OTR Tipoff Classic – Game Notes Pt 2

NORCROSS, GA – After looking in on some game notes from the first 3 games of the OTR Tipoff Classic from Norcross last Saturday, we polish off our coverage with the last 3.

By: Keith Agran

Greenforest vs Pebblebrook

RESULT: Pebblebrook W 66-62

TOP FALCON PERFORMERS: Kami Young (SR, G, 18pts), Jaiun Simon (JR, F, 13pts)

TOP EAGLE PERFORMERS: Florian Tenebay (SR, G, 19pts)

GAME NOTES: Close game for much of the way, but a big 3rd qtr for the Falcons proved to be the difference as they hung on. Young has great clutch shot ability, he’s confident on the pull when his team needs a bucket and can be a bunches-type scorer for a group that features great depth at guard with Andre Young, Jordan Brown, Nyle Hillmon and Xavier Bell in the stable as well. Simon is one the fastest rising 2023’s in the state and can be a dominant force from 15 feet in with both good shooting range and grown-man moves near the basket. Playing without Stephenson-transfer Jaylen Peterson, the Eagles still had their towers available with Gai Chol and DK Manyiel, but it was SG Tenebay, coming off a strong fall on the Showcase circuit, who continues to show his scoring ability from multiple levels at 6-5.

POTENTIAL BREAKOUT STAR: With all the marquee names getting most of the preseason ink for Greenforest, and fellow senior guards Jalen Forrest and SW DeKalb-transfer Caleb Smith a bit more well known, Tenebay is perhaps the name to watch in Decatur as he’s got size and variety from the 2-spot and has the look of a steal for a next-level program.

Wheeler vs Grayson

RESULT: Wheeler W 62-60

TOP WILDCAT PERFORMERS: Isaiah Collier (JR, G, 23pts)

TOP RAM PERFORMERS: Chauncey Wiggins (SR, F, 15pts)

GAME NOTES: Grayson actually led most of the way, but a 24-14 4th qtr from Wheeler turned the tables behind Collier’s brilliance. Now as seasoned a junior guard as you’ll find in the Southeast, Collier has the ability to and did indeed take over the game late for the ‘Cats, his eight 4th qtr points were all clutch. The guard trio of Collier and seniors Kyle Burns and Juvon Gamory have been through the wars, and will be the rock while their young frontcourt stars Arrinten Page, Jelani Reynolds, Klairus Amir and Cameron Brown (the latter 3 transfers) find their stride in HC Larry Thompson’s system. With no Chad Moodie (broken arm), 6-7 star-on-the-rise freshman Amir Taylor started and held his own alongside Wiggins in the Rams frontcourt, but much like Wheeler, it’ll be senior guards Tyrese Elliott and Caleb Blackwell and sophomore riser Gicarri Harris who right the ship in the early going for HC Geoffrey Pierce.

POTENTIAL BREAKOUT STAR: This is a tie between the junior Page of Wheeler and the freshman Taylor of Grayson. Both have enormous gifts, as low block options as well as defending the rim, and both need time to find their roles and settle into a comfortable rhythm.

Newton vs Norcross

RESULT: Newton W 83-67

TOP RAM PERFORMERS: Stephon Castle (JR, G, 22pts), Jakai Newton (JR, G, 19pts)


GAME NOTES: The Rams emerged by most accounts of those present in the know as the best-looking team in the state, with a performance that was scary for future opponents and filled with superlatives for evaluators and onlookers. Castle and Newton will have a lot to say about who challenges Milton’s Bruce Thornton and Kanaan Caryle for best guard duo, as each was scintillating, explosive and refined all in the same night. Scarier still is junior and future UGA guard Qua Brown, another 2023 stud who would be the first option on every other team in the state outside perhaps the top 3 or 4 clubs. Add in frontcourt beasts Miokaye Grant and Daniel Pound and a bench filled with more athletes, and it’s tasty recipe for 7A dominance out in Covington. Life without Jahki Howard may take a little seasoning for the Blue Devils, and they’ll need stellar junior PG London Johnson to be the catalyst with wing talents like Panoam, Samarion Bond and Jerry Deng plenty talented enough to post numbers.

POTENTIAL BREAKOUT STAR: Before Howard left, Panaom was a known name, but likely to be down the list of scoring options for Big Blue. However, Saturday he took the bull by the horns against a seriously athletic Newton bunch, and showed that he’s someone that needs to be watched as his game evolves before our eyes beyond the explosive, above the rim highlights.

Keith Agran has lived in Georgia since 2011 and joined OTR as a National Evaluator in 2021. He previously scouted for Prep Hoops dating back to 2019 and has both a championship-coaching background on the HS-level and daily newspaper writing experience, both from New Jersey. You can reach him at keithagran1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.