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Tennessee

Posted On: 07/25/18 2:01 PM

The live evaluation period in July wrapped its second weekend and I spotted a number of players who have flown under the radar or simply young and new.

Braden Ilic (2022) – Height is undeniable.  Freshman Braden Ilic stands 6-foot-7 with tantalizingly long arms.  His wingspan will rival Chandler Lawson when all is said and done.  Ilic plays for the Tennessee Bobcats 17u team.  He actually starts.  Ilic boasts a nice shooting touch.  He projects as a faceup four at the MM-HM level.  His growth will be enjoyable to witness as he begins his high school career with Morristown East.

Isaiah Johnson (2019) – What a weekend for Isaiah!  The undersized (vertically) point guard ran the show for a skilled Tennessee Tiger team.  The Tigers’ two best scorers were nursing lower body injuries, which meant the team overall was less athletic than they typically are.  Isaiah made up the difference.  Standing 5-foot-9 the hulking lead guard broke down countless defenders with the dribble.  He has an extra gear than most players in the gym.  Johnson’s strengths are many and it appeared he catapulted from surefire DII prospect to LM necessity.

Mason Rothwell (2021) – The first thing to identify in young players is height or potential height.  Mason is already 6-foot-5.  The second thing is athleticism.  Can he move?  Is he a stiff?  The answers are yes and no…in that order.  Mason is a young prospect that reminds of Mason Miller a bit.  Lanky, but agile.  Rothwell has a really nice shooting stroke and plays with passion.  His ceiling is deliciously high because he is obviously going to be a skiller 6-foot-5 wing.  Those are the measurements and attributes of a college basketball player.  Mason Rothwell is currently ranked #34 in 2021 Player Rankings.

Solomon Bridgeman (2019) – Rugged. Unafraid.  Solomon Bridgeman is probably a college football player currently bullying high school boys.  Bridgeman is a relentless rebounder with exceptional toughness.  Defense and short shots populate his player profile.

Sylvester Thompson (2019) – Slick and fast.  Sylvester Thompson scored plenty in a bloodbath victory at B.O.T.S.  Thompson, Dee Merriweather, and Simmie Jones III contributed to an outlandish pummeling.   Thompson looks like a DII combo guard with great explosion.  There is an outside chance a LM program will want him to provide electric bench scoring, but his height will hold him back a touch in that regard.

Codey Bates (2019) – Southwind’s rugged combo guard defended with honor all B.O.T.S. weekend.  At 6-foot-3 he is fully capable of defending the 1-3 at the high school level.  In college he projects as a defensive specialist.  Bates already stands stout at 180 pounds.  It is difficult for elite guards to body him or overpower him at the 17u level.  Bates’ Alabama Celtics 17u registered a stunning yet impressive B.O.T.S. Championship victory of Hoopseen darlings EAB 17u Sunday afternoon.  Right now Delta State and South Alabama are interested.