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Future150 Atlanta Easter Showcase: 16U Top Performers
by Andrew Force, Future150 (10:22 PM CT, Sat April 11, 2015)
Atlanta Easter Showcase 16U Champs Atlanta Select Silver
Atlanta Easter Showcase 16U Champs Atlanta Select Silver
Andrew Force
Andrew Force:

Future150 National Analyst. Covering High and Middle School basketball.

Hiram, GA (Future150) -- Throughout the Future150 Atlanta Easter Classic the 16u division proved physical and highly competitive. 

Atlanta Select brought two tough AAU teams: Atlanta Select Silver and Atlanta Select Black.  When the two squads met in Hiram, Georgia for the semifinals the intensity peaked. 

TJ McMullen II knocked down six three pointers and ASB defended with passion, but Atlanta Select Silver won the game in the paint.  Tyler Thornton sprung to life.  The 6'7" forward battered ASB on the boards and simply regulated the low post offense of Silver.  His 16 points vaulted Atlanta Select Silver to the 16u Championship game where they narrowly defeated a ferocious Houston Hawks-Mingo squad, 62-56.

There were many top performers this weekend:

Joshua Tukes, 2017 SF, Southern Stampede-Hatchett: The sophomore is a little awkward dribbling through trouble.  He appears to be a combo forward who continues to develop his perimeter skills.  Tukes can bury free throws with ease.  He has a really pure shooting motion.  The lefty could be a nice prospect with some attention to his shooting off the dribble. 

Robert Hatchett III, 2017 PG, Southern Stampede-Hatchett:  Robert gets into the lane pretty well.  He can knock down a floater in traffic.  As soon as he makes the steal Hatchett III spearheads the attack.  He has excellent court vision and a dependable behind-the-back pass.  Not only does Hatchett III hit his target with the pass, he actually places the ball in the optimal spot.  His passes are more suggestion than offering. When Hatchett III is not touching the ball his AAU team loses a lot of direction. 

Mackell Pippen, 2017 SG, Birmingham Blaze: Pippen is a fighter.  He feels deep sorrow after each missed shot.  He needs winning more than a traditional high school sophomore.  Because the investment is high the effort never wavers.  Pippen’s best skill is on-ball defense.  Saturday morning Pippen scored 14 points in a loss.

Joshua McClendon, 2018 SG, Georgia Knockouts: The bespectacled guard plays a dazzling brand of basketball.  Though McClendon can shoot a little bit he thrives via the pass.  Playing in the 16u division, JM looked a little light.  He will need some weight training to keep up at the varsity level.

Ahmaud King, 2018 SG, South Carolina Wolfpack: Probably a secondary ball handler, King displayed a couple special flashes Saturday.  His handle mostly breaks down defenders, but every once in awhile a spoke gets caught in his wheels. 

Damon Lockwood, 2018 PG, South Carolina Wolfpack: When you need a slick pass or an elusive dribble call on Lockwood.  The 5'6" lead guard keeps the pill low and his head high.  He sees his teammates before they become open.  He needs to incorporate an outside shot.  Even though he made a couple...the capacity for growth remains. 

Jamal Polite, 2019 SG, The Stallions: Most of the weekend Polite sheepishly competed against young men two years older than he.  During stretches the 5'5" combo guard broke down the Houston Hawks' press.  He has a good touch on his lofted passes.  He manages to barely eclipse waving defenders with the lowest possible parabola. 

Eric Jones, 2018 SG, The Stallions: Once Jones adopts a more confident court demeanor his game will really improve.  He already has an effortless shooting motion.  His strength is outside shooting. 

Gimal Evans, 2017 PG, ATL Elite: Evans caught some ooh’s just after noon on Saturday.  With a stellar crossover Evans forced a nasty defender stumble. Instead of relishing the moment Evans quickly buried the jumper for closure's sake.

Reginald Bolden, 2018 PG, Mississippi Magic: Bolden plays with a frightening intensity.  The 5’5” guard takes care of the ball and rips it free on the other end.  Bolden is scrappy and prideful.  Over time the undersized guard has figured out how to get his shot up around the helpside defender.  This takes some innovative contortions mid-flight. 

Gregory Jones, 2018 PF, Mississippi Magic: Jones has a nice future ahead of him.  He can be a nuisance in the paint, but might wind up as a small forward.  Right now Jones stands 6'4".  The exceptional balance sets him apart from his peers.  Jones can shoot, land, and climb again before his defender finds his equilibrium.

Brycen Lee, 2017 SF, ATL Elite: The left-handed wing played adeptly from 10’ in.  He has a really soft touch off the glass.  When he has a little room, Lee can execute a silky scoop layup too.  ATL Elite did not rely upon him to hit outside shots.  At the next level Lee will be tasked with defending the perimeter and roving from corner to corner.  The lanky wing is tougher than he looks.  He will engage in a tug of war, if need be.

Kenneth Atkins, 2017 SF, Atlanta Select Silver: Atkins did an admirable job defending a 6'5" wing in the 16u semis.  He plants his body in the favored path and dares the attacker to challenge him.  He can defend the shooting guard spot too. 

Tyler Thornton, 2017 C, Atlanta Select Silver: The lefty pivot completely dominated the Atlanta Select Black frontline during the 16u semifinals.  He swiveled to his left.  Thornton ducked underneath and even tracked down offensive rebounds.  Atlanta Select Black simply had no answers, with one dramatic block as the exception.

Patrick Hudson, 2017 PF, Atlanta Select Silver: Rebounds are king in the tight games.  The 16u quarterfinal game was decided by Hudson's activity and post defense. Hudson brought his Select Silver squad eight extra shots, just by being enterprising and hoppy. In the semifinals, with his team on the ropes, Hudson rebounded a miss, brought the ball up court, crossed his man, and then casually nailed a 15'.  Every skill needed to play basketball can be

TJ McMullen II, 2017 SG, Atlanta Select Black: Select Black needed every contribution from McMullen II to make their deep tournament run.  McMullen II personally opened up a five point lead in the 16u semifinals with a magical step-back three pointer.  The volume shooter will never be accused of lacking confidence. 

Sonny Cousins, 2016 SG, Houston Hawks-Mingo: No one tougher than Cousins competed in the Atlanta Easter Classic.  Wildly competitive and stunningly strong Cousins helped his team to 5-1 for the weekend.  A true test came Sunday afternoon when the Houston Hawks battled a boastful Memphis 901 Elite team.  Coming off three blowout wins, 901 Elite players were collectively confident.  It took the power and points of Cousins to alpha male the challengers into submission. 

Langston Taylor, 2017 SF, Houston Hawks-Mingo: Taylor scored 30 points against the 901 Elite team.  His game reminds of Jared Dudley.  He has a tweener game, but produces so much you need him on the floor.  Like Cousins he has impressive strength and versatility.

Kendric Davis, 2018 PG, Houston Hawks-Mingo: A flashy lead guard, KD had a positive weekend. There are some wrinkles that need to be ironed out, like erratic passing choices and rare overdribbling.  Still Davis clearly will be watched by college coaches in the years to come.  His skills are too high to ignore.

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