Last weekend we had 2 more opening tournaments in the Atlanta area; the RYZE Hoops Tip-Off and the HoopSeen Tip-Off. Both brought a variety of local and out-of-state teams that had prospects for all levels. Our 2nd of 3 articles highlights some players who really opened eyes and elevated their status at the events.
2022 G Jermahri Hill (Team Huncho)- It ended up being a lopsided contest in Huncho’s matchup with Game Elite to start off the weekend, but Hill’s 1st half performance in the game (which was competitive) was as good as you’ll see. 2He scored 23 of his 37 points in the 1st half and used a wide array of moves to get past defenders and score on the interior. He looked improved operating off of ball-screens, showed a crafty handle, and has a strong frame and plus athleticism that allows him to finish consistently even against length. Shooting has been a question mark for Hill, but he also connected on a few jumpers from both 3 & mid-range, and shot them with confidence. Virginia Tech jumped in with an offer last night, he’ll be heavily recruited if he can keep putting together these type of performances.
2022 SG Justin Bailey (Upward Stars)- On an Upward team with lots of talent, it’s important for Bailey to make the most of his opportunities, and that’s exactly what he did for them against Team United on Sunday. He plays aggressive and fast as soon as he gets in the game, which got him solid production on both ends quickly. When Bailey gets some momentum going to his left, it’s hard for the defense to stay in front and deter him from finishing at the basket. He has a physical frame that takes contact well, and he seeks it on his drives. Only about 6’1″, Bailey rebounded better than you might expect with there being a good bit of size on the court, another area where his physical nature helped. His energy and how he inserts himself into the action is something you really like to see. He’ll continue to fill an important role for Upward.
2023 F Micah Hoover & 2023 SG James White (Atlanta Xpress Rise 2023)- For guys like Hoover and White, these travel tournaments are very important. They’re both at A-Private schools that may not get the same attention as others, but they’re capable players who are starting to come into their own. They combined for 37 points to help the Xpress get a win to start the morning on Saturday. White is most valuable as a shooter currently with a textbook shot that he uses to set up other parts of his game. He has a good understanding of how to read closeouts and get guys off balance with different fakes. He gives good effort rebounding the ball, is pretty active on defense, and brings a nice mixture of confidence & competitive fire. Being a 6’3″ SG with those traits is a good start for a sophomore, his development will be worth tracking. Hoover gained valuable experience at King’s Ridge this winter and is starting to realize how big of an impact he can have on games. He is physically imposing among fellow 2023 guys with wide shoulders and a bulky upper-half. You can throw him down on the block or allow him to slash from the high-post depending on the matchup. Hoover’s motor on the glass is good, he can play above the rim, and has a developing skillset.
2022 W Kasheem Grady (Atlanta Xpress Rise 2022)- There hasn’t been any time wasted between a state championship and the travel season for Grady, he’s been really good at both events I’ve watched him these first 2 weekends. He continues to expand his game from being labeled as just a tall shooter; Grady finds opportunities to convert inside by both cutting well and coming in from the wing in limited dribbles. He’s able to chip in a good bit as a rebounder for the Xpress due to his height at 6’5” and a body that continues to add muscle. All of those aforementioned qualities were on display is a 22-point, 8-rebound outing on Saturday, and it looks like he kept it up the rest of the weekend, averaging 14.8 PPG for the tournament. With ideal traits for a college wing and a resume that seems to be growing with consistency, Grady should have more than a few options before summer’s end.
2023 W Colby Williams (AC Georgia)- The best game I’ve seen from Williams so far came on Saturday at the RYZE Tip-Off. He scored 22 points for AC Georgia in a solid win and asserted himself more than he ever had previously. At the 16U level, the 6’6” Williams can be a difficult matchup on the wing. While he can hurt you with his jumper, most impressive in this game was how he used his height and length to slash to the basket and maneuver through traffic. He found ways to finish and draw contact multiple times, which I hadn’t seen much from him previously. Hopefully this serves as momentum for Williams to use as the summer approaches. He’ll be at Discovery this upcoming season, which should be a beneficial move.