6’1” 2022 G Tim Loud (Winder-Barrow)
It has been somewhat of a breakout junior season for Loud so far in 2020-21. He was able to put up 17 points in the Winder-Barrow win over Monroe Area despite it not being his best showing. With Monroe Area implementing a zone, Loud bombed away from 3 in the 1st half but didn’t have a ton of success. He can shoot from really deep and was able to find his mark in the 2nd half, going from 3/5 from 3 after halftime. When watching him in the past, I was always impressed with Loud’s aggression as a slasher; he seeks contact and has good leaping ability. In this game, he had to adjust to the opponent and helped Winder to hold on and get a rivalry victory. The confidence and energy that Loud plays with will continue to result in big numbers this winter.
6’6” 2021 SF Derrick Brown (Monroe Area)
Brown is having to shoulder an even heavier load at Monroe Area without Kendric Lyles by his side. He has had a good start to the season and put up 12 points & 7 rebounds while dealing with two 6’8”+ prospects opposite of him. After picking up 2 fouls in the 1st quarter, Brown gave Monroe some solid minutes in the 2nd. He’s a quick leaper with long arms, allowing him to haul in offensive rebounds frequently and fill different positions on defense at 6’6”. Brown has a solid handle, good touch, and loves to get to pull-ups from around 15 feet. It is pretty bizarre that his recruitment is still fairly quiet because he’s already skilled, has a good motor, and has some untapped potential.
6’0” 2021 PG Luke Benson (Marist)
The numbers for Benson against Mount Vernon last week weren’t gaudy but I thought he did some good things at the helm of the War Eagle offense. While dealing with full court 1-on-1 pressure throughout the game, Benson was able to take care of the ball, get where he wanted, and make things happen off the dribble. Mount Vernon’s guards gave up a few inches to him, allowing Benson to find mid-range opportunities and shoot over them, or have a clear line of vision to hit others. He’s a good passer who times things well and doesn’t throw many wild ones when on the move. The Marist staff is trying to get him to step up as a vocal leader and it appears that Benson is making an effort to do so. He could be a nice target for lower level programs looking for a true PG.
5’6” 2022 PG Syncere Harris (Mount Vernon)
Harris is a guy I’ve talked about before and even though he’s one of the smaller players on the court in every game, he continues to be a valuable piece for the Mustangs and seems to be emerging as a leader for them. Just coming back from the football field, it hasn’t taken long for Harris to get comfortable. Against Marist last week, he brought his trademark intensity on defense by harassing ball-handlers nonstop, but he also provided a nice offensive boost. Harris looked more confident as an outside shooter and hit 3 3’s with only a couple of misses from deep. He followed that up with 12 points against top A-Private team Mount Pisgah over the weekend as well. The defensive value that Harris brings to go along with his offensive improvement should help to diminish the worries about his height. There are college programs that will take a liking to his attributes.
6’3” 2022 W Aidan Kudlas (North Forsyth)
I walked away very impressed with Kudlas after my first viewing of him at Cherokee on Saturday. He played extremely hard against Woodstock and made plays on both sides of the ball. Kudlas is a good athlete who contests shots aggressively on defense and can get to the basket & elevate to finish offensively. You’ll see Kudlas constantly looking to stay involved and impact the game, but he’s under control on offense and doesn’t force much. He’ll keep you honest with his outside shot, makes the right pass, and embraces physical play. I thought he used his strength well throughout the game and gave North a good boost with his energy. With a well-rounded game and toughness, Kudlas will work his way onto the radars of schools during next travel season if he doesn’t already this winter.
6’0” 2022 G Evan Courville (Starr’s Mill)
Rivalry games are always a good opportunity for guys to rise to the occasion and that’s just what Courville did against McIntosh last week. He busted the McIntosh zone in the 2nd quarter, scoring 12 of the team’s 16 points in the period with 4 made 3’s. Courville has a smooth outside shot with good arc and doesn’t hesitate when he gets an open look. Defensively, he’s better than you might suspect; he understands angles, is pretty strong, and knows where to be off the ball. When McIntosh keyed in on him in the 2nd half, Courville was able to contribute on that side and racked up 4 steals for the game. His shooting ability already makes him a college prospect, if he can continue to diversify his offensive game Courville will be even more valuable.
6’3” 2021 W Keith Murray (Chattahoochee)
With the graduation of Cam Sheffield and Franklin Bailey from last year’s state championship team, Chattahoochee needed guys to help fill the void left by those 2 and make things easier on AJ White. Early on this season, Murray and others have proven to be more than capable of doing so. Murray gives the Cougars a confident wing scorer with good size and length. He will hit 3’s but can also create off the bounce for himself. Although he is pretty thin, Murray knows how to use his length to finish in the paint and has good touch on in between shots before reaching shot-blockers. He also has good hands on defense and can get in passing lanes to create transition play for Chattahoochee. The Cougars’ backcourt of Murray, White, Tomi Adetosoye, and Jordan Brown can put up big numbers on any given night.