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Posted On: 07/9/18 8:00 AM
Emerson, GA – The first annual Battle for Georgia single elimination tournament kicked off yesterday at the famous Lakepoint Sports Academy in Emerson, GA. This year’s Battle for Georiga field included some of the top shoe teams and non shoe teams in the peach state. Game Elite Gold and Black, Atlanta Xpress, Atlanta Celtics, Team AJ Bouye, Team EAT, Team GA Magic, and Georgia Stars 16U set the field for the 17U division. Georgia Stars 15U, Infinite Skillz, Hypesouth, Southern Kings, Game Elite Black, Cherokee Spurs, Atlanta Express, and ATL Hoops set the field for the 16U division. The set up, atmosphere, and the competition was incredible all day long, from start to finish. Both championship games came down to the wire, with Game Elite Gold taking the 17U division and Atlanta Express taking the 16U division. Below you can find who stoodout and put their skills on display to begin the busy month of July.
2019 combo guard Chase Hunter – Atlanta Xpress 17U
The rising senior, Chase Hunter, is one of my guys that I think college coaches should keep an eye on for the July live period. Chase started his July well, helping his backcourt teammate 2020 shooting guard Anthony Edwards, lead his Atlanta Xpress squad to the 17U championship game. With Edwards getting injured in the semifinals, Chase led Xpress with 15 points in the title game but came just one point short from taking home the crown. As he was finding his flow, Hunter was able to get to his spots and knock down his jumpers. He is a well known shot creator and is one of the best mid range shooters in the state. His matchup with 2019 shooting guard Josh Nickelberry (Louisville) in the title game was very watchable as the two battled it out.
2020 point guard KD Johnson – Game Elite Black 16U
The most valuable player in the tournament regardless of division is without question KD Johnson. Talk about starting off the month of July with a bang, KD certainly did that and showed why he should be considered at the top of his class with the likes of Sharife Cooper, Anthony Edwards, Walker Kessler, and Brandon Boston. The rising junior averaged 26.6 points per game in three games at the Battle for Georgia yesterday. KD led his 16U squad all the way to the championship game after defeating ATL Hoops and Georgia Stars 15U, but eventually losing to Atlanta Xpress in the title game. Johnson sent a message after giving ATL Hoops 37 points in their first round game. If anyone is close to being the next Collin Sexton, then to me KD Johnson is that guy. His passion and competitiveness is similar to what Mr. Sexton bought to the table at his age.
2020 shooting guard Anthoney Edwards – Atlanta Xpress 17U
For those who have watched Anthony Edwards already, we could possibly be watching the next version of James Harden. Even though he is right handed, Edwards holds the same offensive skills as Houston Rockets superstar James Harden. He can rock his man to sleep and take him off the dribble in a blink, can create his own shot off the dribble, can catch and shoot, and can finish through contact inside. Before his injury, Anthony averaged 27.0 points per game in just two games for Atlanta Xpress in yesterday’s Battle for Georgia. He was the clear favorite for tournament MVP, but unfortunately suffered a scary injury after a powerful dunk in the semifinal game. Anthony has already been having a great summer and it contiuned during yesterday’s tourney. After dropping 24 points against Team GA Magic in the first round, Edwards gave Game Elite Black a 30 piece before leaving the game.
2021 point guard Jaden Harris – Georgia Stars 15U
One of the best young guys playing up in the 16U division that stoodout to me was Jaden Harris. He is a straight down hill type point guard who was able to finish through the contact when inside the paint. Sitting at 6’3, Jaden has an advantage on some of the smaller point guards he faces. He has tremondous size and has a good IQ for a rising sophomore. Jaden can also run the floor in transition and hit a few jump shots as well when he is on the floor. He is certainly one of the 2021 prospects to keep an eye on this July live period.
2019 shooting guard Marcus Watson – Atlanta Celtics 17U
Here is another one of those prospects that college coaches and scouts should keep an eye on during the July live period. The 6’6 guard Marcus Watson put up 15 points in his team’s win against Team Eat in the first round and 22 points in the semifinal lost to Game Elite Gold. Marcus put his scoring abilities on display all day long in yesterday’s Battle for Georgia. He was able to attack and get inside his opponents paint with ease. His strong and powerful body frame helps him finish through contact and can make him hard to defend for his opponent. Watson was also able to put us on notice when shooting the ball as he was able to create his own shot and connect on several jumpers. No doubt he should be on the Battle for Georgia all team honors once they release.
2019 shooting guard Josh Nickelberry – Game Elite Gold
Besides Anthony Edwards and KD Johnson, Louisville commit Josh Nickelberry should have been in the most valuable player race. Playing on a squad who’s floor general was Ashton Hagans (Kentucky), Nickelberry has now been made the leader of this Game Elite Gold squad and combo floor general. The 6’4 combo guard had a great outing in yesterday’s tourney, averaging 21.6 points per game and leading his squad to the 17U division championship and hitting the game winning step back three pointer against Atlanta Xpress to take the 17U division. Nickelberry has a fantastic feel for the game and is one of the best shooters and shot makers in the class of 2019. He has great size for a two guard and who shows shades of Buddy Hield. He has great foot work and should be an immediate impact when he gets to Louisville. Josh’s standout game was without question his 32 point performance against the Atlanta Celtics in the semifinals.
2019 forward Jaylin Williams – Game Elite Gold
Like his running mate Josh Nickelberry, Jaylin helped lead his Game Elite Gold team to a Battle for Georgia championship averaging 16.6 points per game. Williams has already had a great summer circuit so far and is one of the best versatile forwards in the class of 2019. He was able to show us his all around game in yesterday’s single elimination tournament, knocking down three pointers, mid range jumpers, and of course being able to put the ball on the floor and take his man to the hole. Jaylin hit a very clutch layup to send his team to the title game and also finished with a tournament high 21 points. Williams will be looking to add to his collection of offers this July live period as he holds a plethora of D1 offers.
Other guys who stoodout include: 2019 forward Clarence Jackson, 2019 forward Jalyn McCreary, 2021 point guard AJ White, 2020 point guard Jordan Rawls, 2020 point guard Christian Wright, 2019 shooting guard Reco Hallmon Jr., 2020 shooting guard Jamaine Mann, 2021 point guard Lion Thomas, and 2019 shooting guard Charles Smith IV (California commit).