McDonald's Takeaways: RYZE Hoops Live Showcase
The RYZE Hoops Live Showcase took over the Atlanta area this weekend at LakePoint Sports Champions Center with much of the top talent in the Southeast taking the floor. Dan McDonald recaps many of the standout performances from the event.
2023 Rankings: Top 30
REED IMPRESSES FROM THE START
Josh Reed came out on fire from the very first game on Saturday morning as he went for 35 points in AC Georgia’s opening game. The 6-foot-7 forward connected on four three-pointers, two of which came from deep, but it wasn’t just the scoring that was impressive. He has a point-forward element to his game where he’s a really strong ball-handler and a really good decision maker with the ball. He had several assists this weekend to go along with averaging 22 points per game. He holds offers from Boston College, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Xavier and several others.
TEAM HUNCHO TEAMMATES STAND OUT
Jermahri Hill and Malique Ewin were both impressive this weekend for Team Huncho. Hill has been a breakout star this travel season and continued to back up the hype with his 20.7 points per game this weekend. The 6-foot-4 guard really knows how to find his way to the bucket and finish with some flare. Ewin, a 6-foot-10 post player, is back healthy and looked the best he has in a while. He was dominant on the board and averaged 16 points per game. When he’s at his best, he looks like a young Kevin Love.
FUTURE BUCKEYE AND TIGER LEAD TEAM TO TITLE GAME
Ohio State-bound point guard Bruce Thornton and Auburn-bound forward/center Sage Tolentino carried TSF Mack to the 17U Platinum Bracket championship game. You can always count on Thornton to run his team, play top-notch defense, and make all the clutch buckets when his team needs him. Tolentino is as skilled as they come for a 7-footer. He’s also pretty feisty on the boards despite lacking some strength and protects the rim at a high level.
ATLANTA XPRESS QUARTET MAKE AN IMPRESSION
Stephon Castle, Qua Brown, Jakai Newton and Marcus Whitlock form a really tough quartet for the Atlanta Xpress 16-under. Castle currently has a spot in our class of 2023 rankings that is well-deserved. A true point guard at 6-foot-6, he’s just a really versatile player that has a knack for making the right play. Brown and Newton are both really athletic wings at about 6-foot-4 that relentlessly attack the bucket and get after it defensively. Whitlock can fire away from deep with the best of them and also has some high-flying finishing ability at the rim. All four averaged over 14 points per game in four games this weekend.
ATHLETES ALL AROUND IN ATLANTA
In an event full of great athletes, Coen Carr for the Georgia Stars 16-under was probably the best of the bunch. But what’s equally important for the 6-foot-6 forward in the 2023 class is that he showed some touch on some three-pointers and had some nice drives to the rim as well. Isaiah West, a top 30 prospect in the 2023 class, also had a productive weekend averaging 12.3 points per game. He’s another really good athlete with a really good mid-range game too. Paul Mathis Djebot was a revelation this weekend averaging 13.3 points per game. The bouncy 6-foot-5 wing has a really nice perimeter stroke and has the length and quickness to be a problem on the defensive end.
LEE ON TRACK
The Georgia Stars 15-under went undefeated on their way to a championship in large part because of Jalen “Roc” Lee. He’s definitely one to track early in the 2024 class as he has great size and athleticism at 6-foot-5 for a guard. He made shots all weekend and averaged 14 points per game.