Moving On From The Early Signing Period: Top Availables, Sleepers, and More

The early signing period for the Class of 2021 concluded yesterday, November 18th. There were even more early signees than usual with some recruitments being accelerated due to coronavirus pandemic. While those with lots of options have decided to play things safe and make their decisions, there are still plenty of notable prospects who are left on the board. In this piece we’ll take a look at a variety of quality players who should be tracked closely during their senior campaigns.

5 Of Georgia’s Top Available 2021 Prospects

Coming out of the early signing period, there are only 4 prospects in our Top 25 for Georgia’s 2021 class who haven’t made their college decision yet. We go over those 4 players here and add in an exceptional move-in prospect who should open a ton of eyes in the Peach State this winter.

6’4″ SG Taihland Owens (Cherokee)

Owens had a quiet start to the travel season but picked things up as the summer went along. He has been considered one of the better shooters in the state for a while and can put up points in a hurry. Owens has a smooth game with the ball in his hands and can create for himself and shoot off the dribble in addition to his spot-up ability. He has good size for an SG at 6’4″ and shows a poised, mature demeanor that I like. The senior trio of him, Elijah Tucker, and Ethan Pickett should bring Cherokee a lot of success this winter. If Owens can produce efficiently alongside those guys and the rest of the Warriors, coaches will have no choice but to take notice.

6’5″ G Randy Brady (McEachern)

Brady has a unique, unorthodox game, but it is one that had most walking away from the summer saying they want him on their team if they’re trying to win a game. He is methodical on the offensive end, playing off of 2 feet extremely well and displaying impressive patience when in the paint among traffic. His usage of fakes to bait defenders into jumping and making defensive mistakes result in him drawing fouls as well as anyone in the state. Brady is more than capable of playing above the rim, has an active approach, and can fill various positions on both sides of the ball. McEachern possesses a nice collection of competitive guards that should garner a lot of attention this season.

6’7″ PF Devin McGlockton (South Forsyth)

The best available post player in the state, McGlockton has been getting it done for a while and that didn’t change over the summer. He has some old-school qualities with a legitimate back-to-the-basket game, but also brings a modern feel with his more than capable 3-point shot. The consistency he has shown during his high school career is something you don’t see from many forward prospects. He’s a shoe-in for a double-double pretty much every night. McGlockton passes well and is aggressive & physical in the paint both offensively and defensively. I think his skill level and feel should put away worries that coaches have when comparing him to some of the taller, more explosive bigs. The production has been there and it’s been against top competition. McGlockton will have South Forsyth in the mix for a region championship once he returns from the football field.

6’3″ CG Jaden Harris (Norcross)

It was evident that Harris came out with a chip on his shoulder this summer as he regained some attention with Team Huncho. He’s a strong finisher who can overpower a lot of HS guards but has also made significant progress with his perimeter shot. Taking contact, adjusting, and converting in traffic are no issue for him. While the level of aggression that Harris plays with is high, I thought he showed a calmer, more mature game with the ball in his hands this summer. There weren’t many wild moments from him this summer that led to easy ones on the other teams for his opposition. I think he’ll be able to guard both 1’s and 2’s in college given his physicality and ability to move. With a pretty young team at Norcross this year, showing that he can run the show and lead them to success as a team will help Harris even more.

6’1″ PG Devon Barnes (Shiloh)

Barnes isn’t in our 2021 rankings because he’s new to the state, but I expect him to prove himself as one of the best senior guards in Georgia this winter. He controls the game at PG and makes sure things run smoothly for his team. What Barnes gives up in height, he makes up for with determination, toughness, and a winning mentality. He creates a lot of opportunities by getting past initial defenders and into the paint where he is calm and consistently makes the correct read. Stepping up as a scorer isn’t an issue for him but he also has good vision and passing ability. He also brings sound defense on the ball with focus and active hands. Barnes went for 37 points and 5 assists in Shiloh’s scrimmage; they have their first regular season game this Saturday against North Gwinnett.

Lower-Level Georgia Sleepers

6’3″ G Jaeden Marshall (Richmond Hill)

After having a solid summer with Atlanta Celtics South, Marshall took the Select 80 by storm and reeled in his first 2 offers following the event. But, even with that, there’s a good chance people start to forget about him as we progress through the high school season given he’s kind of hidden down in South Georgia. Marshall is a grown man physically at 215 lbs and extremely hard to stop when he makes up his mind to get to the basket due to his mixture of speed, strength, and ball-handling ability. He will keep you honest with some 3’s off the bounce as well but doesn’t settle for bad ones. What I like most about Marshall is his competitive fire and intensity. He wants to dominate anyone in front of him and comes out with something to prove whenever he steps on the floor. Look for his other interests to turn into offers if he starts his senior year with a bang.

6’3″ W Paul Lunguana (Lambert)

After not being in action for a lot of the 2019-20 HS season, Lunguana proved himself as one of the top sleepers in the state at the Georgia Elite Fall League. He is much improved as a perimeter shooter and has shown that he is good for a couple of makes from deep each game. Adding that to his other qualities gives him a significant boost as a college prospect. Lunguana is essentially a position-less player as his toughness and athletic abilities allow him to guard both post and perimeter players. Offensively he utilizes long strides to attack from the wing; he’s fearless as a finisher, can get above the rim with ease, and possesses a lean, cut body that can take hits. Lunguana also provides Lambert with a really good rebounder on both backboards. He anticipates where misses will come off and can push the break right after securing a rebound. After starting off with a 29-point showing in their scrimmage, Lunguana and the Longhorns will take on Centennial this Saturday.

