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Posted On: 11/1/18 8:00 AM
Atlanta, GA – It is finally November and what does that mean for the state of Georgia? Basketball season will officially begin in the next couple of days. With the season finally here I have cut my list and made a breakdown of all 18 prospects that I have nominated, and others, to win Georgia’s High School Gatorade Player of the Year Award. Last seasons award went to point guard Ashton Hagans out of Newton High School (Covington, Georgia) and who is now at Kentucky University. Below you will find a breakdown of all 18 prospects and what they will mean to their squads this season.
2020 PG Sharife Cooper – McEachern High School
The 6-foot-1 floor general Sharife Cooper has made his case for one of the top players in the nation over the last year or so. Sharife has raised the level of his game since his freshman season in an Indian jersey. Since being at McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Georgia), Cooper’s overall record is 55-4 while appearing in Georgia’s class 7A final four in 2017 and the elite 8 in 2018. The junior point guard had an incredible summer in AAU’s toughest circuit in the Nike EYBL. Cooper was awarded Nike’s Offensive player of the year and Peach Jam’s Offensive Player award. After averaging 19.8 points per game last season, it is without question Sharife will be looking to finally capture that Georgia state championship this season after coming up short in his first two season. He will be a huge part of this McEachern offense like he has been in past years and will be looking to lead this somewhat new squad.
2020 W Brandon Boston Jr. – Norcross High School
A couple years ago, when Brandon was a freshman in his Norcross warm up suit, I said to myself this kid right here will be the future of this Norcross program and that he is. Brandon Boston Jr. has received a lot of national spotlight in the last few months and especially after having a standout summer like he did. Brandon averaged 17.0 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore for the Blue Devils and this season that should rise. Sitting at 6-foot-7, Boston Jr. is one of the best perimeter shooters regardless of his class. He has a long wingspan which helps him on the defensive end and is excellent at slashing, cutting, and running the floor. Brandon will be playing a very tough national schedule this season with the Norcross program and will be eager to return to Georgia’s class 7A state title game for the third straight season.
2019 SG Charles Smith IV (California) – Wheeler High School
UC-Berkley commit Charles Smith IV, in my opinion, will have a very interesting season with powerhouse Wheeler High School (Marietta, Georgia). After transferring from national powerhouse La Lumiere (IN), Charles took his talents to McEachern for the last part of the season. Unfortunately things did not work out and Smith decided to end his high school career with the Wildcats. The 6-foot-5 wing will be one of the main options for this Wheeler squad this season and that is what makes me believe he has a chance to win this award. Smith IV is one of those rare players who has a skill on both ends of the floor. On the offensive end Charles is a nice wing scorer and shot maker and is able to come off screens and find his shot at the mid range level. Defensivley he is a great on ball defender and with his long arms he is able to effect passing lanes. The senior two-guard will be making a case that he is a top-5 player in the state come this season.
2019 G Chase Hunter (Clemson) – Westlake High School
The 6-foot-4 combo guard Chase Hunter has improved his game tremondously over the last two seasons. He is an explosvie and super athletic guard that will certainly “wow” you when he is on the floor. He is able create space for himself when connecting on his jumpers and is also able to take contact when driving the lane. Hunter went from the role of guarding the opponents best player to an offensive threat who is on every coaches scouting report. Chase has burst onto the national spot light this past summer after running with Atlanta Express in the UAA and earning multiple high major offers. After averaging 21.0 points per game last season, he will try and lead this young Westlake group to another state championship title. Hunter was a freshman at Westlake High School (Atlanta, Georgia) when they captured Georgia’s class 6A state title back in 2016.
2020 PG KD Johnson – Southwest Dekalb High School
Here is a kid who is emerging into a star prospect, if not already, as we speak. KD Johnson, in my opinion, is the closest to a player that I can say compares to a Collin Sexton type of player. He may not be Collin when it comes to skill set, but mentality wise, he certainly reminds me a bit of Collin Sexton. Johnson has hit college coaches radar after this past summer where he ran with the Georgia Stars and also Game Elite. He is what you call a pitbull type of a player. He has an excellent IQ for the game and a great feel. When I say a pitbull, that comes from his defense and toughness when it comes to guarding his opponent. His offensive game has been rising and has been working it’s way up to be that pure point guard. KD is able to attack and penetrate when he has the ball in his hand and can finish in traffic and through contact. Johnson will be special and will be the leader of what is expected to be great Southwest Dekalb High School (Decatur, Georgia) team this season.
