Coach Carlos Lambert said “man, we got somethings to work on, we not there yet” after yesterday’s scrimmage against Colonial. That’s too be expected so early on but with the season a week from starting for the young Mustangs, you can see the ingredients of a good team.
The Mustangs are very disciplined team that plays within themselves with each player seemingly fitting in their roles. They have players who can make shots from the perimeter and make plays to the rim, they play unselfishly as a group and seem to all to enjoy playing with each other. Their style of plays seems to be fast but they won’t settle for bad shots either as they are content with running offense and being patient if they have to. They have multiple players that can hurt you offensively and but they also get after you with pressure on the defensive end of the floor as well which leads to lay ups for them. The Stegall twins, (Will and Ben) can play both guard positions if need be but also go inside and battle for rebounds. Ryan Stockton just knows how the play, makes great decisions with the ball in hands and he can score it with jumper along with Jack Haugh who will probaly start as well. Stockton I’m sure will lead them in scoring some games as he will probably be one of their more valuable players.
8th grader DJ Sharp should be their leader most nights having played a lot last year as a 7th grader but this season, he will be heavily relied upon not only to score but to rebound and play big when the big moments come. He can put it on the floor some and shows improvement as a ball handler which more than likely will be where his future will be as a guard but he does most of his damage close. He plays hard, can take a bump and foul for and ones, face up and make a move or turn and put up the short jumper. He’s extremely active on the offensive and defensive boards and could a player who you could put on a teams best offensive player. For Houston to really make some noise this year, I think he has to lead by example, every game and he’s more than capable to do just that. 7th grader Maverick Miller (son of Mike Miller) will be one to keep an eye on too. Has the shooters mentality but isn’t afraid to put it on the deck and make a move which he did a few times when I watched him yesterday .I think he’s more comfortable right now as a shooter and he will make some big shots this year for his team. Hayden Mitchell, a 5’11 post player with good size has nice touch close and will help them on the glass this year and Jamison Smith will fill in nicely in the back up pg role.
All in all, I like this Houston team and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them playing late into the season. First up for them, Highland Oaks in what should be a good game and maybe, just maybe we will find out more about them and those who go watch might be surprised.
With tryouts which began on Monday officially, It’s almost that time of the year again, the 2017-2018 Middle School Basketball season is here in what promises to be one of the more interesting years that I’ve seen in awhile. There are a lot of questions this season but a lot of them will be answered soon as play days are on the way as well with the first being next week at Lausanne on October 7th.
Who is the best player in Middle School this year? Is it Chandler Jackson who finishing up his final year at St.Louis? Markese Washington at Lester? Are the Roadrunners of Ridgeway the best Middle School in Large Schools this year or the Germantown Red Devils who are equally talented in the starting 5? Speaking of Germantown, transfer Cartier Beverly, a two sport standout who won a state title at Bellevue last year hurt his leg and will be out for a substantial amount of time. If he’s able to get back during the season, Germantown could be become the favorite. Expect 6’1 Cameron to make a push as a top 3-5 player in this class this season.
Will Lester turn back the clock to a few years ago where they were the best team in the city or will Bellevue who lost a lot of production be right there with them with Jr Jacobs? Can John P Freeman put themselves in position to make a run this season? How much better will Lowrance be this year with Braxton Jumper and ever improving Javar Daniels, a 6’2 7th grader with tons of potential? Can Snowden contend with their guards? There are a lot of questions but soon and very soon, we will begin to see our thoughts and questions become realities as we are within a few weeks of the season getting underway.
Below, my pre-season top 5 middle school teams in the city based on what I think they have right now. Will it be the same when the season starts? Maybe, maybe not, can a team jump into the top 5, yes they can. Will the number 1 team right now but the # 1 team when the season starts, I can’t say, but it will be fun to watch and see.
1. Lester Prep- On paper, they are so talented starting with Markese Washington, to me a top 5 player in this class in Memphis. Nearing 6’2 if not there already, Washington will be there best player most nights and have a chance to be the best player in Small Schools and perhaps, maybe the city. Lemarkus Wilkerson and Ahmed Abdulahi will be besides him to form maybe the best duo in Middle School. Wilkerson and Abdulahi are to 5’10 plus guards who can score for Coach Steve Terrell who’s excited about this year’s team. Abdulahi has kind of flown under the radar but I think a lot of people will be high on him by the end of the year. 6th grader Khylan Page will be leaned on a little because of is size alone but with their experience, they will able to bring him along slowly along with Jamarion Harvey. Watch for Chauncey Holmes as well.
