- Johnathan Lawson 6’4 Guard/Forward (American Way Middle/Memphis Wildcats) Has grown 2 inches since the firs ranking of this class, the last in line of the Lawson brothers, is a special talent that definitely takes after his siblings. The freakishly long and skilled 6’4 guard has a piece of each brother which could lead him to become the best brother of them all, high praise but if you watch him, you don”t have to watch long to see. More of a play maker, than dogged scorer of older brother KJ but he’s very capable and he showed it during the season particularly late in the year when his team needed it most. Johnathan is a big time gamer, Lawson doesn’t shy away from the moment and isn’t afraid of the moment when it arises. He handles like a player much smaller, has vision in the open court as a passer and can finish to the basket. More driver make it happen type right now, he can keep you honest with the 3 and be a shot maker, taker but is at his best finding where he uses his length to his advantage where he is creative with the pass to find the easy scores. Improved with the 3 ball, the pull up off the bounce is where it’s at for him. He’s anticipates well defensively and knows when and when not to gamble in the passing lanes for a steal and can guard both guard positions as well as the 3 spot when needed. His basketball IQ is as high his age as any of his brothers and his will to win is immeasurable. Lawson has the tools to make his own name and be not only the last out but the best in a long line of his brothers.
- Kennedy Chandler 5’5 PG (Briarcrest Christian Middle/Team Thad)– Diminutive in stature, Chandler gets it done with great ball handling and knack for scoring off the jumper or the drive on floaters and runners. What he may not have in size, he makes up for with skill and toughness and he can run a team in the half court and he can make shots from all over the court which makes him a very viable scoring option. He can put up points in bunches via the jumper but isn’t shy about attacking off the dribble. Not afraid to take a risk, he’s as confident as any guard in the city and isn’t afraid to challenge on as a defender or against a bigger defender where he can get his shot. He’s a sneaky good passer and pest as a defender able to bother his opponents using good positioning and quick hands for steals. He plays with excellent pace and savvy beyond his years and never gets rattled under pressure. While not the quickest, Chandler gets by you with handle and is good enough to get his shot on the pull up. Chandler already known around the country as one of the best players in the country, should be among the best players in this class for years to come especially locally.
3. Jaylen Brown 5’9 Guard (American Way/Memphis Wildcats) – Puts constant pressure on the defense by always being in attack mode, Brown is a classic scoring point guard that many have become accustomed to in Memphis. Can play off the ball and on, Brown scores it with an assortment of runners, pull up jumpers and hits the 3 at a above average rate so you just can’t play him for the drive. He’s tough to the basket, where he’s not afraid of contact from bigger strong players. He just has that ability to make the big shot in big moments for his team and seems to relish in that opportunity. He seems to really work well from baseline where he utilizes the floater game and the short jumper and can create space for the jumper from the free throw line to the short corners. He seems to be more comfortable scoring but over time, I think he becomes more point guard who can score but also facilitate when needed but right now, Brown is a get a bucket player and he’s good at it.
4. Aldon Applewhite 6’1 Combo Guard (White Station/M33M) – Coming along nicely, the younger Applewhite, is a versatile guard who can facilitate and score it in a few ways. Really good off the spot up and catch 3, Applewhite is actively now looking for his shot more than in years past when I’ve watched him. He has all the physical tools that you like in future 2-3, can create for himself off the dribble, smart defensively, takes chances but doesn’t try to do what he can’t do. Potentially a top 2-3 guy down the road with added athleticism and growth. Tons of upside in this young player
5. Willie Foreman 6’2 PF (White Station Middle/M33M) -Relentless worker on the glass, offensively and defensively, Foreman’s biggest strength is his motor, athleticism and ability to finish around the rim. He fights for every rebound, using his long arms and is an improving offensive player outside of 5-10 feet where he can step out to the free throw line and make the jumper and shows some ability to handle in the open court off the rebound but will mostly score off energy and hustle. He’s a good help side defender where he can be a shot blocker/ shot alter type and he will go to war with bigger players for rebounds. He will expand his offensive game, because he seems to be a hard worker which will help him become more versatile as offensive player. Handle and jumper must become point of emphasis but Foreman is still a highly thought of player among players locally and a top 25-30 player in the country in this class.
6. Deebo Coleman 5’10 Guard (Lausanne/Memphis Suns) Coleman is new to the class but already might be the best shooter in this group. Coleman has spurted a little bit and added a little more quickness to him where he can be a driver of the basketball and become better rounded as an offensive player. Catch and shoot from the wing or off the spot, he’s one of the best in the area but he can also can play some on the ball and run a team if it calls for it. As he continues to grow, so will upside for Coleman who will become more known by middle school fans in 2021.
7. Tadarius Jacobs 5’9 SG (American Way/Memphis Wildcats) Solid guard who might be the best on ball defender in the city with his quick hands in this class but also good playing the passing lanes Capable scorer, Jacobs is a good shooter from the mid to 3 and is good to the rim off the jump stop, where he can draw fouls. Jacobs athletic ability is often overlooked but he has really good timing as I’ve seen him get blocks on what were thought to be lay ups. Confidence, confidence is the key for him as he continues to develop offensively and if he does, Jacobs is a top 5 player in the city in this class.
8. Kameron Jones 5’5 (Cordova/Memphis WarEagles) Best spot up shooter in the class, Jones is trying to shed the notion of him being just that. He starting to be able to get it off the dribble more instead of just being stationary has good range on the 3 and is showing more willingness as a stop and pop the 10 foot jump shooter. Evolution as a point guard is key going forward with decision making and added quickness to go along with his shooting ability.
9. Cameron Donegan 5’6 (Highland Oaks/Memphis WarEagles) Smart point guard with a good feel, knows when to turn the the corner and kick to teammates or tuck it to try and make it happen and finish. A traditional lead guard, Donegan never seems too high or low, plays the game at a good pace and is player you can lean on in key stretches. He shows leadership on the floor but can be counted on to score some if the team needs it but is right now more of a point guard than a “points guards”
10. Dorian George 5’10 (White Station/Memphis WarEagles) Strong 4-5 with good physical stature, George is a worker off the glass, energy type who does most of his scoring off the put backs and around the rim. Plays to his strength literally and despite being undersized at his position, he’s consistently around the ball coming off the rim and has good anticipation of where it’s coming off. Projecting long term will need added ball skills and work on the perimeter jumper in case of 6’2, 6’3 future.