OTR Hoops: Battleground 8th Grade Prime Performers – March 28, 2024

We highlight a loaded 8th grade group that battled from start to finish in Session Two of the Battleground. As these teams played for positioning at The Finals, the passion and sense of urgency was at an all-time high.

By: Bilal Benjamin

Alex Jenkins | Handlelife

Jenkins captured the 8th grade MVP during Session two by displaying a versatile skillset and making his presence felt on both ends. Jenkins led Handlelife to a flawless 4-0 record on the weekend, which will give them a ton of momentum as we head into The Finals. Jenkins proficiency was a pure sight to see in various aspects of the game. His contribution significantly to impacted key victories.

Elijah colon | Handlelife

Colon is a strategic guard. He facilitates plays and ensures his teammates are actively involved in the game. Colon and Jenkins were the 1-2 punch that applied continuous pressure on both ends of the floor, which resulted in the 4-0 mark. Colon’s court vision and decision-making abilities make him one of the most valuable assets on this Handlelife ball club.

Quinton Wilson | Florida Rebels

Wilson consistently wows spectators, peers, scouts and coaches with his otherworldly athleticism and relentless work ethic. His vertical leap seems like it increases from session to session. He made a statement in Florida Rebels clash against Atlanta Celtics 3SSB. Wilson consistently outworks his opponents and elevates the performance of his team.

Henry Thomas | Florida Rebels

Thomas demonstrated top tier court vision finding all his teammates in stride during Session two. His ability to play the lead guard position was exemplary, showcasing his talent for facilitating smooth offensive transitions and creating scoring opportunities for his team. His decision-making was a key factor in the Florida Rebels having a 3-1 record.

Tristen Tucker | Florida Rebels

Is Tristen Tucker one of the best guards in 2028? If your answer to this question isn’t a yes you are not watching. Tucker displayed elite craftsmanship along with the shiftiest moves I witnessed in Session two. His ball-handling skills and quick footwork can’t be talk about enough. Additionally, Tucker’s shooting is something that opens the games up for Florida Rebels.

Chisimdi Agbasi | Norcross Heat

Agbasi has it going from beyond the arc during session two. As a powerful guard, Agbasi can also make his presence felt in the paint and on the glass. He’s a player you must strategically plan for because of his inside, outside presence. In the other end Agbasi is a solid defender that understands one-on-one principles.

Anthony Lopez | Garner Road

Lopez is a lightning quick guard that moved the ball effectively north and south throughout Session two. His best play came off a steal and he led his team to a thrilling victory over the Alabama Celtics with a game-winning layup through two defenders that sealed a final score of 51-49. His ability to maneuver swiftly with the ball and make crucial plays under pressure was instrumental in securing the win for his team.

Landon Howard | B Maze Elite

Howard showcased his ability to be an effective three-level scorer. He effortlessly made shots from all over. His performance was nothing short of remarkable against Team Huncho 3SSB. Although, B Maze came up short, Howard unconsciously made remarkable shots from deep. He’s a tough shot maker.

Kayden Ogbara | Team Huncho 3SSB

Ogbara is a versatile forward who is dangerous within 18 feet of the basket. He’s a twitchy player who gets multiple second chance opportunities for his team. It was a tough task for players to keep him out of the paint. His ability to dominate mid-low post area will allow him to develop in other areas to ultimately take his game to newer heights.

Baer Bailey | Atlanta Celtics

Bailey, a 6’7” finesse forward can affect the game in a multitude of ways and score on every level. He has a sweet shooting touch and with such a baby face in the 8th grade Bailey could possibly grow to 6’10”-6’11”. Another footer that’s a sniper is on the horizon.

Blaze Johnson | Atlanta Celtics

Johnson is very creative with the ball. His ability to see the court from a different lens allows him to make innovative plays that often catch opponents off guard. Johnson’s creative approach to the game is evident in his unorthodox dribbling techniques, unpredictable passes, and unconventional shot selections. He uses the floater to his advantage which is something you love to see in lead guards. He’s a winning player.

Lyndon Lee | Team Next Generation

Lee single-handedly led his team to victory in overtime against Thunder Select. He did so by scoring all his team’s points in the extra period and doing so in style. With two And-1’s and a couple of mid-range fade-aways. Lee can score in bunches and that was on display in Session two.

Keion Taylor | Thunder Select

Taylor has a relentless approach to the game. He excels in the open floor and loves to attack downhill. Taylor is also well equipped to shoot of the dribble and make those shots at a high clip. He’s another up-and-coming guard in Georgia you would want to buy stock on early.

Kaleb Allen | Team South Carolina Black

Allen’s athleticism is supernatural. He leaps so effortlessly and uses these abilities on both ends of the floor. Allen is a fierce competitor that’s looking to consistently score on his opponents and lock them down. He’s a tenacious defender who is relentless. His energy rubs off on his teammates, making this South Carolina Black team a favorite to win The Finals.

Mac Everett | Alabama Celtics

Everett is calm, cool, and confident. His demeanor and game screams leader. Everett exudes a vision on the floor the many cannot replicate. Everett can see plays before they happen. His team noticeably trusts him with the ball to make plays and put them in position to win. In crucial moments, his poise and decisiveness shined through.

John Marshall Crew | Alabama Celtics

Marshall Crew is a sharp shooting Stretch 4. His ability to shoot from long distances always Alabama Celtics team to spread the floor and move the ball well. Marshall posed a constant threat to opposing defenses, forcing them to extend their coverage beyond the free throw line extended point. Marshall Crew will be a matchup problem for seasons to come with his shooting ability and size.

Daran Taylor | B Maze Elite Gold

Taylor has a nice physical build that allowed him do whatever he desired in the interior. He has a unique playing style that allows him to excel both inside the paint and beyond the three-point line. Taylor can also see the floor m. He poses a real challenge for opponents in various aspects of the game. Watch out for this team in The Finals with him leading the charge.

Lee Steele | Team Grind

Lee’s leadership was on full display Session two as he guided his Team Grind squad to a significant victory over the Florida Rebels. His shooting was instrumental in securing the win. Lee’s ability to motivate his teammates with his play is a phenomenal trait. Lee is at his best under pressure. He’s a highly skilled young hooper with elite slashing abilities. Good luck keeping him out of the paint. Lee is a true game manager inside out.