Tag Archives: Bartlett High School

10 Things To Watch For This High School Season

 

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that I can’t wait for basketball season to come from so many people. Well the wait is over and we are finally here as the first week of high school basketball is upon us.

Now I know that many people are wondering, who is going to be good this year, what teams are primed for a state tournament run, who are the best 5, 10 teams in the city, what freshmen can make an impacts and on and on. I’m going to give you 10 things to watch for this season as we get ready to go on the roller coaster that is high school basketball in Memphis.

1.  Obviously, East has a very very talented team, in fact, by some, the best team in the country. They return Mr. Basketball and now Wichita State commit, Alex Lomax, 6’8 Chandler Lawson, 6’9 Malcolm Dandridge and have added a consensus top 3 player in the country in James Wiseman, a 7 ft and 6’5 UAB commit Ryan Boyce.  They also have a strong freshman class with Johnathan Lawson, a 6’6 guard, 6’4 Jalen Brown and 5’11 Tadarius Jacobs. 5’11 Dee Merriwether, Nautica Hartwell and 4 star receiver Keveon Mullins will provide depth nightly. Okay, enough with the semantics, the question is this, will Wiseman and Boyce be eligible to play and the answer is, I don’t know and neither does anyone else at the moment.

Malcolm Dandridge (East HS)
Malcolm Dandridge (East HS)

I’ve heard all that comes with it, it’s not fair, I’ve heard about coaches calling to the TSSAA and I’ve heard some other stuff that I can’t share here however, with the rules in place, I think those surrounding East including Penny Hardaway seem to think they should be fine. When will they have the answer to their question about their eligibility,? I’m assuming soon enough, as they have games approaching, one in fact his weekend at home against Mitchell. If the 2 don’t play, they will be hindered some but  you still have to contend with Lomax, Dandridge and Lawson who are all division 1 players who have been in wars and played against the best players in the country. They will be a different team this year though based on the defections of TJ Moss and Antavion Collum and will rely on some inexperience and youth to counteract those losses.  They will have to defend with bigs and depend on them to handle the ball in situations that they may not necessarily be used to and in some in game moments, you could see Chandler Lawson running the offense. All of this to though is contingent upon the TSSAA and their ruling which again, they hope to find out something soon on.

2.Are the Raleigh Egypt Pharaohs back? I know fans in that area are excited and they should be. Coach Moe Miller, a former player there as well as a GA Tech alum , is trying to resurrect it back from the past few years where they fell on tough times. Some people are saying, they are the best team in 2A this year and a team that can make that run to Mufreesboro this year.

Jordan Johnson (Raleigh Egypt)
Jordan Johnson (Raleigh Egypt)

Deovaunta Williams, a 6’2 guard will be a major catalyst for this year’s team as well as senior forward, Jadakiss Williams,a 6’7 who was able to get his confidence up this summer playing with a good Team Thad team. Ethan Burnett led them in scoring last season and they have some more guards in Darrell Christian, a 6’2 guard and another 6’4 guard in Quintavios Bailey.  I think it’s great when certain schools are good and with this group, Raleigh Egypt should be in the convo as one of the best teams in Memphis. I can’t forget about 6’4 Jordan Johnson as well, one of the areas best kept secrets in 2020. There is no question in my mind, he’s right now a top 10 player in that class and can move up into conversation as a top 5 guy by the end of the season.

3. Is Double A this most competitive classification this year in Memphis? Perhaps it is and there are reasons. For one, I think there are at least 2 times right now that can get out of here this year, the aforementioned Pharaohs and the Hamilton Wildcats. I also think that Mitchell has a shot as well. The Tigers coached by legendary Tiger star Andre Turner will be good and get better as the season goes along. They will need younger guards to step up but have the height and size to compete everyone locally. Remember when I said that it’s good to see certain teams be good? Hamilton is another one of those teams.

They won a state title in 2015 in Triple A but since, things didn’t go so well.2 players from that teams are still playing, Kevon McMahan and Martrell Brooks. Both are starters this year but they got some big news when Jordan “Poppi” Johnson transferred in for this senior year. Johnson is legit as if not the best shooter, the second best shooter in the area.  I’m telling you, barring injury, Hamilton is a top 2 team in Double A in Memphis.