2019 F Isaac Okoro (Auburn) – McEachern High School (pictured above)
Auburn commit, forward Isaac Okoro, is coming into his final year at McEachern High School and like his running mate Sharife Cooper, he will be looking to go out with a bang and capturing that state championship. Okoro last season averaged 19.8 points per game and was also award Region Player of the Year in region 3 class 7A. While attending McEachern in his first three seasons, Isaac’s overall record is 81-9. The 6-foot-6 senior is a big bodied forward who is certainly able to guard multiple positions. He is a fabulous on ball defender and is a determined attacker that is not afraid to throw it down on his opponent. Okoro has great size and strength which helps him on both sides of the ball. His presence will definitely be known on this McEachern team this season and which is why he is a favorite to win Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Isaac will be looking to lead McEachern through one of the toughest schedules in the nation in his final year.
2019 PG Kyle Sturdivant (USC) – Norcross High School
Senior point guard Kyle Sturdivant will be taking and continuing his basketball career in Southern California after he graduates from Norcross. Sturdivant is a straight winner and there is no doubt that he will be a nominee to win Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year award alongside Brandon Boston Jr. Kyle is an extremely effecient player on both ends of the floor for his team. After averaging 17.7 points per game last season, he will be the leader of this stacked Norcorss squad this year and will be looking to escape with a state championship. The 6-foot-2 guard reminds me of a Eric Gordon or CJ McCollum type of player. He is able to connect on his jumpers and also penetrate to find his open teammates. Kyle can also defend and just make the right basketball play. He is coming off a summer circuit where he ran with Nike Team Florida in the Nike EYBL and where he averaged about 16 points per game.
2019 G/F Marcus Watson (Oklahoma State) – Buford High School
Recent Oklahoma State commit Marcus Watson has been one of my favorite players here in Georgia since his sophomore season. He is one of the most powerful guards/forwards I have witnessed on the floor over the last couple of years. Marcus sits at 6-foot-6 with a nice body frame and that will certain help him at the next level. Since he has been at Buford High School (Buford, Georgia), Watson’s overall record is 53-7 and with one state title under his belt. He was apart of that 2016-2017 team who took home Georgia’s class 5A state championship a couple of years ago. Marcus averaged around twenty-two points per game last season as a junior and now with his recruitment finished, his main goal now should be another state championship run.
2020 SG Anthony Edwards – Holy Spirit Prep
Anthony “Ant-Man” Edwards, another Georgia product who burst onto the scene after an outstanding summer while running with Atlanta Xpress in the UAA. 6-foot-5 guard Anthony Edwards made his national statement known this past summer and what made him a top-5 recruit in the class of 2020. His explosive and dynamic play earned him multiple high major offers and interest. Edwards will be looking to lead his Holy Spirit Prep (Atlanta, Georgia) squad through another tough and national schedule with new head coach Tyson Anderson as the Cougars are expected to make stops at big events in Georgia, Texas, Washington D.C, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. No question with that kind of schedule and with a player like Anthony “Ant-Man” Edwards, he could be a favorite for most people to capture Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year award or even Mr. Georgia basketball.
2019 W Elias King (Mississippi State) – Lincoln Academy
The 6-foot-7 wing Elias King is coming into his final year at the high school level and he will be ending his campaign with second year program Lincoln Prep (Suwanee, Georgia). The senior wing spent his first three high school seasons at Shiloh High School (Snellville, Georgia) and powerhouse Huntington Prep (Huntington, West Virginia). Elias was once a Georgia commit and Xavier commit at one point but has recently commited to Mississippi State. King is a very good player and tough wing whose able to score in the half court. This season he has one of the best young frontcourts in the nation on his team and will be looking to lead Lincoln Academy through a national schedule and to the Geico Nationals in New York, NY.
2019 PG Brenden Tucker (College of Charleston) – Dacula High School
Coming off an 18.1 points per game junior season, College of Charleston commit Brenden Tucker will be coming into this season with more focus and more passion. More passion is not a problem for Brenden as he is one of the toughest, most competitive, and most passionate propsect that I have covered over the last few years. Tucker’s toughness and competitiveness is what standouts as well as his super athleticsim when he is on the floor. The senior point guard had a nice summer circuit this past summer after running with the Atlanta Celtics in the Adidas Gauntlet. He holds incredible explosiveness and sitting at 6-foot-3, he has good size at that guard position. Brenden and his Dacula team will be looking to make a much bigger run this season in Georgia’s class 6A.
2020 C Ebenezer Dowuona – The Heritage School
Ebenezer Dowuona of The Heritage School (Newnan, Georgia) has made his presence known on the national stage after running with Game Elite (FL) in the Adidas Gauntlet. The junior center put scouts and college coaches on notice as he received a plethora of offers and interest. He is a 6-foot-10 center whose presence is well known in the paint. He is an extremely good shot blocker and rim protector on defense, last season averaging 4.0 blocks per game. Ebenezer has big hands and that certainly helps him be effective on the glass as he averaged 13.0 rebounds per game. Only averaging 10.0 points per game last season, with the guards and team he has this season coming into his junior year, Ebenezer is definitely a candidate to capture this seasons Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year. Like Holy Spirit Prep, Heritage is part of the GISA, not the GHSA.
