The crisp is in the air. The squeak of the sneakers can be heard in the background while the pep band plays the alma mater and high school basketball is upon us here in Tennessee. Lets take this opportunity to start a new segment here at Tennessee Prep Hoops, each quarter we will catch everyone up on what is happening around the state, teams to watch, players who are shining bright and things to come.
DID YOU SEE THIS COMING?
Memphis Whitehaven (West Tennessee)
Memphis Whitehaven was a state tournament team last season. The off season saw them lose their head coach who took an assistant job at Vanderbilt and then their top player, Matthew Murrell, opted to play at IMG Academy in Florida.
A drop off would have been understood.
No such thing sports fans.
The Tigers went and got Fred Horton, famed BTW coach out of retirement, and he has this version of the Haven rolling to a 9-0 start. Crushing folks including wins over Arlington, Raleigh-Egypt, Cordova and BTW, twice.
A plethora of guards overwhelm you from start to finish led by Kavion McClain, Jessie Payne, Alvin Miles and Antwan Smith.
Cleveland (East Tennessee)
The Blue Raiders are fresh off a state tournament appearance as well and also replaced a head coach.
The results speak for themselves. led by Belmont signee Jacobi Wood, Cleveland is rolling at 9-0.
Grant Hurst, Kley McCowan and newcomer Morrell Schramm make this Blue Raider bunch one to watch this season.
Mt. Juliet (Middle Tennessee)
The Golden Bears are off to a gleaming start at 8-1 led by their dynamic lead guard and Lipscomb signee Will Pruitt.
The rising senior is a leader on the floor and a master at controlling tempo.
Gage Wells has been outstanding from the outside while Riggs Abner makes it happen inside and out.
WHO IS MOVING UP THE CHARTS?
Ryley McClaren (Eagleville)
The Freed-Hardeman signee is off to a fast start averaging around 36.0 point per game and facing every freak defense known to coaching. He has a 50 point game early and will be one to keep a large eye on as the season progresses. He achieved an exciting milestone this weekend as he passed the 2,000 point mark for his career.
Grant Slatten (White County)
The junior guard is making his presence felt all over the Mid-State. He dropped 39 against Coffee County added 34 against Monterey and another 27 against Siegel and finally a 24 spot in a tough loss to Walker Valley.
Hayden Llewellyn (Jellico)
Rising freshman if off to a masterful start in his inaugural high school season. The slick guard is averaging 27.4 points per game including a 32 spot against David Crockett.
Jacobi Wood (Cleveland)
The Belmont signee is clearly establishing himself as the top guard in the senior class. His 53 point effort against Cookeville is the states top scoring mark this year and he has his Blue Raiders unblemished and ready to make some real noise. He added a 29 point effort in a win over McMinn County: as well as, a 37 spot against county rival Bradley Central.
Moussa Cisse (Lausanne)
Was there a bigger addition anywhere in the state than this 6'9 rebounding/shot blocking machine. His stats confirm the rest of the classifications fears, how about 23 points, 21 rebounds and 9 blocks against Surge Christian.
Peyton West (Monterey)
Congrats to West for pushing past the 1,000 point mark for his career with his 37 point game against Oneida. He also had another fine outing with 29 against White County.
Michael Houge (Chattanooga Christian)
Big man has been outstanding thus far averaging around 25 per game as his squad stands at 9-0 on the young season.
Collin Gore (Upperman)
Rising junior guard has forever etched his name in the Bees folklore passing the coveted 1,000 point mark for his career. His efforts have led to a rousing start for the Bees who currently stand at 9-0.
BIG SCORING EFFORTS
Blake Campbell (Walker Valley) 48pts vs. Maryville
Ty Hurst (Carter) 35pts vs. Grace Christian
Abiah Releford (Dobyns-Bennett) 35pts vs. Jefferson County
Braden Ilic (Morristown East) 34pts vs. Jefferson County
Jeremy Miller (Oak Ridge) 34pts vs. Knoxville Halls
B.J. Edwards (Knoxville Catholic) 33pts vs. Gary Collegiate
Harper Neal (Kingston) 33pts vs. Sweetwater
Kaleb Meredith (University) 32pts vs. North Greene
Akeem Odusipe (Knoxville Catholic) 32pts vs. Gray Collegiate
Caden Cupp (Gibbs) 30pts vs. Knoxville Halls
Cole Layne (Sullivan South) 30pts vs. Unicoi County
Trent Lovelace (Morristown West) 30pts vs. Daniel Boone
Tai Cates (Alcoa) 29pts vs. Northview Academy
Noah Stevens (Happy Valley) 27pts vs. Unaka
Wes Maples (Sevier County) 26pts vs. Morristown West
Tray Curry (Bradley Central) 25pts vs. Cleveland
Trey Morrow (Scott) 25pts vs. Wartburg Central
Mason McKnatt (Grace Christian) 40pts vs. Zion Christian
Braden Zapp (CPA) 34pts vs. Fairview
Chaz Lanier (Ensworth) 33pts vs. Centennial