Kevon McMahan (Hamilton HS)
Kevon McMahan (Hamilton HS)

4. Is there a better story right now in Memphis than Nick London? If there is, someone let me know but his comeback has been amazing to watch. For those who don’t know, Nick was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago as an incoming 9th grader. Fast forward a few years later, Nick is playing again and starting at Hamilton where his father played years almost 20 years ago. You can’t make up a story like his and it’s one that if you get a chance this year, you must see.

5. On November 25th, the first annual Larry Finch classic will take place on the campus of the University of Memphis at the Elma Roane Field house. The event will feature  2 coaches who played for the legendary coach in Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, and Andre Turner. The main event will be East vs Findlay Prep who will feature TJ Moss who left for the Nevada school from East, University of Memphis commit, 7’3 Connor Vanover and 7’3, Bol Bol, a top 5 player in the country in 2018 who just transferred there recently. There should be a lot of excitement in the air for that one and some emotion as well headlined by a game that will  have 10 or more division one basketball players.

Penny Hardaway Leads East HS
Penny Hardaway Leads East HS

6.  Are the old powers of Memphis High School basketball coming back around? Raleigh Egypt seems to be moving in the right direction and reclaiming their position as school to fear when it comes to basketball, Can White Station do the same this year?  To be fair, the answer is probably no if your comparing it to the days of Joe Jackson and more recently, Chris Chiozza (FLA) Leron Black but this team is capable of a top 2 finish in 16AAA and right there with Whitehaven vying for that spot. Allen Hatchett and Brandon Brown are going to have to produce numbers every night as scorers and rebound guys. Hatchett’s leadership will be key, it should be his team. Melrose who won a state a few years ago  is still a few year away but a move to Double A should definitely speed up the rebuild for first year head coach, Joe Washington.

7. How good will Cordova be this year? It’s pretty much a new cast for Tyler Harris who many think is the best player in Memphis in 2018. Gone, Rod Brown who enrolled at Wichita State early and Blake Williams who’s he’s played with over half his basketball playing career. Tyler is a dynamic scorer who you simply can’t leave from anywhere on the floor. He’s been a player who played off the ball a lot but this year, the situation may call for him to be more on it which I’m sure he will be comfortable with. There has been a lot talk around his recruitment but I’m sure that Tyler is just looking forward to playing in his final high school season and he will have some help. 6’6 Bruce Guy will be there and should be able to take up some of the slack that Brown left. For them to be pretty good, he needs to adjust and adjust fast in a new district but Bruce is talented enough to get the job done. I can see him being a 18 and 9 or 10 rebound type forming a nice duo.

Tyler Harris (Cordova HS)
Tyler Harris (Cordova HS)

8. Does Lausanne have 2 peat in them? They like a lot of teams lost a few seniors and while maybe not their best players, they were invaluable as leaders for them for years. This is where point guard Ashton Smith and Sky Forrest must will come into play. They are the old guys on the team as juniors along with football players Cameron Simms and Eric Gray with a host of youthfulness and the second best freshman class in the city. Alden Applewhite, Calvin Jennings and Eddie Buxton are their future but at least one of them could be counted on to log some minutes and that will probably be  6’5 Applewhite. 6’4 guard, Bo Montgomery will step into a bigger role this year as well as 6’6 Johnathan Dejurnett who was lost last year to injury and 6’6 Kohan Thompson. On paper, I think this is the best team on the private school side in the city but they still must prove it on the court as well.

9.Outside of East who most think will be  a lock to go to the state, who will be that other team? Southwind, Ridgeway? Southwind will have to replace CJ Marshall’s scoring and maybe they can do it by committee there with guard play. LIU-Brooklyn commit Mark Freeman will do his part and pick up his scoring but where else will it come from nightly? Christian Jones is capable from the outside and had some big games last year for them. 6’8 Kameron Jones who was probably just a bit in their offense last year will now be a big piece to the puzzle if Southwind want’s to go back. Ridgeway without Jalen Crutcher early on will be a transition. They have a nice trio with Antwan Beans,  Antonio Thomas and new to the party, Brandon Mason. Tylar Haynes is a bit undersized but plays a bigger, will be asked to rebound and score probably more than he’s used to along with Will Wilson, a 6’6 who can go inbetween the 3 and 4 position. Maybe that other team can be Cordova? Anyone with Tyler Harris has a chance but a lot teams will be keying in on him and he will see his share of 2 guys on him to take the ball out of his hands and the keys for their state trip. Maybe it’s Whitehaven’s turn to make that ride with Coach Phillips who took several trips there while at Mitchell. Cameron Jones and Matthew Murrell will be in 2 front seats if they take that ride though.

