Tag Archives: Mark Freeman

East 2-Peats!!!

 

East HS State Champs
                                                                        East HS State Champs

 

I remember going to the 16AAA media day at Whitehaven at the start of the season and wondering a little if the expectations might be a bit much for this East team. Sure, I knew they were defending champs but I also knew that this year, there would be a  target big enough to fit on the side of the Fed Ex Forum on their backs, Every team in the city’s best shot, every night and it showed right at the beginning of the season. Melrose fought them hard in their first district game and was within 10 in the 3rd quarter of that game but after a 20 something to 4 run, East found it’s stride in that game and never looked back during the season.

By now we all know what the Mustangs led by Coach Penny Hardaway and Rocky Johnson did on Saturday, they repeated as TSSAA Triple A State champions beating Southwind in an all Memphis final for the second straight year in a row.  It wasn’t easy though especially the second game having to come back down from 6 a few times in the game against a good Oak Ridge team to win it with some big plays down the stretch from their trio of Moss, Lawson and Alex Lomax.  The title game I felt like was one that would be won in the 3rd quarter and I just knew that East would go on one of those runs  like they always do and win in by double digits because I just felt like Southwind was a good team but they didn’t have enough scoring to be able to keep up with East.

Let me say this, the story is amazing in a sense because this was years in the making. We remember the story of Desmond Merriwether and fast forward up to now and you just shake your head and say wow. These Mustangs have been to the state tournament 3 straight years and if you really want to think about it, players like Alex Lomax, Pig Washington and Nick Merriwether have been to the state 5 straight years with 4 state titles if you want to include Middle School in as well (Lester). This is a group that I will remember for as long as been doing middle school and high school coverage as one of the more memorable teams that I can recall.

Chandler Lawson- MVP of The State Tournament
                                                  Chandler Lawson- MVP of The State Tournament

 

Chandler Lawson was named MVP of the state tournament with Lomax, Moss and Malcolm Dandridge making the all tournament. Christian Jones, Mark Freeman and Carlos “CJ” Marshall were also members of the all tournament team for Southwind.  Southwind who won it a few years ago (2012) had a nice run to end the year I thought and Freeman and Marshall were their catalyst. Freeman will return next season along with Jones who played well in the state and Kameron Jones, a 6’7 touching 6’8 developing post who should start to draw interest from colleges this summer. Guard Quentin Williams who had some huge moments in the post season for the Jaguars will also return in a starters role and they should have big Kristian Williams back as well. Someone will have to take up the scoring slack for Marshall and rebounding of Robert Boyd in order for them to be in the running again next season but they will have as good a shot as anyone.

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East could return 4 of their 5 starters for next season and it will likely not only make them the state favorite again but also be in the running as a top 3-5 team in the country next season. Some are saying number possibly and that would be incredible for the school located in Binghampton. Could be see a 3-peat for East? One would have to think that they have a pretty good chance but we can wait till next season to give a definitive answer but for right now, congrats to the East Mustangs, your 2016-2017 State Champs.

Penny Hardaway and Rocky Johnson
Penny Hardaway and Rocky Johnson

Top 10 High School Players In Memphis

 

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Naming  a top 10 list in Memphis regarding high school basketball players is hard on any level, middle school or high school but harder on the high school level. Why? Well, it’s simple, there is just so much talent  in the city. Keep in mind now, when talking about the best 10 players in the 901, it’s not just the 10 best seniors, 10 best juniors, I’m talking about the top 10 players overall, regardless of class. Get the picture now but hey, why not, I’ve done it before so with that said, here is who I think are top 10 players in Memphis regardless of class in high school.

To those who may want to put this in order, you can however, I’m not. THIS IS JUST A LIST AND NOT RANKING!!!

1.TJ Moss 6’4 CG (East HS) 2018  – There was a lot of talent in Memphis last year but Moss could have been in that conversation as well however, definitely this year. Moss is a flat out scorer of the basketball whether from the 3 to mid range or as a slasher, Moss can put up numbers any night. He attacks you, attacks you and then attacks you again, always looking to keep pressure on his defender, finishes with soft floaters over the rim showing great touch close. He might be the best finisher in transition in the city but when fouled, he goes to the line and makes free throws. Loves the pull 3 in transition as well but he an adept 3 point shooter spotting up and off the dribble.   He looks a little quicker to me this year and is getting lower on the dribble in the open floor, seeing the floor and hitting players teammates for lay ups.  Has everything in his repertoire to be dominant scorer nightly and when needed, Moss that ability to turn it on. The East high team is so talented that some nights he may not lead them but make no mistake, he’s a capable 20 point a night guy every time he touches the floor.

