10 Players to Watch in the Second Half of the Hoops Season

With the new year upon us we look to what has transpired thus far in the Tennessee hoops world.

I have selected 10 players who I believe will have a major impact not only on their respective teams but also the entire hoops landscape in the new year.  

 

 

 

DeSonta Bradford (Humboldt)

6'4 SG/WF

Class of 2014

If you have not seen this kid yet you are in for a treat. Special athlete with explosion who wills himself to the bucket and will throw it down if given the opportunity. His Vikings are the defending Class A state champions and will be looking to repeat that feat this season as they currently stand at #1 in the current state polls.

 

Jalen Duke (MLK)

6'4 WF

Class of 2015

Powerful young man who will play some four/five in high school, due to a lack of team height, yet is equally as adept at scoring when placed on the wing. He mans the baseline very well using angles and clever head fakes for easy hoops and he will knock down his ever improving short jumper if allowed to shoot. He needs to get more aggressive on every play and use his size to his advantage against smaller defenders.

 

Nathan Hoover (Arlington)

6'1 SG

Class of 2016

One of the best shooters in the state regardless of class, Hoover made the move to Arlington this season and has been a huge weapon for the state ranked Tigers. Slight of build but very active on the court, he knows how to get open and when his feet are set and the fundamentals are solid that shot should go in. Look for his scoring to be vital in the second half of the season for Arlington as they make a state tournament push.

 

Kordell Henderson (White County)

6'4 SG/WF

Class of 2015

Lanky athlete has been on a tear for a month now scoring big numbers and bringing some attention to his stomping grounds. Henderson is thin and will need to add some strength, most glaringly on the defensive end of the floor, but his scoring has been in bunches. He has developed his outside game and with his length is always a threat to put it on the floor and fly to the rim.

 

Marlon Hunter (Houston)

6'5 SG

Class of 2015

This kid is rising up the charts quickly, he has size, a motor and plays with passion and heart. A transfer from Melrose, Hunter has been the spoke that has made the Houston wheel go round and round. The Mustangs are state ranked and looking for more. Hunter has secured an offer from UMass and is being courted by the likes of Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia Tech and others.

 

Ryan Jones (Siegel)

5'10 PG

Class of 2014

The unquestioned leader for the 14-0 Stars of Siegel. Jones is an old school point guard who has discovered his confidence and is now a handful for anyone who attempts to block his path. His is quick, a menace on defense, has developed a nice floater in the lane and makes the right pass at the right time. He is a winner in the Corn Elder mode. His outside shooting is suspect but with a game on the line their is no one I would trust to make it more than "Lil-Man".

 

Malik Pugh (Dyer County)

5'11 PG

Class of 2014

Pugh has picked up his scoring this season for the Choctaws and has drawn some attention for his point outbursts. He is a tough, smart guard who will defend and is the undeniable leader of his team. He is drawing some college interest with his intangibles and leadership skills. Kids who command the floor are rare and Pugh is one of them.

 

Julian Richardson (Southwind)

6'6 PF

Class of 2015

Languished on the pine last with the star studded Jaguar group that delivered the Class AAA state championship, Richardson has emerged on the scene this year as a leader for a hungry young group that is making some noise on the Memphis hoop scene. Still raw but active and always in motion, Richardson is the kind of player who makes massive strides in a short time so his progress over the summer could be amazing.

 

LaGerald Vick (Douglass)

6'5 SG

Class of 2015

Toiling in the small school ranks, Vick is about to become one of those Memphis treasures that makes every one stand up and cheer. He is long and active, scores in droves and plays with a passion. This will be his break-out year and the summer will catapult him into another level of player as he matures on the court.

 

Troy Whiteside (Knoxville Webb)

6'2 PG

Class of 2015

This kid has grown up in front of me and his maturation and growth is finally catching up with his skill level. Whiteside is a cerebral player who understands the game, knows how to create space for himself and others, he has improved his outside stroke to become a weapon and has vision and patience at the lead guard spot. His basketball IQ is one of his biggest assets as he grows into a college prospect. Phenomenal student as well.