J-4 Sports MLK Classic – Standouts

DOUGLASVILLE, GA – J-4 Sports put on its 6th Annual MLK Holiday Basketball Classic, this time at Chapel Hill HS, and though we only got in 3 of the 5 games scheduled (as the prior day’s weather played a role), we still got 3 excellent games between some teams I was seeing for the first time this year.

We look at some standouts from the 6 teams:

By: Keith Agran

Mason Lewis | 6-3 | SF | Woodland-Stockbridge | 2024

Mason Lewis

The Wolfpack entered the game with a record of 14-3 (now 16-3 as of posting) so I was naturally intrigued by yet another sleeper program from the south side of Atlanta, leading the charge was Lewis who emerged from the game as a must-see sophomore, mixing a dangerous combo of face-up shooting with power drives and bullish work on the glass he impressed across the board, plays so much bigger than 6-3 and has a solid mind and feel for the game, even more impressed after speaking with him after the game and seeing how engaging and mature he is and those traits should never be overlooked when assessing a recruiting profile.

Christian Watkins | 5-11 | PG | Woodland-Stockbridge | 2022

Christian Watkins

Woodland surrounds their two stars with a lot of athletic guys who can play multiple roles, this allows Mason and Watkins to do their thing, Watkins can run your squad for you and be a smart primary distributor or shift to scoring mode with his excellent stroke and sneaky-good swiftness of the bounce, like all of the Pack he defends with serious vigor as that is clearly part of their never-quit culture, Watkins and his veteran poise will be massive if they have designs on a deep run to Macon in 5A.

Izayah Porter | 6-0 | PG | Douglas County | 2024

Izayah Porter

A very young Tigers group took Woodland all the way to OT before succumbing and it was a fun crew to watch and one far more interesting than their record might indicate, leading the charge on the day was Porter who captains a ship full of interesting combo players who will only get better with time and who go all out under their new regime, Porter hit 6 big free throws in the 4th to help the game into the extra session and was crafty and fluid on the attack all day, he’s joined in the DC backcourt by another up-and-comer in freshman CJ Geathers and they get able support from senior Chris Ruise and junior Braeden Uhuru.

Rodrecas Rouse | 6-4 | PF | Westlake | 2023

Rodrecas Rouse

No Jalal McKie no problem as Rouse picked up the interior slack and was a beast all day in their win over South Cobb, despite having good athleticism and some size there was no answer from SCHS for Rouse’s work inside and he pushed and wiggled his way to a big day in close (20pts), he can be a real handful getting downhill facing up less mobile bigs and the motor and effort-level possession to possession is superb, the Tigers continue to cruise along playing sound basketball and get help from multiple spots in support of their star senior backcourt of Gaddis Heath and Mitchell Taylor.

Eric Howard | 6-1 | PG | South Cobb | 2022

Eric Howard

From a purely athletic standpoint Howard seemingly always stands out as his burst up and back on the hardwood is as blurring as anyone I’ve seen all season, getting off the deck in a hurry is also a staple for the speedster and makes him tough to get in front of for a guy his size if he’s attacking from the wing or coming in hot off the break, has good tools as a floor leader when he handles it up top and sees the game well strictly as a facilitator.

Zion Fruster | 6-3 | SG | Alexander | 2022 (pictured above)

A lot is being discussed about available guards in the 2022 class and it would be unwise to omit Fruster, with such experience around him as well (could have been senior PG Joffrey Nunnally mentioned here as he was outstanding as well in the convincing win over Chapel Hill) Fruster still makes statement plays night in and night out, whether it’s swooping in on the break for a monster jam (search Twitter) or using his blow-by capabilities to ward off defenders for his sweet J he can really impact the game and has clearly become the key perimeter cog for a team with several of them and one seriously capable of getting to Macon in 6A, at 6-3 the defense is notable as well as his lateral movement is stellar and with his kind of lift he can be a factor against multiple positions.

Braedan Lue | 6-6 | PF | Alexander | 2024

Braedan Lue

Here we go again with Lue who quietly goes about pushing people around out there and dominating the game inside 15 feet, as frontcourt sophomores go it’s becoming harder and harder to deny Lue the top spot as much like teammate Fruster he impacts the game from that 15 feet and in barrier so often and with such effectiveness, at his stage to be able to so calmly go about his work utilizing those nimble feet and soft hands is fun to watch in an age where so much takes place beyond the 3-pt line, his defense too as part of that overall swarming Alexander scheme is also exemplary and will be another monster factor that can help the Cougars make a deep playoff run.

Chi Shannon | 6-6 | SG | Chapel Hill | 2022

Chi Shannon

It was not the Panthers day vs Alexander in the marquee nightcap but Shannon was still excellent, has always been a player you need to key eyes on with his often stunning athleticism at the rim and as a defender, love seeing that his shooting range has expanded as has the consistency from those ranges, that adds an obvious key dimension to the physical package which is so enticing at 6-6, he fought and battled against a deep and talented Cougars bunch all night and that too shows the kind of mettle he brings night in and night out as this CHHS program is very much a threat again in the 5A bracket to come.

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.