On Friday night, I went over to Allatoona for their matchup with Sequoyah. Both teams are having successful seasons and should make nice runs in the 6A State Playoffs. In an up and down game, the two squads were tied at halftime and then battled for momentum throughout the 2nd half. Sequoyah prevailed with a run to start the 4th quarter as they went up 64-52 with 4 minutes left before eventually winning 68-61. Here’s what I saw from the available 2020 and 2021 prospects who played well in the game.
2020 PG Donovan Shipp (Sequoyah)- 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals.
Although Shipp didn’t have his best offensive outing, he’s still an important piece in every one of Sequoyah’s games. After some good production on offense in the 1st half of the game, he took a backseat on that end in the 2nd half as Jakcsen Greco and Myles McGee stepped up with their scoring. Shipp is fluid with the ball and has the speed to get into the lane consistently. He looks for mid-range opportunities frequently and really elevates over defenders to get clean looks on his pull-ups. He wasn’t connecting on those Friday night like he usually does, but they still looked good coming off his hand. Shipp is also a savvy defender who times things well both on and off the ball, seeming to always be in the right place for steals. It didn’t show up in the assist in this game, but Shipp sets the table well and has good vision.
2021 W Ayden Watson (Sequoyah)- 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks.
The strength and athleticism that Watson brings to the table presents problems for a lot of opponents. Watson had some impressive plays Friday night using his leaping ability and strong body that helped Sequoyah get the victory. Most memorable was a chase-down block that not many others would have been able to complete. After an Allatoona steal where it seemed like an easy layup was coming, Watson flew way above the rim and saved the basket by sending the attempt off the glass with authority. Offensively, he fought through contact on his way to the basket multiple times and wasn’t hesitant with a few mid-range jumpers. Keeping his motor going and staying locked into games mentally will be key for him moving forward as all the physical traits are already there.
2021 SF Kevin Taylor (Allatoona)- 11 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals.
Taylor might have been the guy that I walked away most impressed with on Friday night due to his versatility. He’s 6’4”+ with a body that can take some contact, and he has feel and skill that allows him to play inside or on the perimeter. His passing ability was on display against Sequoyah’s zone as he manned the high post and made good, quick looks after catching around the FT line. Taylor also maneuvered through their zone to get a bunch of offensive rebounds, going for multiple 2nd and 3rd chance opportunities. Taylor isn’t that explosive, but is mobile and anticipates well to make an impact defensively or clean the glass. While most of his offensive work was done inside in this one, Taylor has a nice-looking shot that he isn’t afraid to let fly. If he continues to enhance the different pieces in his game, a good group of coaches will track him during the travel season.
2021 F Cameron Baldwin (Allatoona)- 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks.
Probably the tallest, longest guy on the floor Friday night, Baldwin used those traits to his advantage early on in the contest and continued to do so for the duration of the game. Alongside Taylor, he rebounded effectively and gave the Buccaneers an active piece in the paint who can protect the rim. While Baldwin has some nice physical features, that’s not all that he is. He displayed soft touch from multiple levels in this game. Even though he was a bit inconsistent from the free-throw line, Baldwin’s shot looked good and he also stepped out and connected on a top of the key 3 in the 2nd half for Allatoona. He was also able to convert at the basket and as he adds strength, he could be a force inside because of his dexterity, length, and athleticism. Baldwin’s motor was pretty good and he isn’t a guy who needs a ton of touches to help out his team. His development is one I want to keep an eye on as we get closer to the travel season.
2020 G Revay Shaw (Allatoona)- 15 points, 2 rebounds (3 made 3’s).
Shaw brought an offensive spark off the bench that was especially valuable Friday because of Sequoyah’s 2-3 zone in the halfcourt. There weren’t many other guys for Allatoona that could connect consistently from deep at the game progressed, but Shaw came in confident and ready to give them a boost in that area. Shaw’s release is pretty quick and he seems comfortable from numerous spots around the arc. He also took advantage of a few opportunities at the basket in this game. Reliable production outside of your starters is a plus for any team; Shaw has done that on both sides of the ball this year but was most needed on offense Friday night.