Our Sleeper Report is back; going forward we’ll have one of these released every couple of weeks to highlight some of the less heralded prospects who have impressed us. The 1st Sleeper Report of the 2021-22 season features 11 different prospects that are performing well to start the year.
6’4” F Ryen Jones & 6’2” SG Major Freeman (Archer)
Archer is playing another loaded schedule and have started out 8-5 with some grind-it-out low-scoring matchups. I talk about the Tigers’ defense every single year; the prowess on that end is evident again. With that and the leadership of Christian Drummer & Damoni Harrison, Archer will already have a chance regardless of who they are playing. That being said, I think the contributions from Jones & Freeman will be crucial in putting them over the top and taking down the best teams in 7A. Shooting is a need for Archer and when the Tigers faced a zone in their matchup with Etowah, Freeman stepped up with 3 2nd half 3’s to lift them and get a good win. He can get hot pretty quickly and also has nice moments of vision & play-making off the dribble. Jones is one of the only forwards on the team and although he’s only 6’4”, he has the strength and athleticism to play bigger. He’s explosive & quick off the floor and has a sturdy upper body. His best moments are around the rim but Jones has shown some shooting potential as well. He’s also capable of defending various positions. Jones could be the X-factor for this team; when his motor is going and keeping things simple, he gives them a huge boost.
6’8” F Marshall Klug (Feltrim Academy)
Post-grad events are pretty much always good for some late-bloomers and hidden prospects; TSF Turkey Day was no different and in the very last game of the night, Klug shined more than any of the other players that took the court past 11 PM. A smart player with an impressive overall skillset at 6’8”, Klug checks a lot of boxes and did it all in this particular game. He’s comfortable from the wing, showing that he can slash or pass out there, along with possessing a nice 3-point shot for his size. He can also do some good work in the paint with fundamentals & feel on the block, I liked how he was more physical than you’d assume looking at his slender frame too. Those offensive qualities were evident on his way to 30 points against Middle Georgia Prep, but Klug stood out in other areas as well. He just really knows how to play and brings a ton of effort to the table. He moves well & positions himself off the ball, brings activity around the basket on both ends, and seems to play within himself even when he gets going. Now he will have to keep bulking up and putting on weight, but it’s hard not to like the variety of things he does to positively impact the game.
6’4” W Nyles Howard (Carmel Christian)
As usual, Carmel Christian is proving to be a top team in North Carolina early on in the season. They’re highlighted by Belmont signee Cade Tyson, whose been tremendous, but Howard plays a very important role for this group as well. With multiple talented pieces, Howard’s production is valuable because he doesn’t need the ball much to make an impact. He’s an athletic lefty who plays above the rim, runs hard in transition, and can make things happen defensively. Howard will keep you honest with his outside and keeps things simple on the offensive end. He’ll get by you with quick slashes going to his left where he uses his length to finish and has some wiry strength. There’s an energy to him on both sides of the ball that seems to be infectious and makes a clear difference for Carmel; it’s something that college coaches will appreciate this winter.
Braden Sparks & Mike Jacobs (McEachern)
There were some questions surrounding McEachern’s team heading into this year with their coaching change and the loss of a talented 2021 class, but the Indians have put people on notice the last few weeks. After 3 straight losses at the end of November, McEachern responded with 3 consecutive quality wins over Wheeler, Hillgrove, and North Gwinnett to begin December. Seniors Sparks and Jacobs have played huge a part in these victories, along with the help of some promising young guys. In those 3 aforementioned victories, Sparks averaged 22.3 PPG while Jacobs scored 14 against Wheeler and then 25 versus Hillgrove before being out against North Gwinnett. Sparks has been shooting the ball with ultimate confidence. He nailed 6 3’s in the Wheeler game and has been just as impressive getting into mid-range shots off the dribble. He has a quick, clean release, gets elevation, and stays on balance. Sparks’ ability to run the show and not get sped up is valuable as well. He’s able to play fast but under control and he uses his strength to dictate pace.
