Sweet 16 Notebook – April 14, 2020
Cartersville, Georgia – Despite the NCAA deciding against the spring live period, On the Radar Hoops’ “Sweet Sixteen” showcase was one of the more successful tournaments in the entire country over this past weekend. With over 300 teams at 5 different venues from the 13U to 17U division, talent was literally all over the city of Atlanta this past weekend. At McEachern High School, the rising junior class made up the majority of the competition over the course of three days. There were teams and players from all across the southeast that had a chance to showcase their talents, however these individuals impressed the most and made the most of their opportunity at the Sweet Sixteen:
By: Donta Eberhardt – @Donta_OTRH
2023 guard Eren Banks – Georgia South
Banks has been the epitome of consistency not only this past weekend but this entire spring. The 6’2” combo guard is effective on the ball or off it and simply finds ways to make plays regardless. With the ball he is a blur in the open floor and can finish with either hand. In the half court he can break you down and use that quickness to get by any defender and into the lane to create havoc. Off the ball, he’s able to find open spots on the floor to knock down shots, which he did on a consistent basis from the perimeter at Sweet Sixteen. He has a good handle and is a good enough athlete to finish above with rim which I believe will get even better with time. I love Banks’ upside and his continued progress will be something to monitor over the course of the summer and the remainder of his high school career.
Another strong performance this spring for ‘23 Putnam County (GA) G Eren Banks.
— Donta Eberhardt (@Donta_OTRH) April 10, 2021
2023 guard Keenan Walker -Pro One
Walker was one of my favorite prospects over the weekend because of the way he plays the game on both ends of the floor. A 6’3” guard with long arms and big time athleticism that was on full display when contesting and blocking shots at the rim against bigger players. He plays with that same tenacity offensively especially when getting downhill and to the rim in transition or the half court. He was able to finish through contact and made game winning plays for Pro One all weekend. Walker is a guy any coach would love to have on his team and I thought his consistent toughness separated him from many at Sweet Sixteen.
2023 guard Sammy Goodman – Q6 Allstars
Shooting is one of few skills that translates to the next level and Goodman was a player at Sweet Sixteen that showed the ability to do just that, at a high level. The sharpshooter from Florida had multiple games over the weekend where he made at least four field goals from behind the arc. He is able to take his time to make shots when he is left open but I was impressed with his ability to knock down looks as soon as he got his feet set and needed to get a shot off quickly before a close out defender entered his shooting space. Goodman knows how to move without the ball which is a dangerous combination for opposing defenses and I thought that ability to get open and hit jumpers consistently in different gyms made him one of the better shooters I had the privilege of watching.
— Sammy Goodman (@Sammy_G_21) April 11, 2021
2023 forward Cyr Malonga – Team Thad EYBL
Overall, big men are hard to come by but with this Team Thad team specifically it seemed as if there were a plethora of front court players to choose from. Malonga was one that specifically stood out in the matchup that I saw him in. At 6’10” he already has Division I size but is also an above the rim type of player that can go catch a lob or put back a momentum changing dunk off of an offensive rebound. The forward from Kentucky does a great job of altering and blocking shots and moves well for someone his size and age. Big time schools are already after the rising junior and his performance at Sweet Sixteen would only believe that more high major offers are on the way.
2023 guard Deion Ware – LivOn-Fleur De Lis Blue
Ware was one of many point guards that I enjoyed watching within the LivOn-Fleur De Lis program. I chose Ware because of his smooth style of play on the floor from his point guard position. At a lanky 6’3” the lead guard showed the ability to slash to the rim with ease, seemingly gliding to the basket to finish tough conversions on both sides of the rim. His length allows him to have an impact on the defensive glass where he can initiate breaks and turn a defensive stop into a quality shot on the other end. He has a good feel for the game, shooting gaps for steals and can harass offensive players as an on ball defender. Ware is prospect of out of New Orleans that will be fun to watch as he continues to play, especially within this travel program.
2023 guard Emanuel Richards – Upward Stars SE
Richards is a grown man in a kid’s body and made a living in the lane for tough baskets at the rim. He’s shifty enough that once he gets an angle to the basket it’s almost an automatic bucket from the field or the free throw line. Richards has a nice stop and pop game from the mid-range area and knows how to avoid charges when defenders are anticipating a drive all the way to the rim. He can play off the ball but looked good handling it and initiating offense as well. With his physical style of play, he’s one that can easily find himself in the 6-8 rebounds per game category on a nightly basis. He can play the game and was an asset for Upward Stars all weekend.
2023 forward Jalen Hilliard – Norcross Heat
Hilliard was a prospect that was hard to keep off of this list because of his productivity for Norcross Heat. I’d be willing to bet Hilliard had the highest +/- of any of his teammates because he was able to do so many good things on both ends of the floor. He is a slender 6’5” wing but looked comfortable catching the ball at the elbow and working out of the high post. With his physique he was able to guard multiple positions defensively and did a good job of absorbing contact for tough baskets in the lane. The McEachern product can pass, rebound, shoot, and put the ball on the floor with the athleticism to finish above the rim. He is a competitor and got after it in the games I saw him in this weekend.
‘23 @McEACHERNBBALL G Jalen Hilliard is a versatile player on both ends of the floor.
— Donta Eberhardt (@Donta_OTRH) April 11, 2021
2023 guard Kam Johnson -Liv On-Fleur De Lis Black
Mentioned above, the guard play from this program was the best I saw over the weekend and Kam Johnson is just another reason behind that statement. The 5’10” guard was one of the best “little guards” I saw because of his ability to make simple plays all the time. He knows how to impact the game at his size which comes from a high basketball IQ that was evident in multiple games. He can stop and pull-up in transition when shot blockers are timing up a blocked shot in their minds, he can finish at the rim when opportunities are there, and he is an absolute dog on the defensive side of the ball; always looking to sit down and guard after a made basket. The Marrero, Louisiana product was effective wherever he was within the offense and did damage when it was his turn to make a play with the ball in his hands. Johnson plays the game with a chip on his shoulder and that edge is what I thought allowed him to standout at Sweet Sixteen.
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