Part two of our three part story highlighting who I felt were the top rising players from their play this summer in the Class of 2010. Players will be listed in aplabetical order.
Tarik Black (Ridgeway)
Talk about making an impact on the scene. Everyone in the gym came to watch Joe Jackson and everyone in gym got an eyeful of the hard working Black. His game is coming around very well as he continues to work and his confidence level rises. A bit undersized but not to be outworked in the post. Showed great back to the bucket skills and make his name a household one among coaches in the Southeast. For the record Joe Jackson was worth watching without a doubt.
Ronald Brown (Raleigh-Egypt)
This young man has been fighting scrutiny since he arrived on the scene after being touted as one of the best middle schoolers ever in Memphis. Everyone expected immediate impact and Brown is not that kind of player. He had a metamorphesis this summer and realized that he needed to work on playing on the perimeter a bit more and make his ball-handling and shooting a priority.
It finally came together at Peach Jam after a tough loss. "Tank" as he has always been called put together a nice closing to the Augusta event and carried that over to Orlando, where he made gigantic strides towards being the player we all know he can be. He can still use his physique to score easy buckets and grab offensive glass but now understands that for the next level his game must expand to include some other skills. Great young man who will acheive his goals, I have no doubt about that.
Kerry Hammonds (Siegel)
At 6-4 his size and skill level make him a hot commodity. His summer of work only enhanced that fact. Hammonds, playing with the Alabama Lasers, was a factor everywhere he played this summer. His size and scoring ability made opposing defenses cringe, as he ran some point and was the reciepient of a few box and one defensive sets.
He has good size and will add strength making him a big time prospect for the next level. Coaches love his ability to create his own shot and the fact he can stroke from deep. The sky is the limit for this Siegel star.
Cody Henegar (Marion County)
Burst onto the summer scene with solid efforts in most every event he attended. His size makes him a factor immediately and his potential skill level makes him very intruiging for the masses. At 6-8 and a soft touch, Henegar can score from mid-range or drop step and mush in your face. He lacks strength to battle the high level posts at this juncture but is a smart young man who understands what he needs to do to get better.
Playing with the Nashville Celtics this summer only made Henegar realize what he needs to do to get to the next level. He faced serious competition in almost every tourney and improved every time he stepped on the hardwood.
Brandon Herman (Grace Baptist)
A scoring machine is how one coach described Herman as we chatted about his upside. The young man was a virtual scoring machine this summer with the Tennessee Travelers, Herman played well enough in front of the right people to have scored a few D1 offers already. Despite his scoring prowess, Herman will need to incorporate the point guard role into his reportiore.
At 5-11 his future will bank on his ability to play the dual role. Brandon is hard working and a nice young man and will have no trouble adding the role of leader to his expanding rolodex of skills. Look for a huge year from the rising junior.
Tarius Johnson (Liberty Tech)
Anyone who was in Augusta in July was no doubt impressed with the efforts of the newest Liberty legend. Some say he can't shoot, or he can't do this or can't do that, but what he can do is produce and win. Johnson showed his array of skills, scoring against bigger inside guys by outworking them, scoring from the outside because they underestimated him and scoring in transition because he outhustles everyone.
This is the guy who you put on the floor and say , T.J. just make it happen...and he will. His relentless effort catches your eye immediately and his production can't help but leave you impressed. I would make the trip to Liberty a must if I'm a mid-major coach.
Jalen Steele (Fulton)
You could see the transition happen right in front of your eyes. Being from East Tennessee, I get to see Jalen a great deal and as he progressed this season the confidence just kept rising. His effort at state, his play in the Rocky Top League, and his whirlwind tour of the summer scene with the Tennessee Travelers 17 and under bunch only made this confidence grow.
Now high major coaches have become fans of the Knoxville product with the perfect jumper and ice cold demeanor. I look forward to watching him as he makes the next step into his development.
Others who we considered:
Robert Schaeffer (Sheffield)
Cordaro Williams (Liberty Tech)
Mitchell Hill (Cookeville)
Teraes Clemmons (Mt. Juliet)
Antwan Cathey (Trezevant)
Robert Boyd (Fulton)
Darrian Gray (Southwind)
Freddie Lee (McGavock)
Michael Bradley (Tyner Academy)