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Posted On: 05/15/18 8:00 AM
The 2018 Kentucky State AAU tournament was played this past weekend at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington. While M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs rolled to the championship, there were several strong individual performances over the course of the weekend. Here are some of the top performers at the 2018 17u AAU state championship:
Adam Sizemore, North Laurel (Pride Athletics) – Sizemore had his full skill set on display this weekend. Adam was torching the nets and throwing some dimes all weekend as Pride Athletics bounced back from an overtime loss to the Kentucky Royals in overtime to make it to the title game on Sunday afternoon.
Carter Baughman, Mercer County (Pride Athletics) – The other half of the dynamic Pride back court, Carter scored in double figures consistently all weekend. Baughman’s ability to change speeds with his dribble and get past his defender is something you don’t see out of many point guards in Kentucky. Baughman and Sizemore were very fun to watch play together this weekend.
Tahj Harding, Newport (Kentucky Royals) – Harding put on a show against Pride Athletics on Saturday en route to a 84-81 OT win. Tahj showed the ability to score from all over the court and flashed some explosiveness with a vicious dunk. Harding has a chance to be an impact player in college if he can transition to being a wing all the time and not an undersized post player.
Donnie Miller, Newport (KY Select) – Harding’s high school teammate, Miller was very impressive all weekend. Friday night, he scored a bunch of points against MATTS and continued his high scoring output all weekend. With Miller, Harding and Makhi McGuire, Newport could and probably should compete for the 9th region title next season.
JJ Kalakon, Waggener (M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs) – Kalakon finally looked like the guy who earned 3 D1 offers last summer. He got out in transition, hit threes and carved up zone defense all weekend long. JJ looks to be rounding back into form as he gets ready for a big summer with Waggener and the Mustangs.
TreVon Smith, Taylor County (M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs) – Smith was dynamic on the offensive end all weekend. TreVon hit open shots, finished at the rim and hit multiple mid-range pull-ups. Smith also impressed with several big dunks you may not necessarily expect from a guard of his size. Don’t be surprised to see Smith garner several Mid-Major offers over the course of the summer.
Rodriguez Thomas, Paducah Tilghman (Pocket City) – Thomas averaged 17 points and 5 assists over the course of the weekend, including 23 points against the eventual champion Mustangs in the quarterfinals. Rodriguez will likely contend for first region player of the year next season against Pocket City teammate Connor Guthrie.
Jaxon Gaddie, Fern Creek (Louisville Spartans) – Gaddie had a solid weekend scoring in double figures in every game and knocking down perimeter jump shots. Gaddie had always been skilled and tough but physically weak. He’s added some bulk and will be an impact player in Louisville next season.
Tyler Fleek, Covington Catholic (NKY Squad) – Fleek has patiently waited his turn to star at Covington Catholic and he’ll get an opportunity this season after the Colonels graduated so much firepower. Fleek showed his full skill set this weekend while helping lead NKY Squad to a semifinal birth.
Dieonte Miles, Walton-Verona (NKY Squad) – Miles didn’t have a huge impact this weekend but the fact he played at all is big news for Walton-Verona. Miles is coming back off shoulder surgery that cost him most of his Junior season. Dieonte has one of the highest ceilings in the 2019 class when he’s at his best.