ATLANTA -- The first of three recruiting periods in July tipped off on Wednesday, and college basketball coaches all over the country made their way to the metro Atlanta area for the various events. Rivals.com opened the first recruiting period by taking in the opening night of the Elite 32 presented by On The Radar Hoops.
Caver comes out on top in battle with Hudson
Stackhouse Elite point guard Ahmad Caver and Southern Stampede point guard Ty Hudson squared off in what turned out be easily the most exciting individual matchup of the night. In a tightly contested game from start to finish, Caver's team came out on top as he played a terrific game, but Hudson showed out as well finishing with a game-high 29 points.
Caver, originally a member of the 2014 class who will do a post-grad year at Hargrave Military Academy this year, has turned into one of the better point guards in the 2015 class. Until recently, the 6-foot-1 Georgia native had been known more as a scoring guard. In recent months, he's turned into a much better distributor, and that was on full display as he was setting up teammates for easy baskets all night.
Boston College and Old Dominion have been trying to sign Caver to enroll as freshman this year, but it appears he'll stick with his original decision to do a post-grad year.
Despite a tough loss, Hudson was phenomenal for the Southern Stampede. At 6-foot-1 with a strong build, Hudson bullied his way to the rim all night and routinely finished through all sorts of contact. His recruitment has heated up in recent months as well. According to his high school coach, Oklahoma State is the most recent offer for Hudson this week, joining a list that includes Clemson, California, Houston, Butler, Creighton, USF, Xavier and more.
Tucker High School (Ga.) has pumped out several talented wings in the past decade such as former Providence star Marshon Brooks, former Tennessee standout Cameron Tatum, and most recently Davante Fitzgerald of Texas A&M. Shembari Phillips of the Georgia Tornados just might be the next Tucker wing to sign with a high-major program.
A 6-foot-5 wing, Phillips possesses all the traits high-major programs look for at his position. He's got long arms. He's athletic. He has a smooth stroke and can fill it up from three-point range. He can make plays off the dribble. All of the above were on display on Wednesday night in a win over Team Georgia as Phillips finished with 17 points. What he needs to do to erase any doubt about his ability to play at the highest level in college basketball is eliminate his tendency to drift in and out of games and give a more consistent effort.
Phillips isn't a total secret amongst college coaches. He lists offers from Texas A&M, Tennessee, UCF, East Carolina, Georgia State, George Mason, Ole Miss, Houston and Tennessee Tech along with interest from Georgia, Georgia Tech and Tulsa. He plans to visit Tennessee at some point in August.
News and notes
Class of 2017 guard Al Durham has a chance to be one of the better guards in the Southeast in his class. The lanky 6-foot-3 off-guard can stretch defenses with his three-point stroke and is now strong enough to make plays going to the rim. According to his father, Arizona, Clemson, Dayton, Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Florida and Tulane have all shown varying levels of interest.
Class of 2016 power forward Chris Lewis had a solid opening night for the Atlanta Xpress 16U despite losing big to the Q6 All-Stars 17U. He finished pretty consistently around the rim and reeled in at least a dozen rebounds. The 6-foot-8 big man has filled out and now weighs somewhere around 220 lbs. Offers are in from Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami and Mississippi State. California, Florida and Stanford have also been in contact.
Class of 2015 power forward Tre Scott had a typical night for him. He finished with 19 points and at least a dozen rebounds. Although undersized at 6-foot-7, he plays the game with so much energy. He's also a very smart play, somebody coaches can trust to help break a press or play in the middle of a zone. Several high-majors were on hand to see him. He's been receiving interest from schools such as Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Houston. He recently took his first official visit to Florida Atlantic.
Grant Riller of the Q-6 All-Stars had a strong opening night. He started the opening game of the day with arguably the highlight of the day when he came flying down the lane and dunked on a helpless defender from the Atlanta Xpress. Aside from being a very good athlete, the 6-foot-3 wing showed he could score at all three levels.
Stackhouse Elite power forward Malik Carter opened some eyes with his play. The big-bodied 6-foot-8 post player displayed some impressive post moves on the block and also proved he could step out and knock down mid-range jumpers. He's an intriguing prospect at the mid-major level.
He didn't have a great stat line on Wednesday, but Southern Stampede power forward Derek Ogbeide has the size, athleticism and motor that will get high-major coaches excited. A chiseled 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, Ogbeide is always mixing it up in the paint and his offense continues to improve every time out. Georgia Tech, Houston, South Florida and others are currently involved with him.
The most athletic player competing in the Elite 32 isn't really up for debate. Every time you look over at the court the Georgia Stars are playing on, forward Courtney Alexander is either throwing down an impressive dunk, rising above opponents for a rebound or pinning somebody's shot against the backboard. If his skills ever catch up to his athleticism, watch out because he's already a pretty good player.