With the season heading into January and teams having their rotations set in place, a few freshmen are providing quality minutes and producing for their varsity teams. To even be able to play as a freshman speaks volumes for such a young player who has to adjust to faster, bigger and older players coming from middle school but a few have done it at a much quicker pace than most. Some of the names that you will see mentioned might not be at top of 2020 in Memphis however, their play thus far has put them in position to be mentioned among the best young players in the city. While they still have some ways to go, these young guys have impressed at this early stage of their prep careers.
1. Caleb London 6’2 (MUS) Easily, the most productive member of the 2020 class to the varsity ranks of this year. Not only is London playing well, he’s starting and playing like a junior and he might be their leading scorer overall. Has had more than 4 games of 20 or more points and played well against Memphis East, London has easily pushed himself into the upper echelon of the 2020 class. He’s made strides with his jumper off the pull up and is taking what the defense gives him and being more patient offensively. Right now, he could make a case as the best 9th grader in the city. I know there are other talented players but London has been really good.
2. Marcellus Brigham 6’5 (Briarcrest Christian) When you look at him, Brigham just looks like a division 1 basketball and with the flashes that he shows, that looks like it will be happening for him. Brigham is a long 2 guard with a good pull up game who has shown that he can play big minutes in the Saints system and for a program that rarely plays players so young, Coach John Harrington has to be happy knowing that he has him for 3 more years and watching him develop into maybe one of the best players that he has had there. I can see him leading them in scoring by next year as he continues to get better and better.
3. Kendall Thomas 6’2 (Harding) Quietly having an outstanding season, just last night scoring 27 hitting 7-9 from 3 in a tournament in Nashville. Thomas is big physical guard who can play some forward, who has grown a lot of height but has also gotten much stronger since the end of the summer. After losing Anthony Yarbrough last year who played 4 years there and was a big time stand out, Kendall was a welcomed addition to a team looking for another player to score. Thomas just recently was named MVP of the Battle Ground Tournament scoring 27 in game 1, 18 game 2 and 15 in game 3 of the event. When thinking of the top players in this class, Thomas has to be put into the conversation.
4. Rickey Shotwell 5’5 (Melrose) One of the smallest players in the city playing varsity in any classification, Shotwell’s play is shocking some who might have doubted him. He’s started some games for Melrose and had 15 in a win over W.E.B. Dubois at a Holiday Tournament in St. Louis. Coach Sherman Jones said “More poised than I could have ever imagined he would be, lost a lot of the scoring that came as a surprise but the IQ and toughness that as replaced the scoring has be vital and I have no reason to believe that he will take a step backwards” I remember Jones being high on him telling me, he would be more than role player this season and from the looks of it, he’s right.
5.Anterrius Jeffries 6’6 (Overton) All arms and legs forward who’s also started some games for his high school team, Jeffries best days are clearly ahead of him. Jeffries is averaging 7 and 7 for a young Overton team that boast only 2 seniors so as to be expected, they will struggle in 16AAA but Jeffries has displayed some touch and rebounding ability and might end up being a player who can play some on the perimeter the older he gets. The more who adjust to playing with his back to the basket and as he gets stronger, Jeffries might turn into a big name in this class.