TJ Moss (1 of 3 in Double Figures)

2. Tyler Harris 5’10 PG (Cordova HS) 2018 – Best pure shooter in Memphis, hands down. It’s not close, I know there a lot of good shooters here however, Harris on the catch, off the crossover, the pull up, lights out. He will  lead the city in scoring this year but Harris has added some find you in his game over the last year. He’s a  clutch type who isn’t afraid to take and make huge shots in game evidenced by catching fire last year in the state title game against East late. Catch and shoot, off the dribble, the crossover, behind the back, their simply isn’t a shot that he can’t take and you don’t think it’s going in.  Not only is he the 3 ball maker in the state, he may have the best handle of anyone as well and is one of best one on one guys I’ve seen in while. Tyler can put up huge numbers on any night against anyone, evidenced by his 29 point performance against Mae Jemison this past weekend who won their state tournament in Alabama last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 40 point games this year from him, that’s just how talented he is.

Tyler Harris (One of the Best Guards In The State)

3.Alex Lomax 5’11 PG (East HS) 2018 –  Went into the summer underrated and came out with 8 high major offers? Not bad for a player who virtually had no offers   the summer before but it’s not for any reason, Lomax is the real deal. Tough physical punish you for mistakes guard with some flair at times, Lomax may not win a lot of style points but always ends up finding ways to get Ws in the column. Lomax plays with great pace to him, knows when to go to the extra gear, finishes on bigger player and will do something that a lot of guards don’t do, post. An underrated passer as well, Lomax gets in the lane at will,  if you pull up to help, he lobs for dunks or drops off passes for easy points or gets the 2 himself.  He’s the strongest pg in the city and he knows how to take advantage of it and is a solid on ball defender. He plays within himself at all times, never trying to do what he can’t and he looks a bit more explosive with the ball in his hands than in years past.  His shooting has increased so that you can’t leave him for the 3 and he creates space for the jumper via the crossover and step back dribble and uses a variety of floaters and runners for scores. He’s very crafty  and he plays bigger than most opposing point guards locally at 190, Lomax is a handful for anyone.   The state MVP and Mr.Basketball is back for more this year but the scary thing is, he’s still only a junior who’s getting better each year.

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4. William Douglas 6’4 SG (CBHS) 2017 – SMU commit now, Douglass can play free this year and get that elusive state title that he’s been chasing and his team has a chance to do it this year. A lot will be on him though but I think he can handle it.  An athletic fundamentally sound 2 who can score it at a high clip and defend the 1,2 and 3 positions at the high school level. He takes what you give him, the short jumper if you play off, you play tight, he can go back and get to the line or finish. Can flourish in the open court or in half court and is sneaky athletic, probably more so than people give him credit for. Douglass gets good elevation on the jumper and is as unselfish as they come being as talented as he is. He is fighting an injury right now but Douglas is the best private school player in the city and this year, he will live up to that title.

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

5. Jalen Crutcher 6’3 CG (Ridgeway HS) 2017– When he was younger, you saw the potential, long wiry with scoring ability with size. As the years have gone by, you saw potential start to produce and produce big time and now, he’s  a D-1 commit (UT-Chattanooga) and one of the most feared guards in Memphis. He hit 7-3 pointers  in there first  win scoring 33 points putting it out there that he might be coming for the scoring title this year. He has deep range on the 3, 5-6 feet behind the line at times and the soft floater at the basket which I would love to see him use more often because he can do it when he wants.  20 plus for him should be a given and he must carry a Ridgeway team with some pieces but still fighting an uphill battle with Southwind and Houston for supremacy in district 15AAA. Behind Harris, I think he’s the best shooter but I can see some point guard in him particularly at the college level going forward.I think he scores because he has to for Ridgeway but could also be comfortable with the ball in his hands leading. Crutcher is without a doubt, one of the best guards in the city and fans it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you went to see him.

