OTR Hoops – Georgia’s Elite 8 Tip-Off Classic Afternoon Standouts – November 14, 2023

The high school season is officially underway and the first Saturday didn’t disappoint. We saw some of the top teams in the state battle it out on the big stage as multiple D-1 head coaches were in attendance. We saw guys like O’Brien Watkins and Joah Chappelle have statement games against highly ranked teams while Gicarri Harris, CJ Brown, and Ricky McKenzie solidified their superstar status. These are a few top performers from the early games.

By: OTR Hoops Staff

O’Brien Watkins | 6’0 | PG | Carrollton | 2024

The first game of the day between Carrollton and Maynard Jackson came down to the wire as O’Brien Watkins did everything he could to give his team a chance. While Carrollton wasn’t able to get the win, Watkins put on a show in front of several colleges watching. He finished with 28 points, 17 of those coming in the 2nd half. Watkins is such a strong finisher at the rim and he was able to get there all afternoon. The pull-up jumper proved deadly too as Watkins gets great elevation and can get the shot up over contesting defenders. If Watkins keeps producing like this, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to play at the next level.

Cassius Watkins | 6’1 | PG | Maynard Jackson | 2024

Senior point guard, Cassius Watkins was excellent on Saturday as he stepped up and carried the scoring load at times. Watkins came out in attack mode, penetrating gaps in the defense and getting to the free throw line often. He finished with 22 points including 8 in the 4th which ultimately put the game away. His playmaking ability was key as well. We watched Watkins grow as a passer this offseason and his ability to get other guys involved will be key if Maynard wants to make a run. With Mekhi Turner potentially out for a few weeks, Watkins will need to keep up the strong play.

Max Skidmore | 6’2 | PG | Heritage | 2024

Heritage gave Campbell a serious run and Max Skidmore often looked like the best player on the floor. Skidmore finished with a game-high 22 points and kept Heritage in it as long as he could. He’s very crafty in the halfcourt and capable of scoring it from all three levels. Campbell tried to run him off the three-point line in the 2nd half but the baseline pull-up was working too, several tough ones over defenders. Skidmore impressed on Saturday and he’d be a great pickup for a number of smaller college programs.

Elijah Lewis | 6’0 | CG | Greenforest | 2024

Greenforest lost some key pieces this offseason but the return of Elijah Lewis will make them a tough matchup night in and night out. Lewis is the engine that powers this team, providing both senior leadership and a motor that’s contagious. Lewis flies around and typically finds his points in a variety of ways. On Saturday, Lewis contributed 24 of Greenforest’s 61 points. Other talented pieces will need to step up if Greenforest wants to make a run but one thing is certain, Lewis is as consistent as they come.

CJ Brown | 6’3 | PG | Kell | 2024

Kell silenced the doubters with a huge 85-61 win over Greenforest on Saturday. The Longhorns hit 14 threes in the game, many of which stemmed from the penetration of CJ Brown. Brown was electric all game, multiple high-flying dunks in half-court traffic. He finished with an efficient 18 points. You’ll rarely see Brown break down defenders with dribble combos as his quick burst and willingness to engage in contact are usually all he needs to get to the rim. Brown committed to South Florida back in August and he’ll be solely focused on taking Kell back to the championship.