AugBball's report about top potential college players at Garden City Classic
December 1-3 (plus December 6) at Augusta PrepIn this report are five players. I added one to the four who played in last weekend's Garden City Classic Alleluia's Ben Dresser, another private schooler who can really play and whose team didn't play in last weekend's tournament but WILL be playing Tuesday against Augusta Prep in the AugBball Game of the Night.
Jelani Watson-Gayle (Senior, Westminster)
6'1" Point Guard
21 points per game
Jelani has a solid frame and he can really shoot, dribble, and pass. He shoots threes well and has a simple and quick release. He shoots well off the dribble going right and left; and even though he doesn't elevate much on his pull-up jumpers, he gets them off and makes a good percentage because he has a quick and fluid release. He also finishes well with runners and floaters and uses both hands.
Watson-Gayle is very competitive and he wants to win badly. The private school talent here is very good, in my opinion, and Westminster has blown out almost everybody for the past two seasons and his play has been a constant reason.
Westminster led Richmond (a 6-1 4A public school that has a very good 6'5" senior center, Moses Williams, whom I will feature in my next scouting report) 48-45 late in the fourth quarter last Tuesday before losing a close one. Westminster regularly scores in the 45-55 point range, and Jelani scores 21 points per game while making a high percentage of his shots. The one time I kept assist stats he scored 15 points and had 7 assists against 2A South Carolina school Fox Creek when Westminster won 47-37. Here are Watson-Gayle's highlights from those first two games, with the Richmond clips first and the Fox Creek clips next:
He came here from England one year ago and played for Westminster as a junior and for Team Power last AAU season. He played well but he sat most of the July period while recovering from a cracked knee cap suffered in June playing pickup ball at Augusta University.
Michael Dukes (Junior, Westminster)
6'2" wing or shooting guard
Dukes is a pretty exceptional shooter who has a lot of games when he makes several threes, and he is very athletic. He regularly either tip dunks one in or tips it in above the rim; and he gets to the foul line several times working the offensive boards. He also gets to the rim off the dribble. He was the most effective player on the floor last Tuesday against Richmond when he scored 23 points. And he was very good against Augusta Christian Saturday in the Garden City championship game. There is a lot to like about Dukes and Watson-Gayle and I figure that shows in the highlights. Here is Dukes against Richmond last Tuesday and then against August Christian Saturday:
Mike played AAU ball with the Georgia Bulls 16u team last offseason and they played in a lot of "Hoopseen" tournaments at the Suwanee Sports Academy. They won the "Georgia Cup" which wasn't the EYBL or anything like that, but I bet the competition was solid enough. Mike was a solid forward type for that team and did all the things well that he does well at Westminster.
Mike and Jelani and Westminster's very-good-at-any-level team ran Augusta Christian off the court (89-51) in Saturday's Garden City championship game. By the beginning of the second half they had pretty much overwhelmed AC's 6'5" sophomore (honestly) scoring machine Nate Dunlop, who is the next guy on the list.
Nate Dunlop (Sophomore, Augusta Christian)
6'5" (wing in college) who right now plays equal time in the post and out away from the basket
25 points per game
All five of these guys are pretty much exceptional shooters. I think Dunlop shoots better than the rest and probably shoots it better than anybody from here who I can remember for a long time. I'd prefer not type this but to make the point I'll say I shot it better than anybody in my playing days so I do feel well qualified to judge here. Nate is a pretty much flawless shooter who will make a LOT of threes on any court if given any daylight.
He turned 16 only last month and he is a very decent athlete and I judge him to be an exceptional ball handler. He scored 19 ppg as a 6'3" freshman by making 4+ threes per game and this season he has added everything in the book to his high school game, as you can see from these highlights when he scored 43 points in a win against Alleluia in the second game of the season. He also scored 32 points a few day's earlier in a win over Augusta Prep, whose leader Ryan Jolly I'll get to soon.
