Here are a few highlights from Memphis East’s 2018 standout, TJ Moss’s freshman year. Moss can just about do anything on the basketball court. He’s a proficient shooter. He also can get to the rack at will. Moss has the ability to play the passing lanes on defense with great anticipation. At 6’4″, TJ Moss has good size and length. TJ is one of the top scoring guards in the state irregardless of class. Catch TJ this Spring and Summer on the EYBL circuit ballin’ for Team Penny.
The first initial high school season is over for the 2018 class in Memphis. For some it was business as usual, the same success that some had in Middle School, they had the same in High School while some struggled adjusting to bigger, stronger, older players and the pace of high school. Who had the best year of the freshman in the city? What freshman stood out the most? Who was the most valuable to their team. Basically, who is the best freshman in the city? Some say Rod Brown of Cordova and I can see people having that opinion, Brown was really good at times for Cordova showing flashes of a high major wing type with with athleticism that make college coaches keep track of him all the way through High School. Do you like Alex Lomax at East or “ALO” as he’s been called for years. Coached by the best guard to come through Memphis (Penny Hardaway) high IQ, defensively a difference maker, a poised play maker offensively and every improving jumper making him another mid to high prospect with a bright future. His team went to state where he had a 20 plus point game in the first round with a now you see me type performance. How about Mark Freeman at Southwind, another pass first but improved pg who makes great decisions a point guard, runs a team, knock down the jumper and is as good defensively as any guard in Memphis regardless of class. How about Tyler Harris at Ridgeway? Polished as anyone in the class at the guard position, knows when step up and the be a shot maker, very cerebral and isn’t afraid of the big moment. The list can go on and on with St Benedict guard Trey Davis, Ryan Boyce at Houston, Jordan Johnson at Overton, how about the year that Garret Golday had at Arlington who I believe might be the only freshman other than TJ Moss to start every game as a freshman. What about Moss? Leading scorer on a young team at East that went to state, a very versatile mature scorer who’s production has really increased with the 3 inserted into his game more. This weekend in Birmingham, Moss was perhaps one of the 5 best players in the entire tournament. He can make shots off the catch and the 1-2 pull up in rhythm and can post smaller guards and finish. Who’s the best player 2018 in Memphis? I will give my answer soon enough as I believe 3-4 players can make that claim as the best player overall. TJ Moss, Alex Lomax, Mark Freeman and Roderick Brown.
First, let me say this, thank you all for making the Top 10 Point Guard list such a widely discussed topic! I heard some of everyone talking about it, some good, some bad as expected but never the less, the discussions were abound. Now, on to my next list, the top 10 shooting guards in the city and once again, I say one again, THIS IS NOT RANKING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. This is a list of who I think are the top 10 shooting guards in the city in my opinion. Last list (point guards) I had to constantly repeat that but this time once again, I’ve put it out as just a list. A time for ranking them will come but this is for now only a list. I present to you, the top 10 shooting guards in Memphis, regardless of class.
1. Romero Hill 2016 (Hamilton H.S.) Hill was key cog on Hamilton’s state winning team this year with his shooting from 3 and improved mid range game as well as getting to the rim and finishing. Not the most athletic or flashy but he gets the job done and is a great on the ball defender at either guard positon.
2.Kavion Stewart 6’4 (Cordova H.S.) Slasher to the rim, hit nice growth spurt over the last year or so to almost 6’4, I think Stewart is one of the best unknown prospects in the city Improved so much as a player, shooting the 3 with consistency will make him have that much more value as college prospect next year.
3.TJ Moss 6’4 (East H.S.) Probably can play some point too but Moss can score with the best of them. He shot the 3 ball well this year and he flourished in transitions opportunities late. As his confidence grew, his production increased and I look for that to continue next season.
4.Justin Benton 6’3 (Houston H.S.) Athletically, might be unmatched on this list, Benton gets it done with the lift he has on his jumper and ability to make the mid jumper with consistency and create it as well.
5.Mikell Norment 6’2 (Fayette Ware H.S.) Just saw him on Saturday hit 7-3 pointers and in a game a few weeks ago, he hit 8 in a game. Gets it up quick off the catch, might be along with Nate Hoover the best catch and shoot player in the state of Tennessee.