Matthew Murrell (Whitehaven HS)
Matthew Murrell (Whitehaven HS)

10.  Could Bartlett win 14AAA?  It’s been a few years since you could mention Bartlett as maybe winning this district. I think last time it happened, Anthlon Bell was lighting it up there before he headed to Arkansas for 4 years. Now let me say this, are they favorites? No,  probably not but that doesn’t meant they won’t end up winning over there but that league still goes through Tyler Harris and Bartlett has to get over that hump as well as a sound Arlington team who will be ready to play in every game. Coach Real has a few transfers who could help this year in 6’4 Rodney Mason, 6’5 Takori Rooks to go along with guards, Sylvester Thompson, Shemar Brown and 6’2 Jeff Walker. I could be a year early on the prediction but don’t be surprised by them this year.

Bartlett Holiday Tournament Will Feature Area’s Best

 

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For years, the MAM Christmas Classic has been a staple in the  middle school basketball community in Memphis. Each year, this was the tournament to see the city’s best in Large, Small and Private to see who the best team in the city was overall. It’s usually a good indication of who could win the state as well, seen last year by White Station who won the tournament last year, however, things are about to change, at least for the year.

For the first time in the 8-10 years that I’ve covered the MAM, the best teams in the city will not be in the event but in another first year tournament . Bartlett High School will host a holiday tournament that will have 6 of the top 10 teams in the city. It will be held December 21st-23rd and have the likes of Ridgeway, Lester, Snowden, Germantown, Elmore Park and the Memphis Nighthawks who I’ve heard some good things about from several people. This will be an opportunity for them to show how good they  are to those who haven’t seen them as well.  St. Ann and Appling will also be in the tournament as well from what I was told and there could be potentially really good games that we see in this event. Possible Lester Ridgeway part 2? Snowden Lester? How about a Memphis Nighthawks and Lester game.? Some are convinced that the Nighthawks could be a good game for them.

Whatever the games maybe, it will be new and something  different that fans can look forward to seeing this year. I’m sure, details of the tournament will be coming soon.

Transfers To Impact Basketball Landscape This Season

 

Ryan Boyce
   Ryan Boyce- Memphis East
So I received some feedback from the social media post that I made about transfers and I realized, I didn’t talk about any of the transfers, my bad. It would only be right if I did actually include the names of those who have went to different schools and what type of impact I think they have there.

Usually I wait a week or two to say who is going where because I have a 3 day rule meaning, if that student is at that school 3 days or more, that’s where they are going but does it always happen that way, no.  Could there still be a player or 2 that could move to another spot, perhaps and it’s probably going to happen but as of now, I will mention only those that I know about and the schools where they have landed as of right now.

Most Impactful

It all starts with literally the  city’s biggest transfer, James Wiseman, a 6’11 top 10 player in the country in the 2019 class. The versatile 4 man go East after playing 2 years at Nashville Endsworth last season averaging 20 points and 6 rebounds. I’m sure right now with the all the attention surrounding the Mustang program, he is the most talked about transfer right now maybe in the state and his presence will be felt immediately around the city and he bolsters an already really good East team to elite status once again.

In any other year, Ryan Boyce would be the name that everyone would be talking about right now and maybe that’s a good thing for him. Boyce who recently broke his list down to SMU, Memphis and Florida comes over from Houston High School and will bring high major athleticism as well as rebounding and scoring ability to a team that lost some depth. With TJ Moss leaving and Dude Collum leaving for other programs, East depth will be tested some but with those 2 additions, don’t expect a significant drop off for East.

