Birmingham Classic – Day 2 Eye-Catchers
ALABASTER, AL – Thompson HS was the main host site as OTR took its show on the road to the Birmingham-area, and brought in a ton of the state’s best as well as some up-and-coming GA teams who fared well.
I was bouncing between age groups all weekend, let’s look at some Day 2 Eye-Catchers.
By: Keith Agran
DJ Hamlett | G | 2024 | Bama Celtics (Tuscaloosa, AL, pictured at top)
I first saw Hamlett 2 years ago with a Celtics 2024 team that was terrorizing the 15U division at the time and was among the top 2 or 3 teams in any age group I saw all that summer, now bigger and stronger I still love his smooth game that works at either guard spot, he can be a solid 6-2 lead guard for you or use the always advantageous born-a-lefty to get at the basket with creativity, deep shooting is there and prior to Amir Abdur-Rahim leaving Kennesaw St there was interest from the Owls but he should draw more mid-major looks for sure.
Cam Funna | G | 2025 | Hoop ATL Orange (Lakeside-DeKalb)
Funna had a go day 1 as well and continued things into a second day Sunday, this 16U Orange bunch will do some damage this season with the likes of the emerging Funna as a wing attacker, just has a nose for the game that stood out for me and good athletic ability and he’s just starting to get the nuances of how to play at this level as a potentially dynamic scorer and all-around threat at both ends.
Trey Simpson | G | 2025 | Alabama Fusion (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Incredible that at 6-5 or so and with his abilities as a multi-level threat that Simpson is playing his first spring on the travel circuits, amazing natural footwork and sticky hands add to his god-given athleticism that separated him in the 16U division playing alongside super-riser Jacoby Hill of Phenix City, has time to hone the full package but with his kind of lift and exciting finishing it won’t be long before next-level programs begin to take interest.
Braxton Giesler | F | 2025 | Hoop ATL Black (Milton)
The guys at Hoop ATL are gushing a bit about the possibilities and I tweeted that the end Giesler product in late July will not resemble what we just saw this past weekend, but there’s plenty to be excited about for now with a good frame and 6-5 and some face-up shooting to go with an ability to play the back to the basket game in closer, can set himself up well for future looks with a good overall developmental summer before likely joining the starting Eagle lineup next fall alongside stellar guards Josh Dixon and Avery White.
Joe Wimberly | G | 2024 | Hawks Elite (Pelham, AL)
Is indeed “The General” for what is a deep and talented 17U iteration for the Hawks and one which will be tough to deal with over the next 3 months, defensively was among the best I saw all weekend both with sneaky hands and reading passing lanes and just in general making things tough for the opposition, runs a calm and cool offense but also runs a calm and cool fast break as he made so many good finds and was such a willing distributor in an atmosphere where most guys are looking for their own shots.
CJ McKinley | G | 2024 | Team Speights Gulfcoast (Milton, FL)
Had stretches where he was virtually unguardable either out in space or pushing the ball at the rim, prototypical PG in today’s world who can get you 30 one night and then go for 10 assists and 5 steals the next and impact the game all the same, plays a high IQ brand of ball that augments his aggressive rim attack game that again was next level, another fun group with TMS-Gulfcoast after being chock full of college-ready guys last year and this year’s team may be even better.
Luke Finley | G | 2025 | Hoop ATL Orange (Midtown)
Can be mistaken for an assistant coach or a scorekeeper walking in the gym but his play was anything but pedestrian, had a finishing stretch in a game late Sunday that was as clutch and good as anything I saw all weekend and imprinted his name on my memory, plays the poised lead man game just fine but it’s the hidden explosion and craftiness in traffic either as a scorer or passer that sealed their day 2 win over Goat Hoops in a fun one, absolutely a name to know as he’ll take the reins for Coach Isaac Taylor’s Knights offense this fall.
Clay Scofield | G | 2024 | Team Speights Gulfcoast (Mobile, AL)
Stroke was money from distance as nearly all of our scouts made note, played so hard and with such an unteachable motor that he was hard to miss even when not showing off his shooting talent, what you love about TMS teams is how willing they are to get in tight and mix things up almost to the point where the other team pushes back too much into a frustration technical or just flat out gets outworked, at 6-5 this lefty epitomized that work rate and is setting us a summer steal.
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 also spent 3 years as a sports writer at two newspapers in New Jersey. After a championship-coaching background on the HS-level also in NJ, he accepted the Girl’s Basketball Head Coaching position in May 2022 at Mt Bethel Christian Academy and now balances scouting and coaching still with a keen eye on talent around the region. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.
November 27, 2023
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