OTR #BattleattheBeach – Four Part Notebook Chapter 2

WINTER HAVEN, FL – With typical Central Florida T-storms rolling through all weekend, the “storming” on the inside of beautiful Advent Health Fieldhouse took place at the rim and beyond the arc as players and fans alike were treated to 6 courts of more high-level basketball during OTR’s Battle at the Beach.

With our own Summer Jam happening at Next Play 360 and Hiram HS in Atlanta at the same time, OTR took its act to the forefront of the Southeast travel scene with deep fields at both spots. A predominantly Florida-based field took on all comers in Winter Haven over 3 days, but plenty of out-of-state talent made our superlatives list.

Here’s the second group of four to come who created a whole bunch of buzz all weekend in the Sunshine State (in no particular order, GA guys have high schools in parentheses).

By: Keith Agran

Grant Chamberlain | Loyalty United 17U | 2023

On an impressive all-around team that included All “Name” team guys and notable risers like Jackson Outlaw and Mason Sword as well it was Chamberlain’s good size around 6-5 for the wing and pure stroke that caught my eye that Saturday morning, shrewd in how he finds his way to spots along the arfc and dipped down inside later in the game to be a contributor on the glass and as an interior scorer.

Karmello Branch | Pro Holmes Sports 17U | 2023

Entering the weekend Branch was on my radar after a performance last summer that was eye-catching in a lot of ways, the big guard is stronger and adds the now college-ready frame to his college-ready game, has high D1 upside the way he shoots it and uses a particularly strong lower half to move or plow through traffic to the basket, you can see the basketball acumen as he makes his way around the floor, a name to know for sure out of FL.

Carl Charenfant | Southeast Elite 3SSB 17U | 2023

One of the marquee programs on hand the team formally known as Team Parsons had a deep pool of talent on hand yet it was the former Georgia Stars standout Charefant who was hard to miss early on, such an athlete and high-riser he can simply do things out there others can’t, he was dominant last summer playing 16U for the Stars and looks to have come a step further as that combo slasher and hybrid G/F who can guard a bunch of spots and be a versatile presence across the floor for you.

Dylan James | 1Family 17U | 2023

A lot of marquee names already on this list and almost no weekend in which 1Family plays can James be omitted from the standouts as his play is usually that good and that sound, in Winter Haven barely more than a stone’s throw from his own high school he showed off more of the jump-shooting game both with variety in the turnaround-J game as well as consistency knocking down open looks out to 18 feet, above the rim he’s dynamic and fun to watch at 6-9 and has all the tools to be a terrific D1 contributor.

VJ Edgecombe | South Florida Kings 17U | 2024

At least for me Edgecombe is must-watch material any tournament where the Kings enroll because you never quite know what this spectacular athlete might do in a game, well-documented is the elite lift that at 6-4 and the incredible natural gifts he uses to slither his way to big games of 30+ seemingly every time out, can shoot it out to the arc and handle either guard spot for you, unquestionably one of the most under-valued 2023 prospects I’ve seen in the entire state after being down there 5 times now for key events since last October.

Marcus Allen | Florida Rebels EYBL 16U | 2024

The Rebels once again well-represented among standouts with their scary depth of stars we’ll soon be seeing on ESPN and beyond, Allen played up with the 17’s later in the weekend and was just as noticeable for his physical dominance there as he usually is with the 16’s, in full form there almost isn’t a defender on any level opponent who is either capable or willing to get between him and the way he can power to the basket, an absolute man among boys in spots and even at 6-7 with all kinds of brawn can be a terrific small or power forward prospect.

Kam Wright | 1Family 16U | 2024 (pictured at top)

Monster riser SG Isaiah Brown had another stellar weekend as well but it was often hard to draw eyeballs away from Wright as he soared all over the gym throwing down dunks, blocking shots or just wowing the crowd with his obscene gift of flight, add to that a basketball package that has slash and shooting and excellent defensive versatility around 6-5, all that makes it easy to see why he was an eye-opener and another name from a stacked 1Family program that has been running roughshod over multiple OTR events.

Jaylen Nelson | Team Breakdown UAA 16U | 2024

The guts and the fight were notable attributes of all the Breakdown teams as they went after it hard every time I came by their court, exemplifying that talent across both the 16’s and 17’s was Nelson at the 2-guard, several evaluators there were impressed with how hard he worked to get his shot and be a factor going to the basket, in a world where pushing the ball relentlessly at the cup is the premium he was both good at avoiding needless contact and getting the finish drawing the sly bump and going to the line.

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.