#OTRHoopsReport – Top Story lines from the Tip Off Classic – November 18, 2019
NORCROSS, Georgia – An early season eight game slate provided a glimpse into what to expect this season from within the state of Georgia. Some players played up to expectations, some exceeded and even a couple new names earned ink into our notebooks. Here is a recap of the major story lines from this weekend.
Story by: Jonathan Hemingway (@JLHemingwayPSB)
There will be plenty of talk about the new faces in uniform for coach Jesse McMillian’s Blue Devils (JT Thor, Kok Tat, Josh Taylor). But it was a returning player who led the way on Saturday night. Kevon Eskridge connected on four 3-pointers and scored a game high 20 points in a win. The available senior should be one of the key contributors for Norcross should they get back to the GHSA Class 7A championship game this year.
We called it in the TOC preview, the Grayson duo of Devion Smith and Caleb Murphy could be the best duo in the state. They sure backed up that statement in a convincing win over Berkmar. The pair of guards combined for close to 40 points in the runaway win. Not to be overlooked in the win, however, was the play of Toneari Lane. The Winthrop signee has put in serious work on his jumper and looks to a perfect wing compliment to Smith and Murphy.
Cooper Has Help
It looked as if things were going to unravel for the defending state champs in the 6pm match-up. Back to back 3-pointers in the last ten seconds of the third quarter gave South Cobb a one point lead heading into the final stanza. One problem: Sharife Cooper has been here before and was not about to let that happen. Yet the eye-opening performance was by his teammate Cam Dowell. His game high 32 points should point to an important fact for Mike Thompson’s Indians; Cooper will not have to do it all every night.
No Seniors…No Problem for Pebblebrook
Coach George Washington has a lineup that is hungry and competitive. Despite not having a senior that contributed with double digit points, the trio of Jamall Clyce, Kaleb Washington and Danny Stubbs were more than enough to take down Southwest DeKalb. Stubbs (19 points) long range accuracy is most notable here. If he can keep up that pace of shooting this season, expect to see the Falcons make another deep run in the post season tourney.
Lanier is a Threat
The addition of class of 2021 guard Andrew McConnell has been huge for coach Branden Mayweather and his Longhorns. They now have a signature playmaker who can hit the big shots when needed. Lanier’s lineup was already stout with Tulane signee Sion James leading the way. However, McConnell brings an important spike of ball handling and scoring that is needed in big moments.
Beaty on the Rise
Every November there is an unsigned player who catches our attention as a player who may be ‘overlooked.’ Senior combo guard Braxton Beaty of the Lambert Longhorns earns this designation after scoreing 22 points in an impressive outing in a win versus Discovery.
Therrell (Panthers) on the Prowl
Robbie Armbester backed up a great fall showing at the OTR Super 64 Camp by leading Therrell with 23 points in a win over Westside Macon. The Panthers are far from a one-man show. Ra’Sean Frederick, Cam Forstson and Roman Son also showed why they should once again be considered the favorite to repeat on Class 2A as state champs.
Archer Off and Running
Any time a team scores 100 points or more, it is impressive. When you can do that in the 10am game slot..whoah! Coach Joel Lecoeuvre is pushing the right buttons with this group already. They are hungry and ready to prove that they belong in the conversation of contenders in Class 7A. Guard CJ Hines led the way with 21 in the Tigers 108 point outing.
Jonathan Hemingway is a national evaluator for OntheRadarHoops.com. He serves as a Naismith Player of the Year Voter and has been involved in the basketball community dating back to 1995 while he served as a student assistant coach under Don Meyer at Lipscomb University. Photo – Ty Freeman