Georgia's Elite8 has grown into a must see early season event in its 2nd season. The tournament organizers put together good matchup's with some very good individual performances, competitive games, added to an improbable upset.
That improbable upset was in the eye test. Hamilton Heights had a rpstwr loaded with size, including two players taller than 6-10 and a number of players standing 6-5 and taller. Rocky River suited up no players taller than 6-5. The difference maker for Rocky River was 6-4 2020 shooting guard Jaden Springer He set the tone with his aggressive style of play, ability to finish in traffic after creating off the bounce, an ever improving jumper behind the line and his relentless work on the glass. Make no mistake, Springer is all guard but he's a throwback to the guards of 20 years ago with his willingness to rebound. That separates him from most guards in the class It was his inspired play, 35 points and a Rocky River team that can make shots that led to the double digit upset.
Other standouts on the day:
6-7 2020 W BJ Boston (Norcross) - No longer a role player on last year's state contender, Boston is ready to step into a bigger role as a relied upon scorer for the Blue Devils. He's put in time on his jumper beyond the line and hit quite a few on Saturday. His length creates problems on defense and helps him on the glass. He also has playmakimg ability off the dribble.
6-10 2020 C Babatunde Akingbola (McEachern) - It's always good to see a big embrace his bigness and "Stertch" does that. He patrolled and controlled the paint, blocking shots, bother shots and gave pause to offensive players even when he wasn't close to the play. He showed some ability to make 17-footer and plays with infectious energy.
6-6 2019 W Isaac Okoro (McEachern) - The slashing forward is as tough as it gets on the wing. He played through contact, rebounded well and is one of the top players in transition. The Indians are one of the top teams in the country and if Sharife Cooper is the heart, Okoro is the soul.
6-2 2019 PG Alan Breed ( MeEachern) - The Indians have one of the top pig's in the country in 2020 Sharife Cooper, but with him in foul trouble most of the game, they have the luxury of bringing Breed off the bench. Breed played with confidence, making the right plays, defended well and got some needed buckets.
6-3 2019 SG Lance Terry ( Heritage) - Terry is one of the best shooters in the southeast. He is always shot ready and is smart enough to use shot fakes and the pull-up against aggressive defenders. The one thing that took most onlookers by surprise was his athleticism. On one play Terry attacked a rushing defender, beat him to the lane and tool off for a leaning slam. Look for Terry to garner heavy college interest this season.
5-10 2020 PG Roscoe Eastmond (Wheeler) - The floor General concept is I've and well is this point guard. Eastmond opened the game up with three trey's which open3d things up for the Wheeler offense. He did a great job of directing traffic and getting his teammates involved. He made conscience decision to get EJ Motgomery more involved after his slow 1st half.
6-3 2019 SG Devin Gordon (McEachern) - Another player that can be plucked off the Indians bench who can be relied on to deliver. Gordon came off the bench to score 15 points. Gordon can shoot it and is physical enough to finish plays in the lane.
6-2 2019 PG Kyle Sturdivant (Norcross) - Sturdivant will be counted on to more consistent by Coach McMillan. He did what he does best on Saturday, beating his man to the paint. It's tough to keep him out the lane, the next step is to be a consistent finisher. His threat to collapse the defense gave good looks to Boston on kick outs.
6-4 2019 W Jamir Chaplain (Meadowcreek) - He was good attacking on slashing drives and scoring in transition. Chaplain has good athleticism and puts that to use when attacking the rim. His jumper is still a work in progress but showed improvement when feet were set. He will be critical in their success this season.
It was a tale of two halfs from two players that will be counted yes on for Wheeler to make a championship run later this year. 2019 W Isaac Martin finished with 15 points with most coming in the 1st half, senior EJ Montgomery and a 2018 McDonald's hopeful, scored 13 points in the second half after limited touches in the 1st half.
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