Jacobs complemented Sparks’ game well versus Wheeler with his slashing prowess. Numerous times throughout the game he was seen weaving through traffic and converting among defenders in unorthodox ways. He goes to the basket with speed and is able to stay focused & on balanced after taking contact. I loved how he just continued to attack despite there being a good amount of length and athleticism on the other side. He’s opening eyes to start the year and that should continue.
6’4” G Jalen Gilmore (Bishop Snyder)
A player who I’ve been able to watch at different points throughout his high school career, Gilmore’s game looked improved and matured at Hoopsgiving. He’s a smooth lefty who is able to create offense for himself and others in the halfcourt consistently. Playing on the ball at 6’4”, Gilmore has the size to get where he wants and does a good job of probing & changing speeds when looking to penetrate. He’s best going left to get into the teeth of the defense where he’s a pretty solid decision-maker, but he’s also a capable shooter. His size also allows him to bother smaller guards on defense. I liked how Gilmore seemed to be in control of the game and directed things for his team. He holds 2 D2 offers from Limestone and Catawba currently, I think he’ll be a popular name for similar schools going forward.
6’4” W Bryson Ogletree (Mundy’s Mill)
Ogletree has impressed with high-flying plays for a while now, and he has continued rounding out his overall game. He really stepped up for Mundy’s Mill in a nice win over North Cobb Christian at Hoopsgiving. He has quick, explosive leaping ability and while you’ll see evidence of that with his dunks, Ogletree used it to haul in a bunch of rebounds in this particular game. With a slow shooting start, his effort on the boards got him going and ignited transition play. He also made an impact by flying around on defense with quick feet & anticipation in passing lanes. In the 2nd half, he was able to knock down some important perimeter shots while still remaining active & productive in those other areas. His athleticism and two-way capabilities should catch the attention of coaches, he’s one who could blossom after a year or two in college.
7’0″ C Dok Muordar (Huntington Prep)
Given that he’s on a nationally known team at Huntington that will be playing in numerous big events throughout the winter, Muordar will have lots of opportunities to remove the sleeper label from his name and I expect that he will after watching him at Hoopsgiving. Almost every college coach I talk to mentions how there isn’t much quality size in the 2022 class; Muordar satisfies that need and isn’t just a tall guy without much other value. He put forth an efficient, no-nonsense double-double in Huntington’s matchup with Donda Academy. Every time there was an opportunity for a rebound, he was going after it and secured possession more times than not. Muordar has mobility that you don’t often see from 7-footers. He’s very light on his feet and can really cover ground. This was evident numerous times throughout the game when he was protecting the rim or attacking the offensive glass. Muordar also proved to have good hands and the dexterity to finish at different angles inside off of drop-offs or put-backs.
6’5″ W Destin Logan (TSF Prep)
After a relatively quiet 2021 travel season, Logan seems to be making the most of his move to TSF so far during the 2021-22 campaign. His reputation throughout high school has come as a shooter, and while he can still light it up from deep, I’ve liked how he has left his mark on games in other areas early this year. He’s not just searching for outside opportunities or allowing his success from beyond the arc to dictate his effort or energy, which is really encouraging. At a lengthy 6’5”, Logan has given TSF a good rebounding boost in some games and should continue to assert himself in that area. He’s also shown that he is an effective distributor, making the right pass both on the move in transition and when attacking closeouts. He also has solid defensive potential. East Central out of Oklahoma just pulled the trigger for his 1st offer and I expect him to attract more D2 programs if he keeps it up.
6’4” SG James Qualley (IMG Blue)
Similar to Klug, Qualley was a player I hadn’t seen coming into the season but he left a strong impression at the War Lodge Invitational. Taking on a post-grad group in Middle Georgia Prep, Qualley and his IMG squad steadily built a lead and ended up breaking things open to win 72-45 with impressive play on both sides of the ball. Qualley finished at the game’s highest scorer, putting up 20 points with 4 makes from beyond the arc. He has a pretty shot with soft touch that looks like it’s going in almost every time, and he gets it off pretty quickly. Qualley has good size and can also make things happen when defenders fly at him on the outside & he has to put the ball on the floor. His touch is evident on in-between shots as well and he’ll show some athleticism in open space. Qualley has an efficient, skilled game that should translate well to the next level and he’s another guy that brings good energy to the court.