BrandonClayScouting: 2019 Jared Cook Classic

SUWANEE, Georgia – The Jared Cook Classic has become one of the region’s premier showcase events before the Thanksgiving Holiday. Hosted by North Gwinnett High, the event featured a who’s who list of the premier prospects in the state of Georgia.

1: Deivon Smith is the real deal.

Mississippi State signee Deivon “Sneak” Smith of Grayson has been on our radar for years now. His coach, Geoffrey Pierce, has quietly built a reputation for having a premier team in the state year after year. From Alphonso Willis to Travis Anderson to Smith this season, the Rams have been built from the ground up through the play of dymanic perimeter threats. Smith’s showing here was a testament to just how talented he can be at the college level if he’ll stay locked in on shooting the open jumper.

2: Bruce Thornton has next up.

Thornton had as good of a seven-day stretch as anyone in the country this week in the class of 2022 starting with his play at the Jared Cook Classic. Milton coach Allen Whitehart has coached some elite guards including current pro Lorenzo Brown. After watching Thornton drop 42 against Grayson, it’s quite possible that he might end up as the best one that Whitehart has had to date.

3: Walker Kessler possesses all the tools.

Kessler has a unique size / skill package in the frontcourt. The North Carolina signee can literally do a little of everything with his toolbox. Kessler was a factor defensively changing shots and rebounding then sprinting to down the floor to get a touch. He can face the basket offensively while also showing the ability to play above the rim with good bounce from a 7-footer. Kessler has plenty of room left to fill out so it’s safe to project that his most productive days on the hardwood could still be ahead of him.

4: Jabari Smith Jr. could be an USA Basketball member for years to come.

Headlining the Sandy Creek roster, Smith Jr. is every bit as good for them as he was at the USA Basketball Mini Camp in October. A Class of 2021 prospect, he is a legit 6-10 with the ability to consistently knock down the 3-pointer from the top of the key or out of the corner. He has a feathery touch on his turnaround in the post and is a willing rebounder on both ends of the floor.

Brandon Clay is the owner of the International Report, Peach State Basketball, Inc., and The is picked up by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. In addition to serving as WNBA Director of Scouting, Clay serves as the Executive Camp Director for the National Training Academies. He is a McDonald’s All-American Game Selection Committee member. Clay serves on the Naismith Trophy Men’s / Women’s College Player of the Year Academy and is the National Coordinator of Voting for the Boys / Girls All-American Teams. He has been involved in the community since 2001. You can reach Clay at