OTR #BattleattheBeach – Four Part Notebook Chapter 4

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 final 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

Nazir Griffin | Showtime Ballers 17U | 2023

Watching Griffin play defense over the last 2+ years has left a resonance on me as an evaluator whether he was in town with always tough Norcross Heat or now with the loaded group down in Florida, the combination of foot speed and an ability to anticipate is what separates him at that end of the floor, his offensive game meanwhile has come light years from just a speedy driver to a more complete scoring PG.

Khani Rooths | New World 17U | 2024

Playing up with the 17’s did nothing to quash or minimize the exciting skill package that lurks in the years to come for Rooths, at 6-8 with his kind of movement and electric lift off the deck that alone has recruiters salivating, further development of a perimeter game where all the pieces are there to unlock will like lead to the highest levels of D1 basketball, a name to commit to memory for sure.

Edgerrin James Jr | Florida Rebels 17U | 2023 (pictured at top)

Lest we not confuse James’ appearance in this roundup with the fact that I had the pleasure of sitting next to and chatting with his father the former MiamiĀ  Hurricanes and NFL great Edgerrin Sr, his son showed plenty of what has made him highly coveted by the likes of Cincinnati, NC St, Providence and Georgia to name just a few as he is a power-packed athlete a the 1-spot who will get at goal with a push but can definitely hurt you from distance as well, superb court awareness is likely in the genes.

Donovan Hunter | Midwest Basketball Club 17U | 2023

So much attention at least among chatterboxes along the side and end lines is about Hunter’s ballyhooed teammates and their many D1 offers, within all of that lies the solid play Hunter puts forth each time out as a perfect incarnation of the modern stretch-4, at 6-9 with a sweet touch to the arc and beyond he adds smart and focused hustle on the boards and on defense which stands out, deserves just as much attention as the other members of this stacked roster.

Jahmari Johnson | PHS Academy 17U | 2023

The description below of a football player in sneakers was all I could imagine watching the pure glide of Johnson as he found gaps and moved with such fluidity at both ends, as we see with so many FL prospects the hyper-athletic ability immediately draws you in for further analysis and there’s a ton there to like with Johnson’s upside at 6-3 with good length.

Chris Mubiru | Showtime Ballers 17U | 2023

A first look at Mubiru this weekend and there was a ton to like from tip to buzzer, great frame for contact to go with a high-flying appeal that will surely translate well to the next level, he was all over the floor getting downhill and affecting things at 6-4 but appearing and playing a while lot bigger than that, St. John’s is the latest more prominent offer and that list is only going to expand in prominence-level.

Sam Walters | Florida Rebels 17U | 2023

Caught Walters last fall at Hoop Exchange’s showcase at the Big House and he cut an obvious impression that day at 6-10, what’s fun about Walters in the summer setting is playing with a hyper-athletic group of Rebels he can still be noticeable doing the things he does well shooting it efficiently from distance and showing off advanced variety close to the basket, can be a rim protector for you and doesn’t mind getting dirty with other bigs.

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.