2. Ridgeway Middle – Was very tempted to put them at #1 for several reasons. Chip Brunt, EJ Smith and Kristian Spencer all got better last year put into situations where they had to play and it should pay off this year. Smith is getting better and better and should play the lead guard spot this year. Brunt had some big moments for them last year and Spencer gives them value as a defender and athleticism from the 3-4 spot. All of them should be big this year and take that next step up to be the early favorite in Large. They have enough talent to do so but they will also be counting on others to be help the trio. Adarion Miles must play big on the glass and Coach Stephen expect a nice group of 6th graders to play a lot including Kody Hickerson, Javion Stephen and Tyler Wilson. Might be the deepest team in the top 5, top to bottom.
3. Germantown Middle– Cameron Miller, Daniel Egbuniwe and Chris Martin are all back this year and will have them vying for a state title this season. Miller has a chance to put his name on everybody’s list as a top 5 player in 2022. He’s a scorer who you can put on the other team’s best player, go get you rebound and take over the game type and he will be all those things this year for this team. Chris Martin is one of the areas best shooters if not the best and Egbuniwe is quiet stat sheet stuffer. The key for them to make that run might be if Cartier Beverly can get back to basketball after a football injury. If he can and from sources, its possible, Beverly could put them above anyone locally in Large Schools. Rayquan Williams must contribute with Beverly being out but he’s a capable piece to their aspirations of becoming champions. Even if Beverly doesn’t return, the Red Devils will be in the thick of it at the end of the year.
4. Snowden Middle– Very guard laden team but a team never the less that will be tough to play against on any given night. Guard play reigns supreme in Middle School and if you have it, chances are, you can go a long way and Snowden as a lot of it. Kyler “KD” Dandridge, Madricus Pittman, another one of the area’s best shooters and Jamarius “Chunky’ Brooks give Snowden some firepower. Armani Mcfagdon will be asked to do a little bit of everything for this team but he’s more than capable of accepting that challenge.
5. Bellevue Middle- Beside White Station, not sure if one school lost more than them. Coming off back to back state tournament titles, the Bobcats will have a brand new look all the way around. Enter in former Kingsbury Middle coch, Mario Taylor who will be in his first year there but he will have a few players to help ease the transition. Terrance “JR” Jacobs, is diminutive in stature but big in game is ready to lead after playing some last year but will be in an entirely different role this year. Jacobs is very capable 15-20 point scorer and if he gets rolling, can put up big numbers. AJ Dillworth and Amar Knox will both have to play well this year if they are to continue the tradition of Bellevue and deep playoff runs.
Other teams to watch out for
FACS– Maybe the most talented private school in the city with Landon Jeffries, Kobe Wilks, Corey Savage and Tim Thomas Jr. Don’t be surprised if they appear in the top 5 next time around.
John P Freeman Middle- Bryce Dailey had a nice summer and he hopes to continue that into this season. He should lead this group along with Eric Steward and Harold Draper Jr.
Highland Oaks Middle– I’m really interested in watching Regale Moore and Josh Holloway this season. Their progression from last year to this year will determine how far Highland could go.
Lausanne Middle- A name you need to remember, Hayden Ledbetter is there and he’s one of the more talented 8th graders you may not know much about. Owen Babb and Peyton Piacetti will give them perimeter shooting.
Colonial Middle– Jacquez Brown and Cedric Franklin Jr will be trying to turn around a some what unmemorable season last year in Coach Franklin’s first year. He’s excited about Antonyus Moore as well.
2022 has a pretty good list of upcoming 8th graders in a city that most know about like Chandler Jackson and Jr. Jacobs but there are a few names coming up that you will want to keep an eye on. I got a chance to out and see some talent at the BluePrint tournament this weekend and few new faces made an impression on me.
