The middle school season is upon us and one of the best events in the city is back for it’s fourth year, the Middle School Elite Basketball Classic. This event will highlight some of the city’s best teams and players all in one location and give an early indication for some fans of who the best teams may be in middle school. The event will start at 9:00 am with 2 more girls basketball games to follow ending at 11:30 am and the boys games will begin at 12:45 pm and end with the 7:00 pm showcase game for a total of 9 games for the event.
Sequoia Allmond, regarded by some as the best 8th grader in the city highlights the talent on the girls side. An attacking guard off the dribble, Allmond gets it done offensively and will be hard to guard for anyone in the city and she will be problem for a good Kate Bond team but that’s if she will be able to give it a go after suffering a hand injury. Bellevue also has some length and talent in Skylar Arnold who should be among the best players in the city, Serena Lee and Jamia Brooks. Lyric Cole, Kayla Howard and Carlia Northcross will be ones to watch for Kate Bond in what should be a pretty competitive game. Colonial lost the best girls player in the city last year, Endya Buford but, they still be very competitive. PCA versus Germantown tips the opener at 9:00 am with the Squires looking to continue to build up their new program with the addition of Sirrea “CC” Drew who is one of the better defensive guards in the city.
In the boys first game, PCA coached Robert Scales will take on Metro Home School at 12:45 pm. Like the the girls, PCA is looking to make a name for itself and while it could be a challenge early on, I look for them to get better and better through out the year.
In the 2:00 tip, Bolivar takes on Colonial who also has a new coach in Cedric Franklin who led American Way to a state sectional title last year. He has a new team but some talent in 7th grader, James Cox, Emanuel Walters who will take up some of the scoring and 6’2 Landon Rhodes, who will be their leading scorer in some games this year.
Kate Bond and Havenview could be interesting at 3:15 with 2 more coaches who are new to their programs, try to get key wins. For Kate Bond, Kerwin Whitfield, who’s been playing minutes since 6th grade, Devin Haliburton, Kennon Thompson and Garret Crume will all be contributors this year on a Kate Bond team that plays in one of the toughest leagues in the city. Whitfield will have to be their leader for them as well as a scorer and set up guy for them. The 2 years prior experience should be helpful this season for the point guard. For Havenview, former Whitehaven head coach Lawrence Myers, youth is the movement. Travis Dockery and Desmond Bratcher will be the guards but a 6th and 7th grader will be have to play and be integral parts, Emerson Tenner, the backup pg as a 6th grader and son of Fairley legend, Deuce Ford’s son, Sylvester Ford. The 6’1 6’2 ish plays inside right now and can finish around the rim.
Southaven vs Germantown start what should be the start of 3 pretty good games. In this 4:30 game, the young Red Devils could be led by Cameron Miller, a 6’1 forward who has really grown since the summer, not just in height but in confidence as a scorer. Chris Martin, could be starter by the middle of the season will also proving some shooting and scoring as well as the ability to play on the ball if needed. Southaven has a pretty good guard trio in Jordan Hibbler who can score it and BJ Morgan who will have the ball in his hands a lot as the pg. Both can hurt you and Desimen Rogers will be another contributor. Hibbler is an athletic 2-3 who can score in bunches so for those who may not know a lot about him, Hibbler is one of the best 20 8th graders in the area. Morgan is a cat quick guard who plays big regardless of this, makes the open 3 and is a driver to the rim but more as a passer. This has a chance to be maybe the best game of the classic.
At 5:45, Briarcrest takes on Ridgeway in a game that could have headlined the entire classic. Briarcrest will be led by Zander Yates, a 6’5 touching 6’6 post and if healthy, Hunter Higdon who’s coming off injury. Yates will be imposing for the Saints but to counter him, Ridgeway has a 6’5 of their own, David Dixon. Dixon is a developing 4-5, who runs the floor, blocks shots and shows some scoring ability around the rim. Two of the best bigs in the city going at each other, should make for a fun game but Ridgeway will feature the most talent on their side. Young but ready, the Roadrunners have Bryson Nash and EJ Smith, both 6th graders playing guard. Let me say this again, 2 6th graders running the show but these are not your average 6th graders. Nash is one of the best point guards in the country, according to several services and Smith is a really good guard in his own right, my second best player in the class of 2023 in the city. Chris Brunt can play on the ball and at the 1,2 or 3 for them and is easily one of the more versatile players in 2022 in the city. Kristian Spencer is 3-4 who can rebound and defend and is developing as a scorer. This might be the most talent that Briarcrest sees all year on one team and it will be tough game for them but I expect them to be in the game as well.
The headliner game at 7:00 is a good one, host school Lausanne takes on Highland Oaks led by Mark Freeman. Freeman is excited about this team and for several reasons, one of which is Alex Anderson. Anderson is a long 6’2 guard who can play both guard positions and will likely be there leading scorer on the season. His match-up with Lausanne’s Deebo Coleman is one I’m looking forward to the most of all the games on Saturday. Cameron Donegan of Highland is another player who will be big in this game. His ability to find you and score timely points will be crucial for them not only in this game but all year. Owen Babb and Landon Jeffries will play quality minutes for them as 7th graders and Dillon Woods who has some raving about his athletic abilit . I think Lausanne’s youth outside of Coleman could prove to be costly against the 8th grade combo of Donegan and Anderson but Lausanne will be looking for upset and the Hawks better be mindful of that.