MARIETTA, GA. - As good as the upperclassmen group was at the Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase, the underclassmen weren't afraid to throw their weight around, too. Several class of 2008 and 2009 prospects played well enough to catch our eye.
The Georgia class of 2007 is one of the deepest talent pools in recent memory. The state is loaded with high-major talent, the mid-major crew is solid and coaches are noticing the depth at every position. While the class of 2008 isn't as deep as the 2007 group, there are several guys worthy of high-major attention. Guys like Stone Mountain High School's DeQuan Jones proved that.
Jones, a 6-foot-4 wing, was the most impressive sophomore at the camp and earned a spot on the All-Star team. Jones has all of the pieces that the high-major guys have. He has a great body, solid handles, very confident shot, a tremendous defender, good rebounder and great athlete. Talk to Jones and you'll find a model citizen who wants to improve each time out. While it's early to talk who's the best in the best in the state, Jones is certainly a guy to consider for that spot.
As good as Jones is now and what he will be down the road, Chris Singleton, another sophomore has the same amount of potential for being a high-major guy at the next level. The 6-foot-7 small forward from Cherokee High School in Canton, Ga., is a great mix of interior skills and a confident perimeter game.
He's so quick off the floor as a shot-blocker and has great timing for sending away shots. Singleton has good ball-handling skills and don't leave him open on the wing because he'll knock down the perimeter shot at will. The strides he's made from his freshman year to now has been impressive to watch. Singleton, an All-Star selection, has already been an early target for several SEC programs.
Pierre Jordan, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Dunwoody High School, is a quality, do a little bit of everything kind of guard. The All-Star pick can shift back and forth between the one and two spots. He's a smart player that doesn't force the issue and doesn't rely too much on his own offensive skills in a selfish manner.
There wasn't a better showman than Demetrius Bates at the camp. The 6-foot-4 small forward from M.L. King High School was amazing every time he left the floor. The sophomore knows how to put on a show and had the camp's best dunk in the All-Star game when he took off from the right block and absolutely posterized a defender that tried to slow him down. Bates has high-major athleticism but must round out his perimeter skills.
As one of the best shooters in the state, 6-foot point guard Andrew Goudelock is a difficult match-up because he knows how to be both a scorer and a passer. He should shine at Stone Mountain alongside Terrell Bell and Jones.
TeAndre Williams is the one player that had everyone asking, "Who is he?" He is a 6-foot-4 wing from Meadowcreek High School. He'll play alongside Chris Allen and that should allow Williams to expose any one on one situations. He's got a great first step and great athleticism. Remember his name and don't be surprised to see him be a summer star next year.
Dexter Shaw, a 6-foot-3 guard from Cass High School in Cartersville, is a bit under the radar but he'll be recruited by SEC level schools because of his size, good athleticism and ability to take smart shots. Shaw is a quiet killer and it was tough not to put him on the All-Star team.
Pace Academy seems to produce Division I players on a yearly basis and in 2008, the school will see Zuri James go on to DI ranks. The 6-foot-3 has good size, he's strong to the bucket, shines in the team system and knows how to put the ball through the cylinder.
Carter McMasters, a 6-foot-10 center from Grace Academy High School in Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of the more intriguing players at the camp. When Rivals.com watched him back in the spring, he showed off a great touch from the wing. Against some bigger and stronger players, McMasters showed off a nice ability of blocking shots, good timing and confident defense. He's still a work in progress but down the road, he a has a chance to be one of the top centers in his class.
Andre Young, a 5-foot-8 point guard from Albany's Deerfield-Windsor High School, is quick as a hiccup and blows past his defender with the dribble. He's a solid and heady point guard that shined over the summer with the Columbus Blazers 15 and under squad. He's small but he's very effective.
2009 talent has an impressive debut
For a group of kids that have never played a high school game in their life, the class of 2009 prospect pool was very impressive to watch amongst the older players. While talking recruiting for this group is too immature at this point, putting them on the must-watch list isn't.
Coming into the camp, 6-foot-7 forward Derrick Favors had the most buzz amongst the freshman class. The South Atlanta High School product has the tools to be one of the top forwards in his class. He's long, bouncy, solid in the post and runs the floor like a guard. Favors was an easy choice for the camp's All-Star game and he'll be one of the most recruited players in his class from the Southeast.
Of all the class of 2009 prospects, no one helped himself more than Terrance Shannon. The 6-foot-7 forward from Mary Persons High School in Forsyth, Ga., was one of the biggest surprises at the camp. Blessed with a frame that is reminiscent of former Cincinnati star Jason Maxiell, Shannon has incredibly long arms, a big barrel chest and a body that will develop into one of the best in his class across the country.
Shannon makes things happen as a post player but his already confident and effective midrange game was very impressive. When he and Favors faced off, Shannon went right at his Atlanta Celtics teammate and frustrated him with his aggressive style of play. The J.J. Hickson-Gani Lawal match-up garnered the attention from everyone in attendance but the Shannon-Favors battle was one of the camp's best.
Shannon, an easy choice for the All-Star game, should be making his way onto the high-major mailing list after his showing.
Just a freshman, Lorenzo Brown played like an upperclassmen all weekend long. He has great size for a point guard, quick with the ball, a strong shooter and even better passer. The camp All-Star has a chance to be very good as he matures in the prep ranks. He's one of the many college prospects at Centennial High School. Brown has a chance to be the best one of the bunch.
Tariq Muhammed, another 6-foot-2 point guard from Centennial High School, will attract the high-majors because of his steady play as the floor general. He's a better pass-first player than Brown but not quite the offensive force. At any rate, he's a mature player for his grade and loves to push the floor and utilize his weapons around him.
Mario Vasser, a 6-foot-4 small forward from Grayson High School, impressed with his non-stop motor, good athleticism and warrior mentality. Still not a great shooter, he has plenty of room to grow but for a guy that has never played a high school game in his life, Vasser made us look at our roster sheet more than five times to figure out who he was because of his strong play.
Michael Calhoun, a 6-foot-7 small forward from South Cobb High School, is one to watch because of his size on the wing, raw potential and willingness to improve each time out. He'll have a chance to learn amongst the best at South Cobb, one of the top teams in the state.