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Stars Come out at Chic Fil A Classic
by Corey Pegram, Future150 (1:32 PM CT, Tue December 25, 2012)
Elijah Staley, Seventh Woods, and Isaac Hamilton
Elijah Staley, Seventh Woods, and Isaac Hamilton
Corey Pegram
Corey Pegram:

Regional Recruiting Analyst covering high school and junior nationally.

Columbia, SC (Future150) -- Last Wednesday and Thursday were chock full of basketball recruiting news, allowing Christmas to come a little early for a lot of us.  Jabari Parker committed to Duke.  The City of Palms down in Florida had fans buzzing about the performance of Andrew Wiggins and other top 2013 stars.  And the Chic Fil A Classic churned out some heroic performances in its own right.  Days one and two in Colubmia, SC showcased some of the top young players around, and they did little to disappoint. 

Isaac Hamilton; 2013 SG – St. John Bosco (CA)  Without question one of the best scorers in the high school ranks, Hamilton torched the nets in Columbia and ultimately led his team to a championship in the process.  Watch him play, and the hours he’s spent in the gym honing his craft show.  His offensive skillset is unmatched by many college players, let alone his high school peers.  This guy has an NBA game with NBA moves.  He scores in so many different ways, and he does it under control.  Owning an incredible feel for the game, the 6’4 Hamilton knows how to read different situations and make the right play.  He’ll need to improve defensively and gain strength, but Hamilton will make an immediate at impact at UTEP next fall.

Ahmed Hill; 2014 SG – Aquinas (GA)  A lock high major prospect, Hill let it up in the second half yesterday.  If this guy gets hot, look out because he has deep, deep range and isn’t afraid to let it fly.  Hammond (SC) lost him on various occasions and they paid the price, as Hill led Aquinas back for a win and dropped 37 points in the process.  A true scorer, Hill is best when he mixes it up – you can’t give him space and he has that shifty athletic ability to attack the rim.  He doesn’t have to dominate the ball, either.  Hill comes off screens for shots off the catch or one dribble pull-ups.  Once he learns to fully utilize all these abilities consistently, he’ll become even tougher to guard.  Defensively, he has a strong frame which benefits him in on-ball situations, especially against smaller guards.  He took the responsibility of guarding stud freshman Seventh Woods for most of the game and while Woods got his points, Hill made him work for them.  Hill mentioned he wants to narrow his list to fifteen schools soon and is hoping to sign early his senior year.  Texas, UConn, Indiana, Florida State, VCU, and Marquette are among the many suitors.

Seventh Woods; 2016 PG – Hammond (SC)  Seventh Woods is going to be a household name in the world of high school basketball very, very soon.  This fourteen year old blows you away with talent, athleticism, skill, and an understanding of the game.  He dueled with Ahmed Hill Wednesday night and showed why he is one of the top few prospects in the entire 2016 class.  Woods lit up the scoreboard with acrobatic finishes, jumpers off the dribble, and explosive finishes in transition.  The way he got off the floor for a fast break slam was scary.  Lazy passes rarely ever find their destinations with Woods anywhere near the ball, as he anticipates well and has extremely quick hands and feet.  All his natural abilities are great, but equally impressive at his age was his understanding of the game.  While he did force a few shots in the second half, Woods consistently made good reads and the extra pass, particularly before intermission.  This combination of talent and unselfishness is hard to find.  He’s fun to watch and if he’s playing in a gym anywhere near you, I would recommend making the trip.

Theo Pinson; 2014 SF – Wesleyan Christian (NC)  Pinson seems to enjoy the bright lights, and Thursday was no different, as he came in and really embraced the matchup against the Hamilton brothers and St. John Bosco.  The 6’5 wing consistently made plays on both ends of the floor, and he did it with and without the ball in his hands.  An aggressive Theo Pinson is an affective Theo Pinson, and that’s what he was on this day.