I talked about Jordan Johnson and his move to Hamilton some in a previous article that I wrote about earlier in the month and what I think he could bring to the Wildcats. I will say this, on paper, Hamilton may have the best guards in Double A in the city.   6’9 2019 Luke Howard comes over from Canada and will figure heavily into Harding’s success this season.  I can see him being their leading scorer and maybe the league’s best player mid way into the season.

Brandon Brown will be putting on the green and white this year and playing for White Station after leaving  Overton. The 6’4 to the rim guard will  be big for the Spartans who needed another guard to score along side Allen Hatchett. His move outside of the obvious 2 up top could affect his team the most because it turns White Station into a top 2-3 in district. Not saying they weren’t before but Brown definitely helps them. Antavion “Dude” Collum  left Memphis East and will be playing this year at TN Prep for his junior season. The 6’6 forward is a  3-4 who can handle the ball and from a source close, he could play some point guard this year at his new school.

Another nice pick up for TN Prep, 6’5 Bruce Guy who has several offers  will be playing alongside each other this year. Guy is motor on top of motor, relentless rebounder, score out the face up game and hit the short jumper and the 3. Both players bring a lot of talent to prep school.

There are a lot of people excited about Raleigh Egypt basketball this year and one of the main reasons is the Devontae Williams.  The 6’2 athletic guard finds ways to score and that will be key for the Pharaohs who are looking to return to the days of old after being down the last few years. Keep this in mind, Double A will be tough this year and even better if they can return to the old days.

Since they are Memphis players as well, TJ Moss and Caleb London must be included in this as well as high profile transfers out of the city. If you don’t know, Moss is transferring to Findlay Prep in Nevada while London will be closer, going to Conway Arkansas. London was rated by me as the city’s best 2020 player so a spot for #1 will open up there for someone.

Caleb London As New Home In Arkansas
Caleb London Has A New Home In Arkansas

 

Transfers To Watch

1. Mark Johnson 6’5 2019 Forward  (Southwind from Germantown) Adds length to Southwind along side Kameron Jones. Likely starts for the Jaguars.

2. Calvin Temple 6’0  (Center Hill from Olive Branch) Biggest asset is his shooting and his ability to make shots from all over the floor.

3.Jaylon Saulsberry 6’2 2020 (Kirby from Houston) Will start day 1 at new school at the point guard position. He will be as important to his team as anyone in 15AAA.

4. Rodney Mason 6’4 2020 (Bartlett from Houston) Should start the season as big piece for Bartlett. Brings some rebounding and scoring close.

5.Brandon Mason 6’2 2018 (Ridgeway from Central) Plays along Antwan Beans during the summer so the chemistry should be there for those 2. Mason gives them another ball handler and nice trio with Antonio Thomas as well.

6. Takori Rooks 6’5 2019 ( Bartlett from Houston) Along with Mason, should be a starter first day of practice.

7. Shemar Brown 6’5 2019 (TN Prep from Olive Branch) Part of the transfers that will make TN Prep pretty good for the next 2 years and he’s familiar with both Collum and Guy. They played together years ago during AAU. Brown plays hard and isn’t afraid to mix it upside inside.

8. Latrell Carter 6’6 2018 (Whitehaven from Central) Originally went to Whitehaven so he returns home and Coach Phillips hopes he can upgrade the position from last year.

9. Connor Richardson 6’7 2019 (St. George from Lewsiburg MS) Will at worst, their second best player this season. Rebounds, scores with short jump hooks close.

10.Marcus Lee 6’2 2018 (Melrose from Central) Melrose got hit hard with graduation last year so Lee should have an opportunity to step right in and play.

11. Jalen Clay 5’10 2018 (Southwind from Houston) With a starter leaving Southwind to head to a different state, a spot may have been opened up to play next to Mark Freeman who right now is playing football and may not be ready at the start of the season.

12.Jaylen Sanders  6’3 2020 (Southaven from PCA) Southaven has been up and down the last few seasons. Sanders is a reason to give them some optimism for the next 3 years.

13. Will Wilson 6’4 2019 (Ridgeway from Desoto Central)  Along with Tylar Haynes and David Dixon, Wilson will have to rebound for them but right now he might be a better offensive player than both which helps.

14. Anthony Howard 6’6 2020 (Harding From Canada Just really getting here so it will take some time to get acclimated to the style of play here in Memphis. His older brother is ahead of the curve some (Luke) but he should be adjusted about mid way into the season.