Since the 32 and 43 point games, Dunlop has been played twice by trick defenses, first in a loss to Fox Creek and next in a win Friday against Augusta Prep in the semifinals of the Garden City Classic. His numbers came back toward earth in those games. Instead of the 75 points he logged in the first two games, he scored around 40 total in the next two as he was reportedly played by a box and one and/or doubled on the perimeter and tripled in the paint. I wasn't at either game but my partner and another very reliable source said he played well and competed well in those games, which I would expect based on getting to know him some in the last few weeks.
Augusta Christian plays Fox Creek again Tuesday. *(Fox Creek is good. They beat Augusta Prep Saturday in the third place game and they have a 6'3 guard Rod Culver, who leads them and is good himself).* I won't be surprised to find out Wednesday that Dunlop bounced back from Saturday's loss to Westminster and last Tuesday's loss to that same Fox Creek team and maybe figured out how to be very effective against even the double teams and stuff like that.
The thing I usually tell people about Dunlop is that these highlights from his sixth grade season, while playing against seventh and eighth graders as the smallest guy on the court tell me a lot that is good about his game. Even four years ago he could really handle it and shoot it and score!
The last two players I'll describe play each other Tuesday in the AugBball Game of the Day, when Alleluia visits Augusta Prep. Alleluia's Ben Dresser is averaging 33 points per game through 5 games, including his 59 last week against the Augusta Eagles. And Ryan Jolly is scoring 23 points per game for Augusta Prep.
Ben Dresser (Senior , Alleluia)
6'2" guard who can play with and without the ball
33 points per game
Ben shoots it very fast and he has always shot the ball from everywhere, pretty much regardless of distance or situation. That is how his high school team has always played and he does it well. Over the years playing for his team against the public school teams in summer, fall, and spring leagues, he has transformed into a player who can score in all ways. He moves well without the ball and makes hard cuts to the basket and finishes well with runners and floaters. He goes past guys who crowd him all over the court and scores and gets fouled a lot. And he is extremely competitive.
I don't have footage of Dresser playing for Alleluia against the public schools in the off season leagues but it doesn't look much different (just a little less effortless) than this from three weeks ago when he scored 27 points against Augusta Christian and 15 against Harlem, a small public school, against a box and one in a win:
He played for the same Team Power AAU team last spring and summer as Watson-Gayle and in 2 or 3 of the 5 or 6 games I saw he blew games open getting hot from deep. I think it would be pretty crazy if a good division 2 program didn't want to recruit him. But I am not the guy with the scholarships to award.
Alleluia's Ben Dresser made 5 3s in 2nd 1/2 after Mid Valley's Tayler Wade's 3 1st half treys. Team Power wins 65-54 pic.twitter.com/3mW6o5QYJw— Chad Cook's AugBball (@AugBball) July 7, 2016
Ryan Jolly (Junior, Augusta Prep)
6'0" Point Guard
23 points per game
Finally I'll conclude with Augusta Prep's Ryan Jolly, who I interpret Hoopseen to be saying, by ranking him Georgia's #16 junior, is our area's best college prospect. There certainly have been times when I have agreed. And I've believed for some time that he will be capable of being a good point guard at the next level because his fundamentals are so impressive. He shoots and handles the ball extremely well and he seems to be a very smart player.
He also played for the Georgia Bulls, and as I said his play with that strong team during the spring and summer very much impressed the Hoopseen scouts. He was absolutely great in Prep's 62-49 win over Fox Creek a couple weeks ago when he scored 33 points, doing everything from sinking long threes, to making a lefty runner, to patiently working over a ball screen and re-screen a few times before dropping in a little in between shot:
*I mentioned Rod Culver of Fox Creek. I don't know his game as well as the others and I'm not sure his game translates to college as well as the others so I separate him from them above. But he is an athletic guard with good size who has shown some good things in the brief minutes I've watched him play. Here are examples: