NORCROSS, Ga. – The Hilton Invitational has quickly become the region’s premier one-day showcase. This year’s field included seven of the state’s elite high school programs matched up with seven out-of-state opponents. With multiple guys on hand ranked in the BrandonClayScouting.com rankings, this was an ideal stage for players to show and prove.
Class of 2016 forward Martins Igbanu of Covenant Christian (GA) is emerging as one of the premier prospects inside of the Peach State. He’s got good size and athleticism. Keep an eye out for him in the BrandonClayScouting.com ELITE National Rankings before it’s all said and done.
Troy signee Tope Arikawe is a grown man at the power forward spot for Covenant Christian with both length and size. He and Igbanu teamed up to be effective throughout Saturday’s contest.
Class of 2016 prep Alani Moore of Montrose Christian (MD) is handling the point for coach Bryan Bartley’s team. Moore has proven himself to be one of the top junior class floor generals in the DMV.
Manning the middle for Montrose is Tulane signee Taron Oliver. He’s a legitimate force on the interior capable of protecting the rim or finishing on the other end.
High Point signee Ricky Madison was the man in charge for the host Norcross (GA). Coach Jesse McMillan said that the swing forward is playing the best basketball of his career right now. We couldn’t agree more.
Speaking of Norcross, keep an eye on class of 2017 forward Rayshaun Hammonds. He’s got legitimate length and showed himself as a capable rim protector.
Madison Academy’s (AL) class of 2016 guard Josh Langford stole the show finishing with 25 points on the night. More importantly, he showed the entire crowd why we have him at No. 23 in the country. That said he’s a potential candidate to move even further up the charts when we re-release the rankings in the spring.
Madison isn’t limited to just Langford though. Class of 2017 prospects Myles Parker and Austin Troxell earned invites to the CoachHemi.com Workout in March with their play on this big stage.
Pebblebrook High (GA) is loaded. This we know. We also knew that class of 2016 point guard Jared Harper is scared of no one. What we didn’t know is how the 5-foot-10 distributor would perform on the big stage with his high school team. He did exactly what we expected: shine bright. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl has been out to see him twice already this year.
The Pebblebrook seniors – Ty Hudson, Trhae Mitchell, Kevin Murph & Derek Ogbeide – are poised to give Harper an assist en route to a state championship. They took a top 10 team nationally in DeMatha down to the wire.
That said, DeMatha (MD) was locked and loaded for this one. Class of 2017 wing Darren “DJ” Harvey is ranked No. 3 in the country by the BrandonClayScouting.com staff and for good reason. His length, skill set and ability to score remind me of Golden State Warrior star Klay Thompson.
Class of 2016 guard Markelle Fultz and 2015 post Thomas Bruce were more than willing to help Harvey with the challenge of knocking off Pebblebrook. Fultz is one of the premier scorers in the junior class in the DMV. Bruce, who is headed to Binghamton, made arguably the play of the day with a MEAN tip dunk off of a missed shot.
In the nightcap, No. 11 class of 2017 prospect Austin Wiley tried his best to will Spain Park (AL) to victory. The sophomore post was a monster on the interior finishing at the rim and swatting shots from any and all comers.
Wiley had help in the form of classmate Jamal Johnson. Johnson used the Hilton Invitational as a coming out party to showcase himself as one of the better scoring guards in the southeastern region. Johnson scored at all three levels. It was an impressive outing for the sophomore.
Jonesboro (GA) wasn’t going to lay down and let Spain Park roll over them. At least, not if James “MJ” Walker Jr., had anything to do with it. Fortunately for Cardinal Nation, he had a lot to do with it. The No. 15 prospect in the class of 2017 attacked everyone in his way including the aforementioned Wiley.
It wasn’t only Walker Jr., as Chattanooga signee Austin Donaldson, Tracy Hector Jr., and Deantre Mack were all notable performers in the big win to close out the day.
Brandon Clay is the Executive Camp Director of the Elite Basketball Academy and the owner of Brandon Clay Scouting. He is on the Naismith Trophy Board of Selectors. Clay is also the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc., and ProspectsNation.com. He serves Director of Scouting for the OTRHoopsReport.com National Scouting Report. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as an evaluator, event operator and trainer. You can reach him at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com