6.Tevin Ollison 6’3 (Mitchell H.S.) Had some big outburst on a team that featured some really good guard play and next year, he gets a chance to show the city a player that will averaged over 20 points a game next year. Really good 3 shooter, can shoot it with little space and has athleticism that you may not think he has. He’s really intriguing as a player and definitely a player to watch next year.
7. Nate Hoover 6’3 ( Arlington H.S.) Best shooter in Memphis but has taken to task what people have said about him, he doesn’t drive to the rim and he’s really become a player who can score on all 3 levels and do it well but his best attribute, the 3. Had 18 and 19 points over the weekend in the Under Armour Association league.
8.Tyler Harris 5’10 (Ridgeway H.S.) A 2 guard in a pg body, Harris is knock down shooter, lethal off the spot up but can create space and get his, Harris has the ability to score from all over the floor. As he becomes more of creator and facilitator, I see him being on the pg list next year but Tyler scores so well, it’s hard to leave him off the this list.
9.Camren Taylor 6’2 (Lausanne H.S.) Came back off a knee injury and had a year where he was named to the Best of the Preps by the Commerical Appeal. Very capable off the pull up, off the dribble and spotting up, Taylor is a capable scorer.
10.Nate Vaughn 6’4 (Memphis Metro) Averaged over 30 points a game this year, should be enough to make you know who he is. Oh, he didn’t play against the best however, for player to average 30 points, it’s very impressive!!
Other players to consider for this list: Michael Bamrick (Germantown H.S.) Tecorrian Smith (Melrose) Tyree Beason (BTW) Parrish Hewitt (Melrose)
Once again, this not a true RANKING but a list of players who I think are the best 2 guards in Memphis. If you have others that you think make a case for the list, don’t hesitate to discuss on Disqus here on the front of the site. It’s under the bottom of each article and it’s easy to sign in as most have Facebook accounts. You can access Disqus by just signing in through facebook and letting the conversation begin underneath the article.
Memphis is the home of the best barbecue in the country, home of the blues, Graceland, world famous Beale Street and other attractions that make Memphis unique to his visitors but special to it’s residents. Whenever I go to another state, they always mention man, I heard about that Memphis barbecue, man I have family in Memphis or surrounding areas, when you from here, it just seems to intrigue people but sometimes that can be good and bad depending on perception. Memphis, my city my city but one thing that Memphis is known for is it’s rich history in basketball, that’s right, Memphis is basketball and basketball is king in Memphis. People love it here, young and old, rich and poor, North Memphis, South Memphis to Central Gardens, it relates to everyone here and everyone has an opinion on who? The University of Memphis Tigers program and who’s at the helm of the program, current head coach, Josh Pastner.
You know the story, Coach John Calipari left the University of Memphis in April of 2009 after the begging of it’s fans to please don’t go John. It was a spectacle in Memphis for a few days. private jets flying over his house trying to catch a glimpse of Coach Cal, they gathered around his house, made signs and posters, Coach Cal was like young Michael Jackson in City. What an ego stroke right? These people want me so bad, they brought in the big guns, Fred Jones from Fed Ex and what happened? Cal said Memphis, it’s been real but I gotta go. The I hate Coach Cal mantra was born soon after and just from a few days before it was don’t go to, He can’t coach, he cost us the National Championship game. They went on to try their luck with several coaches including Mike Anderson (Missouri at the times now Arkansas) Scott Drew (Baylor) and Tim Floyd to once again with no luck. Then after a few days, a young guy was packing up his boxes and heading to Kentucky with Calipari when he was called in and offered the University of Memphis head coaching job. He accepted, the city was thrilled, we finally have a coach after seemingly, no one really wanted this job. You could say, people had their reasons, the soon to be sanctions after Cal left because of test taking allegations (Derrick Rose) or just could have been as easy as, I’m not going to follow up Cal’s success. Logical I guess but never the less, people were not lining up for first or seconds with the Memphis job at the dinner table.
