Finally getting to my list of the top players from the 14 and Under State Tournament held last weekend in Sevierville. The list will consist of 30 players, listed alphabetically. As always the schools listed for each player were told to me by either the player or the coach these are subject, and probably will, change before the start of the season next year.
Ryan Boyce (Houston) 2018
Long rangy athlete who also got more involved as the games got more meaningful. His ability to snatch rebounds really manifested itself in the later games and his scoring went up as well. He will obviously need to add strength if he is to play the interior spots but his game really has a wing flair to it. Another good one to keep an eye on for the future.
Jordan Branch (Crockett County) 2018
Strong inside athletic force who played with a motor and never gave up on plays. His offense was limited to the paint but he was effective scoring against hapless opponents. He carved out position on the boards and had good hands keeping the caroms to himself.
Junior Clay (McCallie) 2018
Tough kid has leader written all over him. Plays either guard spot and has a knack for not only wanting but hitting the big shot. Handles superb and get to the rack and finishes with either hand, only knock is strength and size which will come as he matures. One of the top players in the event without question.
Justin Dozier (East Hamilton) 2018
Smooth operator who can play way too cool at times. When he is focused his skill level shines through, he has a nasty floater, good handles and as e said when pushes can be a stopper on defense. His outside shooting needs a tweak but is fixable. Great body for his age. Could be a monster if he wanted to be.
Jeremy Elston (Tyneer Academy) 2018
Aggressive attacking guard who knows no fear, he defends with abandon and transitions from offense to defense flawlessly. His outside shot is a flat-footed set shot which will need some work. His aggressive nature causes him to make some questionable decisions with the ball but maturity and basketball IQ should overcome this.
Caleb Fields (Ensworth) 2018
Middle Tennessee Impact
Great body, quick as lightning and very aggressive on both ends of the floor. He was good offensively in transition but struggled with his shooting and handles in the half court. His aggressive style leads to plenty of foul shot opportunities which he needs to work on badly. Impactful defensive presence who can take the top offensive player out of the game.
Taeylr Gatlin (Brighton) 2018
This kid has a great body for his age group, strength which allows him to get anywhere he wishes on the floor, skill level to handle and he has a pass first mentality feeding his teammates for easy conversions. He showed more offense as the games got more important including his outside shot which seemed to get better as the games went on. He finished at the rim when called upon to score and was an active defender. We have a very good one on our hands people, keep him on your radar.
James Gibson (Walker Valley) 2018
Lefty enforcer was a man on the boards and stepped out to the foul line and drained his soft jumper at will. His range goes out to the big line but he his shot selection contributes to his high basketball IQ. The kid makes big plays in big situations whether that is a big rebound, a tough scoring chance or keeping a possession alive with a dive on the floor he does the little plays to help his team win.
Rico Gibson (St. Benedict) 2018
Super long athlete who showed a nice shooting touch and found he could finish at the basket when contact was minimal. His physical weaknesses were prolific inside where he struggled with contact which effected his scoring and rebounding at times. Gym time and weight programs should cure all that ails this talented athletic kid.
Garrett Golday (Arlington) 2018
Very skilled big kid who has length and can finish around the hoop with either hand. His foul line jumper is deadly and when motivated he can be a capable rebounder. He will need to get stronger especially in his upper body and he will see his rebounding and shot blocking numbers go up dramatically.
Wagner Greer (Ravenwood) 2018
Good size and shooting stroke, Greer had a solid skill level and could score from the deep line and put the ball on the deck for a couple dribbles and knock down the short jumper or take the ball to the rim. He had length and was a good rebounder as well.
Bruce Guy (Memphis Central) 2018
Rangy inside player who scored on easy put backs and tough chances from his rebounding prowess. The lefty is a top notch rebounding force who keeps possessions alive and cleans the glass on the defensive side of the floor. His offensive game is relegated to the paint at this point but adding a short jumper will only increase his potential level. Loved his energy and passion for the game.
Jordan Johnson (Memphis Overton) 2018
Tough character who actually got better as the tournament got tougher and the games more meaningful. Clutch performer wants the ball in the game deciding moments, decent shooting stroke and fundamentals but can get going to fast and make bad decisions. Team player who wins games is enough for me to like him.
Cameron Jones (?????)
This is the kid who catches your eye in the warm up line. Long athlete with a skill level. Good shooter with a slow release will be a terror once his strength catches up to his skill level. He struggled inside against stronger guards and posts and relegated his scoring to the perimeter. His body will give him the freedom to play on the wing and when he realizes that strength makes all the difference he will be a force.
KeJuan Hale-Ligon (Austin East) 2018
Confident lead guard who has a pass first mentality but knows when to go hard to the rim or pull up and shoot a soft jumper. His size will come into play next season as he guards bigger high school backcourt players but his effort will never be in question. I venture to say he will more than hold his own straight from the jump.