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6. Chandler Lawson 6’9 WF (East HS) 2019–  The most unique player probably in the state with his ability to post, play on the wing and defend 1-5. Freakishly long, Lawson is as athletic as any 6’9 in the state, has touch around the rim with the jump hook and jumper and is finishing stronger at the rim and over it more than in years  past. Handling the ball this year more for East especially off the rebound,  he can score on all 3 levels, start the offense and be a player you can go to when you need a basket. Has a smoothness to his game and great feel for when to be aggressive, he’s unselfish at times to a fault but non the less, a great quality to have. His length and wing span make him a nightmare offensively and defensively because on the offensive boards, he’s hard to keep away because of his reach, tipping the ball to himself and defensively he gets a lot of deflections and steals because of his ability to cover so much ground with his length . Has some point forward in him and play maker ability and is a mismatch for bigger players and hard to guard for smaller players because he can just go over the top. Might end up stretching out to 6’10 which makes an already elite prospect  have a scary future as a player who will be able to play on the wing full time

TJ Moss (1 of 3 In Double Figures For East)

7. Ryan Boyce 6’5 SF (Houston HS) 2018– Bouncy 3-4 who will be the go to for Houston this year and I think he’s ready for that role. He might have been in that  last year but this year, it’s definitely his team. Boyce knocks down the 15 footer with regularity but has also worked to improve range to the 3 as well. He  has improved his ball handling  and he plays above the rim at all times. Maybe the most athletic player in the city, he uses it to the rim for athletic finishes. Can create for himself off the dribble but seems more comfortable with shooting the short jumper off the catch.  He crashes the offensive and defensive boards with his high motor, making him a double double virtually every game and he is an active defender capable of high light blocks because of his athleticism.  He boast a few offers on his plate as a player who projects as a wing on the college level including from the likes of  Ole Miss, UT-Martin and Florida.  He’s is the heart and soul of Houston and as he goes, they go this year.

 6'5 Ryan Boyce Already Has Ole Miss Offer  (2018)

8. DJ Jeffries 6’7 WF (Olive Branch MS) 2019– Plays in Olive Branch but with Memphis ties and running with Memphis based Team Thad, Jeffries deserves to be here and why not. Top 5-10 player in the country by several scouting services including ESPN and 247 Sports.  Jeffries might be the best scorer of anyone in this 10 and anyone in the surrounding area. Athletically, you won’t find many in the country on his level. He gets numbers off the bounce, the 3, to the rim with dunks, dribble pull ups, Jeffries is a terror offensively, super skilled, just flat out knows how to score the  and is a threat to get 25-30 points in every game. For Olive Branch to make the jump to an elite team and be in the mix for state, Jeffries production will have to be high but I think he’s a player who is ready to take that step this year with his team.

djjeffries

9. Mark Freeman 5’10 PG (Southwind HS) 2018 – Stable over the last 3 years for Paul Edwards, Freeman is undoubtedly one of the best point guards in the state. Natural point guard with scoring ability, Freeman excels in the transition game using his quickness as a finisher and a passer and has the  ability to run offense in the half court. Freeman has really improved his jumper over the years and is a player who can get going and score in spurts via the 3. He’s a ball hawk on the ball, who frequents creates open court steals in the games that I’ve watched him. He plays angles well, has quick hands and takes chances as a defender when they present themselves which makes him maybe the best point guard defenders in the area. Freeman has really good handle and uses it to create space for his jumper or finding gaps in the defense for his or a teammate offense.  He’s capable of impacting a game either scoring or distributing and shows all the signs of a college pg at a high level proved by his offer from Alabama and Coach Avery Johnson. A big time gamer, Freeman is the type of guard who can carry a team deep into the post season and I think he can do that . If Southwind is to go back to the state for the first time since 2012, it will be based on how Freeman leads this season.

Mark Freeman  2018 (Southwind HS)

10. Carlos “CJ” Marshall 6’5 WF (Southwind HS) 2017- The UT-Martin commit  has kind of been overlooked through the years among the best players in the city but not this year, Marshall deserves this spot. Marshall is do it all 3-4 who can score the ball from anywhere but does a lot of work through the mid range game. Loves the pull up jumper from the elbow to 15 feet out  but won’t hesitate from 3 where he can get hot.  He gets to the rim with a good first step, can  play the mismatch game and tries to  find the mismatch and  and exploit  smaller players. He can post and finish over the top. Aggressive with the ball  in his hands, Marshall can also initiate offense for his team and is a he’s a versatile defender who you can put on a 2, 3 or 4 and guard some 5s on the high school level.  Hard nose type of player, Marshall is as tough as any player in the city and the type of player you need if you want to be playing in March.

