Non-Senior Backcourts Duos – Looking Ahead Pt 4

CUMMING, GA – We’re rolling on after 3 parts so far in this series, as we hit Part 4, with Part 5 set to be the next and last.

By: Keith Agran

London Johnson and Mier Panoam | both 2023 | Norcross

With the Blue Devils seriously hitting their stride right now it’s no surprise that these two are posting impressive numbers up and down the stat sheet. Watching Johnson (pictured above) you see the incredible polish of the high-profile recruit he is, but also the down and dirty necessities of a team leader. He makes a dent on the game getting 25 points, or getting 12, 10 assists and 4 steals. You need to keep the camera on the phone ready to try and catch a Panoam highlight, be it something high-flying off the break or acrobatic in the halfcourt, but the flash aside he has expanded his game across such a spectrum that his impact is felt on the boards, as a lockdown defender and as an assist man when he takes over the ball. So fascinating is it to see where these two talents will be this time next year.

Mari Jordan and Josh Mathurin | both 2023 | Dacula

Mari Jordan

We also gave 2024 Anthony Alston a well-deserved push in our recent 6A impact sophomores piece, but when watching the Falcons it’s always tough to take your eyes off the college-ready frame and vast abilities of Jordan and the guile and composure of Mathurin. Jordan is headed to nearby Athens to play for the Bulldogs after next season, and it seems a terrific fit. There are many moments of awe in Jordan’s game at times, the high-flying exploits, the get-hot shooting streaks, the versatile defending at 6-6, and with the slick and polished Mathurin cutting up defenses and taking care of the ball to find him it makes for fun stuff to watch.

Tayden Owens and Cam Pope | both 2023 | Cherokee

Tayden Owens

In catching the Warriors twice before the new year, we saw the wide-open style employed by new coach Joe Viehman and how well it suited these two talents in particular. Whether they’re spotting up for treys, or either is handling the ball and pushing pace like a couple of rockets, it’s a flurry of offensive activity that either one can give you on a given night. Both have put in the work, Owens has sculpted his frame to match the kind of contact he sees with his fearless approach, and Pope has spread his wings to become a true multi-level threat beyond just his well-known slice and dice cuts through the teeth of the D. Another summer and another regular season of these two is a welcome sight indeed.

James Tyre and Niko Wilson | both 2023 | Lambert

Niko Wilson

Leaving fellow 2023 Keenan Gagen out pains me, but just doing pairs someone had to be the unfortunate third wheel. Gagen is a breakout this season for sure, joining savvy vets Tyre and Wilson in quite the 3-headed monster. Tyre saw time as a freshman and has continued to hone his Pete Maravich/Jason Williams-style game with the flash and the vision and plenty of real production from the PG-slot as well. Wilson is a pure volume scorer, constantly belies the “limits” of size and attacks the hole as well as anyone I’ve seen all season. As fun a pair as there is north of the Perimeter.

Clark Mastin and Jakorri Arnold | both 2024 | Salem

Clark Mastin

This 2024 pair is quite simply one of the best backcourt combos in their class, period. The pace, the push, the defensive prowess, the shooting ranges well past the arc – both can absolutely get cooking at the offensive end and lock you down at the other.  Mastin assumes the lion’s share of PG duties for the Seminoles and is a must-see young lead guard prospect. Arnold is adept at finding a spot at the line or taking a feed from Mastin and slicing up defenses toward the rim. The two were so impressive at both Lemon Street and TOC, and this whole Salem bunch is one to watch as they make a legit push to Macon in 3A.

Michael White and CJ Johnson | both 2024 | Mountain View

CJ Johnson

Written quite a bit about these 2 young rising stars, in a program on the rise with impressive young players dotting the roster. Right with the aforementioned Mastin and Arnold of Salem in the top 2024 backcourts category, these two also fond of playing with asburd pace and scoring in bunches from multiple levels, with pressure defense not far from their minds 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 and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.