Let’s see, where do I start, oh, I know, you want Josh fired as the Head Coach at Memphis right? Why? Presumably it’s because you think he can’t coach? Is that the only reason? We went 18-14 with all that talent this year, we haven’t been to the sweet 16 in Josh’s tenure? We have only won 1 game against a top 25 opponent in Josh tenure. What type of coach uses flash cards for plays for his team? He a boy wonder coach, he can only recruit, not a great Xs and Os guy. We have too many players transferring, something is going on in the program. Guys are not developing under Josh at all, they stay the same, those are some of the things I hear the most in Memphis when it comes to Tiger basketball.
In the 2009-2010 season, his first season as coach and at 32 years old, the Tigers went 24-10 with a roster that featured 6 walk ons and since then, he’s compiled a 148-58 record at Memphis. In that first year, the program was still relevant and in the second year, he was able to bring in a great class that was among the top 10 in the country. This year, the Tigers were 18-14 but where with a line up that featured 10 new players to the team after losing 6 players last year. He’s been to the tournament 4 of his 6 years as head coach with a 2-4 record and has as .771 winning percentage which is higher than 3 active hall of fame coaches. He’s among the top 10 of winningest coaches in NCAA in their first 6 years as coach, not bad I would say for a guy who can’t coach at all according to local fans. What about the great players, what about that first great class he recruited to Memphis with the local guys? Crawford, Black, Joe Jackson, he did nothing with that group. Why are people so quick to say Joe didn’t have a great career at Memphis any way? Is it because he didn’t average 25 like in High School? I know Joe is super talented, watched him for years from 8th grade at Sherwood all the way up but he wasn’t going to averaged 25 anywhere he went to school in the country in college. For people who thought that, I got some swamp land in Mississippi I want to sell you. We didn’t get anything out of those guys, what about the tournament appearances? What about he 106 wins over Joe’s career and Crawford’s and Adonis?Oh I see, well I guess it doesn’t mean anything, he play in a weaker conference but I don’t recall Coach Cal playing in a dynamo of a conference when he was in Conference USA. I will give you this though, Cal did make the tournament 2 times in his first 5 years while Josh had made it 4 straight times before this past year. It’s funny, everyone remembers Cal last few years and take nothing away from them, they were great however what about the first few years?
I recall people wanting to get rid of Cal in Memphis, saying he couldn’t Coach and he coined the term “miserables” for Memphis fans who he just couldn’t satisfy? Is 4 straight years of going to the tournament not good enough for Memphis fans? Do you remember the Tic Price era? How about Johnny Jones? I remember and while I was still a Tiger fan at heart, I hated to see the program struggle mightily those years. I remember those days and I don’t want to go back or even think about that era of basketball for Memphis. Calipari resurrected the program? Sure, he did some great things at Memphis but when the rough got going, Cal got going and he did what he wanted here, made himself relevant again after making the UMASS program go through sanctions behind Marcus Camby allegations among other things. Every time you looked up though, something was happening within the program, players fighting at clubs, domestic situations and other stains on the program but just win right? All that stuff didn’t matter, we were in the elite 8. Josh has run a clean program, you haven’t heard about issues like that since his arrival but wait I know, what about all the transfers? There has to be reason right? Well, maybe but ask yourself this question, how well are those other guys doing who left the program doing or what did they do when they left Memphis. Black is in the league after the same numbers he had at Memphis were repeated in Kansas but he played against Joel Embid right? The number 1 pick in practice every day made Black a league guy, he had better coaching right? Black would have gotten that shot had he been at Memphis, who wouldn’t take a look at a 6’9 265 pound guy who run like a guard and rebounds and plays his role. You would have been a fool not to take a look? How well is Dominic Woodson doing? How about Jalen Kendrick, not a knock on him but how well is he doing? Iverson was more of detriment to the program I believe than anything. I saw Iverson out a lot and let’s say, he wasn’t making smart decisions in people around him. Nick King, why he leave, Josh fault? I think Nick actually wanted to stay in Memphis but reasons unknown made him make a decisions to leave the school. Outside of Nick, what other player other than Black is in the league now or what other player has had the kind of success that would make you say, man I sure wish he didn’t transfer. I look at player development as a two way street but I also look at it like this, producing is the name of the game. When you producing, you don’t hear about coaching, I think guys are quick to lay blame when their play doesn’t back up their reputation. You think a coach recruits a player who he thinks can’t contribute at the D-1 level.? I think a lot of people locally have made excuses for players in the past and have looked for a scape goat and that scape goat has been Josh unfortunately for him but someone has to be the blame right? I mean guys are not getting better even though you have full access to a facility all year long and have the opportunity to get better by working individually. We have had to much talent not to have at least made the Sweet 16 right? Looks at Cal team this year, based on talent, he should have won it, the guy had 10 pros and they didn’t win it all. Talent is great to have but that talent must produce as well.
