Standouts from Alabama’s Best of the Best Middle School Camp
Garrett Tucker is a writer and evaluator for HoopSeen.com. He has an extensive background in basketball, ranging from his playing days to his current volunteer assistant coaching position. He has built a notable voice in high school and grassroots basketball over the past several years. Over the weekend, HoopSeen was in Montgomery to see Icon […]
Over the weekend, HoopSeen was in Montgomery to see Icon Sports’ Best of the Best Middle School Camp, where some of the top eighth graders in the state of Alabama were on-hand to compete and give a look into the future of hoops in the state.
Here are the standouts from the day…
Ronjie Gordon, 2020 PF: At 6-foot-7, Gordon (pictured above) already passes the look test as a high-level prospect. He has a great frame with wide, broad shoulders and he plays hard. In fact, after finishing his middle school season, he played a few games with Brewbaker Tech’s varsity team. Gordon already has a couple of post moves in his arsenal, but he is most effective attacking downhill, spinning off his defender, and finishing at the rim. He is more than capable of putting the ball on the floor and taking advantage of slower defenders. He showed the ability to find teammates passing out of the high-post, as well as passing out of double-teams. Gordon was one of the most impressive prospects in attendance and is definitely a guy to watch next season as a freshman.
Chase Ellis, 2020 SG: Ellis was another very impressive prospect that showcased his game Saturday. The 6-foot-3 wing made the short trip over from Atlanta and he “ooed and ahhed” spectators in attendance. Ellis is a strong slasher that excels at getting to the rim. He embraces contact and is more than capable of finishing with players draped over him. He has a quick first step and explodes to the rim each time. No one out-worked Ellis, either. He has a high motor and is consistent each time out. He will have to get more comfortable with his shooting, but it looks like the future will continue to be bright at St. Francis (GA).
Robert Ward, 2020 PG: Ward was another Atlanta product that made the commute over for camp. He didn’t disappoint either. The 5-foot-9 point guard handles the ball well and has a high IQ. He understands when to distribute the ball and when to score for himself. He has smooth way about his game and feels the rest of the court. Ward kept the defense honest with his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, too.
Jamari Smith, 2020 SF: Smith came in late for camp, but it’s safe to say he made his presence known during gameplay. The 6-foot-2 athlete terrorized the rims at Brew Tech, as he showcased his athleticism with dunks and other plays above the rim. His all-around game will still need some work, but there’s a lot to like here. Smith plays hard on both ends of the floor, has explosion, and is active. Keep an eye on this name.
Jordan Ingram, 2020 CG: Jordan is the brother of Alabama freshman point guard Dazon Ingram, and, it’s safe to say basketball runs in the family. Ingram has a good physical build and has some burst when changing speeds in the open floor. He is strong and physical playmaker that can score for himself or other. Ingram has advanced vision for his age, leading to some of his passes and assists. He played on varsity for St. Paul’s this season and when he plays with his age group, he is very wise. The game slows down for him. It should be fun to see another Ingram play over the next few years.
Jackson Bulkhalter, 2020 PF: Bulkhalter was one of the taller guys in attendance at 6-foot-4, but he didn’t spend all his time around the rim. Instead, the versatile forward displayed an inside and outside game. He hit a couple of mid-range shots, as well as put the ball on the floor and attacked the rim. He had some turnovers just because he was weak with the ball, but that will change in time. Bulkhalter is a great all-around player, as he can score, pass, and rebound.
Evan Carter, 2020 PG: Carter was one of my favorite players to watch over the course of the day, and when it is all said and done, he may be one of the best pass-first point guards the state has seen in a while. Carter the “it” factor about him. He makes everyone on the floor better with his knowledge and poise. He never got rattled or rushed into doing things. Instead, he facilitated for teammates and directed the offense. Carter has an advanced skill level for a player his age and it showed. He will be at Brew Tech next year.
Tyrrie Ragland, 2020 PF: At first glance, it looks like Ragland should be a defensive tackle on the football field. Nevertheless, he can play some hoops too. The stout big man plays like a bowling ball. He rumbles in the paint and is tough to stop with his physicality and size. Right now, he’s undersized for his position, but his wide body and strength make up for it.
Sam Youngblood, 2020 SG: Youngblood didn’t have his bets shooting day, but you can tell that it’s there. The 6-foot shooting guard has a nice looking stroke and isn’t afraid to let it fly. He is smooth on the court and finds open creases in the defense. He understands how to get open and find his own shot. While he missed more shots than he made, you can tell it’s there. We look forward to seeing that going forward.