6’8″ C Evan Howell (Brookwood)

A late-blooming forward with great physical tools, Howell has seen his recruitment pick up considerably this fall after strong showings at multiple camps as a defensive anchor. He is agile, light on his feet, and has an impressive wingspan. There aren’t many guys who can protect the rim like him in the state; those aforementioned physical traits, a high motor, and the ability to block shots with both hands results in few attempts getting past him at the rim. Howell shows some signs of offensive potential with his touch inside & from 10-12 feet, in addition to finishing with authority off of putbacks, drop-offs, or lobs. It seems like he has started to come into his own and the senior pairing of him and Chris Cole should get a lot done for Brookwood.

6’3″ SG Eli Pitts & 6’2″ G Robert Reisman (Gainesville)

Both Pitts and Reisman are coming off productive summers where they picked up their first college offers. I think they’re going to form a dynamic perimeter duo in Gainesville’s new 7A region. Pitts excels as a slasher with his long, lean frame and quick leaping ability. He can cause a lot of problems on the defensive end and finished the summer on a high note. Offers from Converse and Oglethorpe have come in, if he stays aggressive and engaged more will come. Reisman always gets things done because of his activity. He is in constant motion in the halfcourt and makes good 2-foot plays in the lane. His improved athletic ability helps him in transition where he can score or distribute equally well.

Out-Of-State Prospects

6’4″ SG PJ Edwards (Liberty Heights/NC)

I watched Edwards with Minnesota Prep at the Big South Shootout last December where he impressed against a highly-regarded Hamilton Heights team. It was a pleasant surprise when he popped up with Team Curry this summer and then announced he will be at Liberty Heights this winter. I think his game has him well-prepared for a smooth transition to the college level. He’s aggressive but stays within himself and doesn’t make a ton of mistakes. Edwards’ value comes first with his shooting ability as he is a very reliable and efficient outside shooter. He uses this to set up his driving game where he’ll get inside from the wing in limited dribbles. Edwards embraces contact as a finisher and also uses his strong build on the defensive end where he can guard 1-3 and some 4’s at the HS level. He employs a pretty simple game but it’s one that has a ton of value in today’s game and one that college coaches love.

6’3″ SG Will Searl (Boone/FL)

Running with the Q6 All-Stars on the travel circuit, Searl was one of the better pure shooters I saw this summer. It surprises me that his only 2 offers currently are from new Division 2 program Converse College and Division 3 program Berry College. He gets great elevation on his shot, is always square to the basket and on balance when he rises up to shoot, and has a very consistent release. Aside from his shooting, Searl has some leaping ability that helps him as a finisher and also brings underrated strength & toughness to the table. He’ll fight through contact on his way to the basket and when in the air, as well as battling for rebounds. He is also a high-academic prospect with a 1320 SAT; with the large number of Division 2 programs in Florida and bordering states I think he’s worth a hard look.

6’7″ SF Caleb Rawls (East Marion/MS)

I didn’t watch many guys over the summer who displayed the level of versatility that Rawls showed back in August at the Peach State Select 24. A true SF who can operate on the wing but also stays active in the paint, Rawls is a mismatch waiting to happen. He is comfortable and fluid as a ball-handler which is hard for many forwards to contain. Rawls has a soft outside shot that he takes with confidence and is touch is evident when he decides to post smaller defenders. His versatility extends to the defensive side as well; he has good feet and can move to stay in front of opposing wings but also gives a lot of effort contesting shots around the basket with his long arms. Give him a year in a college weight room and a year to fully refine his already impressive skillset and I think he’ll be a very productive player in the college ranks.

6’10” PF/C Jonathan Kurtas (Lake Norman Christian/NC)

A prospect I’ve been able to see a good bit over the last 2 years, the strides that Kurtas has continued to make are very encouraging. He has put a ton of emphasis on his body and is now an imposing physical force who is ready for college in that area. Kurtas has developed into a powerful but also pretty quick leaper who is a great drop-off target. His motor is pretty good and he has solid fundamentals on the interior. He has benefitted from Lake Norman Christian’s national schedule so far with new offers from UIC and Milwaukee, but I’m still pretty confused how more regional programs haven’t started to go after him also. If he continues to produce in those settings, they should come calling. Lake Norman comes to Georgia next week to face-off against Sandy Creek and then Kell.

6’7″ F Elijah Ormiston (Cannon/NC)

At 6’7″, Ormiston checks a ton of boxes and has me wondering why he doesn’t have any offers at the moment. He can stretch the floor effectively and is capable of handling & making decisions with the ball but will also give you good contributions inside. His touch around the basket is sufficient and he keeps things simple in the post. Although not the most athletic, Ormiston is strong, tough, and has good timing as a shot-blocker & rebounder. He plays with a quiet edge and grit to him that I like too. His no-nonsense approach and versatility should win coaches over eventually.

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