July 2014
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AAU Nationals Updates

 

 

Desmond Merriwether (Team Penny 2017)

 

 

From Little Rock to Orlando Florida, Memphis teams are in action trying for the end all of most summers, an AAU National Championship. In 2017, Team Penny coached by Desmond Merriwether has chance to tomorrow to win the programs first national championship against the Arkansas Wings.  They defeated another Wings teams today by, 70-60 to earn a spot in the title game but it almost seems fitting for this team. After a few summers of being on the cusp of something big, they won the Super 60 this summer and now this, a chance to call themselves national champions.

 

In 2018, tomorrow the teams come out of pool play in Orlando and Team Penny’s Black and White squads have both advanced into the championship bracket. Team Penny White led by Chris Adams won 2 games and lost 1 in pool play will play against a Team United team normally with good guard play but should they advance there, they will have maybe the toughest draw in the tournament, WACG and the best player in the country, 6’9 almost 6’10 Marvin Bagley Jr. Team Penny Black (Golden) will play a pretty good Florida Phenoms team with Emmit Williams, a 6’7 athletic forward  who’s among the top 40-50 players in the country and a host of other 6’5 forwards on this team. Of both Team Penny squads, I think they may have the tougher draw but this time of the tournament, mostly everyone you play will be good so it’s just win and advance in championship bracket. Team Thad will play against the CB Spiders out of the Carolina area. I’m pretty sure, they have quick attacking guards as always the case with teams from that area. Coach Frank Harris I think is coaching that team for the nationals and he has a tremendous track record and also getting a chance to coach his son, Tyler Harris who’s among the best guards in the country in this class.  The time is now for these teams, tomorrow, it’s gets real.

Summer Top 10 (High School)

Mitchell High Senior Point Guard (Naba Echols)

 

So, who are the best teams in the city in High School? Well, one can speculate right? Let me do that, here below are the top 10 high school teams in the city to 901PrepScoop.com. Please note, players will change schools, always happens, always will and you might have a team that’s not in the top 10 now, be there when the season begins. You may have a transfer that makes a team move from 10 inside the top 5. Enjoy…

1.Mitchell HS – Obvious reasons, state champs, return strong core, adding nice transfer in Lorenzo Hunt. No reason to believe they can’t repeat as state champs.

2. Germantown HS – Strong young group, you saw a glimpse into what they could be last year. Darrell Brown is coming into his own a point guard, they have good shooting in Mike Bamrick, who started at St Benedict as freshman who will take over Jake Millers role along with a host of good guards. Favorite right now in 15AAA over Southwind.

3. Overton HS – High for Overton, like the two teams above, they are returning 3 plus starters and a part time starter in Paris London Jr who’s getting better. Malik Smith, 6’6 F/C, Jerry Hurt and Keith Wilson along with talented duo of freshman guards, Jordan Johnson and John Anderson Jr. This will be the best Overton team since Sergio Kerusch left a few years ago.

4. Central HS – Coach Ricardo Patton has done a great job with this team over the years and he will see some benefits this year. Leading scorer Darius Thompson is back along with starting guard Antonio Gillesppie and they add Bradley Walker, Melrose leading scorer rebounder who reunites with Thompson from his Melrose days.

5. Westwood HS – Feature talented trio in Demarcus Johnson, a 6’3 guard, Kalvin Rush and big man, Toriano Stokes, a 6’7 D-1 prospect with physicality and some tools to be pretty good. They have about 3-4 other 6’5 6’6 players and maybe the biggest team in the city.

6. Southwind HS – Donte Dorsey will have to do it all this year but if he can have the type of year I think he can, Southwind will be like other years, pretty good. They need a big year from 6’7 Forward Julian Richardson as well along with contributions from Jacob Patten and freshman Mark Freeman.

