Coaches and players statewide need to follow this quintet of games closely this week.
Jackson South Side @ Bolivar Central
The last time Jackson South Side and Bolivar Central started the seasons 0-1 was 2018. The state tournament seemingly always includes one or both of the powers. The murmurs around the state are that South Side is down, but can it be true?
#0 PG * (2024)
#21 (2024) 6’5″ 166
#22 Adaylan Cross (2023) PG/SG
#32 Christian McCarley (2025) SG/PF
played 20 minutes and started in Bolivar Central’s lone State Tournament game last March. The then-sophomore scored eight points (2-5 FG, 4-4 FT’s, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in the Tiger loss to Tyner.
McNeal is a candidate for PrepHoopsTN All-Defense First Team. Does that exist? It should. Maybe it will. On successive possessions against Memphis Business Academy. McNeal hit the dribbler with a over-committal stance, coaxing him to dash forward. After the dribbler darted a half-step Kylan reached behind to poke the ball backwards. A BCHS teammate caught each poke and the team scored in a blisteringly fast fastbreak. It was remarkable. Filled with guile.
Slender junior forwardis springy. He has decent shot-blocking instincts.
Pope Prep @ Franklin Road Academy
Pope Prep features their best team in years. Look at the talent:, , , , Donovan James.
In their season debut,put up 24 points alongside 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. He is the Andre Miller (NBA-retired) of our state. PrepHoopsTN Fall Combine Underclassmen MVP began his high school career with 6p, 12r, 9a. Can you say young Russell Westbrook?
Clarksville Academy @ Ensworth
Who is the best player in Tennessee?
Who are the top 10 players in Tennessee?
The case can be made thatis the best. Why? He is long, lean, and hyper-skilled. He played very well against , the best player in Tennessee last Thursday night.
Eddie should win Mr. Basketball this spring. Last year Ricks III earned Mr. Basketball finalist, but eventually lost out to Tipton-Rosemark’s Tyler Byrd. Still, Ricks III averaged a fantastic 21 ppg, 7.5 rpg in his junior season. He can be better, which is frightening.
The Cougars looked overwhelmed in their first ever TSSAA State Tournament appearance.did not play his best in that game and surely wants to get back and make amends.
is a senior, though he was once a young star for Ensworth. How good is Devaki now? Well, he destroyed the PrepHoops 250 Expo in Bartlett, Tennessee back in mid-September. Devaki will be a Mr. Basketball candidate if he keeps his trajectory. The man is a terror with the ball. Speedy. Genius. Elite passer. Elite outside shooter.
White Station @ FACS
Ravenwood @ Franklin
Thursday night Rockvale Head Coach Wendell Ingram, after a 48-44 loss to the Raptors, confirmed that ‘Ravenwood is good like everyone says.’
Though the Raptors earned the win, they did not finish ideally.
“We have a lot if inexperienced guys and they (Rockvale) hit a couple of threes,” said Ravenwood Head Coach Patrick Whitlock in a Sunday afternoon phone conversation. “We played well enough to keep them at bay.”
He admits that his team is an unfinished product, but how could they not be?Ravenwood is a completely different team conceptually than a year ago.
“We lost five starters, three in college (basketball) now,” shared Coach Whitlock.
Coach Whitlock likes this bunch. There is a newness, of course, and there is some skill (, Rocco Lamuno, , etc.).
“This group is a little different [than last year’s team],” said Coach Whitlock. “We are not running much pick’n’roll. We are doing a lot of ball reversal. We have 5 guys on the floor that can shoot it.”
Expect a big breakout game for Lamuno.
“Even though he had a big summer and is known from that, I think Rocco Lamuno did not really play well in our first two games. But he will be a ‘breakout’ player this year. “He has all of the measurables. Good shooter.”
A younger player,is considered an elite outside shooter. “Gym rat. He can really shoot it.”
“We are going to get a good gauge where we are really at.”