Ahmed Abdulahi (M33M-Catholic), Quincy Porcha (M33M- Oxford) and Jon Chalmers(DMG-Southaven) all stood out with their play each showing signs of a good prospects in the future. Abdulahi is a long 6’1 almost 6’2 guard who played some lead guard for his team but seems to be more comfortable as a scorer for his team. He seems to project more as a 2 guard especially if he gets to 6’4 6’5. Definitely a young player who Coach Erik Buggs over at Catholic should be excited about.
Quincy Porcha is diminutive in stature but he gets it done with the jumper and off the drive to the rim. He plays within himself and he picked his spots hitting some big shots late in a win for them on Saturday afternoon. Porcha is from the Oxford area in Mississippi and should be one of the players in that area for years to come. 5’11 Jon Chalmers out of Southaven might have been the best prospect I saw over the weekend in the tournament showing off his athleticism to the rim that you don’t see from many at this age. Chalmers could get to rim at will using a good first step and when he got there using body control to score on finishes. When he missed, he was getting off the floor quickly for rebounds and stick backs and was the primary ball handler for his team. I think by his time next year, he will be playing above the rim if not sooner as he definitely has a future as an athletic 2. Cedquavious Hunter(DMG) is another player out of Misissippi (North Panola) who will people will start to hear about about very soon. Best shooter I’ve seen in the area in the 7th grader off the catch that I’ve seen this early spring. He hit 3 in the first half and when he wasn’t spotting up, he putting on the floor making plays for himself or a teammate.
These are names that you will want to keep an eye on, not only through the spring and summer but going forward as well.
When looking at prospects, everyone’s criteria isn’t the same as some others when judging players and seeing a future in them. Some players you see, they just pass the eye test but don’t perform up to the level of their look but one that does and he stands out in a big way, 2022 Chandler Jackson. When you see the 5’10 guard, you see length, lead ability, big time size, scoring ability, handle, a good get it off the rim and good player who can create for himself and others. I saw him last summer a little and I can tell he’s been working on his game in particular, his perimeter jumper where he can make shots from wherever on the court. He’s really tough to stay in front, has a really good first step right now and a problem offensively because at a young age, he can create his shot off the dribble but is most effective at this stage a finisher and player who gets to the rim at will due t his strength. He handles well, makes good decisions and is very unselfish for a such a talented player. Definitely a big guard at this stage and likely will always be in that role and right now, he looks like he has a big time future. Easily one of the better players in the 7th grade and I wouldn’t argue with you if you said he was the best player in the class right now.
The 6th Annual 901PrepScoop All Star Games will be held Sunday, February 19th at Lausanne Collegiate School at 1381 W.Massey Rd, Memphis TN, 38120. The games will begin a showcase 5th grade game, followed by the all star contest. These games has featured several players who have went on the play college basketball including Darrell Brown Jr (Bradley), Jaylen Fisher (TCU), Dedric Lawson (University of Memphis) and several players who are still tearing it up on the high school level as sophomores, juniors and seniors including Tesia Thompson (Hamilton) and Dontrecia Johnson (Whitehaven). This year is no different with talent on the boys side with players like Jalen Brown, Johnathan Lawson, Aldon Applewhite, Calvin Jennings , Kennedy Chandler, Deebo Coleman and Zander Yates. I could keep going but it would take me another 2 paragraphs to talk about all the talent in this game but the girls aren’t slacking in that department either. Sequoia Allmond, 6’4 Dionna Reed, Amaya Mull, Schilling Farms’s Destiny Todd, the Taylor twins at Arlington and many many more. This year’s 8th grade girls class might be one of the best in years with what looks like at least 10 division 1 caliber players in the future.
There will be some Mississippi flavor in this year’s game as well with Olive Branch’s Amya Black, Desoto Central’s Rachel Hightower and playing in the boys game, Kaiden Laws from Center Hill. This is the first year that I’ve ever had kids from out of the area in the game and they bring immense talent to the event.
Their are a total of 3 games on Sunday with the Memphis Wildcats playing Memphis United showcasing two of the area’s best team’s in the 5th grade at 2:00 pm. Then at 3, the All Star Games begin with the girls tipping it and followed by the boys at 4:30. The event is $6.00 dollar for the boys and girls all star games. Come see the future of Memphis high school basketball!!!