While we haven’t gone to a sweet 16, elite 8, I say Josh has had success in Memphis and while the blue bloods will always get what they get, Josh could be on his way to that esteem. I’m not saying he’s the next great coach, I’m not saying he’s great for Memphis but I do believe that he’s done the best he can do. I’m also of the thinking that Josh might be in his last year or 2 at Memphis. I think if he does well next year with this class and they go to the sweet 16, I think another opportunity might come along and with the scrutiny here in Memphis with people constantly wanting to see you go, I’m sure he would think about it, wouldn’t you? If he has a rough year next year, what happens? I don’t have to tell you if you really keep up with the program which I’m sure you do if you reading this. I like the look of next year team, I just think that could be great group and he could be in for his best season yet but that’s a look into the future but hey why not, I mean we are Memphis fans, we love all things Memphis right? Me personally, I’m rooting for him to succeed not only cause I like his character but I also would like to see him prove the doubters wrong and while you can’t please everyone, you can say hey, I did it my way and on my on terms.
By now, I’m sure everyone knows that the Memphis Tigers have landed Ricky Tarrant, a 6’2 guard who played against the Tigers a few years back with Tulane before transferring to Alabama and sitting out a year playing really well against SEC competition averaging points per game before going down to injury. Is this a good move to me? I can’t say the word that I want to say but let’s just YES, it’s a great move for Memphis. They needed another guard because let’s face it, Kedren Johnson is not going to be a Tiger next year, take it how you want to take it. Jeremiah Martin has committed, they picked up a senior transfer guard who’s going to want to play minutes and a guard who performed well in the SEC. Well, you may say, well Kedren Johnson played well at Vandy too right however, Tarrant hasn’t sat around eating wings and things for a year and a half. It’s no knock to Kedren hey, I might have done the same but I also don’t play basketball as a means for my education so, yeah I may eat a few wings from time to time. Looking at some statistics, I don’t believe he is the best shooter from 3 or a great shooter period however, he was solid enough to average 13 per game and 16 per game with Tulane. I think he gives them a veteran leader who’s been through some wars, adversity and is still persistent in doing what’s necessary in order to produce on the floor as he did last season.
Now my question is, Memphis fans are you happy about this move? Some I’ve seen on twitter, facebook and message boards seem to not be to fond of this. Man, why are we getting a guard, we need a big. Why not get a high school guard that you will have for 4 years? Then during the season when Martin might struggle some early adjusting, why in the … didn’t we get a quality guard to back up Jeremiah? With Jeremiah in the fold to go along with Markell who will still be a sophmore I do believe, you needed another guard and one who has played to go along with those two to easy over the transition year for Jeremiah. Even with Markell being able to play that spot some, still, you needed another and Tarrant fits that bill for Memphis. Why didn’t we get a big? We need a big hefty center and I say well maybe but in that area, I think they are fine and here is why, the Tigers didn’t get killed by big guys last year with the exception of SMU forward Markus Kennedy and you add in Dedric Lawson who is a stretch 4 who rebounds exceptionally well and you still have Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols who averaged 14 rebounds between them and KJ Lawson who will play some 2-3 but is also a high level rebounder. If they add a post guy, it might make them better but I do believe the Tigers will be fine in that area of rebounding and both Nichols who was third in the country in block shots and Dedric are rim protectors who both have great timing.
