#OTRHoopsTheOpening – Team Blasts Part 3
CUMMING, GA – We move to Part 3 of 4 of our Team Blasts from OTR’s The Opening, with 6 more teams from the action at Dobbs Creek Rec.
By: Keith Agran
IMPRESSION-MAKERS: 2023 Landen Pitts, 2023 Javonne Williams, 2023 Dante Harrison
SUMMARY: With a deep roster, we’re sure to get many more mentioned from those particular SEBA group throughout the next 5 months, but at The Opening, just like the workout I had seen the week before, Pitts and Williams impressed once again. Allatoona’s Pitts is one of the better pure athletes I’ve seen dating frankly back to November, capable of things most simply cannot do. The foot speed is blinding, and whether he’s tracking down a loose ball or cutting off the path of an oncoming offensive player, the energy level seems endless and the effort is 100% seemingly all the time. Williams was terrific this season with a Paulding County team that had other good guards as well, but like Pitts his speed is notable and he uses that to defend like a fiend and carve up defenses like it’s Thanksgiving. Harrison’s physicality stood out to me, he’s a power-packed guard package out there, bounding through people at both ends and playing with an edge I really like while having underrated scoring chops. The Campbell guard is not new to me, his work in past summers was always solid playing with other rosters of high-profile guys, and now with SEBA he can really showcase more of his own positive traits.
IMPRESSION-MAKERS: 2023 Chase Hill (pictured above), 2023 Amir Boyce, 2023 Blake Wilson
SUMMARY: Also recently saw PSB work out, and after they dispatched of all 4 opponents at The Opening by double digits, it made for a hard time only mentioning 3 guys. Dacula 2024 Blake Wilson really impressive, and his emergence as a star on the move is already making waves around the ATL scouting community. But so too is Rockdale County’s Hill, a name that now quickly needs attention, as the guard was dynamic with the ball as a lead man and off the ball as a scorer. He’s physical and yet really swift, and has a ton of variety from multiple ranges. Boyce will rapidly be on radars as one of the summer’s rising big men, the WD Mohammed product got his bully on near the basket but showed confidence launching it from out past the arc, a part of his game that as it gets more consistent takes him at 6-8 to another level. Set for a star turn next winter with St Pius, the other Blake Wilson for PSB was nothing short of stellar in nearly all aspects at The Opening. So fundamentally sound, such an IQ for dissecting defenses, and good size for either guard spot means he can handle the rock for you and guard other physical guards. Has the look already of one of the travel season’s gems.
Wood Elite 17U
IMPRESSION-MAKERS: 2023 Tayden Owens, 2023 Jay Boyd, 2023 James Leach
SUMMARY: Wood has a team that will be a consistent challenger to shoe brands all summer, just as they were last year. Each weekend historically someone new steps up, and the energy from the sidelines is contagious. Owens’ junior season for Cherokee vaulted him to new heights, and over the travel campaign little should change. His low-to-the-ground push at defenders and ability to knock down shots in droves is an awful lot to deal with, he’s one of the summer’s top attractions at the scoring PG spot. Boyd is a perfect compliment to Owens, playing a very similar brand of cut-em-up attacking basketball, while adding in elite athletic ability to get above the rim at just 6-2. He made a name for himself all season with a really good Hiram team, and playing with Wood fits him well as he’ll be able to showcase that high energy style and get up and down the floor with a lot of freedom. Leach was a new breath of fresh air to those of us in ATL who didn’t get a chance to see him play at Beach HS out of Savannah, but the rim-running and lift off the deck was immediately apparent. While wiry at 6-5, he can guard 4 spots for you because of how well he moves, and he’s a name I think more people will be familiar with soon after a good all-around performance at The Opening.
Team Dickerson 16U Black
IMPRESSION-MAKERS: 2024 Derrion Reid, 2024 William Jobe, 2024 Khalil Green
SUMMARY: These 16U’s played up the whole weekend and were far from overmatched, they more than held their own going 3-1 and looking awfully good doing it. Reid was a huge part of what was a deep cast of terrific players in Grovetown’s run to the 6A title, but seeing him separated from that core was exciting and really showcased just how good a prospect he is. He has power, finesse and all the ways he can score on you makes him quite the load and one whose recruitment is set for a monster bump. Jobe will be heading from the Georgia coast to King’s Ridge in Alpharetta next fall, and that addition had scouts buzzing all weekend. Meanwhile, this past weekend the 6-10 stretch forward was lighting it from 3-land and showed me more interior grit than I had previously seen particularly on the glass. I didn’t get any tweets out on him, but it’s not hyperbolic to say Green was perhaps the surprise of the weekend for me, only because I hadn’t seen him before but marveled at how good the PG was. His play is more evidence of the talent lurking in Middle GA, as the Stratford Academy 1st-Team All-Region athlete is a prospect that immediately requires closer inspection.
HYPE Hawks 17U
IMPRESSION-MAKERS: 2024 Jacob Bryant, 2023 James White, 2022 Jonathan Awoleye
SUMMARY: Caught HYPE in snippets as I roamed and tried to get to as many teams as I could, so more will come from my workout visit. But Bryant was immediately noteworthy as a sophomore who has all the chops to make a big splash this summer. So skilled, so smooth, and yet plenty of power already in a young frame, this Alpharetta product has it all at first glance as a point guard and I’m psyched to see more. White is the 2nd Mt Bethel product I’ve seen early on (the other NME’s Jackson Bell) who was too good to ignore. Confident stroke, good athlete, really good passer as a 2-man, he together with Bryant made for a backcourt I’m looking forward to seeing more of. Awoleye is the lone 2022 unsigned in this group, but the former Walton product has always been a skilled big man on the catch, with a willingness to use a strong and swift back-to-the-basket arsenal and his post defense harkens back to the old days as well.
BCB 17U Black
IMPRESSION-MAKERS: 2023 Julian Walker, 2023 Keenan Gagen, 2023 Blake Seitz
SUMMARY: One of the more entertaining games I saw was BCB vs PSB, both teams had moments as PSB pulled away late. I’ll cover BCB in more detail as I visited them this week for a workout, but Walker is set to insert himself as the frontcourt main man at North Gwinnett and had really nice activity near the basket at The Opening. I was encouraged to see shooting range out to 15 feet as well, so this is a package to keep an eye on at a springy 6-7. Gagen is coming off a breakout junior year where he and his Lambert mates played some exciting and fun basketball, the shooting guard can really get cooking from distance, but it’s his quickness that also exceeds expectations as he can really get by people and is a creative finisher. The 6-5 Seitz will join Walker in the NG frontcourt next winter, and can be the Thomas Allard of next year’s team, although I actually think he has more variety off the bounce than Allard showed off.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.
December 5, 2023
December 4, 2023