He is the first player in the Class of 2019 from Tennessee to pledge his commitment for college when he accepted the invitation from Oakland University. He may not be every ones cup of tea but his results speak for themselves. He can be a prolific scorer and he has the basketball IQ to be a distributor as well. His body obviously needs work but his length allows him to make plays. His shot is a flat footed version at this juncture and he uses a change of speed dribble to get tough lefty lay-ins against bigger people.
5'10 Point Guard
The kid can only take so much, playing in the recruiting shadows of Darius Garland, Alex Lomax and Tyler Harris, Freeman is an outstanding point guard who made a serious impact on the summer scene running with his new squad in July. He is a leader in every aspect, he captains the team, he leads by example as the best on-ball defender and he will score if left as the primary but he also gets everyone involved which is mission first. He has a swagger to his game which comes from being in the shadows, nothing more dangerous than an overlooked winner. If he finds the proper level, Freeman will be the kid who does the damage knocking a #2 or #3 seed out of the NCAA tournament drawing the praise of many, why haven't we heard of this kid they will squall, don't know we been mentioning him for years.
6'6 Wing Forward
Playing healthy for the first time since last summer, Urey had himself a very special month of July. He scored his first D1 offer when Mercer reached out for his skills, I anticipate much more to come. He is an excellent student which will make the Ivy and Patriot League squads stand up and take notice. His size allows him to guard on a high level, he has shown the ability to knock down shots and he loves to fight for boards, especially on the offensive end of the floor. His stock is rising because he works so hard to be a good player, great kid and superb teammate. I'm excited about his senior season.
6'7 Wing Forward
On first glance you notice his length and his lack of physical size, you see he can knock down the perimeter jumper using his length to shoot over smaller defenders, you see he is not afraid to block shots, he will go after rebounds out of his area and as his confidence grows his size and length will be an asset that coaches from all levels will covet. He played up the final weekend in July with the 17s and more than held his own against vastly stronger players. He is a gym rat who works on his game daily, he loves the competition and I suspect here is a kid that will be on the minds of many come this high school season.
6'7 Wing Forward
Team Thad 16s
Aggression is his calling card. He plays with passion, he has a grown man's body already and will swoop in for harrowing finishes that delight everyone in attendance. His skill set is emerging, he likes to shoot the ball but needs some tweaking on his shooting form. He is best off the bounce and making decisions with the ball, he will happily pass to an open teammate for easy buckets and he could be an alternative ball handler which only increases his overall value. Defensively he likes to take chances, he gambles but he takes these chances with vigor and a motor we like to watch and understand you cannot teach. Once the entire package is molded you are going to see a serious gem.
6'0 Point Guard
One of our favorite players on the circuit for several years now, Clay is the kid who always has to prove the skeptics wrong. He is not fast enough, he is not strong enough, he doesn't shoot the 3 well, he is too slight to guard at the D1 level, yet when all is said and done this is the kid on the winning side of the ledger, so what more could you ask for. He notched his first D1 offer as Tennessee Tech reached out and I suspect several more are on the horizon as school gets underway and open gyms will have coaches in them. Kid is a winner first and last....'nuff said.
5'11 Point Guard
BMaze Elite 2020
If you love basketball and consider yourself a student of the game, as I do, then Joe Anderson is your kind of kid. He's small, probably not going to get much bigger but he is slick, he is tough, he is a winner and he loves to make you second guess yourself, as you judged him by his appearance. Everybody was bigger than him in July but he still won every match-up, he is quick, he sees the floor like Stockton, he has a nasty pull-up and is deadly from three. He hits game winners, several game-winners like no big deal, who's next. He is an excellent on-ball defender, he's sneaky as a help defender, think Travis Deiner, he already sports an offer from ETSU as he enters his sophomore campaign at the same high school that produced the NCAA tournament's all-time leading 3-point shooter Lee Humphrey, the two time NCAA champion from Florida.