The Free Agents 15 and under squad strolled into the 6th annual Best in State ready to prove to everyone in the state that they belong with the big boys.
Prove it they did. Holding their own against the top tier and blasting out a victory in their final game, the Free Agents put on quite a show for the folks in Crossville.
The event opened with the Free Agents taking on one of the top 15 and under squads in the Southeast, the EAB 2021. This was a tight game throughout with depth playing a big factor as EAB came out with a 61-53 win.
Parker Rothery (Heritage) led the scoring charge for the Free Agents with 12 while Jonathan Stewart (Oak Ridge) added 11 and Class of 2022 head turner Timothy Hall (Karns) finished with 10 points and several crowd pleasing blocks. Cameron Covington (Austin East) started his tournament well with 9 points and showed some leadership from the point guard spot.
Next up for the Free Agents the powerful Under Armour sponsored BMaze Elite.
Stewart led the charge with 10 markers as the Free Agents more than held their own falling 52-43. Rothery added 8 and Tommy Sweat (Fulton) making his first appearance since injuries have kept him the floor, finished with 7 points.
Rothery took matters into his own hands dropping 23 as the Free Agents bested Chattanooga Elite 71-34. Covington added 14 and Hall finished with what appeared to be a triple double with 12 points, many rebounds and even more blocks.
Rothery finished as one of the top scorers in the 15 and under division with an average of 14.3 per game. A confidence shooter, you could see by his footwork and body language when and if his shots were falling. When he moves without the ball and finds open spaces he can effective, very effective. He will need to add some off the dribble short game shots and some runners to his arsenal to take advantage of his stroke. The head fake could be his best weapon if used properly.
Hall, like we mentioned earlier has yet to play a high school basketball game, but his length and ability to track down shots is uncanny. He ran down guys from behind and cleanly blocked shots, he likes to change shots from the help side and once he starts getting some strength his rebounding range will become more encompassing. He scores mostly around the bucket but his shot isn't that bad, he needs a big dose of confidence.
Stewart has a big body for his age bracket and must start putting it to use instead of relying on the jumper all the time. He showed he could score finishing the tournament right on the cusp of averaging double digits at 9.3. His handles will need to tighten and his overall decision making and guard skills will need to advance as he grows and learns more about how to play hard and let the game come to him.
Covington was a small guard who played fearless but still made some questionable decisions with the ball. He doesn't lack confidence which is good but as a the lead guard, the primary ball handler, you have to make better basketball decisions. Coaches hate turnovers. His shot is ok and his confidence is high so shoot young man, shoot.
Sweat is coming off some injuries that have limited his game action the past few weeks. He is an able bodied kid who has some skills, he can play either guard spot and just needs more gym reps and shots attempts to get some of that confidence back in his stroke. He is excellent with the pull up in the lane, he is unselfish, has a good body, lacks overt foot speed but his IQ is high and he sees the floor well.