“Red Alert” September – Guys Evading The Radar
ATLANTA, GA – A bunch of good players emerged over the last 5+ months since the state champions were crowned, each primed to make their own statement but perhaps playing 2nd or 3rd fiddle on their roster to bigger names or merely swimming in a complex modern pond where recognition and exposure are harder than ever to receive.
Let’s highlight some that have crossed my path and can really play.
By: Keith Agran
Cole Gary | 6-2 | SG | Habersham Central | 2023
Made such an impression with his all-around play back in June Team Camps with the Raiders that I’ve felt compelled to find a way to get it mentioned, good length at the 2 and more than anything else really athletic both as a defender and aerial scorer, can flat-out get hot from 3-land and with Bryce Pittman garnering a lot of attention this year and Brannon Gaines carving up defenses to find Gary this is a solid player who could have a big impact on his team’s fortunes.
Jai’Que Hart | 6-2 | SG | Lithia Springs | 2023
The celebrated 2022 class has moved on but Hart has spent the last few years getting better and gaining steam in the same Atlanta Nets travel organization that built up most of those prior Lions stars, Hart has been hard to miss in a number of forums I’ve seen him in as he plays a smart and determined brand of ball backed by plenty of underrated talent, originally made his mark as a deadeye shooter but can play either guard spot for you with the high IQ and has gotten more and more physical and creative at the basket, primed for a big senior season for an LSHS team you’d better not sleep on.
Christian Burnett | 6-3 | PG | Baldwin | 2023
Despite being at a program that has won 39 games over the least 2 seasons and a state title it can easy to brush past Baldwin for those who might not know or spend a lot of time in that area, that would be a mistake as Baldwin is a constantly solid program and Baldwin one of the real steals out of that area, “Ice” had a torrid start to the AAU season back in the spring with ManUp but still often doesn’t seem to get his due despite consistency and often eye-popping theatrics in the stat column, he’s a full package as a scoring point who plays a cerebral brand of ball that can beat you off the bounce or with deep shooting and with heady defense.
Albert Wilson III | 6-6 | SF | North Cobb Christian | 2023
Can really score in a true multi-level fashion with a mix of old-school moves using good feet and some nice face-up variety, expanded his range past the arc with more efficiency and that was a huge factor in him posting some big numbers in the spring and in June back together with NCCS, where position-less can be tricky with some it serves Wilson well as he can go down low and power into folks and do dirty work but make people look silly with his abilities facing the basket further out.
Jacob Bryant | 6-2 | PG | Alpharetta | 2024
In classic travel season style you often look for dips in a player’s spring and summer season performance levels while trying to put together as accurate an evaluation as you can, with Bryant you saw notable progression from March to July but nearly no dips that impacted at least to me what the ceiling is for this player, HYPE Hawks underwent a bunch of roster makeovers but Bryant was right there at the core looking the part of a potential monster steal of a lead guard, this coming ’22-23 Raiders team is intriguing and has a chance to make a run at a Region berth and stopping in to see Bryant will be well worth the trip.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.