Naming a top 10 list in Memphis regarding high school basketball players is hard on any level, middle school or high school but harder on the high school level. Why? Well, it’s simple, there is just so much talent in the city. Keep in mind now, when talking about the best 10 players in the 901, it’s not just the 10 best seniors, 10 best juniors, I’m talking about the top 10 players overall, regardless of class. Get the picture now but hey, why not, I’ve done it before so with that said, here is who I think are top 10 players in Memphis regardless of class in high school.
To those who may want to put this in order, you can however, I’m not. THIS IS JUST A LIST AND NOT RANKING!!!
1.TJ Moss 6’4 CG (East HS) 2018 – There was a lot of talent in Memphis last year but Moss could have been in that conversation as well however, definitely this year. Moss is a flat out scorer of the basketball whether from the 3 to mid range or as a slasher, Moss can put up numbers any night. He attacks you, attacks you and then attacks you again, always looking to keep pressure on his defender, finishes with soft floaters over the rim showing great touch close. He might be the best finisher in transition in the city but when fouled, he goes to the line and makes free throws. Loves the pull 3 in transition as well but he an adept 3 point shooter spotting up and off the dribble. He looks a little quicker to me this year and is getting lower on the dribble in the open floor, seeing the floor and hitting players teammates for lay ups. Has everything in his repertoire to be dominant scorer nightly and when needed, Moss that ability to turn it on. The East high team is so talented that some nights he may not lead them but make no mistake, he’s a capable 20 point a night guy every time he touches the floor.
2. Tyler Harris 5’10 PG (Cordova HS) 2018 – Best pure shooter in Memphis, hands down. It’s not close, I know there a lot of good shooters here however, Harris on the catch, off the crossover, the pull up, lights out. He will lead the city in scoring this year but Harris has added some find you in his game over the last year. He’s a clutch type who isn’t afraid to take and make huge shots in game evidenced by catching fire last year in the state title game against East late. Catch and shoot, off the dribble, the crossover, behind the back, their simply isn’t a shot that he can’t take and you don’t think it’s going in. Not only is he the 3 ball maker in the state, he may have the best handle of anyone as well and is one of best one on one guys I’ve seen in while. Tyler can put up huge numbers on any night against anyone, evidenced by his 29 point performance against Mae Jemison this past weekend who won their state tournament in Alabama last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 40 point games this year from him, that’s just how talented he is.
3.Alex Lomax 5’11 PG (East HS) 2018 – Went into the summer underrated and came out with 8 high major offers? Not bad for a player who virtually had no offers the summer before but it’s not for any reason, Lomax is the real deal. Tough physical punish you for mistakes guard with some flair at times, Lomax may not win a lot of style points but always ends up finding ways to get Ws in the column. Lomax plays with great pace to him, knows when to go to the extra gear, finishes on bigger player and will do something that a lot of guards don’t do, post. An underrated passer as well, Lomax gets in the lane at will, if you pull up to help, he lobs for dunks or drops off passes for easy points or gets the 2 himself. He’s the strongest pg in the city and he knows how to take advantage of it and is a solid on ball defender. He plays within himself at all times, never trying to do what he can’t and he looks a bit more explosive with the ball in his hands than in years past. His shooting has increased so that you can’t leave him for the 3 and he creates space for the jumper via the crossover and step back dribble and uses a variety of floaters and runners for scores. He’s very crafty and he plays bigger than most opposing point guards locally at 190, Lomax is a handful for anyone. The state MVP and Mr.Basketball is back for more this year but the scary thing is, he’s still only a junior who’s getting better each year.
