Thanksgiving weekend in Atlanta marks the annual basketball events we have come to expect to highlight some of the top players in the region and nation. The state of Georgia is heavy in sophomore talent with a few participating in this year's Holiday Hoopsgiving and Hard in the Paint Classic. In no particular order, here are six from this weekend, four of which are currently nationally ranked.
6-6 W BJ Boston (Norcross) is highly rated for his scoring ability as a slasher, shooter with range, next level length that affords him to be a terror in the passing lane and a deterrent at the top of the Blue Devils 3-2 zone defense. When his teammates found him in the offense he was very effective. They will have to find him more often as the season progresses. Having said that, he understands he can effect the game in other areas, a characteristic more "5-Stars" should posses. Boston has a nose for the ball and that will serve him well as an offensive rebounder as he adds strength. No worries, Norcross focuses on strength training...That's coming! #HolidayHoopsgiving
6-5 CG Anthony Edwards (Holy Spirit) when you watch Edwards you immediately notice his ability to finish through contact and above the rim. At 6-5 and built to absorb contact Edwards has not neglected his jumper. He can shoot it deep and although RAM tough understands the concept of not over-penetrating, using an effective pull-up game. I like my guards to rebound and he's one of the better one's in the country. He was tough all weekend, leading his team to upset win of Wheeler and took nationally ranked McEachern to OT in a loss. #Hardinthepaintclassic
5-11 PG Sharife Cooper (McEachern) Is there a better passer in 2020 than Cooper? As a former player, sitting in the stands, I often see plays develop, that I know the ballhandler doesn't see. I don't include Cooper in that group. This kid has great vision, passes with both hands and understands how to move the defense with his dribble to create passing lanes. The other thing that needs to be mentioned is his ability to make layup's. Sounds trite but its not, its a lost art to make tough layups from a variety of angles, check that box with him. When he's got jumper going your at his mercy. Holy Spirit felt that with Cooper scoring 27 points in the 2nd half, 14 in OT win. #Hardinthepaintclassic #HolidayHoopsgiving
6-1 CG Dwon Odom (St. Francis) The pure explosion he plays with is impressive, but that's not all. Odom has worked hard in two areas of his game and I saw the benefit of that work this weekend.. He has a much improved jumper with added range and playing the point for the Knights, has stepped up his ability to run the team. Utilizing a quick first step, he's hard to keep out the paint but now when he gets in their he's finding his shooters, pulling up for jumper and rarely over-penetrating. The fans still love his attacks on the rim but he's beginning to understand that drop, kick or pull-up can be just as devastating. #HolidayHoopsgiving
6-7 F Josh Taylor (Columbia) In this day and age of position-less basketball, I see Taylor with the ability to carve out a niche as a 6-7 forward and growing, who can guard three positions, stretch the defense with his jumper, make plays from the high post as a passer or with straight line drives and finish in the lane with his jump-hook. On the defensive end Taylor uses his considerable lentgh to his advantage as a weak side shot-blocker. Columbia ran into one of the best guards in the country on Friday in Ashton Hagans but Taylor showed his potential as a future high major prospect. #HolidayHoopsgiving
5-9 PG Roscoe Eastmond (Wheeler) The other names may be familiar to most but one that's fast rising because of his ability to run a team is Eastmond. Watching him this weekend I saw a floor general, directing traffic, making sure his players were in the right spots, feeding the post (another lost art), getting into the lane for kick-outs to shooters or his floater. On the defensive end he doesn't shy away from chest to chest defense, turning the ball handler along the way and using his quick hands for deflections and steals.
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