Stock Riser Bigs – ATL-Metro Part 1
ATLANTA, GA – We’ve given quite a bit of attention to guards recently as they so often dominate the headlines and the stat sheets, but here are the first 12 of 24 underclass bigs I’ve seen in the ATL-Metro whose stock has either risen this season or are ones who have a chance to use the coming spring and summer to prep for big breakout seasons in ’22-23.
By: Keith Agran
Jaiun Simon | 6-6 | 2023 | Pebblebrook
Will soon be regularly mentioned among the top players in the class regardless of position, as perhaps no junior has blown up on the scene this winter as prominently as Simon. Can play with power or finesse and bring his game out well past the painted area, he’s also one of the state’s most effective rebounders and is plenty athletic enough to guard 3 thru 5.
Amir Taylor | 6-7 | 2025 | Grayson
Has more than made his mark starting virtually the entire way alongside Clemson-signee senior Chauncey Wiggins. Scary to think where he’ll be as his body catches up to the game and IQ as a young big man, once he matures and adds muscle to go with a game that is well ahead of his peers it should be something to see. Nimble with great feet and soft hands, he’s entrenched among the star attractions in a growing 2025 class of notables.
Sam Maynard | 6-4 | 2024 | West Forsyth
Plays bigger than his 6-4 and has the look of someone who has growing still left to do. Gives the Wolverines valuable frontcourt minutes off the bench spelling Jake Monney and Grant Moore, has a great understanding of his role right now as a banger and interior scorer, but that role will expand for him next year and it’ll be fun seeing the sneaky-skilled sophomore expand his game.
Eddie Hendricks | 6-7 | 2023 | Meadowcreek
The body of a defensive end and the skills of a guard make for quite the tantalizing package when looking in on Hendricks. He’ll have another year of being the beneficiary of feeds from Keishawn Hampton, and with noticeable expansion in his shooting range eyeballs will have to turn to the powerhouse forward over in Norcross.
Julian Walker | 6-8 | 2023 | North Gwinnett
Has seen spot duty and looked the part of a potentially burgeoning big man with skill around the hoop and as a shot-blocker, but it’s a tough nut to crack this year with Clemson-signee RJ Godrey and Duke Clayton doing most of the damage on the interior. Still, the measurables and the length are fascinating for future notable production at both ends and it will be his paint next year.
Aaron Nomel | 6-8 | 2023 | Grovetown
Short of Newton the Warriors arguably possess the deepest class of high-level juniors in the state, so Nomel’s chances to get on the floor during their superb regular season have been limited. But off what I saw in the fall leagues and the sheer potential of a rangy and sculptable package like his, even with virtually everyone back next year ’22-23 could be a chance for him to make a mark.
Jelani Thurman | 6-8 | 2023 | Langston Hughes
A terror getting up and down the floor as finisher when the Panthers get running, he’s also among the top 2 or 3 rebounders I’ve seen all year as well as everything sticks to his hands. Brimming with a fiery style and lots of confidence, this is a player who can absolutely blow up both this summer and into next year as LHHS will return some intriguing pieces.
Braedan Lue | 6-7 | 2024 | Alexander
Two years ago as an 8th-grader he wowed me in 14U workouts, here he is now a sophomore and the canvas is so fascinating with a ton to love about his overall game as an interior force. Despite the veteran and skilled perimeter pieces on the Cougars, he’s still a massively integral part of their success and will have something to say for sure if they make a deep run in 6A.
Peyton Marshall | 6-11 | 2024 | Kell
Recently highlighted in our look at 6A Impact 2024’s, the game is evolving right before our eyes as he not only ingratiates himself into a new program after transferring, but unfurls the layers of his game that are still to grow. Obviously a monster force in close and defending the rim, but much like Grayson’s Taylor as his body matures and transforms a bit it will be frightening stuff in Marietta as the Horns have a lot coming back next year with him.
Keshawn McPherson | 6-6 | 2023 | Osborne
Jon Carroll too has great upside and is so active for the Cards, but since seeing McPherson cut folks up working out with the GA Canes last year he has been firmly on my radar. So nimble but backing it within a powerful frame, he plays and looks more like a guard and can definitely do damage facing the basket. But when he slides down to absorb contact or show off some of his variety in scoring right at the rim, it’s a fun potpourri of things he can throw at you.
Keith Williams | 6-8 | 2023 | Mount Vernon (pictured above)
Watching Williams you sometimes forget just how big he is until you’re standing beside him after the game, because he moves much better than you’d think at that size and that part of his game has been continually evolving over the last year. So too has the skill package on offense, to go already with instinctive defending as a rim-protector and an always hard fight on the glass at both ends. Teaming with Dennis Scott III again next year will be huge for both.
Tyshawn Boyce | 6-8 | 2023 | WD Mohammed
Was so impressive at Holiday Hoospgiving at Shiloh, as he showed off both a swiftness around the block area as well as lots of creativity in how he got his buckets. He’s kind of a guard in a big man’s body in the way he goes about his work and that can make for a tough matchup for bigs who don’t move as well as he does.
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.