OTR Hoops – On the Rise from Rock Top Invitational – May 4, 2024

GATLINBURG, Tennessee, – On the Radar Hoops is hosting the Rocky Top Invitational for the second consecutive year. Using the first-class facility of the Rocky Top Sports World and adjacent Gatlinburg-Pittman High School gym, the event hosts more than 100 travel teams from around the Southeast. Here are some names on the rise from the opening days of the event.

By: Jonathan Hemingway

Caleb Lightford – Hawks Elite – 2025

Lightford has the measurables that you like on the court. Long arms, twitchy first movements he is built to be a play finisher and a defensive disruptor. We watched him score 19 points in a high scoring game on Saturday evening. He is the type of switchable wing that can be utilized in a variety of systems at the next level.

Jaquay Gabriel – 502 Elite – 2026

Gabriel stuck out on Friday evening as a showstopping point guard. He was jumping past his opponents on the way to finishes at the rim. Surprisingly the 5-foot-8 guard leapt to block shots from unsuspecting opponents. Gabriel is a kid that can set the tone for his team as a ball handler or a defensive disruptor.

Davis Bright – Georgia Sleeperz – 2026

Bright emerged onto the radar Friday night and then backed it up with more solid play on Saturday afternoon. He is an all-around fundamental player who can create space and make plays off the dribble. We appreciated how he was able to penetrate the crease in the defense and set up scoring opportunities for his teammates. Bright might not ever be the biggest player on the floor, but he will likely match all on-comers with his competitiveness and IQ.

BJ Faulkner – Wildcat Elite – 2026

Faulkner powered his Wildcat Elite to a win on Saturday afternoon by hitting some big shots from beyond the arc. The junior guard has a smooth, quick release when he catches the ball in his pocket. It is his defensive prowess that ought to also be taken note of during this event. He was able to be a disruptive force in the passing lanes and by pressuring the ball handler. This type of two-way impact will always lead to more success.

Andy Johnson – Kentucky Hoop Dreams – 2026

Johnson might have been the name of the of the tournament coming out of Saturday. A 6-5 wing, he has great length and a smooth skill set. He can use either hand to dribble or pass. And he proved that he could do this without being rattled by smaller quicker defenders as well. His all-around offensive competence will garner him plenty of attention from college coaches this spring and summer.

Brady Wilson – UWIN – 2026

Wilson plays alongside a couple of very talented guards with UWIN 16U. However, he picked his spots in a Saturday evening game and proved he can be a game changer when called upon. The lefty stuck several jumpers at key moments, which turned the momentum in favor of UWIN. Wilson is skilled enough to bring the ball up and initiate as a lead handler or he can slide to the corner and run off screens as a shooting guard.

Eli Malone – Pro One Select – 2027

Malone is a left-handed point guard that stirs the drink for his team. Whether it is penetrating the lane, pushing the tempo in transition, or by getting deflections as an on-ball defender, he takes the helm as leader for his squad. We were impressed with his quickness and poise in the game that we watched him. He is a player we expect to be on the rise 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.