The New HHCA Squad

High School
Tennessee

Posted On: 06/5/18 12:29 AM

The Class of 2019 rankings are completely shifting beneath our feet.  Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (HHCA) will undergo a massive roster re-structuring and two of the top five players in the class are now leaving our state (Tre Edwards, Wheza Panzo).

Because of a rule change by NFHS regarding international players all of HHCA’s Canadian players are now considered a year more advanced immediately. For a program built on international players this becomes an extreme, roster-changing alteration.

All of the players detailed below have a new class at HHCA, or possibly are now done with their wonderfully successful HHCA careers.

Keon Ambrose

Considered a top 10 player in the Class of 2020, Keon Ambrose will be forced to reclass to 2019 by the same guidelines.

Keon will be playing his last year with Hamilton Heights Academy, as they do not play post-grad players.  The HHCA program is exclusively high school, so Keon will be playing for a 2019 scholarship or perhaps take a prep season.

His talent, size, and skill suggest the recruiters will figure out his value in the coming year.  If so, then he will be DI ready by fall of 2019.

The exceptionally accurate NorthPoleHoops.com ranked Keon as the fourth best Class of 2020 player in the entire country last week.

Thomasi Gilgeous-Alexander

Previously considered a top 60 player in the 2019 class Thomasi will prep a year.

Thomasi struggled to find playing time this season and his AAU venture is not going much better.  Thomasi might just be a college basketball player, but his last few months have certainly been frustrating for the younger brother of soon-to-be NBA draftee Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Tre Edwards

The fourth best player in Tennessee’s 2019 class will leave HHCA for Link Prep.  Link Prep is pretty much what it sounds like, a link year between high school and college.

Ideally, Tre will go to Link Prep (MO) and immediately gain national interest.  He is running with UPlay 17u this summer and that could net some attention too.  The one worry with prep schools is exposure.

Because so many prep schools now exist there are always going to be programs college coaches simply never see in person.  They can’t all be post-grads on the recruiting radar.

Tre has the tools to be a fantastic DI player.  He does have defensive lapses and defensive rebounding is not always his priority, but the athleticism and skills are there.

HHCA will have to work to replace his shooting.

Wheza Panzo

The vocal team leader, Wheza Panzo deserved an early evaluation last fall in this website’s infancy.  Panzo grew into a wonderful leaper and a reliable shooter this winter.  Unfortunately, it is Wheza’s last with the HHCA Hawks.

With UPlay Canada 17u Wheza is averaging 5.7 ppg with 4.1 rpg.  Panzo’s versatility makes him a LM-MM college prospect.  He can comfortably defend the 1-4.

Jordan Rawls

Starting point guard Jordan Rawls was a top 20 Class of 2019 player.  He is now going to reclass to 2020.  Unlike the Canadians Jordan will be able to play another year with HHCA because he grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Jordan has three DI offers: Hofstra, Florida Atlantic, Canisius.

Graduates

KeVaughn Ellis signed to Florida Atlantic.  He was likely to go to UNC-Asheville, but the coaching staff changed during the coaching carousel.

Yannick Le Guenne (France) is still looking for a home.  A dead-eye shooter, Yannick struggled to catch up to the speed of play in the fall.  He did find his footing by December, but no great offers came his way.  Le Guenne might be a Division II player.

Uros Plavsic simply became an epiphany for HHCA.  The Serbian turned away a Cleveland State verbal for an Arizona State scholarship.  He was probably the team’s best player at the end.

 

 

Returnees

Class of 2019 center Jason Jitoboh, Samson Ruzhentsev (2020), and Tony Farrar (2021) will all return.  None of them will have their age group altered.

Newcomers?

HHCA needs to replenish the fountain with fresh water every off-season.  Head Coach Zach Ferrell and HHCA Headmaster Duke Stone are fantastic recruiters and teachers.  It won’t be hard for them to find bodies, but they generally like to make very informed decisions on personnel.  As you can imagine, bringing players in from across the ocean typically takes a lot of leadwork.

These are some of the new or newish players you can expect on Hamilton Heights this upcoming fall:

2020 PF Bayron Matos-Garcia (Dominican Republic)

2019 F Sammy Itodo (Nigeria)

2020 F Andrew Williams (East Hamilton HS, United States)