15. Rodney Newsome Jr 6’4 (Briarcrest from PCA) Might be more so of football move but Newsome adds beef to go along with Omari Thomas on the court as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUS Summer Classic Provides Look Into 2016-2017 Season

 

Will Douglas Made His Name Known This Weekend (Pictured W/Ball)
Will Douglas Made His Name Known This Weekend (Pictured W/Ball)

 

Team camp month has come to an end after what I think is the best event during the month of June for high schools, the MUS Summer Classic . 20 plus high schools every year, great competition and most of all, a chance to take a look into the upcoming high school basketball season. Of course, some teams don’t have their whole compliment of players for whatever reasons, whether some kids are deciding to transfer, family vacations, working jobs or not playing because they saving themselves for the pivotal month of July for evaluation period that’s so important especially for sophomores and juniors. Sometimes though, events like this can make people get a high sense of hope depending of who they played through out the event but any who, let’s take a look who I thought were the best 5 teams at the Mus Summer Classic. Before I do that though, let me say this, this is by no means, who might start out as Top 5 teams in the city on my end as a team or 2 who could be in the discussion didn’t not play in the classic. So with that being said, let’s start the show.

1. Brentwood Academy (Nashville Tn) 6-0 – First, I wouldn’t normally do this, put a team from outside of the area in this discussion because well they not from here but the reason I’m doing so now is because, they came in and put everyone on notice, they are the team to beat not only in their classification but in the entire state at least until further notice. Reason why, well there are many but it’s starts with D and D, Darius Garland. He might be the best guard in the state and I know there are a lot of talented guards, 1 here who didn’t play over the weekend due to injury however, Garland particularly against East looked as good as any I’ve seen in the state. Handle on a string, poise, confidence, runs the show but still finds ways to score when he has to. They are very well coached by former a coach who many should remember in Memphis, Hubie Smith who was the helm of Bartlett at one time. Garland isn’t their only player though as they have several players who can hurt you in Jeremiah Oatsvall who is also one of the state’s best quarterbacks and a player who played on the national championship team coached by the late Desmond Merriwether a few years back. Cameron Johnson is a all state wide receiver who was once a top 30 player in the country in basketball as a youngster and Gavin Schoenwald, who was considered the number player in the country by many before a young man named Marvin Bagley came along and took over the crown 4 years ago. Did I mention that Johnson, Schoenwald and Garland have been playing together for 5 years or more so talk about continuity and cohesiveness and it’s them for sure. I’m not saying they can’t be beat but I think it’s safe to go ahead book for room for the state if your a Brenwood fan.

2. East High School (5-1) Took one loss to the team above in a great game on Friday night but make no mistake about it, the road to the state goes through the defending state champions once again. This a group that is definitely a little different though in terms of players than last year. I know what’s probably going through your head if your reading this, they have the same team and they have a lot of same pieces however, 3 of those pieces are new this year. Martrell Brooks and Kevon Mcmahon are new along with 6’6 Dude Mccollum. They must replace their two defensive stalwarts from last season, Courtney Carter and Teddrick McGhee and Kevon I think can do that along with Brooks who maybe than both players from last year  offensively. Mccollum brings versatility, length, scoring and rebounding and of course their main core is back for this year. Gatorade Player of the Year, Mr Basketball and Best Of The Preps player of the Year Alex Lomax didn’t play this weekend and was missed particularly in that game against Brentwood because of his defensive ability. TJ Moss, looked pretty good at times, hitting the 3 and showed the ability to play on the ball as the lead guard on occasions as well. Chandler Lawson was the subject of conversation a few weeks back about whether he would return or possibly prep school it at Oak Hill or IMG Academy but this weekend, he was with his team and showing why he’s one of the elite player in the country in 2019. Malcolm Dandridge, 6’8 improved game by game, at times looks like one of the better bigs in the city at that says a lot because he’s only a sophomore. His progression is key this year as he will play a lot beside senior Rodarius Washington, who cleans everything up on the glass and can be another ball handler when needed. Senior Nick Merriwether will be another player asked to give them quality minutes. Senior TK Smith didn’t play due to illness but will be counted on heavily once again as a primary guy off the bench for the Mustangs.  East is once again, the favorites to come out of Memphis but everyone is gunning to knock them off and they will have to be on their A game every night but I expect that from a Penny Hardaway coached team.

