Marietta, Ga. – The PeachStateBasketball.com Pre-Season Shootout has matured into one of the country’s top pre-April evaluation weekend tournament. This year, the Shootout was home to some of the southeast’s top players including stellar freshman Te’a Cooper.
By: Jonathan Hemingway
Te’a Cooper, A.O.T. Lady Rebels (Powder Springs, Ga.)
Cooper has mastered the art of being a point guard at a very young age. On top of that, she is just two months removed from leading her high school team to an AAAAA state championship team and now is running the show for one of the most talented travel teams in the country. Her strengths begin with her physical presence on the defensive end. She changes the game with the amount of pressure she can put on opposing ball handlers. With the ball in her hands she is uncontainable. She has perfected the balance of being able to set the table for her teammates while also getting a bucket when for herself when needed. It is hard to believe that a young player can be already be as seasoned as Cooper, but it makes for plenty of great basketball to watch for the next three summers!
MacKenzie Darrah, Georgia Hoopstars Black, (Buford, Ga.)
The maturation process of Darrah has been interesting. She possesses all of the physical abilities and necessary skills to be a productive player for years. However, the consistency for Darrah has not always shown through in her play. However, what we have seen in the past 12 months from the 6 foot 4 forward has been increased productivity. She is putting the ball in the basket at a higher rate and is tracking rebounds with more aggressiveness. Darrah shot the ball well off the bounce and while spotting off of screens during the Pre-Season Shootout. This performance hopes to be a positive sign of things to come for the talented forward.
Moses Johnson, Atlanta Celtics 16u (Lithonia, Ga.)
There is much to like about Johnson’s game. Her 6 foot build provide her enough size to be a force in the paint, but she is skilled enough to even being a distributing wing in the right spot. Johnson was productive in a variety of ways during the Pre-Season Shootout. She hit open threes, handled the ball versus pressure and provided an inside presence on the glass for her Atlanta Celtic squad. This type of versatility will make her a valuable asset on any team she plays for.
The performance of the weekend was put up by Kianna Holland. The Duke bound guard absolutely lit it up. She scored 26 in the semi-final game of the Select Division. This included 5 three pointers off of her patented quick-trigger release.
Taylor Gordon had a good weekend. She was very productive in the minutes that she saw on the court. She hit several jumpers and was active on the defensive end.
Amanda Tramble has elevated her game since the last evaluation. The natural point guard has a variety of open court moves to create space for herself.
Although the Carolina All Stars came up short in the semi-final game vs. the Georgia Hoopstars, Briana Day and Bayley Coleman-Cox played well for their team. Day showed a high activity level on the glass and Coleman-Cox scored the ball efficiently.
Here are some names to watch for in coming years: Morgan Jones, Khelbi Lewis, Monshe Martin and Tatum Ragsdale. The Pre-Season Shootout featured some of the top young kid talent in the southeast.
I continued to like what I saw from Candice Williams. The aggressive point guard plays with a purpose and makes the right play at the right time.
Jonathan Hemingway is the Assistant Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com. The service is used by more than 150 colleges and universities nationwide. He also serves on the selection committee for the EBA All-American, Fab Five and Super 64 Camps. He has been involved in the community since 2002 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @ JLHemingway