Again, Memphis fans, are you happy or do you think well Tarrant is just a stop gap? Is getting Tarrant a ploy in the hopes that Josh still thinks he can get Jaylen Fisher from Bolton High School? Is that why he went with Tarrant over guys like Marcus Lovett out of Georgia or Tookie Brown? Fisher would fit perfect I believe with a guard like Martin and Crawford but maybe that’s looking into the future too much because right now, I wouldn’t say Fisher is a Tigers lean but that’s another story. I think it was nice pick up for Memphis who now could be considered a top 25 type team for the upcoming season. I know I know, we have seen this movie before right? Top 25 pre-season right, the hype, we don’t need that but maybe it’s what this city needs, to feel excitement about the Tigers after an up and down year last year. I don’t know what to expect from Tarrant as a player, on paper and video he looks legit but one thing I can say, next year might turn into one of the most anticipated seasons since Josh became head coach at the University Of Memphis.
Who’s the best this, who’s the best that? I hear that a lot in local gyms in Memphis. Fans of basketball love to debate and in the city where basketball is king, this is a common talk in Memphis. Blake Williams is the best point guard in Memphis, no man, I don’t know who you been watching, it’s Darrell Brown Jr at Germantown. Are yall crazy? It’s Jaylen Fisher at Bolton. These are some of the things I’ve heard around the city so I’ve decided to take a look at who I think are the best point guards in the city however, below is not a ranking but just who I think are the best 10 lead guards in the city. In the coming days, I will also take a look at top 10 shooting guards, and top 10 Small forwards and forwards in Memphis. Below, you can register and comment on articles below and give your take on who you will is the best at their position. Again, ladies and gentlemen, this is not RANKING but just a list of who I think can make a claim as top 10 guys at their position in Memphis.
1. Demonte Person 2016 (Kingsbury HS- Team Thad) Has really come into his own and has turned into a sought out lead guard with interest from Murray State, UNC-Asheville, Northern Arizona, UT-Martin, UT-Chatt, MTSU, Central Michigan and Vanderbilt.
2. Jaylen Fisher 2016 (Bolton HS- Team Thad) Big time prospect for years now, Fisher is one of the best point guards in the country, period. He can make the case as the best pg in Memphis and I couldn’t argue that at all.
3. Darrell Brown Jr 2016 (Germantown HS- Team Penny) Had a big year during high school season and is hoping that translates into a big summer with Team Penny, playing in the Nike EYBL.
4. Dillon Mitchell 2016 (White Station HS- Team Penny) Another guard to me that can make that claim as the city’s best point guard. Two sport star is primed for big summer.
5. Blake Williams 2017 (Cordova HS – Team Penny) Showed people what made him at one point a top 20 player in the country late for Cordova. The talent is there for him still.
6. Mark Freeman 2018 (Southwind HS- Team Penny) Shocked to see him here? You shouldn’t be, he was a starter for a team that went to the regional as a freshman and was a key part of their season and will get better and better.
7. Alex Lomax 2018 (East HS- Team Penny) Let’s see, game away from the state title game as the pg including 25 the elite 8 of the state tournament and oh yeah, he’s a freshman. Tremendous future ahead.
8. Lucky Cheatham 2016 (Southwind HS- Team Penny) Looking for a huge summer to help in recruitment and he has a chance to showcase his playmaking ability against the best players in the country.
9. Chase Hayden 2017 ( St George- M33M) MVP of the state, state champion but like Mitchell, Football is a love but make no mistake, Hayden could have his choice in which one he picks for a scholarship
10.Javion Hamlet 2016 ( Ridgeway HS) One season to go for Hamlet, lots of ability, just waiting to see him put it all together.
Some other players to consider include, Earnest Palmer– Whitehaven, Job Vernor– Center Hill, JamersonWashington– Central, Mark French – Briarcrest
Again, this is not a RANKING but a list of who I think are the best at their position of point guard in Memphis.
Jeremiah Martin (Mitchell H.S.) has committed to the University of Memphis just after 12:00 pm on today. The 6’2 long crafty point guard is a HUGE get for Memphis. Martin is the real deal at lead guard, handle on a string, hawk as a defender, gets in the passing lanes as well as on the ball as well. Make no mistake, Jeremiah Martin might have a chance to start next year and I don’t know if he will but let’s just say I think he right now maybe the best Tigers best point guard or guard period. That’s no disrespect to anyone on the roster now but Martin is a really really good get for Memphis. He can score the basketball with the 3, off the pull up, runners, just score in a variety of way but his best asset maybe his ability to create for others. I’ve watched him for the last 8 years and each year he’s gotten better and better and I’ve always been a fan. I thought LA Tech was getting a steal in Jeremiah when he committed to them but I think for Memphis, they maybe getting an even better steal. I think people will see his value immediately next year. Congratulations Jeremiah, the newest Memphis Tigers along with the Lawson brothers and Randall Brodie.
