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Standouts from The Asheville Classic - Part I

12, Dec 2023

Standouts from The Asheville Classic - Part I

The Asheville Classic brought some of the top programs in the Southeast together for a one-day event, held in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. This year, teams from South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina are bringing their players to the inaugural event held on the campus of Christ School in Arden, North Carolina. Here is a look at some of the standouts from the weekend. 

 

Malachi Simpson

Hendersonville, NC

Class
2025
|
Position
SF
|
Height
6' 6"
|
National
NR
National Pos. Rank
NR
State
13
State Pos. Rank
3

 

Malachi Simpson, Hendersonville - With his team not at one-hundred percent because of injury, Simpson came to play. He was battling injuries himself and he gave it his all against a really strong opponent in Lancaster (SC) High School. The junior wing has so much length and natural fluidity for the game he makes it look easy. With a bandaged wrist, Simpson still managed to pour in 23 points for Hendersonville. The Bearcats as a team scored 48 in the game. He currently holds offers from Western Carolina and George Mason. When he is healthy, I think that list should grow. He has the length, the feel, the scoring ability and he steps up in big games. He did that this weekend against one of the top teams in South Carolina. 

 

Rakease Passmore

Asheville, NC

Class
2024
|
Position
SG
|
Height
6' 5"
|
School Team
National
24
National Pos. Rank
4
State
1
State Pos. Rank
1

 

Rakease Passmore, Combine Academy - In his first game back in Asheville, North Carolina where he starred at AC Reynolds High School, Passmore showed that he has changed his game so much and showed the fans why Bill Self and Kansas is where he will be playing at next season. Passmore is now a guy that you can not leave open around the perimeter. He will make you pay. He made five, three-pointers for Combine Academy in their win over NCISAA 1-A power United Faith and finished with 21 points in the win. 

 

Keenan Wilkins

Hendersonville, NC

Class
2024
|
Position
CG
|
Height
5' 11"
|
School Team
National
NR
National Pos. Rank
NR
State
20
State Pos. Rank
3

 

Keenan Wilkins, Christ School - Nearing 2500 points for his high school career. That's enough to say right there. Christ School senior guard Wilkins is a guy that is going to see his recruitment pick up. It has to. The game is so slow for him and he knows exactly where to pass the ball, he knows when he has the room to make a tough shot, he doesn't turn the ball over the he never makes mistakes. He currently holds offers from McNeese State and Jacksonville University but I think it's just a matter of time (one month) before more start to fall his way. He is one of my favorite guards to watch in any setting and he will be a great college player. 

 

Tyson Baumgardner

Buford, GA

Class
2025
|
Position
SG
|
Height
6' 3"
|
National
WL
National Pos. Rank
WL
State
WL
State Pos. Rank
WL

 

Tyson Baumgardner, Collins Hill - The junior guard went off from beyond the three-point line. Baumgardner knocked down five three-pointers en route to 15 points to lead Collins Hill (GA) to win over AC Reynolds (NC) in the opening game of The Asheville Classic. At 6-foot-4, Baumgardner needs to have a really strong rest of his junior high school season and a strong travel season and I feel like college coaches will have to see what they are missing out on. Baumgarnder is a coach's son that understands where he needs to be on the floor and with his shooting getting better and better every time I see him, I think college coaches will have no choice but to take a better look. 

 

Hello My Name Is 

 

Freshman guard Rickey Littlejohn is going to be a name to remember in the region. The 5-foot-10 guard managed to sneak in 20 points against Christ School in the final game of the day at The Asheville Classic. Littlejohn looked like an upperclassman with his ability to get to the rim and make shots against one of North Carolina's top programs. Gaffney (SC) High School has long been a power in the SCHSL and have won six state championships over the years. With guys like Littlejohn having the better part of three more seasons, teams in the SCHSL better watch out when they pass the big peach on the road coming to play Gaffney. 

 

 


Justin Byerly
State Editor

Justin Byerly has spent the past 15 years covering North Carolina prep and grassroots basketball. He has previously worked with The Recruit Scoop and Rivals.com. In addition to that he has contributed to The USA Today, Charlotte Observer, The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Sun News. He has held The Justin Byerly Upstate/WNC Showcase the past two years and has helped student-athletes from North Carolina and South Carolina receive college scholarships. He owns The Byerly Report scouting service that has over 100 college subscriptions. Justin resides in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife Danielle and four children.