Dalton Marsh (Red Boiling Springs) 33pts vs. Smith County
Dorian Shannon (East Robertson) 32pts vs. White House
Gary Smith (Columbia Academy) 32pts vs. CPA
P.J. Smith (Goodpasture) 32pts vs. Baylor
Will Pruitt (Mt. Juliet) 31pts vs. East Nashville
Ricky Guthrie (Rhea County) 30pts vs. Hixson
Mason McKnatt (Grace Christian) 30 pts vs. BGA
Braeden Moore (CPA) 30pts vs. McCallie
Montre Street (McGavock) 29pts vs. Glencliff
Robbie Rusciano (McEwen) 28pts vs. Creek Wood
Grant Strong (Clay County) 28pts vs. Trousdale County
Braydee Brooks (Macon County) 27pts vs. Cannon County
Michael Payton (Montgomery Central) 27pts vs. Kenwood
Antwon Williams (LaVergne) 27pts vs. PJPII
Zach Amonette (Pickett County) 26pts vs. Clarkrange
Isaiah Jones (East Nashville) 26pts vs. Mt. Juliet
Derek Murphy (Nashville Overton) 26pts vs. Cane Ridge
Kristian Shaw (Beech) 26pts vs. Father Ryan
Jyquale Matthews (Beech) 25pts vs. Station Camp
Matthew Sells (Livingston Academy) 25pts vs. Franklin County
Eli Thurston (Station Camp) 25pts vs. Portland
Cornelius Turner (Marshall County) 25pts vs. Fairview
Kennedy Chandler (Briarcrest Christian) 35pts vs. Jackson Calloway
Mikhail Garrett (BTW) 34pts vs. MAHS
Justin Borders (Cordova) 33pts vs. Memphis Overton
Jaylon Sanders (Collierville) 32pts vs. Memphis Overton
Amarion Jones (Westwood) 30pts vs. MSE
Amarr Knox (Memphis Central) 30pts vs. Bolton
Phil Horton (Fayette-Ware) 28pts vs. South Gibson
Jamari Jackson (PCA) 28pts vs. Fairley
Bakari Johnson (Freedom Prep) 28pts vs. White's Creek
Bobby Westbrook (St. Benedict) 28pts vs. Kingsbury
Ronald Berkley (MAHS) 27pts vs. BTW
Alex Holmes (Fairley) 27pts vs. Oakhaven
Joshua Wilson (Fairley) 27pts vs. Oakhaven
PLAYDAY SHINING STARS
I love the start of the basketball season as everyone gears up for the upcoming season. Play days are the norm and getting to see multiple games at one site is a blessing. I attended play days at Riverdale, Beech and Lebanon. Here are seven guys who truly caught my eye.
John Windley (Brentwood)
Rising junior guard has size and an exceptional basketball IQ. He makes easy shots and controls tempo. Love his demeanor and how he approaches the game. His game is only getting better.
Alex Rush (Upperman)
Another rising junior showed a much more athletic feel to his game. He drove the baseline for dunks and rebounded at a high level. His scoring touch is coming around and he will be one to keep an eye on this year.
Kristian Shaw (Beech)
Just a rising sophomore but he has excellent size for his position, he attacks the basket and has enough confidence in his stroke to be dangerous. As his body grows so will his game.
David Craig (McCallie)
Enormous rising sophomore has a long way to go but he is a presence when he is engaged. His 7'0 frame is legit. He can score around the basket and once he grasps some more fundamentals he will be one for all too see.
Jaylen Wetzel (Siegel)
Much improved member of the Siegel three, this rising junior guard is shooting the ball with supreme confidence and making his presence felt all over the court. Could be a great season for the Siegel Nation.
Malcolm Logue (Lebanon)
Diminutive guard showed his leadership with several big plays down the stretch against defending Class AAA state champion Bearden. His ability to attack, defend and score will be big this season.
Braeden Moore (CPA)
When he is dialed in this rising sophomore has one of the sweetest strokes in the state. His 30 point effort against a good McCallie squad was big shot after big shot. Improving his body and his foot speed means a huge upward tick.
BIG GAMES AND EVENTS COMING UP FOR ME
The holiday season has me traveling all over the area. Here is where you can find me during December.
12/17 Knoxville West at Maryville
(Joe Anderson (Maryville) has a huge game as the Rebels dominate)
12/19 Sevier County at Carter
(On the night they retire former Hornet and current Tennessee guard Jordan Bowden's jersey, the Smoky Bears hold on to defeat a hard nosed Carter bunch.)
12/20 5 Star Preps Doubleheader Knoxville Webb vs. Oak Ridge/Siegel vs. Campbell (GA)
(Webb wins by 20 behind David Sander, Uriah Powers, Luke Burnett and Tariq Daughton)
(Campbell gets the late win, Stars cant hold onto the ball in the later stages of the game)
12/21 Beech Christmas Event (Beech High School/Hendersonville)
(White House, Station Camp, Riverdale, Beech, Vestavia Hills, Muhlenberg County , Cane Ridge and Goodpasture)
12/26 Father Ryan Christmas Tournament (Father Ryan High School/Nashville)
(Father Ryan, Clarksville, Hillsboro, LaVergne, Mt. Juliet, Red Bank, Brentwood and MLK)
12/27 NXLLVL (CPA/Nashville)
(Dunham School, Mt. Bethel, Briarcrest Christian, Pace Academy, Brentwood Academy, Center Hill, CPA and Oak Ridge)
12/28 Xaxby's Christmas Classic (Kenwood High School/Clarksville)
(Upperman, Blackman, MBA, Summit, Kenwood and Portland)