Others In Consideration

1. Desmond Johnson 5’11 PG( Kirby High School) 2017 – Was hard to leave him off, really hard, dynamic scoring point guard.

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2. Blake Williams 5’11 PG (Cordova High School) 2017 – Another that was tough to leave off.  One of the top 3-5 point guards in the city still and a player who you just can’t forget about when your playing Cordova because Williams will hurt you.  I think he’s as important as Harris in their success this year.

blakewilliams

3. Demarcus Mitchell 6’7 PF (Germantown High School) 2017– UT-Chattanooga commit is a strong athletic 4-5.

4. Rod Brown 6’5 Forward (Cordova High School) 2018 27 in game over the weekend for athletically unmatched forward in the city.The Arkansas Razorbacks I believe have offered.

Rod Brown 6'6  (Cordova HS)

5. DJ Jackson 6’5 Forward (Fayette Ware High School) 2017 – Constant in the conversation over the years as a top 5 player in this class locally. Jackson should be back on the court soon coming off surgery.

6. Jordan Johnson 5’9 PG  (Central High School) 2018 – 26 in a win over a big Central Park team last Friday.  Johnson can play with any guard in Memphis.

7. Cameron Jones 6’6 WF (Whitehaven High School) 2018- Will be in much different role this year for this team as their leader. Has to be get the bucket guy and rebounder if Whitehaven hopes to finish above 4th in district as predicted by league coaches.

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8. Chase Hayden 5’11 PG (St.George) 2017– Wouldn’t you know, the Arkansas football commit  is a  pretty good basketball player as well winning Mr.Basketball  last year. Chase is the best point  guard in private school and it would take a lot for anyone to dispute that in my eyes.

9. Malcolm Dandridge 6’8 PF/C (East High School) 2019– Big time prospect, hasn’t sniffed potential yet but looks really good so far in this young season.

10. Taeylr Gatlin 6’3 PG (Brighton High School) 2018 – If he was in the city, Gatlin would be more talked but let me give you look into him. Big point guard who can score it but is a passer at heart. Gatlin is a division 1 basketball player.

Again, THIS IS NOT RANKING but a list of who I think are the top 10 players in the city.

2018 Top 5 (11/02/2015)

TJ Moss 6'4 Combo Guard (Team Penny)
TJ Moss 6’4 Combo Guard (Team Penny)

 

1. TJ Moss 6’4 SG/PG  East High School – Wired to score, Moss made a name and a big one on the circuit this summer with Team Penny garnering a spot in the ESPN top 20 for freshmen in the country. The slender guard gets it done with myriad of ways to score, the 3, the pull up 15 footer, to the rim as a slasher but as really improved as a 3 ball maker over the last year. He can finish with fouls, create off the dribble I think he’s an underrated passer in that mode and can play some lead guard if need be but is at heart a scorer. Capable of big scoring outputs whenever he’s on the floor, just really knows what to do when it to put points on the board. He keeps defenders off balance because he’s versatile scoring it but I would love to see him rebound a little bit more at that big guard position and continue to be a playmaker for others as he can be when engaged. Love his ability as player who isn’t afraid to take a big shot as I saw him make a few game winners this summer. There is no denying TJ as a player who has a chance to a HM player.

2. Tyler Harris 5’10 PG/SG  – Cordova High School – Tyler has always been among the best players in his class and it hasn’t changed. Known primarily as a shooter, Harris is now showing some creator in him for his teammates as a passer but you know what Harris is, one of the best shooters in the country and isn’t up for debate. Loves hesitation pull up at the top but can make shots from every spot on the floor and has really good handle that gives him the ability to rise up over and get that shot he wants including the floater which also uses well.  Always under control and confident,  he’s a big time gamer and up for the challenge against anyone. This year, he will be asked to be pg, not a traditional pg but he can play that spot and play it well, question is, that that take away from what he does best which is score but he must be in that role to keep from being labeled a small 2 guard. I think he’s in for a big year and one that might thrust him into the conversation as the best player in the class locally.

3. Ryan Boyce 6’5 SF – Houston High School – Bouncy athletic 3-4 who really gets off the floor and is one of the more gifted guys in the area with his ability to play over the rim. Boyce is a quick jumping, mid range maker who is a bit undersized for where he plays but he’s highly effective. He’s really active around the glass and is great in transition and shows some ability as a ball handler although he will need to work hard to be able to be on the perimeter full time which he still has time. Really love his attitude on the floor, comes across quiet but is tenacious as a player and will not shy away from contact.

