AAU Workout Visits – Atlanta Astros/Hoop ATL/Dunwoody United

ATLANTA METRO – A new format for my weekly AAU Workout Visits, as we dig deep on some of these rosters before, during, and after tournaments throughout the next 4 months.

By: Keith Agran

Atlanta Astros 17U

INTRO: The Astros under Coach King always put a highly competitive product on the floor, and although they’ve undergone some notable roster changes already over the first month or so, it’s the diamond in the rough or the player about to bust out who seemingly always comes from the Astros.

IMPRESSION-MAKERS: A pair of holdovers from when I saw them at OTR’s The Opening still occupy the backcourt for the ‘Stros and are players to watch. Rockdale County SG Nate Richards has a pretty stroke and a good frame around 6-2, he can play physical or with finesse getting at the basket. Buford PG Jayden Gudz missed all of last season due to an injury as the Wolves made a run at the 6A title, but looking healthy and playing with confidence the 5-9 2023 has the look of someone who can both spell starter Malachi Brown more than ably or be a skilled backup as Buford, moving up to 7A, looks to make another finals appearance.  New addition Tyriq Brown of Moravian Prep in NC is a burly 6-2 scorer with a lot of game behind all that mass, as he showed multi-level scoring and quickness to back up a downhill, power-packed drive game. A pair of 2023 Eastside (Covington) guards bear watching, as PG Bo Reed looks the part of a solid floor leader with speed to burn at both ends, and Kassen Saunders showed off some nice slash to the basket and was tough to get in front of in transition. Yet another Midtown HS product playing well around town, 2023 forward Bryant Graham-Davis, likes to mix it up in close and has that inner-city edge all of those guys from across Piedmont Park seem to play with.

Hoop Atlanta 17U

INTRO: This first-year organization under Lovett assistant Jordan Wyton has quickly emerged as an intriguing destination for both players from the Metro, as well as those up the 985 corridor and east of there.

IMPRESSION-MAKERS: Adding Habersham Central G/F Bryce Pittman recently has added a dimension to this roster that is evident, as the 6-3 lefty hybrid has an array of nifty moves and good shooting out to the arc that offer Hoop ATL lineup flexibility, as he can play both guard spots and mix it up on the interior with a good frame. With graduation losses, he steps into a much larger role in 7 months with the Raiders. Out top on the perimeter, there’s North Hall PG Sam Gailey (who shined this past weekend at OTR’s Sweet 16 Session 2 after I watched them work out) and George Walton Academy’s Reese Gelsthorpe (who wasn’t present at the workout), unassuming at 5-9 and but whose Hudl clips are impressive, as there isn’t a shot inside the halfcourt line he won’t think about launching (he too had a good weekend at Sweet 16). Providing both some intangibles and some solid tangible items are wings Cameron Foster-Martez of Lovett, who shines defensively but has become an underrated offensive player, and Keonte Flenoy out of Gainseville HS, a really efficient shooter from 3-land with a quick release at 6-4 and tons of confidence. 2024 Brookwood guard Hunter Amick is playing up but has a power-packed frame he’s clearly put the time in on, and now at 6-4 will benefit from the experience as a junior-to-be. Midtown HS is represented on this roster as well, as 6-6 forward Will Hunter too had a good weekend at Sweet 16 and was the evening’s eye-catcher during the workout for his hard work and variety of scoring punch from 15 feet in.

Dunwood United 17U

INTRO: Ricky Kersey and company with Dunwoody United are in year 6, but with a particular team of 2023 gamers on hand this spring from the top end perimeter area, they have gained more traction and certainly did with me when I saw them at the DT Invitational early in the tournament calendar.

Ryan Smith

IMPRESSION-MAKERS: The two headliners who were hard to miss back at Brookwood in March were Dunwoody HS seniors to be Ryan Smith and Nick Wood, and little changed last week or at Sweet 16 Session 2 where the team went 1-3 but matched up with some high-quality opponents. Smith has college-level skills as a 2-guard, a mix of consistent long range-shooting and off the bounce work that at 6-3 and change has both flair and athleticism. His want to get into the and hurt folks in mid-range rather than force a bad drive has the lefty looking like one of this summer’s real surprises. Another lefty gamer is Wood, who plays a little PG for them but can also be a sparkplug as a wing attacker or shooter. Defense is where he really affects the game, as both his on-ball work and eyesight into the passing lanes are noticeable. Just back from an ankle after dealing with other injuries for a good portion of Alpharetta’s season is German import Paul Urban, who was the talk of social media at points when he was healthy this past season as someone to watch and has that European-style guard game. He uses his solid 6-3 body on you to gain traction or unleash a flurry of clever finishers in close. His future playing in the US appears hampered by a soon-to-be expired 1-year program that may force him to return to Germany. When Smith and Wood are off the ball, they can count on steady guard play out front from Blessed Trinity’s Jackson Lewis, a solid distributor who showed off a nice 3-pt stroke during the workout, and Forsyth Central’s Aidan Nutty, who was one of the night’s bright spots as he was a blur moving the ball up the floor in transition and showed off excellent vision as he makes a play for the starting Bulldogs PG-spot in his final year.  In the too-intriguing to-miss category was Tony Brown of Riverwood, as the 6-6 SF has work to do on his offensive game but the athletic ability, jumping, hustle and measurables mean he’s going to catch eyeballs each time out.

Keith Agran has lived in Georgia since 2011 and joined OTR as a National Evaluator in 2021. He previously scouted for Prep Hoops dating back to 2019 and has both a championship-coaching background on the HS-level and daily newspaper writing experience, both from New Jersey. You can reach him at keithagran1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.