Non-Senior Backcourt Duos – Looking Ahead Pt 2
CUMMING, GA – Moving through my notes so far this season, we look at still more non-senior backcourts that I’ve seen that have work still to do this season, but will be providing us thrills beyond.
We’re into Part 2, and we’ll keep going until I run out of exemplary pairs (in no particular order).
By: Keith Agran
Jalen Lee and Orion Champion | both 2024 | Solid Rock Academy
Lee has become a must-see headliner off of an impressive fall performance with his prior school as well as on the Showcase circuits, while the diminutive Champion has been on scout’s radars for the last couple of years with his grassroots play and looked like the Champion of old when I caught him at the GA Hardwood Classic earlier in January. He’s lightning-quick with the ball and can really push pace for a Solid Rock team that likes to get moving, while adding excellent vision both as a penetrator and distributor. Lee is a pure volume scorer with a ton of acumen at a young stage to go with a frame that is years ahead of his class, confidence and skill ooze from the sophomore, and he has all the makings of a rapid riser in both the state and national picture.
Vic Newsom and Amari Brown | 2023 and 2024 | Sandy Creek
This twosome has been well-documented in my travels as the Patriots have played a seriously challenging slate and avoided no one in appearing in multiple Showcases across town outside. In a program that thrives on defense, these two play the part extremely well as both can really guard you and that shines as much as their offensive gifts. Newsom is a power-packed bundle that can excel getting at the cup or backing you off and making you pay from long-range. Brown is one of the state’s best sophomore guards, also a serious multi-level threat as a prototype lead guard who plays the game with the mind of a much older player, a trait that will only get scarier as he moves through the next 2 years.
Rhys Cotton and Christian Curl | both 2025 | McEachern
For freshmen to make an impact at a program with the prestige of the Indians makes a big enough statement on its own. But under a new regime and having to replace a bevy of stars, all the stops are being utilized, and that seems a particularly wise play when seeing how advanced Cotton and Curl are in both their skillsets and IQ. As scouts we have to be tickled at the chance to be witnesses to the development of these two, as Cotton checks all the boxes of a special, young PG-prospect who can post big scoring numbers or be the savvy distributor. Curl uses his running-back build to assert and great court-awareness to eliminate his age from the equation. Both are big contributors to another fun and dangerous bunch from Powder Springs whose overall young roster will have something to say still in 7A this winter.
Brandon Rechsteiner and Dimitri Angelakos | 2023 and 2024 | Etowah
Were Mason Etter not so often playing a hybrid forward/guard mold for the Eagles I’d have slotted him next to Rechsteiner, but anyone who’s seen Etter knows of his wonderfully varied skills at 6-6. Angelakos is more than deserving as being the 2nd man here as he has emerged as such a formidable threat from beyond the arc that every scouting report has to immediately account for him right off the tip. Adept at finding him as well as all his other teammates, Rechsteiner has done everything you can ask of a lead guard on the rise to prove to doubters he belongs. The body, the game, the scoring, the passing, the understanding – it’s all there for the fun to watch and much-deserving riser.
Jeremiah Edwards and Davarri Barthell | both 2023 | Dutchtown
So impressed was I with both when I caught them down at Lamar County HS over the holidays. Barthell is a truly underrated floor leader, he can play at top speed and not seem out of control, then slow things down and pick you apart with his solid bball-mind. Edwards (pictured above) is silky and yet also explosive, as he showed one of the better and more effective mid-range games I’ve seen for a 2-man this season. At a long 6-4 with undeniable hops, he can make the quick move to the hole that can devastate you if you’re not ready. Fun Bulldogs team indeed down in Hampton, one that will really be something to look out for next year with a whole bunch of key 2023’s coming back.
David Thomas and Khylan McKennie | both 2023 | Eagle’s Landing
I’ve made no secret of my affinity for Thomas’ skills as a contender for best PLAYER in the 2023 class, certainly the argument can be made of his status easily as one of the top guards even in a very deep pool of marquee names. As I’ve said many times, when on his game (which he almost always is), finding a weakness across the full spectrum of the court can be a tall task. McKennie first caught my eye on the grassroots scene this past summer and has become a key contributor on what is another stout Eagles crew. Speedy and creative and a fiend on defense, he’ll be counted on even more next year with the key senior departures (and watch for 2024 Tylon Redmond on the come as well).
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.
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