OTR Rocky Top Invitational – Standouts – May 11, 2023

GATLINBURG, Tennessee, – The 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 a second rundown of standout performers from the weekend.

By: Jonathan Hemingway

Gold Elite prospect CJ Fisher caught our attention first thing Saturday morning. He is a smooth point guard who can create space with the dribble and get downhill towards the bucket. The 2024 prospect is one of those players who does not have flip up into overdrive to make a play. He scored 21 points in his teamโ€™s opening win.

At the top of any list of the standout 2025 prospects from the event would include point guard Santonio Waide. The lefty from Cave Gym Elite plays the game with poise and experience. He makes it look easy but does it in an efficient manner. His knack for scoring the ball and making plays reminds me of Lamonte Turner who spent his collegiate playing days in Knoxville with the Tennessee Volunteers. Like Waide, Turner was not known for his size and stature, but for his timely shot making and heady playmaking. Could Waide follow the same career arc as Turner? It is too early to tell, but Waide is on the right path as a sophomore.

Stretch-four play is all the rage these days it seems. There is an inherent advantage to having a big man who nail trail 3s and battle for rebounds on the defensive end. Defenders must be both mobile and possess strength to match the versatility of a stretch-four. Class of 2026 forward Brandon Lundgren fits the mold of the modern forward as described above. We watched him drill seven 3-pointers and battle for boards in traffic for B Maze Elite. The Knoxville native has great length complemented by skill. He is on the radar after this event.

We take notice of prospects who give extra effort or are called to take tough assignments in these matchups. We were impressed with the play of Myles Sidney with Stars Basketball Club, because of his willingness to defend Marcis Ponder in their match-up with Team Breakdown. Ponder is a 7-foot center who has been dominating the grassroots circuit this spring. But Sidney, whose natural position is on the wing, took the challenge and made Ponderโ€™s life tough at times. He used his length and long arms to get deflections and make it hard for post entries to be made. On the offensive end, Sidney flashed his athleticism by finishing a baseline dunk. Then he showed a smooth release on a corner 3-pointer. We think the 2025 wing has the character and skill to be a notable player moving forward.

Class of 2024 Nyziah Whaley impressed us with his game last weekend. He is a complete point guard who plays the game with poise and pace. He pushes the ball in transition and is quick to pass rather than over dribbling. Whaley seizes the moment and slashes to the bucket when the opportunity presents itself. The Stars Basketball Club product is a stellar athlete who is also heady with a good IQ for the game.

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 atย JLHemingway@gmail.comย and follow him on twitterย @JL_Hemingway.