Perry Dozier Jr.; 2015 PG – Spring Valley HS (SC)
When you’re watching games at the high school level, it’s always exciting to see younger guys with advanced skillsets and the ability to outperform the upperclassmen.  It’s even more exciting to find guys with these same qualities who have a lot of room to grow.  Dozier fits this description to a tee.  When you look at this young sophomore, you see a 6’5 combo guard with length, athleticism, and variety.  He loves to have the ball in his hands, and he loves to make plays.  While he did force shots at times, Dozier knows his way around the court and basketball instincts run through him.  Now, where is the room for growth?  His jumper will add consistency, his frame will fill out, and his decision making will improve.  Add it all up, and you have a star in the making.

Isaac Copeland; 2014 SF – Miller School (VA)  From the time I saw Isaac Copeland over the summer, I believed he had top 50 talent.  Thursday confirmed that, but I also learned that Copeland’s transformation from a top 50 talent to a top 50 player is coming along.  It’s a process and there is still work to be done, but progress is being made.  Copeland scored the ball from all three levels and made the right plays in appropriate situations.  The next step for him will be to consistently fully assert himself on both ends.  It’s encouraging to see him play within the offense, but I think he can be more aggressive and even embrace that “takeover” mentality at times.  He has the athleticism and skill level to do it.  That’s when the transformation will be complete.

Jared Scott; 2013 SF – Flora McDonald (NC)  Scott’s name is flying somewhat under the radar right now, but his performance on Thursday could help change that.  The 6’7 combo forward was incredibly productive operating from the mid-post area throughout the game, consistently attacking the rim and finishing in traffic.  He rebounds well and he’s persistent.  He keeps coming at you.  Scott listed offers from Marshall, Old Dominion, Tennessee Tech, Winthrop, and Delaware.  A legit mid major prospect, Scott could see more schools in his gym in the near future.  He passes the look test, and his productivity is undeniable.

Harry Giles; 2016 PF – Wesleyan Christian (NC)  In a game loaded with division one prospects, Giles was one of the best players on the floor without even scoring much… as a freshman.  His combination of talent and feel for the game is scary at his age, and he’s only going to get better.  The 6’8 forward showcased a very underrated part of his game – his passing.  He found teammates on the move and through traffic.  He made difficult plays look surprisingly easy.  There aren’t many, if any at all, better prospect wise in the 2016 class. 

Tyler Dorsey; 2015 PG – St. John Bosco (CA)  This 6’4 sophomore knows how to play.  Dorsey ran the point guard spot Thursday and did so close to perfectly.  He has a good handle and knows how to get his teammates involved, but he also knows how to score.  He’s mature.  Dorsey is a willing and very capable defender, and he plays tough on both ends of the floor.  Sophomore guards with his size, talent, and IQ are a rare commodity.  Dorsey informed me that Duke, NC State, and Florida are the latest schools to reach out and show interest.  Mark Gottfried was in the stands on Thursday.  USC, Oregon State, Arizona, and UConn have already offered.

Elijah Staley; 2014 SF – Wheeler (GA)  Staley is a 6’7 combo forward with a developing perimeter game.  His athletic ability and length make him a problem in transition, and his willingness and ability to run the floor in long, fluid motions make him even more dangerous in this area.  He has a poised demeanor to him on the court, but don’t let that mask his motor.  Staley plays hard on both ends, and his combination of assertiveness and length make him productive on the boards.  He is in a little bit of a position crises right now, but his athleticism and ability to affect the game in multiple areas make him a very intriguing prospect.  Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Alabama are among those that have offered.

Jon Severe; 2013 SG – Christ the King (NY)  Attack, attack, attack.  That’s what goes through Jon Severe’s mind every time down the floor.  The 6’2 shooting guard consistently puts pressure on defenses and puts points on the board while doing it.  He can be out of control at times and will force shots, but defenses can never relax when Severe is on the floor.  Shooting is his specialty, but he can break defenders down off the dribble, as well.  He’s a competitor and convincing him to play hard is not necessary.  Alabama and Georgia were in the building, and they apparently liked what they saw, as he picked up offers from both schools over the weekend.

Daniel Giddens; 2015 C – Wheeler (GA)  There aren’t many bigs in the sophomore class with his size or athleticism.  Giddens is physical on both ends of the floor and is a force on the boards.  He fights for position and doesn’t shy away from contact.  The offense isn’t there yet, and he should really look to own a post move down low, but his impact on the game is obvious.  The natural ability is there and the upside is tremendous.