3. Christian Brothers High School (4-2) Played both Brentwood and East really close and was up 7-8 in both games in the 3rd and it wasn’t by default, they deserved to be up in those games and probably should have won. Memphis, let me introduce you to Will Douglass if you don’t know about him already. He’s arguably the best prospect in the class and it shouldn’t be a debate. 6’4 long, best on ball guy in the city of defense, great instincts playing passing lanes, scoring it more with confidence I haven’t seen, hitting the 3, Douglass did it all this week. He had 36 against Brentwood and almost beat them by his self, that’s just how well he played that game as I think it was his coming out party if you were there in attendance. When you mention Blake Williams, DJ Jackson, Chase Hayden, make sure you mention his as well in that top tier. 6’0 Ryan Schweitzer is as pure a  set shooter as you will see in the area off the spot up and is a lefty who will lead them in scoring on some nights along with Jacob Lyons, a strong 4-5, who can put it on the floor or play with his back to the basket and score it. Ben Spence, 6’6, will also be very valuable to his team as he seems to be their glue type, can handle some.They have seen their nemesis the last two season once already (Brentwood) so they know what to expect if they didn’t already but they are probably the best threat to beat them in the state on the private school side.

4.White Station High School (5-1) Only loss over the weekend was to Fayette Ware from a source on a controversial call that led to a 4 point loss but other than that, White Station was pretty good all weekend. A year old with a good group mixed with seniors and juniors, the Spartans will be in the mix in 16AAA this year and they will be there because of Aaron Strother, a 6’2 guard who can play bigger than his height and provide scoring, Adam Price who’s one of the better shooters in the city, 6’3 Michael Watkins, Braxton Winford and 6’2 Allen Hatchett who hit seven 3 pointers in the game against Fayette Ware showing improved outside jumper. He works as hard as anyone in the city on his game and it will pay dividends for him this year. Price is another player who I think can be among the best seniors in the city with his shooting.  Keep an eye on White Station this year.

5. Bartlett High School (5-1) No one really talked about them much this weekend but they quietly went into Saturday undefeated before losing to White Station in the evening game. Coach Real is quietly doing a good job and what they lack in size, they make up for in good guards  with Carlos Sandifer who had a 25 point game over the weekend, sophomore Jeff Walker who’s one of the better players in 2019 and senior Jalen Reed, a 6’1 who could be pretty good for Bartlett this year. Quentin Williams who was used a lot last year maybe counted on this year as well to score this year but they do have a few options that they can go to because of their guard depth. Questions about size will be persist but this is a team that can scare top teams.  Can this be the year that Bartlett makes a lot of noise in 14AAA? With Cordova on that side, not sure but you know, anything is possible in Memphis, night in night out.

Now that I’ve talked about teams, let’s look at the top 10 players from the event in my opinion. I have to say this, this is not a rankings list, just a list of player that I thought were the best players that I saw over the weekend.

1. Darius Garland 6’1 (Brentwood Academy 2018) Regarded as top guard in the state, did little to make people dispute it.

2. TJ Moss 6’4 (East High 2018) Top 3-5 scorer in Memphis

3. Will Douglass 6’4 (Christian Brothers High 2017) You can make a case now that he’s the best player in this class in Memphis.

4. Chandler Lawson 6’9 ( East High 2019) The most unique player in the state

5.Ryan Boyce 6’5 ( Houston High 2018) Was a little bothered by injured back but showed enough to make him appear here.

6. Desmond Johnson 5’11 (Kirby High 2017) Expect big numbers this year, leading candidate to lead city in scoring.

7. Jeremiah Oatsvall 6’1 (Brentwood Academy 2017) Shot maker, tough, heady player.

8. Cameron Johnson 6’1 (Brentwood Academy 2018) Athletic finisher, good mid range game.

9. Taeylr Gatlin 6’2 (Brighton High 2018) Big lead guard, great passer, excellent in transition with his vision.

10.Parker Stewart (Union City) Best shooter maybe in the state

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