One of the best days of the early basketball season is the annual pilgrammage to Jackson for the playday at Liberty Tech High School. This was the third consecutive year for the trek and once again the talent did not disappoint.
Most teams were a bit sloppy, trying to find identites, hoping to get the gridiron warriors back in the fold and youngsters getting their first tastes of varsity action.
Young squad came out to play on the defensive end of the floor and showed poise and structure despite missing a couple of key ingredients. These three guys played exceptionally well on Saturday.
Adonis Thomas (Melrose)
Just getting better as he becomes more comfortable putting the ball on the floor and making the open shot. He explodes to the glass and has too much quickness for the average defender. Works hard on defense and plays with a nice temperment.
"Mighty" Chris Jones (Melrose)
How can you not love him? He plays with a great tempo, protects the ball, always keeps his head up, unselfish with the ball and can score off the difficult drive or knock down the three. Plays much different than his stint with the Y in the summer, much more under control and much more along the lines of becoming a solid leader.
Jermaine Holliman (Melrose)
Long and athletic got after it on both ends. Played wonderful in the passing lanes which usually resulted in a flush on the other end. His length gives him and edge on the glass and he's always fighting for the ball.
Host team continued to be the defensive team nobody wants to see and despite thier obvious lack of size they controlled the glass and gave everyone a fit. These three players showed out.
Ricky Williams (Liberty Tech)
Immediate impact everytime he came back in the game after a short rest. His ability to know the Liberty system serves him very well as he makes numerous steals and deflections on the ball and in the passing lanes. His shot needs to find a higher release point and he finds a way to score when the situation call for that.
Marlin Dotson (Liberty Tech)
Quick, athletic and stout describe the one we want to call "Big Boi II". I'm not sure he's officially on board with the name but he should be. He makes so many plays on sheer effort and if he grasps the "Big Boi" mantra of no one gets a board but me, then he finds himself never leaving the floor.
Joevante Arnold (Liberty Tech)
Rising sophomore showed some much improved scoring prowess off the dribble and from the outside. Should find himself with plenty of opportunity to showcase those skills this season.
Playing without their leading scorer Chris Reaves (Bolivar Central) the Tigers started slow, got some much needed "instruction" from their leader and then closed the day very well. Two players really stood out for Boliver this weekend.
Jay Murphy (Bolivar Central)
Little Jay was outstanding over the weekend, scoring off the dribble, making crisp decisions and providing the motor that kept the Bolivar engine running. He seemed to be fully recovered from some minor, nagging injuries. He backed down from no one and was really good finishing the drives to the bucket despite heavy contact.
Ricky Tisdale (Bolivar Central)
Showed a masterful stroke from ecerywhere behind the line. Played sterling defense on whomever had the misfortune of handling the ball. Loved his progress on the offensive side of the ball and should be a solid second or third scoring option this season.
The Roadrunners were missing 14 players who suit up for the footballers and the lack of depth prevented them from playing their game. I only saw them once and one player shined very bright for them.
Brandon Lopez (Austin East)
Maturing everytime he steps on the court. Lopez showed poise handling the ball amidst the face of huge pressure, he made crisp decisions and got after it on defense. His offensive game is coming along, his shot is getting better and he's a few bad habits with his shot from making this another weapon in a growing arsenal. I loved how he kept his team in the game and gave maximum effort. He will be valuable when the big boys make it back to the fold.
Pleasantly surprised with the Clarksville crew. Played hard, are still lacking some depth, which should be coming from their footballers, and showed they will be a force in their district and region this season. Three players stood out.
Jonathan Williams (Rossview)
He of the smoothest shot this side of the metro area gracefully knocked down mid-range, threes and short jumpers throughout the day. He was good on the boards and will get more active on the defensive end as he gets back in basketball shape.
Tony Childs (Rossview)
Very impressed with his maturation and the ability to explode. Childs threw down several drop step dunks and gave the sparse crowd a few moments of glee. He showed good hands and played hard defense on occassion. As he improves his stock will rise as well.
Donnell Brown (Rossview)
Lefty wing was sterling in transition seemingly always getting his lay-up on. His outside shot may need some mechanical work but he showed good athleticism and played solid defense as well.
I beg to argue with anyone who disputes the fact that Humboldt may be one of the most physically talented teams in the state, regardless of classification. Three players made their mark.
Darren Dunbar (Humboldt)
Athletic lefty was impossible to stop when slashing to the glass. Showed a solid stroke from the mid-range and was one of the few inside threats they possessed.
Charles Taylor (Humboldt)
I love the fact he can grab the glass and lead the break, I love the fact he can handle the ball and score on occassion. I just wanna see how dominant he could be if he played with his back to the basket on occassion. I trust he would be a Mr. Basketball finalist if this were to occur.
Tevin Crayton (Humboldt)
Same scenario. Loved his board work and the ability to lead the break. He has a very nice stroke from deep and is athletic enough to score in a multitude of ways. I just think he could enhance his stock if he adopted some inside scoring opportunities into his reportiore. Great kid and student, who will flourish on the next level.