2014-2015 basketball, well, it flew by and I for one miss basketball already although AAU makes up for it some however, many faces that I’m used to seeing since I’ve been doing the site will now be on to bigger and better, college basketball. Who do I start with? The Middle School basketball season which was all but given to the huge state favorite (Cordova) but a huge upset in the state tournament upended what everyone thought was inevitable, a state title for them. See, that in itself is what Memphis basketball is about, I guess you could say that about basketball all over the country but it’s something special about basketball here in the city. I guess American Way’s win in the MAM was foreshadowing showing that it could be done. Then we saw the state tournament, we saw the great performances of Jeff Walker from Elmore Park who scored over 30 points a game and started being talked about as one of the top 5-10 players in Middle School, we saw Dude McCollum show big time future in the upset over Cordova, we saw Deante Anding (Germantown) and teammate Deante Anding have huge state showings including in the championship game against Elmore Park. Germantown won it’s 2nd state title in 4 years and on the Small School side, we saw Bellevue led by three 8th graders, Tyson Banks, Cassius Bryant and Shemar Nash win it and from the looks of their 2020 group have a chance to go back and be in the thick of it next year. On the girls side, Cordova ended with the magical undefeated season with a win over Snowden. The Williams sister, the two best sisters to come through in awhile, Lanyce and Lanette, teammate Madison Griggs, do it all Jayla Hemingway with a huge season and one of the top 10 8th graders in the country. While the boys 2019 class could be pretty good, 3 of the top 5 girls in this class from Memphis could end up special in their own right.
On the girls side of High School, Ridgeway took an undefeated season into regional play led by seniors who had been through wars in high school basketball like Erin Foster, Oreonna Brown, Alexus Bryson, Breonna Humphrey and Tierney Paylor. It’s funny, I remember going to watch Erin Foster and Humphrey and Alexus Bryson (Hickory Ridge) in Middle School. I guess that means one of two things, I’m getting older or they getting old, I think I agree with the latter but go figure. Once again though, Memphis basketball struck and they were up set in the regional final by Overton who was pretty good this year but not the same super talented team that were accustomed to seeing in recent years. I’m not saying this team wasn’t good but Ridgeway was locomotive train all year long, they ran through competition and from there Ridgeway was sent on the road at Arlington where they lost and Overton who hosted, lost to 14AAA Bartlett who should be pretty good again next year. The one team that everyone thought would get out of here, ended up on a two game losing streak to end the year, that’s why the game must always be played. Bartlett and Arlington and Craigmont (Double A) all ended up going to the state but losing in the first round. I have a funny feeling though that you will see Bartlett again along with the upcoming Central with their guards and young group and rumored huge freshmen additions, I think you can kind of read through the lines there and figure out who I’m speaking on.
