Travel Series Superlatives: Best Shot Blocker & Biggest Storyline
As wrap up the travel basketball season and head into the high school season, we look back on the 2020 LakePoint Travel Series. With the whole season crammed into a matter of weeks, it was a hectic, but very fun ride with a lot of good basketball and noteworthy performances to look back on.
Best Shot Blocker
Dan McDonald: Felix Okpara, EAB (Pictured)
This one isn’t really close. If you played against EAB this summer, you probably didn’t have much success scoring inside because of Felix Okpara. He’s 6-foot-11 and super long and athletic. And not only that, but he has great timing going after shots. He’s in the conversation for the best shot blocker I’ve seen in 11+ years covering recruiting. I can’t wait to see his offense catch up because he could be a scary prospect.
Carter Wilson: Felix Okpara, EAB (Pictured)
Okpara has a rare combination of size, length, and ability to time shot attempts to get a hand on them. During the second LIVE Showcase, EAB had their anchor in the middle and nobody was making shots from anywhere near the paint. He challenged everything that came his way and blocked, changed, or affected more shot attempts than I could count. He's one of the best shot blockers that I've seen in recent memory, probably going back to Georgia's 2017 class and Ikey Obiagu, who was an extremely gifted rim protector. He's worth the price of admission just to watch on defense.
The entire reason we started up the Battle For Georgia Qualifier was to truly give any team in the state a chance to earn their way into the Battle For Georgia. When we scheduled the Qualifier this year, I really had no idea what to expect from Bostic Next Level. I had a few teams in mind that I thought could win based on what I had seen and they weren’t one of them. But after just one game, it was clear they were a real contender. Not only did they advance, they did so in epic fashion by making a big comeback against a really good AC Georgia team and hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win. It was THE highlight of the summer for me.
The ultimate storyline of the 2020 travel season was the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on sports as a whole, but to basketball specifically. This has greatly affected the players in the class of 2021, which has tremendous depth here in Georgia as well as across the southeast. There are a lot of under-recruited players in the class, which could serve some programs well if/when they see those players. (We will touch on those under-recruited players in tomorrow's superlatives). There will definitely be some adjustment to recruitment, and players, parents, and coaches will have to be very patient with the process. We did our best with the hand that 2020 dealt us, and we know that other platforms will as well. To all the class of 2021 players: hang in there and don't panic, you still have plenty of time left to be seen!