4. Alex Lomax 5’10 PG – East High School Maybe the best pure point guard in the city but just to be in debate as a 10th grader says a lot about “ALO” The strong bodied leader, runs the shows, is vocal, a trait which point guards need, he can make the open 3, get middle to kick out for shots for his teammates, is a high level defender but is at his best as a passer and guy who can thrive in open court as a decision maker or play the half court game. Exudes a level of confidence, that you don’t see in players going into their sophomore year. He won’t try to do to much that he can’t do but to become an even bigger college prospect, the ability to hit that jumper consistently will be key which he has worked on improving off the pull up. Not overly quick or  athletic but Lomax is a get it done player who you would love to have on your team and someone you would hate to play against because of his competitiveness. He is a classic East High guard, tough and a winner.

5. Mark Freeman 5’10 PG – Southwind High School – Him and Alo are little similar, Freeman is quick on quick, good with the ball in hands as a passer, a really good on the ball guy on defense, a constantly getting better offensive player who can’t leave for the jumper. He is a player who you can count on night in night out to be productive at the point guard spot and Mark is really coach-able and will do what’s asked of him. Not really a score first type which bodes well for him long term but will have to show like some other guards, that he can hurt you offensively as well. Freeman works hard so that shouldn’t be a problem and he will be player who will play at the D-1 level when he’s done with high school.  Really had a nice finish to the summer, particularly in Vegas where he gained a lot of attention of schools including Alabama. Southwind has there leader for the next 3 years and a good one in Freeman.

Team Penny Wins National Title

Team Penny Captures AAU National Title
Team Penny Captures AAU National Title

Lamarcus Golden and Team Penny captured a national title, 86 66 over the Michigan Gators at Southwind High School. That’s 2 in a row for this organization with last year Desmond Merriweather coached team winning last AAU season. I think this 2018 group has a chance to be a really good EYBL team next season!! Congratulations to Coach Golden, Coach Freeman and Team Penny!!!

The Number 1 High School Team In The City???

 

 

East High School Remains At #1
East High School Remains At #1

Now that the team camps are over for high school teams, we can get to who I think are the top 5 teams in the city. This doesn’t mean that this team may stay there all the way through when the season actually starts however just a look into some of the best teams that I saw, key word being “saw” during the month of June. Ladies and gentlemen, 901Prep’s Top 5 ranking of high school teams in Memphis.

1. East High School – From what I saw, this is the best team in the city and there are several reasons for my decision to put them here. For starters, they return their virtually their entire core and when I say entire, I mean everyone. Rising Sophmores Alex Lomax,  TJ Moss, Jr Courtney Mclemore, Jr Rodarius Washington who were starters last year are all back and Teddrick Mcghee who is also a great football player  and was a starter . Last year, they went on a great run to end the season and made it to Mufreesboro losing in the Final 4 game to Brentwood, just a game away from a dream season. Not bad for a team full of freshman and sophomores with no expectations right? That team will be back, a year older, more mature and ready to finish this year off with a state championship but with a few new faces including 2019, 6’8 Chandler Lawson, a consensus top 10 player in the country and Malcolm Dandridge,a burgeoning 6’7 with high upside to match. They have great guard play, length, lots of talent but still lots of youth which can’t be discounted but this is a team very very capable of going back to state and this time winning but again, this is way early and again a young group to depend on. Have to mention also that they may have a new coach in the fold in Memphis legend Penny Hardaway who coached them at the University Of Memphis team camp and MUS. His addition is huge to a group that he knows because of his time at Lester where he won 3 middle school state sectionals will greatly enhance their chances because of his familiarity them. The only starter or future starters in the group that didn’t play for him is Lawson and Moss. They took a loss to Brentwood Academy in the MUS Summer Classic who won state in private last year but turned around and beat very good Germantown team who beat Brentwood by double digits the next day after their loss. I had  two teams to choose from then but that made the decision a little easier. This is the team to beat and one likely to be in this position through out the season.

