GAC and Wesleyan look strong in early going
By Bob Corwin
On November 20 and 21 respectively, I attended a day at each the Parkview Tip-Off Classic (held at Parkview High School in Lilburn, Georgia) and the Johns Creek High School Thanksgiving Showcase (held at Johns Creek High School in Johns Creek, Georgia). Both events consisted of a series of pre-set games running November 18, 20 and 21.
Several of the traditionally top high school teams in Georgia put their players on display for one of the first times (Georgia having just started official high school play). Appearing most advanced in the early going were Greater Atlanta Christian (GAC) and Wesleyan School (both private schools located in Norcross, Georgia). However, being in different classes of state (GHSA) playoffs, the schools will not meet this year. Other observed schools not as far along but showing promise for successful seasons were Eagles Landing (McDonough), Lambert (Suwanee), McEachern (Power Springs), Norcross (Norcross), Northview (Johns Creek), Parkview (Lilburn) and Westlake (Atlanta). Players from several of these schools are discussed below.
The Lady Spartans have two things that help a team have a special year – starting four seniors and having a national list player (in Robyn Benton – see below). GAC was particularly impressive in its on-court spacing in quarter court, transition play, IQ and poise. Going forward, developing depth (and avoiding injuries) and how the team will cope with taller opposition will be critical to team success over the season. Although a smaller school (3A in Georgia), games versus 7A powers Collins Hill and McEachern along with a trip to the strong Naples (FL) Holiday Shootout will provide plenty of challenge before 2018 arrives.
Although a very small school (1A Private), the Lady Wolves are rarely outclassed when (too infrequently by me) they play much larger high schools in or out of Georgia. Here we witnessed an outclassing (78-59) of 6A (28-4 last year and likely at least as strong this year) power Northview. Going in, bottom line difference was that Wesleyan has for years played strong out of area opponents while Northview (relatively new to Georgia’s upper echelon of high school hoops) has not challenged itself in the same way. This game was over early as Wesleyan’s pressing tactics and an otherwise cold Northview start had the Lady Wolves up 27-7 after one quarter. Next case!
Wesleyan’s drawbacks for this season appear to be youth (only two seniors on roster) and limited height. Guard play (led by senior Amaya Register – see below) will be where Wesleyan hangs its hat this year. A trip to the relatively new (and improving in strength) Tampa Bay (FL) Christmas Invitational should be a good test.
Looking at some of the individual talent in alphabetical order with height, position and school within graduation year. Location of school is in parenthesis. Players seen at Parkview Tip-Off are denoted with a (*) preceding the name. All unsigned players mentioned below should be monitored at some level of NCAA division one.
*Victoria Agyin, 5-7, shooting guard, 2018, McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Georgia)
A Penn signee, Agyin repeatedly attacked the basket in posting 17 points in a win over Stephenson High School. Developing better shooting range should help in her transition to the next level.
Ashlee Austin, 6-1, forward, 2019, Northview High School (Johns Creek, Georgia)
Austin got off to a slow start (as did her team) but finished with 31 points in losing to Wesleyan. A physical player who will fight to score in the paint, she hit multiple three’s in the contest. An obvious Division 1 recruit, Power 5 schools should be monitoring her maturation.
*Robyn Benton, 5-9, shooting guard, 2018, GAC (Norcross, Georgia)
An Auburn signee, she helped her club team win Nike Nationals last summer. Now she is targeting a state title. A good athlete she has a nice mid-range jumper but can also hit the three.
*Kassidy Broussard, 5-6, guard, 2020, Stephenson High School (Stone Mountain, Georgia)
Broussard showed an ability to score via penetration posting 18 points in her team’s loss to McEachern. Building shooting range should help complement her current abilities.
AC Carter, 5-10, forward, 2020, Wesleyan School (Norcross, Georgia)
Carter is strongly built and very effective scoring all over the paint. She is showing signs of building range (one three made versus Northview) which may be key to success at the Power 5 level where many scouts project her to be recruited.