7. East HS – This is a group that’s capable of finishing in the top 3 of the district or higher but they depending on a lot of young talent. It’s all over their roster in the Robert and Rodarius Washington, 6’4 freshman TJ Moss, Alex Lomax, 6’7 Justin Small, an athletic 4 who has had valuable experience playing high level basketball with Team Penny. They have the talent, will they put it all together this year?

8. Houston HS – After a great year, the Mustangs have lost a lot but they still have Marlon Hunter, a 6’3 guard who has offers on the D-1 level and a lot of interest from programs across the country. It’s his team along with Justin Benton,a junior guard who they will need to score this year and they will count of freshman Ryan Boyce to play good minutes this year.

9. Briarcrest Christian HS – 4 starters are juniors, one is developing into a High major prospect in Micah Thomas, an athletic 3-4, who can shoot the 3 along with Will Hrubes, Maceo Woodard and tough, Mark French at the point.

10.Arlington HS – Like Houston, going to be hard to replace what they lost (2 D-1 guards) so players will have to step up and play big one being Nate Hoover. He can get them at least 18-22 per game this year, best shooter in the city, feet set and with thim, senior Adarius Avery, who can score and will need to rebound a lot this year. Freshman Garret Golday reminds some of a younger version of Austin Nichols, big words to live up too but he’s talented. They will also need help from sophmore Luke Wiseman

 

High School News And Notes (Summer League)

 

Nych Smith Is The Favorite To Lead The City In Scoring

 

Now that the high school teams in the area have had their 2 weeks of getting a feel for each other, freshman seeing the speed of older competition for the first time, it’s time to discuss some of the things that I saw as that will be the last time we see these teams and players. Let me say this, this will be unlike any of the last few years in Triple A being there is not clear cut favorite among the teams and one normally strong team will not be like years past, White Station. Now, let me say this, doesn’t mean they don’t have talent because they do in Nych Smith and Dillon Mitchell and Aaron Strother who will be coming off knee surgery but when you look at what they have had in years past, it’s not that caliber of Spartan teams. I think Smith will lead the city in scoring but if not him, Lagerald Vick at Douglas but right now, my odds on favorite for that will be the Spartan lead guard but this as well, don’t be surprised if Dillon Mitchell is in the top 10 as well in the city in that category. A team that some are sleeping on in my opinion is the Overton Wolverines and to me, I don’t see why they can’t be the best team in 16AAA. They return 3 and a part time starter in 6’6 Paris London Jr who is getting better and better heading into his junior year. They will have pg Jerry Hurt who is capable of putting together some big time scoring nights, 6’6 Malik Smith, a senior forward/center, Keith Wilson, who can score it as well and will have some young pieces in Jordan Johnson and John Anderson Jr, Coach Anderson’s son.

 

Mitchell without a doubt is the best team in the city regards of classification. The Single A state champion has their core returning of Naba Echols, Jeremiah Martin and Kylan Phillips and have added a transfer in Lorenzo Hunt, a 6’4 forward who will help them inside and have the ability to score some away from the basket. He will definitely help them.  I don’t see why they can’t repeat as Single A state champs but again, it’s early if anyone is a favorite, it’s them in Single A, easily. Two other teams that went to the state last year, Arlington and Hamilton will look vastly different. Arlington lost CJ Anderson and KJ Bates (both D-1) along with a few other key contributors so early on as always with teams losing a lot, early might be a little difficult. They do have Nate Hoover who is best spot up shooter in the city along with athletic Adarius Avery and sophmore Luke Wiseman who will be counted to help with scoring after playing a little bit last year as a freshman. I think even with the loss of those seniors last, they still could make a run at a district title but it will be tougher this year. Hamilton will lose the Lawson Brothers, both to prep school, the two biggest losses in the city and why I think Triple A is as open as ever this year for someone to get out and make a run at a state title. They will still have a solid team if they are able to keep some players in the revolving door of the city, key upon Romero Hill and  Terrance “Woo” Baker. You might say  huh but anyone who keeps up with basketball here knows, it’s not uncommon for it to be transferals however if they can keep those two and add some pieces to Hamilton, I think it’s still a good team right on that edge of competing in 16AAA. Here are a few other teams that I had a chance to see over the last few weeks.