Note* As you can see, several players have been selected for both teams on the girls and boys side, however, only 30 will be selected. You must confirm that you plan to play by February 17th. The West teams will wear full white school uniforms while the East team will wear full away uniforms. I’m asking that players who play in the game arrive at least an hour before their game. The girls game will begin at 3:00 pm followed by the boys game at 4:30 pm. Confirm your attendance by email (Charles.901PrepScoop@yahoo.com) or through text or call at 901-287-0057.
West Girls Roster
1. Sequoia Allmond-Bellevue
2.Kyla Mason- White Station
3.Queniesha Sumerall- Havenview
4.Sharmen Taylor- Arlington
5.Anandi Farrell Rosseau- Schilling Farms
6.Deja Pryor- Cordova
7.Tiera Jones- Lowrance
8.Lyric Cole- Kate Bond
9.Maddy Prather- Hutchison
10.Monique Chew- Colonial
11.Chakhia Blockett- Bolivar
12.Makayla Dockery- Colonial
13.Arielle Everett- Union City
14.Micah Williams- Hickory Ridge
15.Kennedy Trice- Schilling Farms
16.Diana Early- Ridgeway
17.Ayanna Collins- Dexter
18.Jaslin Wood- Desoto Central
19.Rachel Hightower- Desoto Central
20.Lauren Robinson- Schilling Farms
21.CC Drew- PCA
East Girls Roster
1.KK Howard- Dyersburg
2.Amaya Mull- Colonial
3.Zavia Harris- Highland Oaks
4.Dionna Reed- Steam Academy
5.Carmen Taylor- Arlington
6.Diana Taylor- Ridgeway
7.Destiny Todd- Schilling Farms
8.Skylar Arnold- Bellevue’
9.Ciara Taylor- Three Oaks
10.Jamia Brooks- Bellevue
11.Demia Bess- Colonial
12.Carmen Harrison- Hutchison
13.Jada Williams- Union City
14.Kylie Mccadney- Union City
15.Hannah Powell- PCA
16.Kataya Grissom- Sherwood
17.Ialla Sharp- Ridgeway
18.Amya Black- Olive Branch
19.Raylen Smith- American Way
Boys West Roster
1. Johnathan Lawson- Bellevue
2. Tadarius Jacobs- Bellevue
3.Kaiden Laws- Center Hill (MS)
4.Tristan Jones- Kingsbury
5.Cameron Donegan- Kingsbury
6. Peyton Moore- Briarcrest
7.Daveonne Warfield- Hickory Ridge
8.David Dixon- Ridgeway
9.Eddie Buxton- Mt.Pisgah
10.Jace Lockhart- Arlington
11.Travis Dockery- Havenview
12.Dorian George- White Station
13.Jelani Willis- White Station
14.Bryson Potts- Houston
15.Brennan Jones- ECS
16.Alex Anderson- Highland Oaks
17.Jordan Jenkins- Schilling Farms
18.Desmond Bratcher- Havenview
19.Ariyon Paige- Bellevue
Boys East Roster
1. Jalen Brown- Kingsbury
2.Deebo Coleman- Lausanne
3.Kennedy Chandler- Briarcrest
4.Tyler Harrington- Briarcrest
5. Zander Yates- Briarcrest
6. Nathan Kyzar- Memphis Nighthawks
7.Eli Federman- St.George
8.Dillon Woods- Lausanne
9. Jordan Hibbler- Southaven (MS)
10.Ethan Roberts- Houston
11.Thomas Kizer- ECS
12.Travis Dockery- Havenview
13 Calvin Jennings- Snowden
14.Alden Applewhite- White Station
15.Willie Foreman- White Station
16.Kameron Jones- Cordova
17.Roderick Lewis- MUS
18.Eric Roberts- Bellevue-
19.Davon Barnes- White Station
1. White Station (20-0) MLK title check, MAM title check and now they will be looking to finish the regular season strong on their way to a middle school state title. In the playoffs though, anything can happen and Snowden is still lurking but right now, the Spartans look invincible right now.
