2023 Cream Of The Crop Recap

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This class is starting to take some shape as it heads into the spring and summer. I saw a few players ready to make that leap to the next level and become bigger names in their class in Memphis.

You Have To Pay Attention to Ragland

When I hear people speak about this class, I often hear of the same names but I’m telling you, Braylen Ragland deserves to be among the top 3-5 players in this class in Memphis. At times in the camp, he looked like maybe the best prospect of all the 7th graders there and I know that’s saying a lot but Ragland has made a jump and a big one. Some say he’s not a 2, more of a 3 right now but I see a big 2 guard who can fill it up at all 3 levels and thrive with the pull up. In the one on one drills, Ragland was comfortable breaking defenders down off the dribble especially to his right and attacking the basket. His jumper is an area where I think he’s improved a lot as well, especially on the move, 1 and 2 dribble pull ups where he was effective all camp. Plays with a smoothness about him that and the thing you love about him, his confidence is on 100 right now and you can tell it by watching how he plays. He’s a skilled scorer who is getting better and better and he kinds of put you in the mind frame of Leslie McDonald when he was younger for those who remember that name from Briarcrest years ago. You have to mention him among the elite in 2023 in Memphis, no question.

Braylen Ragland

Deere Coming Into His Own

Since the Cream Of The Crop last year, Deere has added some length and become a player who’s really developing into a nice big guard. Capable as a jump shooter, he hit the 3 off the spot up and the on the move and he has a lot of potential as a knock down 15-17 foot mid range type player who can knock the 3 down as well. In the all star game, Deere scored it every which way and when he got to line,he knocked down free throws. He can defend to both guard positions right now but is probably more suited to play against a 2 as opposed to on a pg full time right now. He might be the most improved player in this class in Memphis and will only get better. His best days are clearly ahead of him.

Fred Deere

Crawford Has A Mature Game 

Herky jerky type pg who can play off and on the ball but projects more as a big point guard. Crawford can get in the lane and make plays, score with floaters at the rim and soft runners and he can make the open 3. I think he flourishes more to me with the drive and can take bumps and fouls and still get it up for free throw. He’s a sneaky good passer with ability to see up the floor and make the pass ahead without holding the ball to long that I often see younger point guards do.  He has ideal size for a lead guard right now and there no reason to think that he won’t reach at least 6’1 6’2. I think locally he’s a little underrated locally but he’s in the conversation as a top 2-3 point  guard in Memphis in 2024. He will be big this summer for Team Payne and next year at Lester Middle.

Marcus Crawford

Wirth Shows Worth

I have to admit, I didn’t know a lot about Tate Wirth but I came extremely impressed by what I saw from him. He can score inside and out, handle the ball and has a solid all around game as a player. He positions himself well for rebounds and can turn into a ball handler if necessary when the opportunities come during the course of a game. He has a solid feel for the game and he plays within himself and doesn’t try to do what’s not asked of him. He played pretty well during the camp and was consistent in his performance even in the 5 on 5 games.

Tate Wirth

Smith In The Running As A Top 3-5 player In 2023

Smith is a terror offensively, he has the full package. The pull up 3, the pull up from 15, the ability to get in the middle, score with drives with both hands, Smith just has a natural ability to score the ball. He’s a really good one on one guy where he uses good footwork to get himself looks and separation for the lefty jumper where if he gets hot, he can put together small runs by himself. He’s plays with a lot of swagger and while when he’s going, he’s scoring the ball, Smith has some vision and can make plays for others. He’s a scoring point guard right now and it’s not a knock to him because he’s scores it well but I think his evolution as a facilitator will take him to another level and he’s more than capable. Right now, I would put him easily as a top 3-4 player in the city.

EJ Smith

Rogers Could Have Big Time Future!!

Arguably the most athletic player in the 2023 class in Memphis, Rogers might be the  most intriguing player overall going into the summer and next year at Bellevue. Rogers is a slasher by nature and can get to where he wants when he wants with his first step and score it with his leaping ability close. He’s athletic enough to be able right now to guard the 1,2 or the 3 spots and could be really dynamic in the future as a defender because he anticipates well. He’s good in isolation situations because you have to respect his ability to get by you and isn’t to hesitant on the jumper even though he wants to get to the rim. I think his upside is tremendous because you can’t teach the athleticism and right now at his age, a lot of kids locally don’t have that. I think it’s fair to say that Rogers is a top 10 player in this class in the city. Catch him with Team Payne this summer…

Langston Rogers