2020 SG Toneari Lane – Shiloh High School
Now here is a prospect that I personally feel does not receive enough attention in our state. The 6-foot-5 Toneari Lane of Shiloh High School (Snellville, Georgia) has received offers already from schools like North Florida, Auburn, and Ole Miss and expressed interest from other major programs. Lane had a monster sophomore campaign after averaging 18.0 points per game while snagging down 11.0 rebounds per game. With that kind of skill, there is no question Mr. Lane was a nominee for this seasons Georgia Gatorade POY award. Toneari is a dominate and very strong guard who is best when he is around the rim. He has great bouncing ability which allows him to be a presence on the glass. The junior two-guard will be focused on getting Shiloh back up to one of Georgia’s top programs.
2020 F Jaylin Williams (Auburn) – Brantley County High School
Auburn will have two bids coming into this season for the Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year award. Besides Isaac Okoro, 6-foot-6 forward Jaylin Williams will be the other Auburn commit that could possibly receive this award. The senior forward had a stock rising summer this past summer running with Game Elite Gold in the Adidas Gauntlet. Jaylin had a dynamic junior season with Brantley County High School (Nahunta, Georgia) after averaging a phenomenal 29.0 points per game while grabbing 14.0 rebounds per game. He is a super versatile forward/wing who has the skills on all levels when he is on the floor. Williams is able to connect on his jumpers and is great at moving without the ball. The Auburn Tigers are getting a nice solid perimeter prospect in Jaylin Williams out of South Georgia.
2020 C Walker Kessler – Woodward Academy
Another one of the peach state’s national ranked players we have in that loaded 2020 class is the 7-foot-0 center Walker Kessler. The now junior center is coming off a summer where he ran with one of the best 16U teams in the nation in Game Elite (FL) in the Adidas Gauntlet. Kessler hit the national spot light with his incredible skills inside the paint and surprisingly outside the paint abilities. Not only is Walker able to be an elite playmaker and defender down by the rim, but he is able to step out and show his shot making skills as well for a kid his size. Kessler was able to average a double-double last season as a sophomore after averaging 17.0 points per game and picking up 10.0 rebounds per game and also averaging 3.8 blocks per game. Kessler, this past summer, was also invited to the annual NBA Top 100 Camp that is held every June at the University of Virginia and features some of the best players in the nation regardless of class.
2020 PG Dwon Odom (Xavier) – St. Francis
The 6-foot-3 point guard Dwon Odom is a must watch prospect this season for those of you who have not seen him in action. Dwon is an explosvie and very athletic point guard who shows shades of Russell Westbrook type of explosiveness. He has put his talents on display over the last year or so and has made his name known nationally and in the state. The junior point guard has recently decided to commit early and take his talents to Xavier once he graduates from St. Francis. Dwon, after averaging 16.8 points, 7.8 assist, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game in his sophomore season, will for sure be in the race to receive Georgia’s Gatorade Player of the Year award during his junior campaign. With all the pieces he has lost from last season’s St. Francis team, he is sure to be the focal point of their offense and should have the ball a lot more this season. Dwon will be looking to make his return to Georgia’s private-A class state championship game for the second straight year.
2019 SG Devin Butts (Mississippi State) – Stratford Academy
The middle Georgia product Devin Butts might have been one of the top non-talked about guys over the last couple of years here in the peach state. The 6-foot-5 two-guard earned him a plethora of high major offers over his high school career and while also playing for Team Georgia Magic, a non-shoe sponsored organization out of middle Georgia. Butts is arguably the best shooter in the state. He averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and just 3.0 assists per game in his junior campaign. He is a straight sharp shooter on the perimeter and has nice size for his position out there on the wing. The recent Mississippi State commit will be representing the middle Georgia area and coming into his senior campaign trying to make a case that he can receieve the Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year award.
2020 C Jordan Meka – Mount Bethel
Coming into his junior season at one of Georgia’s best private school programs, the 6-foot-9 big man Jordan Meka is expected to have a great year with the Eagles. Jordan has received multiple interest and offers from top level college programs after running with the Georgia Stars this past summer in the Nike EYBL. Meka averaged a double-double last season during his sophomore campaign and will be looking to do more than just that this season. His presence is very well known in the paint and is an outstanding rebounder. Jordan has raised his level of play offensively, but he is at his best when he is on defense. I certainly believe this season he is able to make a case for himself as one of the top players in the state of Georgia, if not already.