OTR Rocky Top Invitational – First Impressions – May 10, 2023

GATLINBURG, Tennessee, Rocky Top Sports World was the host venue for the On the Radar Hoops Rocky Top Invitational. The six-court facility along with four other courts provided by the Gatlinburg Pittman school system gave a great experience for teams around the Southeast. Here is an initial rundown of standout performers from the weekend.

By: Jonathan Hemingway

The Showtime Ballers have headlined the OTR spring event series for the last three weekends. Class of 2024 point guard Willie Sheppard III is a kid that has been steadily helping his team to success all the way through. While Sheppard may be classified as small by some observers, his game is anything but undersized. He makes an oversized impact when he laces the shoes up. He hassles opposing ball handlers into turnovers and errors as a defender. On the offensive end we really appreciate the pace he plays with the ball. He sets up opposing defenders and runs them into screens, which opens the court for him to make plays for himself or others. Sheppard was a revelation coming out of this weekend and should be on all watch-lists for the state of Florida.

The Stars Basketball Club 2025 were involved in one of the best games of the spring when they faced off against Team Breakdown on Saturday evening. Sophomore guard Cade Capps is a big reason why the Stars finished with a win. He is an all-around player at 6-foot-5. He uses strength, footwork, and a healthy dose of skill to make plays in the back court. He is a natural shooter who has put in hours of work on his jumper. Yet I think the best part of his game is his playmaking off the dribble. He showed he could finish even with his left hand against bigger defenders off the move. And he is equally unselfish looking to set up his teammates with a timely pass when the defense rotates to his dribble attack. Several scouts told me about Capps’ game before the weekend and he measured up to the billing last weekend.

Class of 2025 guard Cade Lomas put in one of the best performances of the weekend with a 31-point outing with GSW Black on Sunday morning. Lomas is a natural at this game. A confident shooter and skilled ball handler, the 6-1 guard makes the right play regardless of the situation. We appreciated Lomas’ headiness and willingness to talk the game with his teammates. He appears to be a leader who is vocal. Our staff has Lomas earmarked as one of the breakout contenders of this summer and next high school season.

Class of 2024 forward Alex Atkinson put the tournament on notice with a 32-point game early on Saturday morning. This included a 21-point second half effort for Upward Stars Columbia. He dominated the interior with finishes over outstretched hands and added in a handful of perimeter jumpers as well. He is a 6-8 prospect who looks to be gaining confidence as an all-around player. His blend of length and agility will make him a top prospect in the state of South Carolina.

Tennessee Prime Time has the look of a team that is balanced, cohesive, and they enjoy playing the game. They cruised to a Sunday morning win with several players hitting on all cylinders. One of the notable prospects on this roster was class of 2024 forward Joshua Brown. He is a Knoxville native listed at 6-5. He has the face up skill and versatility to play some on the wing as well. He showed that shooting range with several 3-point jumpers en route to a 18 point outing. Brown is a well-built kid with some springs to flush dunks in the paint. He is on track for a stellar summer.

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.