Last weekend at the Columbus Riverfest, a number of players stepped up in the spotlight. Perhaps no one did more for their team in key moments was Khris Middleton of the Carolina Celtics.
The 6-foot-6, 195-pound wing from the Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, S.C. seemed to always have the big shot ready to fire and connect in the tournament.
He scored 23 second half points in the semi-finals to the Georgia Stars and helped keep his team in the game until the final buzzer in the defeat. Despite the loss, Middleton certainly proved himself with his play and will be a player worth watching in the spring evaluation period.
"My jump shot was falling for me on Saturday and Sunday. I was able to knock down some jump shots and find my open teammates," Middleton said. "I wanted to help my team get into every game we played."
Coming off a season where he averaged 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists, Middleton said he is hoping to prove himself even more in the coming months.
"I think the next couple of tournaments are very important because I'm trying to get more colleges to look at me. I want to have fun playing my last year of AAU basketball."
The Carolina Celtics will play in the Kingwood Classic and the King James Shooting Stars Classic in April.
Recruiting has picked up this year, he said.
"It picked up a lot. I wasn't really expecting it the way that it did. I've never received that kind of attention from colleges before," Middleton said. "I've had attention from colleges in Charleston and in the Low Country here. My recruitment has never gone national. It's exciting."
Clemson, South Carolina, St. Joseph's, Oklahoma, Charlotte, Georgia and High Point (offer) have shown interest, he said.
"I'm open to everybody right now," Middleton said. "[I'm looking for] a system that I can fit into, great coaches and a place that would fit my style of play."
Middleton said his main focus in the spring is just improving his overall game.
"I need to work on my strength and my foot speed and my defense. I think that is what is holding some colleges back," Middleton said.
With the way he played last weekend, there will be plenty of schools that won't be holding back, especially scholarship offers.