Key Players:  6’4 TJ Moss, (#18 on ESPN 2018 rankings) 2018 5’11 Alex Lomax, 2017 6’4 Rodarius Washington, 2016 6’2 Courtney Mclemore, 2016 6’7 Robert Washington, 2017 5’7 Nick Merriwether, 2019 6’8 Chandler Lawson, 2019 6’7 Malcolm Dandridge

2. Germantown High School – Senior laden team and a good one!!! Strong guard play with Darrell Brown Jr, a Tulsa commit, who is one of the best scoring guards in the state,  Jonathan Bins, 6’2 Michael Bamrick, a shooter, Rodney Williams, a strong athletic 4 man, Jacob Ivey and transfer, 6’7 Marcus Mitchell, who will provide some inside scoring ability and rebounding which they needed at times last year.While it can be tough to repeat what you did in Middle School, parts of this team has been together since 7th and 8th grade and were apart of a state sectional championship 5 years ago. This is group that has a lot of chemistry and cohesion, been through tough games and now, many are expecting this to be the year for Germantown to get out of here and on the state and with that becomes expectations and a little pressure. Brown is the heart and soul of this team but Williams does the dirty work while Bins is a solid guard who can be another point guard and get you 10-15 points a game. Mitchell will be a big time addition for the Red Devils and Coach Davis. The added length will allow them to have interchangeable lineups, big or small and give Williams help on the glass. Is this the year for Germantown? It happened in 8th grade for a few of them, maybe history repeat itself.

Key Players: 2016 6’0 Darrell Brown Jr, 6’0 2016 Jonathan Bins, 2016 6’5 Rodney Williams, 2016 6’7 Marcus Mitchell, 6’4 2016 Jacob Ivey, 2016 6’2 Michael Bamrick, 5’9 2016 Dacoda Stone, 6’0 2016 London Gool

3. Cordova High School –  One of the more talented rosters in the city, Cordova after a few years off, came back to the scene last season where they finished just a few games away from a state berth. At the head of this team, Blake Williams, a name that’s been among the city’s best players for the last few years but really came on strong late in the year. Blake is one of the top 4 pgs in the City and you could argue, that he could be the best. It will all start with him but Rod Brown, a rising sophmore and one of the best young players in the state could come into his own this year. Brown is super athletic 3-4 who in transition and at the rim maybe as good as anyone in Memphis. 6’8 Jalen Dupree has turned himself into one of the best big man prospects in the city and rumored to have interest from Memphis. Dupree is a rebounder shot blocker who will benefit from playing summer basketball this year at a high level. Kavion Stewart will also play a large role with his ability to slash and hit the jumper but also look for Cordova to make a splash with a transfer or two. The lights will  be on them this year and they should be, Cordova has a really talented team.

Key Players: 2017 5’11 Blake Williams, 2016 6’4 Kavion Stewart, 2016 6’8 Jalen Dupree, 2018 6’6 Rod Brown

4.Southwind High School – Like Arlington, the Jaguars lost a lot of talent last year and must find players on the roster to take up for what they lost. Donte Fitzpatrick is off to Ole Miss, was their top scorer, best player last year and now, they have to find a go to guy to fill his shoes. Enter in Carlos Marshall, a 6’4 forward who can play with the ball in his hands on the perimeter and score from mid to low post. His value to his team will substantially increase as he will likely be required to be that guy but Mark Freeman could be a player who they can go to as well. Freeman quick true pg who can score and a terrific defender on the ball where he can wreck havoc for opposing point guards. His jumper has improved as as made him a viable scoring option any where on the floor. 2017 Robert Boyd is starting to come into his own some and will be relied upon this year, maybe in a starters role and Tyler Brewer who didn’t play last year is said to be back in the fold again as one of the teams guards. 6’6 Freshman, Antavion Collom is top 3 player in the freshman class and one of the immediate impact freshmen in the city. He’s a versatile as any, can be a guy than can start the offense as big guard/forward, handle, create with the pass and be an added rebounder to help Boyd and Marshall on the boards. Maybe not as talented as their teams have been in the past but this is still maybe even the team to beat still in 15AAA because they have always seemed to be right there and winning in the past few years and even with #2 Germantown being in this district. I’m looking for big years from Mark Freeman and Carlos Marshall and to keep them in contention all year long.