4. William Douglas 6’4 SG (CBHS) 2017 – SMU commit now, Douglass can play free this year and get that elusive state title that he’s been chasing and his team has a chance to do it this year. A lot will be on him though but I think he can handle it. An athletic fundamentally sound 2 who can score it at a high clip and defend the 1,2 and 3 positions at the high school level. He takes what you give him, the short jumper if you play off, you play tight, he can go back and get to the line or finish. Can flourish in the open court or in half court and is sneaky athletic, probably more so than people give him credit for. Douglass gets good elevation on the jumper and is as unselfish as they come being as talented as he is. He is fighting an injury right now but Douglas is the best private school player in the city and this year, he will live up to that title.
5. Jalen Crutcher 6’3 CG (Ridgeway HS) 2017– When he was younger, you saw the potential, long wiry with scoring ability with size. As the years have gone by, you saw potential start to produce and produce big time and now, he’s a D-1 commit (UT-Chattanooga) and one of the most feared guards in Memphis. He hit 7-3 pointers in there first win scoring 33 points putting it out there that he might be coming for the scoring title this year. He has deep range on the 3, 5-6 feet behind the line at times and the soft floater at the basket which I would love to see him use more often because he can do it when he wants. 20 plus for him should be a given and he must carry a Ridgeway team with some pieces but still fighting an uphill battle with Southwind and Houston for supremacy in district 15AAA. Behind Harris, I think he’s the best shooter but I can see some point guard in him particularly at the college level going forward.I think he scores because he has to for Ridgeway but could also be comfortable with the ball in his hands leading. Crutcher is without a doubt, one of the best guards in the city and fans it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you went to see him.
6. Chandler Lawson 6’9 WF (East HS) 2019– The most unique player probably in the state with his ability to post, play on the wing and defend 1-5. Freakishly long, Lawson is as athletic as any 6’9 in the state, has touch around the rim with the jump hook and jumper and is finishing stronger at the rim and over it more than in years past. Handling the ball this year more for East especially off the rebound, he can score on all 3 levels, start the offense and be a player you can go to when you need a basket. Has a smoothness to his game and great feel for when to be aggressive, he’s unselfish at times to a fault but non the less, a great quality to have. His length and wing span make him a nightmare offensively and defensively because on the offensive boards, he’s hard to keep away because of his reach, tipping the ball to himself and defensively he gets a lot of deflections and steals because of his ability to cover so much ground with his length . Has some point forward in him and play maker ability and is a mismatch for bigger players and hard to guard for smaller players because he can just go over the top. Might end up stretching out to 6’10 which makes an already elite prospect have a scary future as a player who will be able to play on the wing full time
7. Ryan Boyce 6’5 SF (Houston HS) 2018– Bouncy 3-4 who will be the go to for Houston this year and I think he’s ready for that role. He might have been in that last year but this year, it’s definitely his team. Boyce knocks down the 15 footer with regularity but has also worked to improve range to the 3 as well. He has improved his ball handling and he plays above the rim at all times. Maybe the most athletic player in the city, he uses it to the rim for athletic finishes. Can create for himself off the dribble but seems more comfortable with shooting the short jumper off the catch. He crashes the offensive and defensive boards with his high motor, making him a double double virtually every game and he is an active defender capable of high light blocks because of his athleticism. He boast a few offers on his plate as a player who projects as a wing on the college level including from the likes of Ole Miss, UT-Martin and Florida. He’s is the heart and soul of Houston and as he goes, they go this year.
8. DJ Jeffries 6’7 WF (Olive Branch MS) 2019– Plays in Olive Branch but with Memphis ties and running with Memphis based Team Thad, Jeffries deserves to be here and why not. Top 5-10 player in the country by several scouting services including ESPN and 247 Sports. Jeffries might be the best scorer of anyone in this 10 and anyone in the surrounding area. Athletically, you won’t find many in the country on his level. He gets numbers off the bounce, the 3, to the rim with dunks, dribble pull ups, Jeffries is a terror offensively, super skilled, just flat out knows how to score the and is a threat to get 25-30 points in every game. For Olive Branch to make the jump to an elite team and be in the mix for state, Jeffries production will have to be high but I think he’s a player who is ready to take that step this year with his team.
