OTR Hoops – New Year’s Classic Underclassmen Report – January 9, 2024

LOGANVILLE, Georgia, – Grayson High School hosted the annual New Year’s Classic last weekend. A seven-game lineup with a few of the top teams from around the state of Georgia gave fans and onlookers a day of basketball to enjoy. Here is a list of sophomores and juniors to track coming out of the event.

By: Jonathan Hemingway

Miles Clanton – North Gwinnett High School – 2025

The Bulldogs squeaked out a double overtime win over South Gwinnett in the opening game of the afternoon. Clanton was a major factor in the win. He scored all but two of his 24 points in the second half and the overtime periods. The 6-foot-5 prospect has a package of versatility. He plays a swing-forward role for coach Matt Garner’s squad where produces with points in traffic and rebounds consistently. Yet Clanton’s face-up game is a dimension that will give him upside at the next level.

Kevin Harper Jr. – Greenforest Academy – 2025

The Eagles rolled past Mountain View with a balanced effort and veteran leadership. The top of their roster (Lewis, Kawela, Daramola) have been well documented in recent months. But looking forward to the future, Harper Jr. looks to be poised to take the reins of leadership when this year’s seniors graduate. The junior guard plays his role with efficiency. He rarely tries to do too much, but he capitalizes when an opportunity presents itself. We think there is plenty of plays left to be made for Harper in the next calendar year.

O’Davion Thompson – Central Gwinnett High School – 2026

The Knights look to be gelling after their win over Walnut Grove last weekend. This is timely with the heart of the region season coming up. Thompson looks to be emerging as a key piece of coach Marcus Spivey’s roster. Only a sophomore, the 6-6 frontline prospect flashed potential in the second half of Saturday’s game. His trio of buckets popped the game wide open and provided the momentum down the stretch. It will be his defensive versatility that ought to attract the attention of college coaches. He is a guy that will be able to switch, move, and create havoc for opponents.

Jeremiah Ruffin – The Wilson Academy – 2025

There is much optimism surrounding The Wilson Academy this season. Their win over Dutchtown solidified that feeling at the New Year’s Classic. With athletic talent on the wings (Cameron brothers) and size on the interior (Tamiel Green), the present match-up problems all around. Keep an eye on junior point guard, Jeremiah Ruffin, however. He might go unnoticed at times, but his impact is always needed. He is a heady ball player that gets the ball to the right spots for his teammates. And his physical toughness and strength is exactly what this team needs in crucial moments to win a possession or a game.

Kota Suttle Jr. – Wheeler High School – 2026

Suttle Jr. is undoubtedly one of the top prospects in the state and is on a trajectory to be a notable name on the national level as well. A 6-2 point guard, he is an elite athlete with a college-ready frame as an underclassman. He has terrific end-to-end speed with the ball in his hands and we took notice of his ability to set up his teammates with timely passes on Saturday evening. The Wildcats have plenty of scoring power on their roster. Suttle’s leadership and talent make them a favorite to battle deep into the GHSA state tournament.

Jacob Wilkins – Grayson High School – 2025

By this time, there is not even a casual follower of Georgia high school basketball that has not heard about Wilkins. The 6-9 wing lights up the social media platforms weekly with effortless dunks and youthful athleticism. The Georgia commit proved to be more than just a dunker in the Rams match-up with North Broward Prep. He showed touch in traffic and some nice moves in the open court. Wilkins is poised to be one of the most talked about basketball players to emerge from the Peach State in recent memory.

Jayden Bynes – McEachern High School – 2025

McEachern left no doubt about who should be considered the favorite in Class AAAAAAA this season. After knocking off defending champs, Alexander, by double digits the Indians look to have more than just Ace Bailey who can contribute and play. Junior guard, Jayden Bynes, figures to be in the equation when February and March roll around on the calendar. The 6-2 wing is not afraid of a big shot. He hit a couple in the second half of their game on Saturday, which shifted momentum in his team’s favor in the second half. Bynes fills an important role alongside for this talented team.

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.