2. Bellevue Middle (15-2) Played White Station pretty close before they pulled off in the 4th quarter without their best player in the MAM Championship game. Bellevue is still the leader right in Small Schools with everyone else looking at them but Kingsbury will be an obstacle down the road that they could see during their state run.
3. Highland Oaks Middle (14-3) Third in the MAM and probably the only team that give White Station problems right now in Large Schools that I’ve seen. The Hawks must watch for let downs against teams that they should beat.
4. Kingsbury Middle (13-4) Good showing in the MAM making it to the Final 4 before losing to a much more talented White Station team. The Falcons right now are the second best team in small schools and will need to play like it down the home stretch.
5. Schilling Farms Middle (13-1) Suffered their first loss before the break I believe to Bon Lin so they dropped a little bit here but Schilling Farms is still in position to be in it late in the year. I think the Stallions will refocus and finish the season strong but they can’t let that loss linger with them.
So much for my bracket, Highland and Kingsbury, you killed me lol. Seriously though, that’s what it’s all about, advancing to the next game at this point of the MAM which is the Final 4 today. Bellevue won yesterday, 70-55 after finding themselves down early to a Snowden team who was looking for the upset but in the end, Snowden’s guard play and Johnathan Lawson was to much for them to overcome. Highland Oaks beat Southaven 67-44, Kingsbury beat Lausanne, 44-36 behind Jalen Brown’s 22 points and Tristan Jones was pretty good with 18 points. He’s a player who’s improved steadily through out the season to me and one that could have a nice future as a big guard. White Station beat Briarcrest 45-40 in a game that Briarcrest was up in some in the first half. The Spartans sped up the pace some by pressing Briarcrest in the 2nd half and forcing them into turnovers which proved to be vital in the end. The Saints had a chances but as I said yesterday, they would have to do a lot right to win that game.
Today, the final 4 and title game will be held at Harding Academy. The times are 430 pm for both games as the old and new gym at the school will be used. White Station will take on an upstart Kingsbury team who looks like a different team from when I saw them just a month or so ago. They are getting contributions from role players, making shots and playing like a team that looks like they can beat anyone. This game will be their toughest one of the season thus far against a White Station team who hasn’t lost a game and at times has looked dominant. White Station looked a little vulnerable but I just think they are the most talented team and most of the time, the team with that wins. If Jalen Brown gets going early, he will score a lot of points for Kingsbury but Jones and someone else will be needed to score. Not only that, both will have to rebound with a bigger White Station team and keep them off the offensive glass where they thrive. They must take care of the ball as well and not have to many unforced turnovers because that gets them going. Set the tone early and don’t get into an up and down game and the Falcons can have a chance but again, White Station didn’t play great early on against Briarcrest last night because they played at Briarcrest pace. It wasn’t until late that they got going and were able to do somethings that they are accustomed to doing in games. White Station I think is just to talented and their depth will come into play but in the Final 4, you never know but I think they pull it out.
Bellevue and Highland should be a pretty good game I believe because both like to get out and go for easy scores but the up and down favors Bellevue. Highland’s Alex Anderson and Cameron Donegan both will present challenges for Bellevue because of their ability to pass and get others involved as well as score. Anderson will be the determining factor in the game for Highland Oaks because of his versatility but he also must stay on the floor meaning that he can’t get into foul trouble as Highland gets much much smaller when he’s off the court. Donegan must be aggressive offensively and not sit back and wait to get going. He’s a patient guard and looks for his spots but he will need to be a 15-20 point player today. Will it be enough though if just those 2 play well? Who else is stepping up for Highland? Josh Holloway is the kind of player who can but in a game of this magnitude, someone will have to relieve some of the pressure off their two key guys. Their will be opportunities when the ball is swung to make something happen and he will have to be ready. For Bellevue, it’s pretty simple, rely on what you have been relying on to get you there. The combination of Lawson, Beverly, Tuggle and Jacobs has been good in the MAM. Carlito and brother Cartier have been great of late, causing havoc defensively on the ball and off it. AP Paige has played well and they are getting contributions from the bench from a few. They are getting to the rim when they get ready and being the sparks that their team has needed all year. It looks like Bellevue is playing well at the right time and I see them winning the game as I said in my first post about the MAM a few days ago.