Beyuan Hendricks (Baylor) 2019
Superb vision and basketball IQ make him the ideal point guard. Add to the fact that he can flat out stroke the rock and we have a very nice player coming up in the Chattanooga landscape. As most kids this age he is slight built and will need to get stronger of course but his skill level is outstanding. Mentally tough as well.
Braxton Holliday (Alabama) 2018
Dynamic lead guard who has all the dribbling skills and the fancy passing in his repertoire. He has a nice outside shot but tends to want to make the fancy dish instead of the proper pass, this comes with maturity and the kid really plays like he wants to win and get better. His handles are crazy and he has no problem defending the ball.
Peter Mac Hunt (McCallie) 2018
One of the best shooters in the entire event when his mechanics and footwork were correct. His stroke is pure but he has a tendency to rush his shot at times and not follow through properly. He has length but his lack of strength at this juncture does lend itself to making him a good defender which he is capable of becoming.
Ty Kelly (Westview) 2018
Lanky player who proved to be a very aggressive defender with his length and athleticism. Kelly will need to add strength, like all these kids will, and work on his shooting and ball handling skills if he wishes to play on the perimeter.
Leland Kurkendall (Southwind) 2017
Outstanding leader and scorer from the lead guard position. He can take over games with his defense and always seems to make the correct pass or tough bucket to keep his team right in the game. His ambidextrous style keeps opponents off guard and he has developed a floater, vital to all small guards, that is difficult to defend. His winning nature makes him one to watch next season.
Torrian Kurkendall (Memphis Overton) 2018
Solid build for his age, aggressive and knows how to score. This kid has moxie and is fearless especially when leading the break and finding a happy teammate or finishing with a flourish against a yielding defender. He shoots the ball well and uses his body for easy buckets in the paint. Uses his left hand and simply gets it done.
DeAndre Litaker (Oakland) 2018
Middle Tennessee Impact
Major presence on the interior, space eater and an even better football player they say. Dre had outstanding hands and got every offensive board he could reach and converted despite contact. He uses the head and ball fake well inside and knows his role and doesn't feel the need to launch from outside. How refreshing.
Alex Lomax (Memphis East) 2018
When you think of Memphis guards the prototype is this kid. Tough and thick, Lomax was a blur on offense and a terror on defense. He makes great decisions with the ball, feeds open teammates, scores on his own forays to the hoop and has a very good outside stroke. This kid will make an immediate impact on the high school scene.
Parker McKinney (Coalfield) 2018
Not exceptionally quick or athletic but this kid can but the ball in the bucket. The leading scorer in the event, McKinney uses his strength to carve space for his drives to the bucket, has a good stroke and enough handles to make himself effective. High basketball IQ, he took quick guys into the paint and shot over little ones. Loved him.
Chase Ridenour (Knoxville Webb) 2018
Very nice player who has a great feel for the game and a high IQ coupled with a motor. His outside shooting is good and he has enough handles to finish at the rim and take his man off the bounce. He defends with passion and will be the type of kid who fights for playing time as a freshman next season. Keep an eye on this one he will be one to watch as this class grows up.
David Smith (Cane Ridge) 2018
Major aggressive player who is relentless on defense and transitions to offense in a snap. His shooting got better over the course of the event but he has no fear. His aggressive nature leads to some bad decisions with the ball so he will need to learn to pace himself better if he is to be a point guard. He also needs to control his anger and just play ball and not concern himself with things he has no control over.
Calvin Temple (White Station) 2018
Had some trouble with fouls but really came on late as the games got more meaningful. Temple has a classic stroke and when his fundamentals were right he knocked down shots. He has good vision, handles well and sees the floor. He will need to pick up his defensive intensity especially as he moves in to the prep ranks next season.
Patrick Urey (Baylor) 2018
Fundamentally active big man who has a knack for getting tough rebounds, finishes with either hand inside and can knock down the mid-range shot. He finishes very well around the rim and will block a shot here and there. He has good hands which helps him get position on the block. Nice prospect who will thrive when he gets stronger.
Quinton Williams (Arlington) 2018
Another tough and hard nosed guard, seems like Penny-Black had a plethora of those guys. Williams was a good shooter who really got down the floor in a hurry and finished softly off the glass or knocked down the outside shot. Defensively he was a terror who created havoc in the press.
Braxton Winford (White Station) 2018
Good size and has a high skill level yet tends to disappear at times during the games. He can go hard to bucket but needs to finish those drives better than he has been doing. His outside shot is decent. He needs to develop a left hand which will help him finish in the paint better. Kid has a major upside which everyone can clearly see it is now time to let it out.