OTR Hoops: Birmingham Classic 2026 Prime Performers – March 29, 2024

We highlight a supreme 2026 group that has good upside. These student-athletes proved they are learning to play the game the right way, while showing their skills and attributes.

By: Bilal Benjamin

Sean Alicea | Young Kings Elite | 6’0” | Shiloh (GA)

Alicea can score from anywhere on the court. The most improved part of his game is his facilitating. He sees the floor so much better than he did one year ago and that has opened his offensive game even more. His decision-making looks natural and not forced. Already a plus that a guard of his caliber can shoot so well now his vision makes this Young Kings Elite team even tougher to defend.

Micah Jones | Young Kings Elite | 6’5” | North Gwinnett (GA)

Jones was a lockdown defender at the Birmingham Classic. His defensive prowess was unmatched, often shutting down opponents with his strength, positioning, and quick reflexes. Jones ran the floor as well and showed off high level athleticism too. Jones is a key asset this team.

Noah Osuji | Young Kings Elite | 6’5” | Collins Hill (GA)

Osuji utilized his significant size advantage effectively on the court, particularly in the post area. He’s built like he takes training seriously. Side by side with Jones, Osuji made his presence felt and took command of the interior. His ability to establish position, secure rebounds, outlet the ball or score in the low post made him a force in every game he played. His physicality is top notch.

Ar’Mari Towns | SMB | 6’6”

Towns was easily the most electrifying player at the Birmingham Classic. He demonstrated an exceptional performance each game he played in. His dominance mainly came in the open floor. SMB pushed the ball every chance they got to get a high-quality bucket with Towns running the floor. He had multiple powerful dunks and displayed superior athleticism. Buy stock now on this 6’6” elusive wing.

Joshua Wilkerson | SMB | 6’3” | Buckhorn (AL)

Wilkerson came alive for SMB in their second game, and he proved to be a reliable scoring threat from that point. Wilkerson has a solid one dribble pull-up that was his go to move when SMB needed a bucket. He has a lengthy frame that also allows him to maneuver past defenders with ease. Wilkerson is a key piece to this SMB group.

Andrew Smith | 423 Elite | 6’0” | McCallie (TN)

Smith was a consistent scorer throughout the Birmingham Classic. He turned it up day 2 and went on a scoring outburst that propelled his 423 Elite team to a victory over No Excuses Elite. Smith led his team to a 3-1 record to start their travel season.

Cruz Fontenot | Equal Shot | 6’1 Florida State University Schools (FL)

Fontenot has good size for a guard at 6’1” and scores efficiently within the flow of the game. He had a nice 18 points game where all his shots were quality and impactful. His selfless approach to the game played a crucial role in securing wins for his team. Fontenot allows the game to come to him.

Rickey Speights | Team Unity | 6’0”

Speights showcased exceptional skills at the Birmingham Classic. Shot the lights out in the two games I got a chance to watch him. His outside shooting is pure. Speights’ ability to let the game unfold naturally and patiently wait for opportunities sets him apart from plenty of players in his class.

Demari Bailey | Team Forrest | 6’0” | Griffin (GA)

Bailey’s ability to handle the ball and find the open man were keys to victory for Team Forrest. He effortlessly creates scoring opportunities. Bailey’s versatility as a player is evident in his capability to seamlessly transition between scoring and facilitating. He makes constant winning plays when he has the ball.

Ford Felton | Georgia Legacy | 6’7” | Centennial (GA)

Felton is a promising forward who is also a developing 3-level scorer. Standing tall at 6’7″, he possesses the physical attributes necessary to effectively play inside and outside. He shoots the ball with precision and can make a solid pass out of the double team. Buy stock now on this modern day big.

Tyson Shells | Da Ones | 6’2”

Shells played with an edge. Fierce competitiveness on the court. His versatility allows him to excel in multiple positions. In their last victory at the Birmingham Classic for Da Ones, Shells showcased his all-around abilities by posting 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He’s one of the leaders on a small-town team that has a ton of upside.