 

Southwind High School – Will rely heavily upon Donte Fitzpatrick, it’s really simple for leadership, scoring, rebounding, you name, he will have to do it. Not that the Jaguars don’t have players capable but because he’s capable and this year being his last, I expect that from him. Other key players for them will be Julian Richardson, a 6’7 WF, 6’5 Jacob Patten, an athletic rebounder who will be counted on to do that nightly, Leland Kirkendoll, a player who could start at the point and incoming freshman Mark Freeman, who can help right away and be effective as a defender/ true point guard for his team Carlos Marshall is a name to remember to for Southwind, the 6’5 forward will be in the rotation this year.

Briarcrest Christian – State contender in private schools, this team is experienced but yet still young with 4 starters being all juniors. Micah Thomas is a bouncy 6’7 who can stroke the 3 or catch if off the rim. Quiet as it’s kept, might be as athletic as any in this class, maybe in the city. Maceo Woodard, a 6’5 forward can be used at 2 positions offensively and defensively and be counted on player to score points for the Saints along with shooter Will Hrubes, a 6’5 G/F but the smallest of them all leads the group, Mark French. He pushes, makes great decisions, can make the open shot and one of the toughest point guards around.

East High School – Don’t look now but after taking their lumps last year, East is back in contention as one of the better teams in the city, probably top 10 at least. They have a nice front line in 6’7 Robert Washington,  a two year starter, Justin Small, a 6’7 who can get off the floor with Washington’s brother, Rodarius Washington, a 6’4 who started most of last year as a freshman. Lot of talk about Lucky Cheatham possibly attending there as well but from sources, a likely destination if so, gives them a player who started his first year at Whitehaven and played well. Freshman TJ Moss and Alex Lomax will also play a lot of minutes but by mid season be adjusted and play well late into the season.

Germantown High School – This is my pick to win 15AAA, I know, Houston is good,  Southwind is good, can never count out Ridgeway but Germantown I think is ready to win district this year and possibly next year because of their youth at key positions and overall. They will be lead by junior Darrell Brown Jr, 6’4 Rodney Williams, who’s improvement over the last few years should be noted, Johnathan Bins, Jacob Ivey and Michael Bamrick who started at St.Benedict as a 9th grader and will take over the role that Jake Miller (Harding University) had last year and could be better at that spot.

Here are a few other team that I saw briefly at either MUS, Memphis or Raleigh Egypt

Whitehaven High School – Not a bad team, length with Reggie Taylor at 6’9, good guard play with football star Braylon Rochelle and Ernest Palmer and coming back off ACL injury from football, Jordan Williams who would have helped a lot of last year because of his ability to score off the jumper, particularly mid range. Am I going to say they could win 16AAA right now? Probably not but could they be sneaky and be around that 1 or 2 spot, definitely.

Houston High School – Lost a lot last season but still have Marlon Hunter and some young pieces in Justin Benton, a rising junior and Ryan Boyce, a player I like a lot in 2018 which good upside as a wing prospect.

Central High School – Another team in that range of being the best team in 16AAA, they are well coached by Ricardo Patton, play within a system and have a key transfer from Melrose (Bradley Walker) go along with Darius Thompson and guard Antonio Gillespie who also started last year.

Center Hill High School – If you don’t know now, Carter Sweat is one of the best players 2015 in the area and he will put up numbers this year. Job Vernor should also return at the point guard spot where he’s been the starter the last few years.

 

Big Impact Freshman (In no order)

1. Alex Lomax East High School

2. TJ Moss East High School

3. Mark Freeman Southwind High

4.Ryan Boyce Houston High

5.Carlos Sandifer Bartlett High

6.Tyler Harris Ridgeway High

7.Jordan Johnson Overton High

8.Trey Davis St.Benedict

9.Braxton Winford White Station High

10.Garrett Golday Arlington High

 

 

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