Scout’s Take: Southern Spring Invitational (Team Thad 17u)

Grassroots
Kentucky

Posted On: 04/7/18 11:53 PM

A Scout’s Take: Southern Spring Invitational

BIRMINGHAM, AL— Hosted by Ty Quarles, predominately in the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center,the Southern Spring Invitational kicked in to high gear Saturday night as pool play gave way to bracket competition.  Though Team Carroll Premier (Adidas) inspired the hometown buzz, Team Thad 17u got the butts out of the seats.  Exciting, trapping basketball is the standard for Team Thad.  Much more than last year’s team, Team Thad has some length on the wings.

MVP

Jaykwon Walton (Carver/AL)

2019, WG, 6-foot-6, 180 pounds

Andrew’s Take: Possibly benefiting from the freshness factor, Walton sparkled in my eyes.  His mixture of length and shooting touch is hard to find in AAU games.  Walton scored most of his points around the rim, but the pregame shooting display mixed with comfort on the ball made him the prince of the ball.

Best Prospects

Damion Baugh (?/TN)

2019, PG, 6-foot-3, 185 pounds

Andrew’s Take: Baugh left Cane Ridge last fall for Lincoln Prep on the northeast side of Atlanta.  This was the first time I saw him play a full game in over eight months.  Baugh is very quick pushing the ball.  He is more punishing with the ball in his hands than before.  Finding the killer instinct.  He has no ego.  Baugh’s basketball mind is quicker than it was a year ago.  He makes decisions quickly and doesn’t allow defense to adjust or react.  Instantaneous with the moves and choices.  Draws lots of free throws.    This is PURE speculation, but Baugh might sign as a 2018 if he finds the right fit.  Otherwise, he intends to reclass to 2019 and maybe prep somewhere.

KyKy Tandy (University Heights/KY)

2019, G, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds

Andrew’s Take: There is no denying KyKy’s athletic gifts and skills.  He was identified at a young age as a college prospect and Kentucky (the state) will never let you live a quiet basketball life.  Tandy’s game is coming along.  The disturbing part is still shot selection.  He can make tough shots, but he sure takes too many for my liking.  His quickness should be utilized more and Tandy can get in mental ruts where he just chucks from the outside.  When he decides to attack the paint, Tandy is an elite scoring guard with few peers.

Most Improved

Donald Fitzgerald (Hillsboro/TN)

2019, PF, 6-foot-9, 230 pounds

Andrew’s Take: Donald Fitzgerald has come a long way in a short time.  With quality instruction during the high school season Fitzgerald forced his way into college scout minds.  Always tall and filled out, Fitzgerald is trimming baby weight and thundering down dunks now.  He still needs to expand his post repertoire.  In the half court most of the moves are rudimentary.  What Fitzgerald has done is summon the courage around the rim.  He doesn’t take it up tender anymore.  He is unafraid of hurting arms and feelings.

 

Platinum Bracket

 

Beast Mode

Jaykwon Walton (Carver High/AL)

2019, WG, 6-foot-6, 180 pounds

Andrew’s Take: Considered by @BamaMixTape to be the fourth best Class of 2019 player in Alabama (Trendon Watford, Kobe Brown, Kira Lewis, Walton), Jaykwon Walton has the rare silkiness to his game.  During warmups Walton secured his hoodie snug around his head and zoned in on the rim.  He knocked down three-pointer after three-pointer.  When the game began Walton nestled into the Team Thad style of press, convert, press again.  Walton has a comfort around the basket, but when he truly gets total freedom offensively he projects as Gerald Wallace-type wing.  Wonderful shooting touch with necessary toughness in tight.  Enviable length.

Best Passer

Antonio Thomas (Ridgeway/TN)

2019, PG, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds

Andrew’s Take: Antonio is a player I have been following and interviewing for three years now.  Antonio’s problem early (13u/14u) was that he needed to dominate to win.  Since he joined Team Thad a couple of years ago Thomas learned to facilitate better.  When his teammates are as good or better he plays his best.  When saddled with poor or substandard teammates Thomas tends to over-penetrate or shoot lower percentage shots.  Saturday Thomas pushed tempo with the pass and JSI Elite paid dearly.