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.
This is the first time, I’ve done rankings in awhile and it takes sometime, some will hate them, some will like them, some will love them however it’s what makes the basketball world go in Memphis. I do not look at other rankings when I do my own locally. Well, why is this person over this person and on this site, they are higher than that person on another site. The answer, I don’t know but I don’t base my opinion on the opinion of another because that’s their opinion. Thank you to those who continue to support the site.
1. Johnathan Lawson 6’2 Guard/Forward (Memphis Wildcats) – The last in line of the Lawson brothers, Johnathan definitely takes after his siblings. The freakish long 6’2 pushing 6’3 guard has a piece of each brother which could lead him to become the best brother of them all, high praise but if you watch him, you don”t have to watch long to see. More of a playmaker, than dogged scorer of older brother KJ but he’s very capable, showing it when it’s needed. Highly skilled, Johnathan is a big gamer, Lawson doesn’t shy away from the moment and isn’t afraid of the moment when it arises. He handles like a player much smaller, has vision in the open court as a passer and can finish to the basket. More driver make it happen type right now, he can keep you honest with the 3 and be a shot maker, taker but is at his best finding where he uses his length to his advantage where he is creative with the pass to find the easy scores. He’s anticipates well defensively and knows when and when not to gamble in the passing lanes for a steal and can guard both guard positions as well as the 3 spot when needed. His basketball IQ is as high his age as any of his brothers and his will to win is in measurable. Lawson has the tools to make his own name and be not only the last out but the best in a long line of his brothers.
2. Willie Foreman 6’2 PF (M33M) -Relentless worker on the glass, offensively and defensively, Foreman’s biggest strength is his motor and ability to finish around the rim. He fights for every rebound, using his long arms and is an improving offensive player outside of 5 feet where he can step out to the free throw line and make the jumper and shows some ability to handle in the open court off the rebound but will mostly score off energy and hustle. He’s a good help side defender where he can be a shot blocker/ shot alter type and he will go to war with bigger players for rebounds. He will expand his offensive game because he seems to be a hard worker which will help him become more versatile as offensive player.
3. Kennedy Chandler 5’5 PG (Team Izod)– Diminutive in stature, Chandler gets it done with great ball handling and knack for scoring off the jumper or the drive on floaters and runners. What he may not have in size, he makes up for with skill and toughness and he can run a team in the half court and he can make shots from all over the court which makes him a very viable scoring option. He’s a sneaky good passer and pest as a defender able to bother his opponents using good positioning and quick hands for steals. He plays with excellent pace and savvy beyond his years and never gets rattled under pressure. While not the quickest, Chandler gets by you with handle and is good enough to get his shot on the pull up. Chandler already known around the country as one of the best players in the country, should be among the best players in this class for years to come especially locally.
4. Jaylen Brown 5’9 Guard (Memphis Wildcats) – Puts constant pressure on the defense by always being in attack mode, Brown is a classic scoring point guard that many have become accustomed to in Memphis. Can play off the ball and on, Brown scores it with an assortment of runners, pull up jumpers and hits the 3 at a above average rate so you just can’t play him for the drive. Tough to the basket, where he’s not afraid of contact from bigger strong players. He just has that ability to make the big shot in big moments for his team and seems to relish in that opportunity. He seems to really work well from baseline where he utilizes the floater game and the short jumper and can create space for the jumper from the free throw line to the short corners. He seems to be more comfortable scoring but over time, I think he becomes more of traditional point guard who can score but also facilitate when needed.
5. Kameron Jones PG 5’5 (Memphis WarEagles) -Shooter to the core, Jones is one of if not the best 6th grade shooters in the city. Off the spot up is where he excels especially spotting up in the corner but is a better than given credit for off the catch and shoot 3. He was productive primarily as a shooter but will be asked more of this year at Cordova to be a ball handler and player who can make his teammates better in half court and in transition off the pass. His knock is size but shooting is value and Jones does it as well as any in this class in Memphis.