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06/24/2019, 5:15pm EDT
By Horace Neysmith

Camp highlights deep talent pool

The NCAA made big changes in the recruiting calendar this year, including adding a June live period for high schools. While The jury is still out on the effectiveness these changes, one thing was clear in Georgia, it’s players benefitted. 

College coaches don’t seem to get out to many games during their season to catch their targets but this weekend many coaches were their in full recruiting mode. It helped that only 18 states participated in the new changes, coupled with Georgia’s reputation for having vast talent.

They had the usual suspects that shined this weekend but also the under the radar players, the under valued as well as the up and coming risers. This is part I of III articles on this weekend. Part I will focus on players that most have known, part II on the under-the-radar players who performed well, with part III targeting the up and coming underclassmen to watch.

2020 7-0 C Walker Kessler {Woodward Academy} - Without the question the top participating player this weekend. Kessler comes armed with deep range, passing ability from the high post, shot blocking and rebounding, with a high basketball IQ. Kessler started the night with a face up three and never looked back. Slowed this spring by a sprained ankle, Kessler seems to be in full form headed into July.

2021 6-8 F Josh Taylor {Norcross} - Playing in North Carolina over the last year the Georgia high school fan base may have forgotten about Taylor but he clearly announced his return this weekend before heading to Nike Top100. Taylor showed his extended shooting range, shot blocking, ability to catch and rip into straight line drives and athleticism.

2020 6-2 PG Dwon Odom {St. Francis} One of the hardest things to get young players to understand is the benefits of playing hard all the time, motor has become a skill over the past decade but don’t count Odom as unknowing. The Xavier commit brings intensity on each possession which accents his basketball playing ability. He’s a much improved table setter and is tough to keep out the lane where he is one of the better finisher around.

2021 6’5” SG Matt Cleveland (Pace Academy} Cleveland is one of the top scoring guards in the class. He doesn’t have a classic stroke but is a shot maker, has a quick first step and bounce to finish at the rim and understands the use of the 1-2 dribble pull-up. Cleveland is improved as a ball defender and has length and athleticism to be elite in this area. Good on offensive glass.

2020 6’1” PG Deivon Smith (Grayson) His explosiveness is exciting to see and when he gets in the paint expect a high-wire finish. Smith is more than that, he does a good job using ball screens to get to his midrange or to collapse the defense for drops and kick-outs. Showing improvement on his deep ball and is a very good rebounding guard. 

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