OTR Hoops: Standout Forwards from The Opening – March 19, 2024

The AAU season tipped off this weekend with The Opening, On The Radar’s first event of the spring circuit. The weekend provided plenty of storylines and wire-to-wire finishes as we watched some of Georgia’s top programs square off. These are a few of the best forwards that we saw on opening weekend.

By: Cam Rickers

Masiah Jones – EYA Sports Black – 2024 (Pictured Above)

Masiah Jones has flown very much under the radar to this point but he had a breakout weekend at The Opening. Jones is 6’8, very lengthy, and super active around the rim. He was dunking everything inside and tallied a number of blocks on the other end. There’s still a ton of upside left to tap into as Jones gets stronger and adds to his low post game. With a year or two of JUCO, Masiah Jones could be a real problem.

Damerius Putmon – Georgia Canes Unsigned – 2024

Damerius Putmon opened a lot of eyes with his play at The Opening this weekend. Putmon is a late-bloomer that’s beginning to progress rapidly. He’s 6’8 and fluid in the open floor, a lot more comfortable in his body than he was a year ago. His touch around the basket has shown significant improvement as well. Putmon was battling inside against some solid bigs and came away with several dunks and blocks throughout the weekend. He’d be a solid pickup for a lot of JUCO programs.

George Shumpert – Georgia Canes – 2025

The Georgia Canes went 4-0 this weekend and George Shumpert was vital to their success. Shumpert’s best game of the weekend came against the WR All-Stars when he scored 17 points and hit the go-ahead bucket with 20 seconds left. He’s a strong, 6’7 athlete that embraces physicality inside. Shumpert is aggressive on the glass and finds a lot his points on second chance opportunities. He’ll have the opportunity to raise his stock this spring with a solid Georgia Canes team.

Malachi Edgell – Atlanta Kings – 2027

Malachi Edgell proved to be one of the best freshmen in the gym this weekend. Edgell was effective both inside and out. He was active on the glass and had some tough finishes inside while also connecting on the lefty jumper several times. He’s got great size for his age at 6’5 and the door is still open for Edgell to potentially develop into a wing. Malachi Edgell led the Atlanta Kings to an undefeated weekend and laid the groundwork for a breakout spring.

Will Russell – Redline – 2027

The possibilities are endless for 6’7 freshman, Will Russell. His versatility and upside were on display this weekend as he did a little bit of everything for Redline. Russell has the foundation for a solid low-post game, good feet and a number of moves in his bag. Meanwhile, he showed us flashes of the perimeter game in the open floor and the jumper looked smooth as well. Russell works hard on both ends of the floor and brings a level of aggression that can change a game, especially with his size advantage. Will Russell is definitely a name to know in Georgia’s 2027 class.

Cam Rickers has lived in Georgia his whole life and joined OTR as scout/evaluator in 2023. He’s spent the past few years scouting for PrepHoops, building a reputable profile within the grassroots scene. In addition to his work for OTR and PrepHoops, he is also the Recruiting Director for Sewer South. You can reach him at camrickershoops@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @CamRickersHoops