Grayson New Year’s Classic Difference Makers – January 9, 2023

GRAYSON, Georgia, – Grayson High School hosted a one-day classic featuring some of the top teams in the Atlanta Metro area. With dozens of media members on hand and live streaming from SUVtv, teams were afforded prime coverage on Saturday. Here is a selection of individuals who I thought changed the game in their team’s favor during the course of the event.

By: Jonathan Hemingway

Nick Tyre – Walnut Grove High School – 2023

Tyre’s backcourt teammate, Marcus Smith III, often gets most of the attention. Rightfully so as Smith is one of the top play makers in the region. But one should not overlook Tyre’s role in making Smith’s playmaking effective and helping in the Warriors success. Tyre, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard, specializes in stretching the floor with his shooting range. He is an ideal complement to Smith as he can pull defenders out of the lane or be a threat to connect on 3-pointers from beyond the arc consistently. He finished with 11 points in Walnut Grove’s win over Central Gwinnett on Saturday.

Kendall Walker – South Gwinnett High School – 2023

Walker put together a solid game in the Comets win over Cedar Grove in the second game of the day. He finished with 14 points, which included seven timely points in the third quarter. Walker pairs well with fellow senior guard, Justin Redmond, in the Comet backcourt. While Redmond acts as a lead distributor and 3-point specialist, Walker acts as a hard-nosed slasher in transition and in the flow of the offense. His energy on the defensive end should be noted as well.

Seth Fitzgerald – Milton High School – 2023

Although Milton trailed for a good portion of the game, timely plays and buckets from Fitzgerald helped lift the Eagles past Mountain View. The 6-5 guard is one of the most versatile players that we evaluated on Saturday. He is strong, rugged, but can also play the game with finesse. He initiates the offense and will  act as a lead distributor. He is also quite comfortable being a primary scoring option as a face up slasher from the top of the key or as a post-up option on the block. All these attributes make him one of the more attractive unsigned prospects in the state at this moment.

Mike White – Mountain View High School – 2024

The Bears did not see their game finish in the way they had envisioned when they went into the locker room up six points at halftime. However, there are some bright spots for coach BJ Roy and his staff. Junior guard Mike White presented himself as one of the better shot makers at the New Year’s Classic. The 6-2 prospect is crafty with his footwork and ball fakes to keep defenders off balance around the lane. He showed outstanding touch by using the glass in the midrange. His ability to score the ball off the move is a skill that the Bears will come to rely upon as the Bears dig deeper into region play this year.

David Thomas – Eagles Landing High School – 2023

Thomas had the biggest scoring outburst of the day by scoring 27 points in his team’s win over Langston Hughes. He is a well-built athlete who uses a strong first step and physical strength in the lane to score consistently. Listed at 6-3, Thomas is big enough to make an impact along the frontline, but he is skilled enough to play as a lead handler for his team. College programs that are looking for a prospect that is physically ready for the college grind while having the mindset to make plays should check in on Thomas.

Mike Matthews – Parkview High School – 2024

Matthews is superb athlete who could potentially make the Panthers a post season contender. The 6-3 guard is best known for his exploits on the football field, but he showed that he can be a winning basketball player as well. He is an explosive slasher who can finish at the rim as well as anyone that we have seen this season. If he can find some consistency with his jumper in upcoming weeks, he will be the ideal compliment alongside of guard Chasz Holmes, Jacob Wilkins, and Adonai Mussie.

Michael Robinson – Greenforest – 2023

Robinson did not have the best statistical game for the Eagles in their win over McDonough, but his impact could be felt in other ways. He finished the game with a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which helped secure the momentum for a win. His energy and impact on the defensive end is noteworthy. He came up with key deflections and forced turnovers in full court pressure situations that helped turn the tide for a Greenforest victory.

DaAvion Thomas – McDonough High School – 2023

Thomas scored a game-high 18 points in their match-up versus Greenforest. He came out on fire scoring eight points in the opening quarter. His quick trigger from beyond the arc and his aggressive dribble attack make him difficult to contain. He is a microwave of scoring that can heat up quickly with buckets. Although this game did not go the Warhawks way, we expect this squad to be a contender in Class AAAA in March.

Anthony Alston – Grayson High School – 2024

In a game full of stars and high major prospects, Anthony Alston made a name for himself on this night. The 6-4 junior guard has comfortably played a complementary role for coach Geoffrey Pearce’s team in the past. His high energy defense and timely shooting has caught our eye in the previous evaluations. However, in this game versus one of the premier teams in the state, Alston proved he can be a primary player. He scored a team high 18 points which included 12 in the second half and overtime. The Rams are likely to roll deep into the post season if they continue to get consistent production like this from Alston.

Peyton Marshall – Kell High School – 2024

The game of basketball continues to trend away from big man and more towards guard play. However, junior 7-foot center Peyton Marshall is proof that there is still a place for the center in the modern game. Marshall is more than just tall. He is powerful and nimble. His hands are soft which allows him to catch most everything that is thrown his way. On Saturday night he scored a game-high 23 points which included a 7-9 effort from the free throw line. Marshall is most known for his rafter rattling dunks, but on this night, it was his consistent finishing through double teams that gave us optimism for his future production. He is currently committed to Auburn.

Jonathan Hemingway has been a National Evaluator for On the Radar Hoops since 2013. He has been involved in the basketball community since 1995 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him at and follow him on twitter @JL_Hemingway.