Key Players: 2017 6’4 Carlos Marshall, 2018 5’10 Mark Freeman, 2019 6’6 Dude Collom, 2017 6’6 Robert Boyd

5.Arlington High School – One year removed away from a state appearance in 2014, Arlington was just a game away losing to eventual state champions, Hamilton. They lost keys guy in Adarius Avery and Kendall Jefferson but do return Nathan Hoover, one of the best shooters around in 2016 who has received multiple interest and some offers from schools around the country. 6’6 Sophmore Garret Golday is also back after a starters role last year and he should be much better after summer on the circuit but had a nice year in his freshman season. Luke Wiseman will be another handler who maybe asked to score a little bit more this year but is I think up to the task and transfer Demonte Person,  a best of the preps player from last year is now there and will bring scoring from the point guard position and a guard who can give them 15-20 point per night on average. I think Hoover becomes one of the top 5 scorers in the city and could theoretically make a case as the best player in 2016 with Fisher, Thomas leaving the city.They will have a lot of competition in district however from the #3 ranked Cordova but this is like last season, a team that capable of a similar run as last season.

Key Players: 2016 6’3 Nate Hoover, 2016 5’10 Demonte Person, 2017 6’2 Luke Wiseman

This is just a look into the upcoming season. One of these teams could drop out depending on who I see in scrimmages etc before the next season starts and again, these are based on teams that I’ve seen in person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memphis Team Camp Schedule (Monday- 6-15)

New Look Bolton?
New Look Bolton?

The Memphis Team Camp will be held on Monday, June 15th on the campus of the University of Memphis at the Larry O.Finch Center. All games will take place on Monday as there will be no games on Tuesday as in previous years of the team camp. Some of the players slated to play in the camp include, Union City shooting guard, Parker Stewart who will have division 1 teams on him soon, Cordova featuring Blake Williams one of the areas best point guards if not the best, Rod Brown, a 6’6 forward who will remind some of a young version of Adonis Thomas and son of former Arkansas Hog, Kavion Stewart, a 6’4 slasher. Chase Hayden, a two sport star at St.George,  Job Vernor (Center Hills), Olive Branch freshman, 6’6 DJ Jeffries,  Southwind’s Carlos Marshall who’s name has blown up some this summer, freshman, 6’6 Dude Mccollum and top 5 point guard in the city, sophmore Mark Freeman. East High will feature TJ Moss, a 6’4, 18th ranked player in the country by ESPN, Alex “Alo” Lomax, another one of the best point guards, Rodarius Washington and Chandler Lawson, a top 10 player in the country in 2019. Mitchell High School new head coach, Andre Turner comes out for the the first time and   features Tevin Ollison, one of the areas best shooters and  Bolton’s Jaylen Fisher while I’m not sure if he will play because of a possible transfer to prep school but should be noted that his team is  playing in the camp as well.

9:00 am games  Hamilton vs ECS – Finch Center

Desoto Central vs Memphis Catholic- Campus Rec.

10:00 am games Hamilton vs Desoto Central – Finch Center

Kirby vs Memphis Catholic – Campus Rec.

11:00 am game    Southaven vs Manassas – Campus Rec.

12:00 pm games  Southaven vs ECS – Finch Center

Kirby vs  Manassas – Campus Rec.

1:00 pm games    Bolton vs Union City – Finch Center

Cordova vs Olive Branch – Campus Rec

2:00 pm games     Cordova vs Union City – Finch Center

Bolton vs Olive Branch – Campus Rec

3:00 pm games    Wooddale vs St.George – Finch Center

Fayette Ware vs Craigmont – Campus Rec

4:00 pm games    Woodale vs Fayette Ware – Finch Center

St.George vs  Craigmont – Campus Rec

5:00 pm games    East vs Power Center Academy – Finch Center

Grenada vs Southwind – Campus Rec.

6:00 pm games    East vs Grenada – Finch Center

Power Center vs Southwind – Campus Rec

7:00 pm games    Mitchell vs Steele (Missouri) – Finch Center

Center Hill vs Douglass – Campus Rec

8:00 pm games   Mitchell vs Center Hill – Finch Center

Steele(Missouri) vs Douglass – Campus Rec

 

Briarcrest Summer League: Day 1 Observations

 

Jaylen Fisher (Bolton HS)
Jaylen Fisher (Bolton HS)



The first official summer league of the city kicked off at Briarcrest Christian School today with several teams and coaches trying to get a feel for each other for the first time and some for the last time as seniors. Last season is a memory and now, the 2015-2016 season is coming and it’s not as far as one may think. We only have about 150 days or more until the season starts, I mean, that’s not a long time is it? Okay, well maybe but then again, it’s my favorite time of the year so I always look forward to it. I also love the month of June, the team camps as this is a first look at who can be contenders, the transfers and where the city’s best 9th graders will go and this year, it could a year of big time transfers. Below is a look at some of the teams that I had a chance to watch on Monday evening and again, these are just the teams that I saw as I didn’t get a chance to view everyone.

