basketball Edit

McDonald's takeaways: RYZE Tip-Off Classic

Isaiah Collier
Isaiah Collier

Emerson, GA -- The RYZE Hoops Tip Off Classic 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.

We’ve come to expect Bruce Thornton to play at a real high level, and that’s exactly what he did this weekend. Thornton’s best trait is his understanding for how to play point guard. The Ohio State commit is a great decision-maker, great passer, tough on-ball defender and can score it when needed. He has a knack for producing in tight games as he showed with 17 of his 23 points in a close win over Team Huncho coming in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Sage Tolentino committed early to Auburn, but we had yet to get a solid evaluation of him. After seeing him this weekend with TSF Mack, it’s clear he’s going to make a sizable move into the Rivals150 at the next update. The Hawaii native is a legit 7-footer with good mobility and skill. He’s a rim protector and tough on the boards. Adding strength will come in time, but he looks like a really strong early addition for Bruce Pearl’s staff.

Scoot Henderson also took the court and showed the natural ability that makes him one of the top prospects in the 2022 class. He has elite athleticism, great size, and has added strength over the past several months. He’s also a much more consistent shooter now and one of the top playmakers around. Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Georgia are among the schools firmly in the mix for the five-star prospect.Julian Phillips has reeled in scholarship offers from all over the country, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s long and athletic at 6-foot-8 and really versatile. He’s a really smooth finisher around the rim and can knock down the three-ball. His upside is really high. Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Ohio State and Wake Forest are involved here.


Jermahri Hill was the surprised performer of the weekend. Coming off a good high school season, Hill took the next step this weekend for Team Huncho by starting the weekend with a 37-point scoring outburst against Game Elite. He’s always been known for his slashing ability, but he’s become a much better shooter lately. He received calls from Georgia and Georgia Tech, who were both watching the event on a live stream.

Another under-the-radar standout performer this weekend was Noah Clowney out of South Carolina. The 6-foot-9 power forward had a terrific weekend for Team Dickerson. Not only does he dominate around the rim on both ends, but he’s added a perimeter shot and a mid-range game to his repertoire. He averaged 16.3 points per game in four games. Virginia Tech and Xavier threw out early offers, but they won’t be the last high-major offer.

Isaiah Collier and Kanaan Carlyle are one of the most exciting and talented backcourts in the country. Both played key roles in state championships for their high school teams this season and now they are dominating on the travel circuit. At about 6-foot-4 and potentially still growing, Collier has always been an elite passer that has now become a much more consistent shooter. He’s in the conversation for best point guard in the class. Carlyle, at about 6-foot-3, is the more natural scorer and an elite athlete that can play either guard spot. He’s also one of the best on-ball defenders around.

DK Manyiel (20.3 PPG) has come a really long way in the past year in his development. The 7-footer for Team Forrest has always been a really good athlete and a rim protector, but he’s made big moves on the offensive end. He’s a really gifted finisher inside with great hands and can step out and hit jumpers too. He’s super competitive and seems to have all the intangibles that a coach could ask for. He could be a major stock riser whenever college coaches can get back on the road.

David Thomas put up 83 points in his four games for Team Huncho 16-under. He’s one of the more talented scorers in the 2023 class. Along with being able to score it at all three levels, he showed the ability to hit some tough shot, including back-to-back step-back threes on Sunday afternoon against Team Grind (AL). He too should be a popular target for high-major programs down the road.

Want a prospect to remember in the 2024 class? Jayden Williams (14 PPG) for the Atlanta Celtics has a ridiculously high ceiling. Probably standing at 6-foot-9 right now, he’s one of those prospects that combines both potential and production. He has really good hands and soft touch finishing inside. He can hit a jump shot. He runs the floor really well. His biggest impact right now though is the way protects the rim and rips down rebounds. He’ll be a fun one to track the next few years.


Aidan Hadaway from the Atlanta Timberwolves is a versatile 6-foot-8 forward out LaFayette (Ga.). He’s the new age forward that combines being able to defend and rebound with big boys while having the skill and athleticism to play on the perimeter offensively. Georgia head coach Tom Crean contacted him on Sunday. … Keith Robbins knocked down nine three-pointers in his four games this weekend and averaged 17 points per game. The 6-foot-5 guard is more than a shooter though. He’s a crafty scorer attacking the basket and a good athlete. … Jameel Rideout and Emeka Iloh had good showings for Team Huncho this weekend. Rideout showed his ability to score it (12.5 PPG) while also a running the team efficiently. Iloh, a 6-foot-9 center, saved his best performance for last with a dominant 15-point, 15-rebound performance against TSF Mack

Remember the name Eltramon Smith (19.3 PPG). The Class of 2023 forward played behind five-star Auburn signee Jabari Smith this year for Sandy Creek, but he’s ready to show his talent next season. He’s a really skilled and athletic 6-foot-7 forward that really popped in my short viewing. … Joining Jayden Williams on the Atlanta Celtics 15-under is Michael Matthews. The 6-foot-3 combo guard is an electric scorer. … Khalil Green (13 PPG), Klairus Amir (10 PPG) and Derrion Reid (16 PPG) will be a fun trio to watch in the 2024 class for Team Dickerson’s 15-under going forward. Green is the consummate point guard that can run a team, score it, and lock up the other team’s point guard.Amir and Reid are versatile, athletic forwards at about 6-foot-6. Amir received an early offer from Xavier.

Last but certainly not least, Karris Bilal (15 PPG) and David Clark (13.8 PPG) are another duo to watch in the 2024 class for Game Elite’s 15-under. Bilal is a smooth scoring guard at 6-foot-3. Clark is a bouncy 6-foot-6 wing forward that showed the ability to hit some contested shots from deep.