The Opening 2022 Impressions – July 3, 2020
Many of the top teams from around the south participated in The Opening.
Atlanta, Ga – The Opening brought some of the best 17U teams in the Southeast together last Saturday, but there were also some impressive 16U groups that were in action over at ISA throughout the event. Here are a few new faces in the 2022 class as well as some familiar names that have made strides in their games over the last couple of months.
By: Trent Markwith
6’2” G Tre Donaldson (TSF Mack 2022)
Pairing Donaldson with Bruce Thornton in the TSF backcourt is exciting to watch. I’m not sure you’ll find a 16U guard duo with more dog in them in the Southeast. A high-level two-sport athlete, Donaldson has a mature build and brings exceptional ability and effort on the defensive end similar to the way Thornton does. He is very intense and competitive on the court and it gives his team a clear boost. Offensively, Donaldson has a mixture of quickness, aggression, and savvy with the ball in his hands that is difficult to stop. He gets to where he wants on the court and has an accurate jumper with a high release and good elevation. TSF will be playing up in 17U the next two weekends and will need Donaldson and others to keep coming with energy.
6’2” G Seth Hubbard (Atlanta Celtics)
Coming off of recent offers from Wichita State and UAB, Hubbard played with loads of confidence on Saturday night and looked deserving of a recruitment that should continue to elevate. In a huge matchup with TSF, Hubbard came through whenever the Celtics needed a big basket. After TSF started to make a comeback in the 2nd half, Hubbard went on a personal 7-0 run to extend the lead again. He kept this up until the end of the game with contested pull-ups and difficult floaters after getting in the paint. Hubbard’s shooting ability has been well-documented early in his career but he looked improved attacking the basket and brought some grit defending on the ball and fighting over screens. A void is left at St. Francis with Down Odom and Chase Ellis graduating, and he looks more than ready to step into the spotlight.
6’9” PF Noah Clowney (Team Dickerson)
After watching him at the Upward Stars program workout earlier in the month, Clowney looked like a guy who will rise significantly as a junior. He further solidified that with his performance against Pro One. After a decent 1st half in the matchup, Clowney took things to another level in the 2nd half and showed why a host of programs have already jumped in on his recruitment. At 6’9”+, Clowney runs extremely well and has soft hands. He connected on 2 3’s after halftime, rebounded well on both ends, protected the basket, and showed touch in the paint. We saw what happened with PJ Hall following his sophomore campaign at Dorman, and if you ask the Cavalier staff, they think he could have a similar path. Clowney is still figuring things out and needs to gain more experience, but this showing proved that when the light flips on for him, he can be a terror for guys his age.
6’6” F Jonathan Murray (TSF Mack 2022)
A guy I hadn’t seen before last Saturday, Murray did a lot of good things in my first viewing of him and left me wanting to see more. The Alabama product showed a multi-faceted game that gave opponents problems. He’s 6’6” with a mature frame and the ability to play inside or out. Murray can put the ball on the floor a bit, knock down jumpers, and finish consistently. I was really impressed with Murray’s motor as he ran the floor extremely hard and created easy opportunities for himself on multiple occasions. He brought a lot of different things to the table with his activity, physical nature, and skillset. Murray should turn into a really nice prospect as he continues to enhance the various aspects of his game.
6’2” G Chase Cormier (Game Elite)
Scoot Henderson produced as usual for Game Elite and went for nearly 30, but Cormier also played an important part in Game Elite’s win over Team Forrest on Saturday. Cormier’s reputation comes as a shooter and while that was on display with his 3 made 3’s in the game, he showed encouraging progress in other areas also. He seemed to make more of a point to get into the paint to create for either himself or his teammates. Cormier has always been pretty quick, but looked even quicker laterally and racked up 4 steals to go along with an increase in his vertical explosion which he showed in transition. Winthrop offered him on Monday following the event and more should come in if he continues to contribute on the defensive end while showing a more diverse offensive game like he did Saturday.