Harding – This is a team coming off a season where they went to state kind of out of no where getting hot at the end of the year, at the perfect time. There best player and leading scorer is back in Anthony Yarbrough who will be big time bucket guy this year for the Lions. at 6’4, Yarbrough can get to the rim off the crossover and finish and hit the 3 and go inside to rebound for his team which he will have to do. I really like his length and ability to slash for scores or get to the free throw line. As he goes this year, so will Harding and he has help in point guard, Bryant Lee, a bruiser lead who loves to attack and draw for teammates or finish at the rim and 11th grader, 6’3  Julian Isabel, an athletic 3 with bounce and scoring ability  around the basket.

Anthony Yarbrough (One of the City's Best Kept Secrets)
Anthony Yarbrough (One of the City’s Best Kept Secrets)

 

Southwind will always have a pretty competitive team and this year will be no different for them and they have some familiar faces to make  another run this year at district championship. Mark Freeman, CJ Marshall and Robert Boyd should all be back even though none played on Monday so that will make for a formidable trio to go along with Leiland Kirkendoll, Eric Turner if the knee is closer to 100 percent this year and one of the top 3 freshmen in the city, Antavion “Dude” Mccollum, a super talented 6’6 with handle and ability to be facilitator at his height. 11th grader Kendall Edwards will also play a bigger role this year as well as Tre Davis Fisher but it all starts with Freeman and Marshall. They are going to look a little different but they will be good team in Triple A this year.

Bolton will look much different but one of the best guards in the country is back to run the show in Jaylen Fisher and a big post presence in Martavious Wilson, a 6’8 270 5 who can score with his back to the basket. Fisher is as good a play maker as anyone is in the country and his vision is outstanding however, this year, he will be expected to score a lot more, maybe at a 18-20 point a night type clip. AJ Jones will play on the ball a lot as well and do some scoring but with Bolton, Jaylen has to have a great year to repeat the success that they had last year in 14AAA.

Arlington along with Southwind maybe the most talented team in this team camp with Nate Hoover, the city’s best shooter, Garrett Golday, a 6’6 getting better every time face up 4 who has improved athleticism, Luke Wiseman, who started last year and a big transfer in Demonte Person who led Kingsbury in scoring last year and was a best of the preps pick. The ball will be in Hoover’s hands and when it is, good things will happen but I also expect Person to be able to  have some big scoring game as well. This team is the popular pick for 14AAA this year and I can see why.

Briarcrest has been decimated by transfers as I’m hearing that potentially 3 starters will leave the Saints but we know this is Memphis so I will believe it when I see it but 3 of 4 starters were not there on Monday. Without them, Briarcrest might be a middle of the pack type of team but they do have another transfer who will give them a great lift in the scoring department, Nate Vaughn. He started the year off last year with a 40 point game and was in the top 5 of the city in scoring for Memphis Metro last year. Will Hrubes will be relied on heavily for offense this year and leadership and be given a chance to solidify himself as one of the best players in the city with a good year.  If they don’t get back the 3 that were not there, expectations will be lowered but if they can some how get French, Woodard and Thomas back, this is top 5 team in the Memphis but that’s a big if.

MUS beat Bolton by 4, 44-40 in a pretty good game with Luke Wilfong and others hitting timely shots. The 10th grade Wilfong has grown some and added some weight to his body and it will help him scoring the ball. Josh Gray and sophomore John McBride will play huge roles in their success this year.

Again, I didn’t see everyone but on tomorrow, I hope to finish some of the teams that I missed out on on Tuesday. While I’m not saying this is the best team because I think  that title belongs East, I think the best team at the team camp is Arlington and then followed by Southwind and Harding then Bolton or you could flip the last two teams  if you wanted.

Top 10 Point Guards In Memphis

Alex Lomax- Memphis East (Is He a Top 10 PG In Memphis Right Now)
Alex Lomax- Memphis East (Is He a Top 10 PG In Memphis Right Now)

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, Jamerson Washington– 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.

 

Real Deal Rewind

Tecorrian Smith (6'3 SG- Team Penny)
Tecorrian Smith (6’3 SG- Team Penny)

 

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.

TJ Moss (Team Penny)
TJ Moss (Team Penny)

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.