*Sania Feagin, 6-3, power forward, 2021, Forest Park High School (Forest Park, Georgia)
Feagin was the #1 discovery for several evaluators present. She runs and jumps well, has good hands and even has decent passing and handling skills for one as tall and young as she is. Power 5 schools are already starting to line up.
Ashley Foster, 5-7, shooting guard, 2018, Eagles Landing High School (McDonough, Georgia)
A Western Carolina signee, Foster is a good athlete with varied offensive game. She has a nice stroke to beyond the arc but can also score via the drive.
*Taylor Hosendove, 6-1, power forward, 2018, Westlake High School (Atlanta, Georgia)
A Texas Tech signee, Hosendove is strongly built and looks to attack the basket. She also showed a nice mid-range stroke while leading her team with 18 points in a victory over Brookwood.
*Raven Johnson, 5-7, point guard, 2021, Westlake High School (Atlanta, Georgia)
A highly rated member of the class of 2021, Johnson did not look like a freshman just starting her high school career. She showed poise and strong handles coming off the bench (probably not for too much longer?!). She has fine court vision and a nice mid-range stroke.
A’Dryana Maxwell, 5-7, shooting guard, 2018, Madison County High School (Danielsville, Georgia)
Word in the gym was that Maxwell did not play club basketball this spring or summer. Perhaps that is why she remains an unsigned senior. Skills are not lacking. A decent athlete, she showed both driving ability and perimeter stroke well enough that non-Power 5 colleges still looking for a shooting guard in the 2018 class should check out this player.
Amaya Register, 5-4, point guard, 2018, Wesleyan School (Norcross, Georgia)
An Old Dominion signee, Register has come a long way from the ACL she suffered a few years ago. Always a high IQ lead guard, she now combines this with good quickness to drive and defend plus an effective three-point shot. Size and relatively small build are what probably turned away most Power 5 schools.
Kayla Mcpherson, 5-6, guard, 2021, Madison County High School (Danielsville, Georgia)
Mcpherson shows a lot of promise. She can hit the three but also attack the basket going right. An added bonus was that she was also willing to kick out to open shooters on the drive. Her maturation should be monitored from the Power 5 level down.
*Caria Reynolds, 5-11, forward, 2018, GAC (Norcross, Georgia)
A Hofstra signee, Reynolds combines a strong build able to score in the lower paint with a nice mid-range face-up game. On top of that, she is willing to pass from the high post to a more open teammate on the low block. She led her team with 21 points in a win over Southwest DeKalb.
*Amari Robinson, 6-1, forward, 2019, Douglas County High School (Douglasville, Georgia)
Robinson has been well known in scouting circles for years having once been thought of being potentially top ten nationally. To some extent, when that buzz went away, it was like she fell off the radar. In her team’s loss to Norcross, she played hard, was active without the ball and scored via drive and mid-range (mostly baseline) jumpers in posting 20 points. Power 5 schools should be monitoring this player if not offering as yet.
*Morgan Robinson, 5-7, shooting guard, 2019, Norcross High School (Norcross, Georgia)
For her height, Robinson plays big hitting the glass well for a guard (strong build). In scoring 20 points in her team’s victory over Douglas County, she hit multiple threes.
Eden Sample, 5-8, shooting guard, 2021, Northview High School (Johns Creek, Georgia)
Right handed, Sample repeatedly likes to up fake and drive left to the basket and she does it with poise. A decent athlete and definite division one recruit, she needs to add shooting range to improve her stock at the Power 5 level.
*Sianny Sanchez, 5-7, point guard, 2021, McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Georgia)
Sanchez is currently a reserve for the Indians. Yet she showed poise, handles and IQ that leads one to believe that better days and more playing time per game lies down the road for this young player.
Jaleah Storr, 5-7, guard, 2020, Eagles Landing High School (McDonough, Georgia)
Shooters are usually in demand and Storr can shoot to out beyond the arc. Another plus appears to be that she frames her passes well.
*Sacha Washington, 6-1, power forward, 2021, Parkview High School (Lilburn, Georgia)
Washington runs well and is a physical battler in the paint who can finish at the rim. She needs to build shooting range but Power 5 schools should be monitoring her maturation.