The Peach State Stars Lived Up to Hype
The Georgia headliners on day one of Holiday Hoopsgiving were more than worth the price of admission.
After a slower start to the year, Milton was able to get on track largely due to a performance from standout guard Bruce Thornton. A day after making his commitment to Ohio State, Thornton looked more aggressive and free-flowing in his game. He got the rim at will and finished everything in the paint. He was spectacular en route to a 27-point performance.
In the following game, it was the other top guard in Georgia’s 2022 class, Scoot Henderson who put on a show in a Kell win over Calhoun (AL). Henderson put together a big time highlight reel, with some thunderous dunks in the open floor. He finished with 30 points and did not play in the fourth quarter of the blowout win.
To end the night, five-star Auburn signee Jabari Smith looked unstoppable in a Sandy Creek win against McEachern. What has become so special about Smith is that night in and night out, he has proven his status among the top players in the nation and Georgia’s top 2021 prospect. He shot the ball from the perimeter, scored on the block, and created turnovers defensively to get himself into the open floor for easy run-outs. He was the top performer of the day for me.
Names You’ll Hear From Again
There were a few committed or signed 2021 players on the day that should have a good impact on their college program and make a name for themselves at the next level. Pebblebrook forward & South Alabama signee Tyler Shirley has enjoyed a great start to the year and will make for a very good and versatile forward in Mobile.
Shirley went toe-to-toe with Carmel Christian (NC) forward and Winthrop signee Ben Burnham who put on a show as well. Burnham had a number of huge dunks and also showed that he can compete on the glass and stretch the floor as well. He should add to Winthrop’s run of success in the coming years.
Grayson forward & Charleston Southern signee Taje Kelly had a really good outing for the Rams in an OT loss to Wasatch Academy (UT). He has a really good motor and competes hard on both ends of the floor. He plays within himself and has a self-awareness that makes him a really good player. He rebounds, he defends, and he finishes in the paint. He should be able to make an impact in Charleston.
Point Guards Everywhere
One of the major themes of the day was point guard play. Seemingly every team and every game had really good play from lead guards.
Shiloh guard Devon Barnes got the day started with a 30 point performance, Tyrese Elliott had a solid day for Grayson, and Wasatch Academy (UT) five-star guard Pop Isaacs ran the show extremely well in a win early on in the day.
Greenforest 2022 guard Chase Cormier was the top passer on the day. He was able to find teammates again and again for easy buckets and dunks, proving that his game as a lead guard is continuing to develop.
Bruce Thornton & Scoot Henderson were previously mentioned as top performers on the day.
To end the night, Sandy Creek guard and Washington State signee Myles Rice continued his hot start to the season with a double figure scoring output. He has shown all year that Washington State was right to offer him and that he belongs at the high major level.