The school season gets underway in earnest this week with a full slate of Hall of Fame games but getting the bugs out was why so many made the trip down to Harpeth this past weekend. I was not able to see everyone but caught most of the teams at least once.
I chose 10 players who caught my eye. They will be listed in no particular order:
Kerry Hammonds (Siegel)
Really put on a show with his outside shooting and athletic putbacks. Great size allows him to get his shot off over everyone and his above average instincts make him invaluable on the offensive glass.
Kyle Teichmann (Brentwood)
Showed some nice range on his improved outside stroke and as always was a beast inside. Blocked some shots and held his own defensively in the block. Uses both hands very well inside and squares up nicely on his power moves to the bucket.
Averitt Baggett (Clarksville)
Languishing in the shadows of Austin Peay freshman and Mr. Basketball finalist Tyrone Caldwell, this 6'4 shooter had his coming out party.Coaches in the gym kept remarking how sweet the stroke and how nice the length of this rising senior. Should be in store for a nice senior season, good to see him step it up.
Jay Murphy (Bolivar Central)
Picked up right were he left off last week in terms of defensive effort and playmaking. Still working on his offensive to where it should be, but watching him defend the passing lanes is a thing of beauty. Wonderful anticipation skills make him dangerous on the press.
Trey Caruthers (Harpeth)
The Carson Newman commitment looks so much more relaxed and it showed with his effort on the floor. Having to play the role of leader suits him fine right now and he will be called upon to take the reigns of this very young squad. Trey scored when it was his time and made his teammates better while he was on the floor.
Hunter Miller (CPA)
Has improved his game off the dribble so much he rarely looked for his outsdie shot. He showed a quick first step and finished despite heavy contact. Hunter looks stronger and showed some leadership for a deep, but young squad playing without Zaccheus Mason (CPA).
Chase Dunn (Livingston Academy)
This years version of the LA Dream Team seems to much deeper, smarter and tougher than last years version at this early stage. Dunn controls the tempo but is not alone when it comes to scoring or any facet of the game. He showed his sweet cross-over and stick jumper at times but was just as content making the pass to a smiling teammate for a bucket.
Neil Carroll (Siegel)
The improvement in this young man could be the final nail that puts Siegel in the drivers seat to the 'boro. His length and enthusiasm made him a fun player to watch. His confidence is sky high right now and he finished most everything with a flush. Once his stamina is right, this will be a tough team to handle after Christmas.
Mitch Ross (Bolivar Central)
Every team needs a glue guy and this one belongs to the Tigers. Blocking shots, taking charges, the occassional hoop are the recipe to make up what this guy gives your team. Dramatic changes in the production of the squad when Ross was not on the floor.
T.J. Smith (Livingston Academy)
Perfect scoring compliment to Chase, T.J. showed his game has improved by leaps and bounds. He scored in a multitude of ways and was a big part in the rapid success of the Livingston team.
Others who also played well:
David Anderson (CPA)
Levon Tate (Siegel)
Danny House (McGavock)
Reed Harper (Clarksville)
David Hood (Brentwood)
Travis Williams (Centennial)
Yurick Griggs (Bolivar Central)
Deven Ramsey (Livingston Academy)
Sam Orr (Brentwood)
Marc Gooch (Siegel)
Matt Zelenik (CPA)
Clint West (Livingston Academy)
Donterio Dansby (Harpeth)