OTR Hoops: Georgia Roundtable
Who Is The Early Favorite
for Mr. Georgia Basketball?
For me it is Sharife Cooper, again. The five-star Auburn commit was crowned Mr. Georgia Basketball last year after having one of the most notable junior season’s to date. In addition, he collected City of Palms MVP, Bass Pro Tournament of Champions MVP, Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year, Atlanta Journal Constitution Co-Player of the Year, and Max Preps National Boys Player of the Year. Despite all the accolades and national recognition, Cooper still plays with a chip and is hungry for more.
There is no need to get creative with this pick, Sharife Cooper is the early favorite to repeat as Mr. Georgia Basketball. He became the first junior to win the award since Shareef Abbdur-Rahim did in 1994. Cooper who recently gave his verbal commitment to Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers, is primed for another outstanding season. His heady play-making and creative shot making should leave voters remembering Cooper as one of the best guards to come through the Peach State.
Player Most Likely To Go From Unknown To Star?
Ian Schieffelin isn’t a household name right now, but could end up being a fan favorite and highly recruited by the end of the season. He is a physical, 6-foot-7 big-man with one of the better motors and touches around. Playing in Georgia’s highest classification [7A] and running with a loaded Grayson squad will provide a stage for Schieffelin to breakout.
I loved what I saw from Blake Hadley of Pebblebrook at the OTR Super 64 Camp last month. I had him rated as a high major watch-list prospect. The 6-8 forward has many of the tools that college coaches covet at the next level. It is rare to find a kid at his size that is as mobile and agile as he is. He has a couple of low major offers right now, but I expect that list to grow heading into next July.
Underclassman To Watch?
Anthony “TJ” Grant from Veterans High School [GA] is an underclassman that has the tools to be a star if he puts it all together. At 6-foot-6, Grant has the size and skill set to play the one through three positions. He averaged 10 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2.3 steals per game as a freshman and I expect those numbers to go up across the board in year two.
Sophomore guard Zocko Littleton of South Cobb High School is on my must-watch list this season. Littleton is on a trajectory to become of the most prolific shooters that the state has seen in recent memory. His performance at the OTR Breakout Camp solidified what we saw during the spring and summer circuits.
Will There Be Any McDonald’s All-Americans
In Georgia’s 2020 Class?
I think the state of Georgia will have two McDonald’s All-Americans representing the 2020 class when it’s all said and done. North Carolina commit Walker Kessler and Auburn Commit Sharife Cooper are both consensus top-20 national prospects and are in line for huge school ball seasons, so I see them making strong cases to get in.
I agree here with HYPE SOUTH on his projections of Kessler and Cooper having strong resumes for the McDonald’s All-American committees. However, when separating the best from the best, you look for elite specialties that make them head above their peers. Kessler is made for the modern game of basketball as a 7-footer who block shots and stretch the floor with his jumper. Cooper is an elite floor general who is also made for today’s game, because of his elite ability of running the pick and roll.
Who Is The Most Talented Team In The State [on paper]?
There are several teams I could go with here, but I’m going with the Grayson Rams since I can only choose one. They added Caleb Murphy [South Florida] and Toneari Lane [Winthrop] to join the likes of four-star Devion Smith [Mississippi State], Ian Schieffelin, and Taje Kelly. The Rams are well coached and have been out-talented the past couple years, but that won’t be the case this season. I’m picking Grayson to win it all in 7A.
Berkmar’s roster is tough. Class of 2020 Jalen DeLoach is an intriguing prospect. He has an array of offers from throughout the Southeast. Rhode Island commit Elijah Weaver also transferred in this season. Class of 2021 Camden Blount showed real promise at the OTR Super 64 camp as an athletic finisher. However, class of 2022 forward Malique Ewin is a player that will be all over the national media in months to come. He is a 6-9 that has all the tools to be one of the state’s best underclassman this year. Ohh…and do not forget about 7-foot post Zachary Sotto who also just transferred into the Gwinnett school. The Philippine native could be the surprise of the high school season.
Which 2020 Prospect Will Have
The Smoothest Transition To
The Collegiate Level?
The safest choice here would be Sharife Cooper for obvious reasons, but I’m going to give the nod to Ja’Queze Kirby. The 6-foot-6 combo forward is a workhorse that does whatever his team needs on a game-to-game basis. His athleticism, effort, and approach fits perfectly with Murray State’s style of play and I expect Kirby to compete for meaningful minutes as soon as he gets to campus.
First off it is not easy for any prospect to transition to collegiate level, regardless of ranking, talent or the conference that they will play in. However, looking at a player’s work ethic and overall skill set are good indicators of future success. From all accounts Dwon Odum is a competitor who looks to take care of business on a nightly basis. The other thing that I like personally about Odum, which should lead to early playing time, is his ability to hit the outside jumper with consistency. There are better playmakers in this class, even better athletes, however Odum has the full package of skills including the jumper that could lead to early playing time with the Muskateers.