Okay okay, what was the biggest story of the year on the high school boys side? Hamilton having to forfeit games due to an ineligible player and still going to state and winning, East High School Coach Desmond Merriwether’s death after a long battle with cancer and how the team came together and rallied which made for a movie type of ending. Kind of hard to pick one of the two but both were remarkable stories, filled with what makes Memphis basketball so good. For Hamilton, rolling along, undefeated, off the first win over Oak Hill by any Memphis team in history and being put into the top 10 teams in the country by various websites across the country ESPN.com. Then, the hammer fell on the toe which was Hamilton and the news of an ineligible player hit twitter and spread like rumor in high school. Hamilton went on despite the news and ended up losing to the aforementioned East who’s story kind of seems parallel to Hamilton. This is the only school that beat Hamilton and it was right after the death of Coach Merriwether. For those who didn’t know him, I can’t say what hasn’t already been said about him but Coach Desmond was one of a kind and his kids went to war to honor his name and in doing so, they went through the region lost to Hamilton before beating Bolton to go to state where they lost in the final 4 to Brentwood. Hamilton showed a lot of resiliency after the ruling and it could have went another way for them, pack it in and get it over with or come together as a group and use it as fuel to win even more. I guess we all know what happened, they won state over Brentwood and finished the season I believe as I believe the team with the most loses to ever win state in Tennessee. Mitchell High School led by Coach Faragi Phillips was going for the 2 peat when the season started and that’s exactly what they did despite being ranked as the #2 team in the state in Single A all year behind Union City who they beat by a large margin in the state championship game. Jeremiah Martin was brilliant that game along with Naba Echols and their other senior leaders. I was really impressed with them all season long how they carried themselves as a team. I’m really going to miss watching some of the seniors because this is the class that I watched maybe the most of any class in the city. KJ Lawson, Dedric Lawson, Khalil Spencer, Naba, Jeremiah, Nych Smith and Kylan Phillips, this was truly a good class, talented on the court and in the classroom as all will play college basketball next year. In the private school sector, CBHS was undefeated before losing in the state championship to Brentwood Academy. Congratulations to them on a great season as well at St.George’s who won their state led by State MVP, Chase Hayden and Mr.Basketball winner, Justin Wertner. Other Mr.Basketball winners include Jeremiah Martin and Dedric Lawson of Hamilton who may end up college teammates at the University of Memphis.
So now what, we look forward to next year, 2015-2016 and an early look at the top 5 teams in Memphis.
1. East High School – Return virtually everyone from a team that was a game away from the state championship game with 2 9th graders in the starting line up, a 10th grader and two juniors.
2. Germantown High School – Darrell Brown Jr, Johnathan Bins, Mike Bamrick and Jacob Ivey will lead this team now as seniors
3. Briarcrest High School – Talented team once again with the group to win it next season. Micah Thomas 6’7, WF, leads this team with Maceo Woodard, Mark French and Will Hrubes.
4. Cordova High School – Roderick Brown will be a year older, Blake Williams will be at the helm and jr Kavion Stewar, a later bloomer might have a break out season.
5.Southwind High School – Same team minus Donte Fitzpatrick who will be hard to replace but with Cheatham, Freeman, Eric Turner who’s knee should be better and CJ Marshall, they could be dangerous team.
For many teams, its the first test of the spring/summer, the widely poplar Real Deal In The Rock in Little Rock Arkansas. From all over the country, teams traveled in trying to get a indication of the types of seasons they could have. For years, Memphis teams have had a strong presence in Little Rock and that didn’t change this year. From the Eric Robinson led Memphis Magic organization, who’s 15 year old team featured 7’4 Christopher Yannick to Team Penny’s organization who fielded two 16u teams and their 15s who played up 16u. The Memphis Wildcats also under Team Penny had 3 teams represented in 11u, 12u and 14u who featured Chandler Lawson, one of the top players in the country in 2019. Here are a few of the Memphis prospects that had good showings over the weekend and could propel them into nice spring/summer campaigns.
Team Penny 15s (Black- Golden)
TJ Moss 6’4, he was the leading scorer in all the games that I saw and looks like the year of varsity has payed major dividends. He was in attack mode in transition, the half court, knocked down the 3, showed some vision as a passer and was a shot maker. He was really good to the rim, drawing fouls and pushed it when opportunities presented themselves in the half court and full court. He was one of the best players in 16s over the weekend.
Alex Lomax 5’11, Coming off a great high school season, “Alo” was primary ball handler and did a good job for the most part as a player. Lomax has a great feel for the game and doesn’t back down from competition and as a defender, he’s strong and moves his feet well although he can tend to reach some but makes up for his ability to read passing lanes. Scoring the ball this weekend, he wasn’t at his best but showed flashes of the high school season late where he improved his jumper dramatically making him a tougher player to guard. I don’t expect him to struggle offensively like that much this travel season.
Mark Freeman 5’10, Solid as point guard, finding teammates, Freeman was good. I thought he did a good job of turning ball handlers on defense as he’s known as one of the best defensive guards in Memphis. Like Lomax, he found it hard to make shots some but again, Freeman is another guard who has made tremendous strides in that area.
