OTR Birmingham Classic More Standouts – March 30, 2023

ALABSTER, ALABAMA, – Thompson High School served as the host location of the inaugural Birmingham Classic. Just a short drive south of the Steel City, the central location made it easy for teams across Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia to come and compete. Here is a second look at prospects who caught our eye from the event.

By: Jonathan Hemingway

Joe Wimberly has The General in quotations on his twitter page. He also describes himself as a traditional point guard. There are few self-descriptions that are more apt than Wimberly’s. The 2024 guard controls the point position with Hawks Elite Gold and gets everyone where they are supposed to go. While on the small-ish on the height side, he makes up for it with great lateral quickness. He gets downhill, turns the corner, and will create plays for others. In age of shoot-first lead guards, Wimberly is a breath of fresh air that unselfish and team-oriented point guards are still out there and thriving.

Class of 2025 point guard Tony Montgomery headed everyone’s list on Saturday morning. He is impressive physically particularly for underclassman. With strong shoulders and a powerful lower body, Montgomery takes advantage of guards who are not ready to physically match his game. The Tri-City Elite guard is more than just an athlete, however. He has the skills to make the most of his athleticism. His confident dribble moves and his willingness to pass and set up his teammates are what give him real value as a next level prospect.

Hoop Atlanta has a team full of fundamental competitors. Class of 2024 guard Jayce Johns fits that description as well as any. It has been said that playing hard is a specialty or better put it is a skill. In that case Johns has a tool bag full of skills including competing on every possession. He plays his role as a spot shooter in the half court offense. Yet he showed the capability to put the ball on the floor and hit the floater in traffic. He gets after defensively. He is willing to take on a challenge and make life tough for opponents. Johns is the type of glue player that ever roster needs in order to be successful.

There were plenty of high-risers and flashy dunkers at the Birmingham Classic last weekend. Class of 2024 wing-forward Tristan Gilmore made a case to be one of the best in the building. Aside from catching alley-oops and making defenders think twice before jumping with him, Gilmore gets it done defensively. He terrorizes opponents by grabbing rebounds and contesting shots. In terms of next level projection, Gilmore should be on the radar of schools within the Southeast region. The Hawks Elite 17U product has athleticism that is a rare find. He projects to have the versatility to impact the game both at the rim and in the open court.

Class of 2024 wing Avery Thomas should become a hot target with Team Carroll on the circuit this spring. The 6-foot-7 prospect brings length and shooting range to the court. These are two attributes that college coaches are always pursuing. Thomas showed some inside-out versatility as a rebounder in a match-up with the Bama Celtics. But he still has room to grow in terms of impacting the game on the defensive end.

Schools still searching for a big man to complete a roster for next fall should check in on Bama Celtic Shah Hall. The available senior is listed at 6-10 and has a frame that is promising. He moves up and down the court well for a big man. Yet there is a ceiling that Hall has yet to reach. Increased strength and conditioning will help him attain his potential. Hall has the potential to be a double-double threat in the right situation at the next level.

Put class of 2027 post Devon Pruitt down on your list of future stars. The 6-7 prospect with the Alabama Fusion has great feet and present a big target in the lane. He already has a good feel for how to get position and use body to create angles to score. He showed some nice footwork and touch on the catch and turn while in the lane. These skills combined give us hope that Pruitt will become a name that everyone is familiar with in future years.

Jonathan Hemingway has been a National Evaluator for On the Radar Hoops since 2013. He has been involved in the basketball community since 1995 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him at JLHemingway@gmail.com and follow him on twitter @JL_Hemingway.