#OTRHoopsReport: Mid-Season Stock Risers – January 6, 2014
Gilbert is in the driver’s seat for Miller Grove and has the Wolverines positioned for another title run.
*Photo by Ty Freeman
With nearly half of the high school season already behind us, it is time for us to look back on the players who have made the biggest leap before the new calendar year. There have been many players that have put in exceptional performances, but this is a look at the players that have elevated their games the most.
Courtney Alexander (Atlanta, Ga.) – Whitefield Academy – 2015
Alexander jumped into our attention, both literally and figuratively, early this season in an early season match-up versus St. Francis. The highly athletic forward specializes at finishing around the rim. Standing at 6-foot-8, Alexander is a high energy kid who runs the floor very well and makes an impact in the paint with his ability to get vertical. This is his first year playing at Whitfield Academy after transferring from Dominion Christian last season. Keep an eye out for him to become one of the hottest new names in the Atlanta Metro area in high school basketball.
Malik Beasley (Alpharetta, Ga.) – St. Francis – 2015
Playing on a great team can sometimes mean that a role player can get lost behind the headlines of the star players. For Beasley at St. Francis High School, he has used the role that coach Cabral Huff has assigned him to the fullest so far this season. The 6-3 wing plays alongside one of the best point guards in the state of Georgia, Kobi Simmons, who garners a lot of attention. Beasley deserves some recognition himself as he is currently averaging 18.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. Outside of the box score, Beasley has earned the label of a stock riser because of his play on both ends of the floor. His willingness to make hustle plays while also being a productive scorer is helping the Knights be one of the top teams in the state of Georgia regardless of classification.
Alterique Gilbert (Lithonia, Ga.) – Miller Grove – 2016
Being the point guard for a program that has won five straight state championships comes with a certain amount of pressure, especially for an underclassman. Instead of having to experience the growth pains that you may have to endure with a sophomore point guard, coach Sharman White has seen his 5-11 point guard excel at the position. Gilbert has made a seamless transition to the lead guard position and has even become the engine that has made the Wolverine team succeed this season. At the midpoint of the season, Gilbert is averaging 21 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds per game. With a stat line like that, it is easy to see why Shun Williams, the owner of OntheRadarHoops.com, says “Gilbert should be regarded as a top 100 player nationally with his play so far this season. His explosiveness with the ball in his hands is special and makes him a legitimate national recruit.”
D’Marcus Simonds (Buford, Ga.) – Buford – 2016
A stock riser list would not complete without mentioning the play of Simonds who has quickly come on the scene as one of the most electric combo guards in the Atlanta area. Standing at 6-3 Simonds has wowed the crowd numerous times this season with breakaway windmill dunks and step-back jumpers. Not only is Simonds a terrific athlete, but he is showing the skill that is matched by few in his class. As the calendar flips to the year 2014, Simonds is currently averaging close to 22 points per game. Coach Allen Whitehart has to feel good about the Wolves chances in region play as he lines up one of the toughest inside-outside threats with Simonds and Connecticut signee Rakim Lubin. Look for Buford to make a run in the post season mainly because of the development of Simonds.
Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. He is also the owner of Coach Hemingway Basketball. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @JLHemingwayPSB