Ryan Boyce 6’5, Bouncy undersized 4 with future as a wing, he had a few eye catching dunks off the rim showing off his ever improving athleticism. Really good catch and shoot from 10-15 feet but seems really adept with the corner jumper which he hits with regularity.
Team Penny 16s (White- Valentine)
Rodarius Washington 6’5, High motor energy 4 with some ball handling ability, Washington was big in the win to make it to championship game on Sunday. He’s a good rebounder, can guard out on the perimeter some and likes the elbow/ free throw line jumper. A bit of player in between player but one thing I love about him is his toughness.
Kylan Watkins 5’10, Was a spark off the bench and showed some scoring ability which some may not have know that he had getting in the lane for runners and knocking down some big shots. He was a disruptor of the others teams offense putting so much pressure on opposing guards always making it difficult just to get open. He along with a 2 or 3 others can make a claim as the best defender in Memphis.
Tyran Davis 6’0, Like Watkins, Davis bring infectious energy as a defensive minded player who can hit the open 3 as well. He attacks the ball like Watkins and if you thinking about having a big scoring day, he’s going to make you work for every point.
TK Smith 6’3, His confidence has grown and it showed this weekend now becoming more well rounded as a guard instead of people just knowing him for his athleticism although I think he is a big time athlete. He’s a guy who can get his off the pull up, shoot the 3, get to the rim and be dangerous in open court. I think Smith’s best days are ahead of him and has confidence increases, I think college may start to take notice.
Team Penny 16s (Cotton)
Khalil Garland 6’5, Operator off the slash, he has an excellent first step and he was hard to guard especially in the championship game on Sunday. He has good body control and knows how to finish once he gets to the rim and shows some ability as a good defender once the effort in that area increases. Garland has the look of the next high major out of Little Rock.
Tyree Appleby 5’11, Always a quality guard, he added some inches to his frame and his offensive game has improved. Really crafty scoring it, he loves quick 1-2, crossover and get by you for attempts at the rim. I really like him as a penetrator and willing passer once he gets deep. Has a chance to be really good this spring/summer.
Memphis Wildcats 14u
Eric Gray 5’9, Down hill attacker but excels to the basket in the open court, Gray is a aggressive guard who’s not afraid of contact at the basket.
Sky Forrest 6’3, Big guard, Sky is more of a jump shooter but has made and effort to take easier shots through pull ups. A bit methodical but he gets it done, as motor increases, so will production.
Chandler Lawson 6’7, Athleticism has increased tremendously since last year and it showed against WACG where he stretched for shot off the rim for a big time dunk. Lawson is an extremely skilled unselfish wing and while he did play up this weekend 16s with (Team Black-Golden) and showed something’s there, at 14u, he as the ability to dominate a game as a shot blocker, rebounder and scorer. Lawson has also worked as a post up utilizing the short jump hook to add a different element to him.
Jeremiah Martin ( Mitchell H.S.-Middle Pic) , a two time state champion and one of the best guards in the country has decided to open his recruitment back up after committing to Louisiana Tech earlier in the year. The 6’2 long point guard is coming off a state championship and Mr.Basketball Award in TN and in the state tournament was undoubtedly the best point guard of any classification. Jeremiah is a coaches dream, competitive strong willed defensive minded with a facilitator mentality but with the ability to score the basketball off the catch, off the bounce and get to his spot whenever he gets ready and he’s a really crafty finishing as well. As a defender, he might be the best in the area and one of the better defenders in the country on ball but the thing I like most about him is his attitude and dog mentality on the court. His relationship with KJ and Dedric Lawson may have some influence as all 3 have known each other for 9 years plus. Could this and other factors lead him into to choosing his hometown team? I think we will all know soon but best believe, if you get Martin, he’s not just some player from the area to give a scholarship too, he’s more than deserving and would be a steal for the Tiger program to get a guard of this caliber. Jeremiah would have been the Tigers best guard this year as a high school senior. His play will be infectious to his teammates and he would become a crowd favorite of the fans of Memphis. Memphis fans, if you get Martin, you will be glad you did.