Tournament of Champions – Capsule Look-Ins Pt 2
MARIETTA, GA – We finish our TOC coverage with capsules on the last two games of the evening:
By: Keith Agran
Milton vs Pebblebrook
RESULT: Pebblebrook W 64-47
PEBBLEBROOK PLAYERS WHO SHINED: Kami Young (6-2, SR, G) Jordan Brown (6-2, SR, G), Jaiun Simon (6-6, JR, F)
MILTON PLAYERS WHO SHINED: Seth Fitzgerald (6-3, JR, G), Kanaan Carlyle (6-4, JR, G)
SUMMARY: Playing their first game back since the publicized off-court turmoil has left them without seniors Cam Walker and Jonathan Murray, it was not that surprising that the first 16 minutes were ragged by Milton’s very high standards. Pebblebrook had something to do with that as well as they have kept things rolling at a very high level in the first 3+ weeks of the season. The addition of Brown to what was already a stellar group of backcourt veterans has looked like a winning move, as the shifty and creative scorer adds yet another option in this deep attack package. Young, coming off a terrific summer with Georgia Legacy, hasn’t missed a beat and is one of the better pure shot-makers in the Metro, as we’ve noted before he has a knack for the big shot and a brash willingness to be the guy. The whole of the scouting community in town is as enamored of Simon’s rapid ascension as I am, he’s a quiet killer out there with a soft touch from 15 ft and in and puts in the work near the basket with both ferocity and finesse. The Eagles will quickly find their footing as there is still a whole bunch of talent remaining, and All-American football star LT Overton was not yet in the lineup at TOC. Fitzgerlad intrigues moreso now with added minutes on his plate, he’s a well-rounded guard who likes to drive it but can hurt you from 3 giving them more past the arc than just studs Carlyle and Bruce Thornton. The two All-Americans Thornton and Carlyle, and an established winner and tactician in Allen Whitehart, will have this team back focused and contending for the whole thing in a very short span.
McEachern vs Wheeler
RESULT: McEachern W 86-63
MCEACHERN PLAYERS WHO SHINED: Braden Sparks (6-1, SR, G), Mike Jacobs (6-3, SR, G), Jalen Hilliard (6-4, JR, F)
WHEELER PLAYERS WHO SHINED: Kyle Burns (6-3, SR, G), Arrinten Page (6-8, JR, F)
SUMMARY: It’s easy to forget how young and still new many of the components are for this Wheeler bunch, and even playing on their home floor they’re still finding each other out there. Add to that no Isaiah Collier, out with a suspension, and Juvon Gamory on a tender ankle, and it was easy to see right away there were sync issues. Still, Page looks better and better each time out, he’s cat-quick with a great frame and understanding of what to do in tight, and when transfers 2023 Jelani Reynolds and 2024 Klairus Amir find their footing off Holt Rd, this team will look a lot more like the championship contender it very much still is. But all that said, nothing should take away from the excellence at both ends by McEachern, in what was frankly a systematic dismantling of the Wildcats. Sparks was simply spectacular, getting 23 of his 30 (w 7 3s) in a first half that saw them bust out to a lead they never really had threatened. The all-senior backcourt of he and Jacobs is finally getting their chance to shine in Powder Springs, and Jacobs too showed off some skill with a variety of drives and mid-range mastery that even a big and mobile Wildcat frontline couldn’t contain. This is undoubtedly a far better Indians team than many of us thought with some new pieces stepping up, with the likes of Hilliard and Earnest Ofremu up front and good-looking freshman guard Christian Curl settling into a key backcourt role. This was a fun group to watch and filled with possibilities, and add yet another puzzle piece in TN-transfer Airious Bailey, one of the Southeast’s best 2024’s, who was not in uniform but is a 6-7 inside-out stud and adds more intrigue to a deepening mystery for new coach Tremayne Anchrum.
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.
February 17, 2024
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