Covering Prospective Student-Athletes in the SouthEast US and beyond
Coverage by Tim Lownsdale @tlownsdale
After recapping the Dragonfire tournament as well as the MAM middle school tournament, both held in Memphis, in my last two articles, I will turn focus to some games and tournaments that I saw in rural West Tennessee in this article. This article will cover one game from Martin Westview Christmas tournament as well as complete tournament coverage from the Hub City Classic in Jackson Tennessee.
The one game that I did get to see at the Westview tournament was between the University School of Jackson and South Fulton. I didn’t initially plan to go here, but luckily I did as I saw possibly the best individual performance by a player throughout all of the games I saw over the Christmas break. Anna Jones, 2017 5’11 Guard, dominated in this game as she led USJ to the win scoring 34 points in the game. Anna is receiving interest from schools such as UT-Martin, Belmont and Lipscomb.
The Hub City Classic, which was held at the Oman Arena in Jackson TN, featured some of the top teams in West TN such as Jackson South Side, Haywood Co., Crockett Co. and Gibson Co. This tournament had several great games including a good championship game in which Jackson South Side was able to beat Haywood Co. in a battle of AA powers in West TN.
Madison Academic, Jackson TN
Madison Academic is an extremely young team with only one senior on the team. The lone senior on the team is Dakota Smith, a 6’4 post who has signed with UT-Martin. Dakota played a very solid tournament as she was a strong force in the paint defensively as she blocked shots and forced teams to shoot the ball from the outside. She was able to score the ball decently as well, but will definitely have to get stronger with the ball in her transition to the college game. Another player to watch out for in the years to come is 2018 guard Taliyah Morgan. Morgan played quality minutes over the course of the tournament and looked very comfortable on the floor with the ball. She is an athletic guard who will have a very solid 4 years at Madison.
Milan HS, Milan TN
Milan is coached by Bill Bradley who is only in his second year at Milan. Coach Bradley is well-known out west as he coached in Colorado at Thunder Ridge HS where he had some outstanding teams and players. Milan is in rebuilding mode; however, the pieces are there for Coach Bradley to have a very competitive team within the next few years. Milan has struggled a bit this year, but did pick up a win over Madison in the tournament. Milan has some nice young talent in 2017 guard Christen King and 2018 post Xzandrea Moore. Christen King is currently sitting out this season as she was ruled ineligible by TSSAA after transferring into Milan. Christen has all the tools to be a D1 player and her development over the course of her high school career will determine what level D1 she will go. Xzandrea is a 6’0 post who is extremely athletic. She has the potential to be a really good player with some further development. King and Moore are both players to keep an eye on over the next several years. You can catch Christen King on the exposure circuit this summer with #TeamSlink.
Crockett Co. HS, Alamo TN
Crockett Co. has had an outstanding start to the season, but ran into a very tough Haywood Co. team in the opening round of the tournament. Crockett only dresses out 8 players, but all 8 players contribute to the team in one way or the other. This team is led by senior’s Aja Robertson and Libby Hart. Also, sophomore shooter, Elli Pratt, is a key factor for this team with her three point shooting. Aja is a 5’10 athletic forward who can put the ball on the floor and finishes strong around the basket. Aja is also extremely active on the defensive end of the floor. Libby is a 5’11 forward who is tough for opposing teams to guard at the high school level. Libby can step out and knock down the three, but is also strong enough to post teams up on the block and finish there as well. Aja and Libby both do a very nice job of working with each other which makes them just that much tougher to guard. Elli Pratt has a very nice shot and always shoots a very high percentage from three land each time I’ve watched her play. She’s one of the best young shooters in the area.
Haywood Co. HS, Brownsville TN
Haywood has struggled to start off the beginning of the year, but seemed to be making a strong turn over the Christmas break. Haywood has the potential to represent the west in Murfreesboro if they stay focused and continue to play together. Haywood was able to knock off Crockett Co. and TCA before falling to Jackson SS in the championship. Haywood has several very nice players in ’15 guard Summer Cunningham, ’18 guard Jamirah Shutes, ’17 guard Wandarkyu Young and ’16 post Madison Smith. Summer has had an outstanding career at Haywood. She is a 5’8 super athletic guard who has very nice handles and a nice shot. She would be a very nice player for a D2, NAIA, or JUCO looking for this type of guard. Jamirah Shutes is a player we have written about multiple times on John McGraw Scouting. If you’re a college coach, you should make every effort to get out to watch this kid. She’s a 5’9 guard that has a very nice game. Catch Jamirah this summer with #TeamSlink. Wandarkyu Young runs the point guard position for Haywood. She’s undersized, but has a very strong motor and ridiculous handles with the ball. She also has the capability of shooting the three ball if left open. Madison Smith is a 6’2 junior post who has potential. She’s athletic, runs the floor well, and does a very good job defensively. Haywood has college players for every college level. Check them out!
Trinity Christian Academy, Jackson TN
This was my first time to see Trinity play and I was very impressed. They’re extremely well coached and have some very nice young talent in 2017 guard Brynne Lytle and 2018 post Savannah Lee. Brynne is consistently one of the top scorers in West TN. She shoots the three ball extremely well and is also very quick with handles. She also does a very good job of getting team mates involved in the game as well. Another piece that I saw for TCA that I liked was the play of 2018 6’0 post Savannah Lee. Savannah is a kid with tons of potential. She scored in double figures in the games I saw her play and competed for every rebound possible. Savannah comes from a family full of former D1 athletes, so, I think the potential is definitely there for her.
Gibson County HS, Dyer TN
John McGraw Scouting has written about Gibson several times now. They played well in this tournament finishing 2-1 and losing to the eventual champion Jackson SS. Junior guard Erin Lannom, who also won the three point shootout that the tournament hosted by hitting 31 threes in 2 minutes, played very well in this tournament. She is one of the most consistent three point shooters that I have seen anywhere this year. ’16 Bri Fields continued to show off her athleticism as she was tough for any team to guard. Justyce White and Allie Smithson are two players to keep an eye on in the 2017 class.
Jackson South Side, Jackson TN
First off, congratulations to Coach McNeal and Jackson South Side as they won the Hub City Classic! South Side played some really good ball in this tournament beating Madison Academic, Gibson County, and Haywood County. Jackson South Side is a very young team with several very good players. They’re extremely athletic and have the pieces to make a solid run in the post season. ’17 Cheyenne Cunningham runs the point guard spot for South Side. Cheyenne is a true point guard that handles and takes care of the ball well. Cheyenne is a definite mid-major prospect to watch for over the next few years. Also, sophomore, Tamia Curry had a very nice tournament as the 5’9 forward showed off her athleticism and ability to score the ball whenever she wanted. ’16 forward Asia Currie also had an outstanding tournament as the 5’10 athletic forward did well scoring, rebounding, and causing turnovers. College coaches should definitely check out Jackson South Side within the next year!