A really good group of rising sophomores (Class of 2011) made big noise with their efforts on the hardwood. I have chosen seven players whom I thought really showed out and distinguished themselves as players to be reckoned with in this class for the future. They will be listed in alphabetical order:
Galen Campbell (Bearden)
Where did GC come from? Playing sparingly as a freshman for a loaded Bearden team only those who saw him in freshman games knew what kind of impact Campbell would have on the summer scene. Playing with the Tennessee Travelers the 6-2 scoring guard proved to be just that..a scoring guard.
His basketball intelligence is far ahead of his age and he makes good decisions while on the floor. His knowledge of the game is purely instinctive and he always seems to be in the right place on either end of the floor. His scoring outbursts were more consistent than hot streaky and he really turned some heads.
Andre Hollins (White Station)
All over Orlando a buzz was permanently in place for the exploits of this Memphis rising sophomore. His effort and can't lose attitude was contagious to his teammates and everyone sitting courtside while he played. While not a scoring option thus far at The Station, Hollins does all the things to make the scorers proud he wears the same color jersey.
Look for more scoring and offensive production from Hollins this season. His production has made him a national top 100 player and coaches from the major conferences have taken notice.
Kedren Johnson (Marshall County)
If you have not had the pleasure of watching this young man play, you need to make sure you head down to Lewisburg and catch a glimpse of his exciting brand of hoopage. Johnson has the ability to score from off the dribble or from the big line. He leads from the point position and has the basketball savvy to get everyone involved and still score 25+ per game.
Hard work and extra gym time will put him into the next level of national recognition. Believe me when I tell you the national recognition is coming and coming hard.
Nino Johnson (Melrose)
Improving big man who gains confidence with each performance. While his confidence grows so does his production. He's very good on the low post, fights for offensive boards and understands positioning and footwork. He had some great efforts this summer against some of the best big guys in class nationally and looks more than ready to become a fixture in the Memphis hoop scene for years to come.
Chris Jones (Melrose)
At the prestigious Peach jam tourney coaches were abuzz with the small youngster chucking up three and showing no fear against some of the best players in the nation. His name was incorrect in the program, but I knew who he was and kept telling everyone in the gym, thats Chris Jones, Class of 2011.
Jones showed a fearless demeanor that was a breath of fresh air for all coaches in attendance. He knocked down the tough three despite some questionable shot selection. His defensive effort is what caused most of the stir. In the typical Memphis pressing fashion, Jones was a pest at the top of the press or chasing down an unfortunate trapping victim.
Jacob Lloyd (Westview)
Sweet lefty stroke, nice basketball understanding and a will to win make Jake Lloyd a must see in the Class of 2011. His efforts this summer with the Mid-State Ballerz were outstanding, not only in his class but he played many events with the big boys. He showed no fear on the floor against his older and much bigger peers.
Malcolm and Martin Smith (Clarksville Academy)
Good size, athletic skill and pure basketball ability describe the Smith twins who came into their own a bit this summer. Malcolm is a bit more advanced offensively and can score easily on the block and has an adequate shot from mid-range. Martin is also good inside and his length helps him on defense.
Both of these long talented youngster, ranging in the 6-5 area code, are strength and repition away from being very good players for the years to come.
Others we considered:
Cory Billingsley (Sweetwater)
Adonis Thomas (Melrose)
Ray Parks (St. George's)
Lester Wilson (Knoxville Carter)
Cedric McAfee (Craigmont)
Weldon Garlington (Brentwood Academy)
Kendall Anthony (Liberty Tech)