Matthew Howard; 2013 SG – AC Flora (SC)
This 6’4 wing will be a perfect fit for Penn come next fall.  He’s a smart kid who plays within the role given to him each time out.  Last time I saw him, he was running with Team United on the summer circuit, a squad loaded with talent, even a couple so called “stars.”  On this team, Howard played the role of glue guy.  He played hard on both ends and took advantage of opportunities when they were given.  For an AC Flora team, however, Howard needs to score, and score he did.  A decent athlete, Howard sets his eyes on the rim, and he gets there.  There isn’t much wasted movement to his game, and he’s aggressive when he needs to be.  Definitely a guy I would pick for my team.

Marcus Stroman; 2013 PG – Keenan (SC)  In no way am I comparing Marcus Stroman to Rajon Rondo, but if you look at Stroman’s hands, you immediately think of the Celtics star point guard.  They are huge.  And the size is pretty evident when he makes a one handed bounce pass through traffic on the move.  The control he has over the ball is impressive.  What Frank Martin has in his 2013 commit is a floor general who thinks pass first.  Stroman sees the floor and gets his teammates shots.  He’s a leader who makes guys better.  His shot needs work, but he’s a guy who other players like to play with.

Lance Tejada; 2014 PG – Blanche Ely (FL)  A quick and active point guard, Tejada knows he can beat his man off the dribble and usually does.  He’s very quick with the ball and can be a creator for himself and others.  The 6’1 point guard will need to become more vocal on the court, but he’s tough to guard and makes plays.

Devante Anderson; 2013 PG – Richland Northeast (SC)  A 6’3 senior point guard, Anderson was out there making plays for Richland Northeast on Thursday night.  He’s a guard with size, composure, and a midrange game.  Anderson showed he could use ball screens well and come off them under control and prepared to make the right play. 

Timmy Walker; 2016 SG – Christ School (NC)  Only a freshman, Walker has a compact 6’0 frame and showed an ability to knock down open perimeter shots.  He’s a good athlete who can lead the break and give you quality minutes.  He’s one to track moving forward.

Xavier McDaniel; 2015 SF – Hammond (SC)  The son of a former NBA player, McDaniel was very productive Wednesday night, using long strides to make slashes to the rim and either finish the play or get to the line.  He isn’t overly skilled yet, but he does have good athleticism and a wiry strong frame that will fill out in time.  His game could take off once his feel and skill level catch up.

Dominique Taylor; 2013 SF – Spring Valley HS (SC)  If you like physical aggressive wings who value hard play, then this is your guy.  Taylor has a college ready body and plays with an engine tank that’s always full.  The 6’3 lefty commits on the defensive end and is capable on the offensive end, as well.  The release on his shot is somewhat low, but he showed an ability to connect from seventeen feet, and his body benefits him around the rim.

Additional Notes:

-2014 Wheeler (GA) guard Avery Patterson is tough in every way.  He can score from the outside, and he can get in the lane.  He listed offers from Boston University and UAB.  Georgia and Georgia Tech are interested

-Wesleyan Christian 2014 point guard JaQuel Richmond is making a college decision January 16th.  Wake Forest, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech appear to be in the mix.  His play has been impressive as of late, and he’s near impossible to stay in front of in the open floor

-Jon Elmore, a 2014 point guard out of Christ School (NC), didn’t dominate the scoring column, but as usual picked apart the opposing defense with his passing and leadership.  He sees things happen before others do

-2013 face-up four man Shannon Hale had an impressive outing Thursday, and a member of his future Alabama coaching staff was in the building to see it

-Another Christ School product, 2014 Alec Wnuc, is a skilled three man who needs the weight room but made an impact, nonetheless.  He said Elon and UNC-Greensboro are interested

-2015 AC Flora guard Rion Davis has a bulldog demeanor to him, and his aggression backs it up.  He gets his buckets slashing and around the rim with strength

-Finally, 2017 (8th grade) DJ Harvey provided valuable minutes for Christ School against Wheeler.  Kid is absolutely one to follow.  Has a strong 6’5 body already and showed no fear competing against older competition

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