9. Mark Freeman 5’10 PG (Southwind HS) 2018 – Stable over the last 3 years for Paul Edwards, Freeman is undoubtedly one of the best point guards in the state. Natural point guard with scoring ability, Freeman excels in the transition game using his quickness as a finisher and a passer and has the ability to run offense in the half court. Freeman has really improved his jumper over the years and is a player who can get going and score in spurts via the 3. He’s a ball hawk on the ball, who frequents creates open court steals in the games that I’ve watched him. He plays angles well, has quick hands and takes chances as a defender when they present themselves which makes him maybe the best point guard defenders in the area. Freeman has really good handle and uses it to create space for his jumper or finding gaps in the defense for his or a teammate offense. He’s capable of impacting a game either scoring or distributing and shows all the signs of a college pg at a high level proved by his offer from Alabama and Coach Avery Johnson. A big time gamer, Freeman is the type of guard who can carry a team deep into the post season and I think he can do that . If Southwind is to go back to the state for the first time since 2012, it will be based on how Freeman leads this season.
10. Carlos “CJ” Marshall 6’5 WF (Southwind HS) 2017- The UT-Martin commit has kind of been overlooked through the years among the best players in the city but not this year, Marshall deserves this spot. Marshall is do it all 3-4 who can score the ball from anywhere but does a lot of work through the mid range game. Loves the pull up jumper from the elbow to 15 feet out but won’t hesitate from 3 where he can get hot. He gets to the rim with a good first step, can play the mismatch game and tries to find the mismatch and and exploit smaller players. He can post and finish over the top. Aggressive with the ball in his hands, Marshall can also initiate offense for his team and is a he’s a versatile defender who you can put on a 2, 3 or 4 and guard some 5s on the high school level. Hard nose type of player, Marshall is as tough as any player in the city and the type of player you need if you want to be playing in March.
Others In Consideration
1. Desmond Johnson 5’11 PG( Kirby High School) 2017 – Was hard to leave him off, really hard, dynamic scoring point guard.
2. Blake Williams 5’11 PG (Cordova High School) 2017 – Another that was tough to leave off. One of the top 3-5 point guards in the city still and a player who you just can’t forget about when your playing Cordova because Williams will hurt you. I think he’s as important as Harris in their success this year.
3. Demarcus Mitchell 6’7 PF (Germantown High School) 2017– UT-Chattanooga commit is a strong athletic 4-5.
4. Rod Brown 6’5 Forward (Cordova High School) 2018 27 in game over the weekend for athletically unmatched forward in the city.The Arkansas Razorbacks I believe have offered.
5. DJ Jackson 6’5 Forward (Fayette Ware High School) 2017 – Constant in the conversation over the years as a top 5 player in this class locally. Jackson should be back on the court soon coming off surgery.
6. Jordan Johnson 5’9 PG (Central High School) 2018 – 26 in a win over a big Central Park team last Friday. Johnson can play with any guard in Memphis.
7. Cameron Jones 6’6 WF (Whitehaven High School) 2018- Will be in much different role this year for this team as their leader. Has to be get the bucket guy and rebounder if Whitehaven hopes to finish above 4th in district as predicted by league coaches.
8. Chase Hayden 5’11 PG (St.George) 2017– Wouldn’t you know, the Arkansas football commit is a pretty good basketball player as well winning Mr.Basketball last year. Chase is the best point guard in private school and it would take a lot for anyone to dispute that in my eyes.
9. Malcolm Dandridge 6’8 PF/C (East High School) 2019– Big time prospect, hasn’t sniffed potential yet but looks really good so far in this young season.
10. Taeylr Gatlin 6’3 PG (Brighton High School) 2018 – If he was in the city, Gatlin would be more talked but let me give you look into him. Big point guard who can score it but is a passer at heart. Gatlin is a division 1 basketball player.
Again, THIS IS NOT RANKING but a list of who I think are the top 10 players in the city.