Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Area's Top Players Headline this Fall 48 Invite Update

Players: If you haven't received your invitation, ask your coach or contact me on social media: @AugBball

Will Avery's Fall 48 Invite is 5 days away. 65 players have now been invited, and 20 of the 48 spots have been claimed. In last week's update I featured the five players who registered immediately after being invited, including last season's Augusta Chronicle Player of the Year, Tre Gomillion (Aquinas), and 6'4" wing Kevin Williamson, the leader of Aiken High, which was probably the best team in the area last season.

Over the Labor Day weekend, a half dozen of the area's best players registered. When AugBball's Preseason All Area Teams are released, I expect many, or all, of these names to be on the lists. Here is a short video and a breakdown of this group of proven performers:

Timmy Sellers, Glenn Hills (CO 2018) - 6'7" Forward

Sellers was the first local player in this season's senior class to earn a scholarship offer from a division 1 college (South Carolina State). He averaged 11 points and 9 rebounds last season, but his impact far outweighed his statistical output. He was dominant, blocking shots and controlling the backboards, in many of the Spartans' most competitive games. Sellers is very athletic, he plays hard, and he seeks out contact.

Nate Dunlop, Augusta Christian (CO 2019) - 6'5" Guard/Forward

Of the area's top players, Dunlop's game probably translates the quickest to the highly competitive division 1 and 2 scholarship level. He is a pure shooter with great size for a perimeter player. His ability to create off the dribble was slightly hidden last high school season as he spent most of the possessions in the post, drifting out to the perimeter less often than he will in college. And during the travel season, he was used mainly as a spot up shooter by the EYBL's Georgia Stars. But he can absolutely do it all, which includes rebounding and getting to the free throw line. He scored 29 points per game as a sophomore and people who believe that was because he played inferior competition either haven't seen Nate play, or don't understand the nature of the competition in the South Carolina Independent Schools, or both.

Ryan Jolly, Augusta Prep (CO 2018) - 6'3" Point Guard

Jolly just returned from a visit to the Naval Academy, which has saved him a spot, should he decide to claim it, on next season's roster. Anybody who follows college basketball recruiting knows that means Ryan possesses an impressive record on the court and in the classroom. He averaged 25 points per game last season, and since I first watched him play during the preseason of his sophomore year I've thought his combination of shooting, ball handling, passing, and basketball intelligence were better than anybody's in town. Now he has grown stronger, gotten taller, and become more athletic. So he really does have the total package.

Austin Canaday, Greenbrier (CO 2018) - 6'1" Guard

In a tweet announcing Canaday's registration in the Fall 48, Will Avery called him "one of the more underrated kids in the Augusta area." I agree completely. After missing his sophomore season due to injury, Austin made a huge impact last season, averaging 14 points per game and performing his best when it mattered most. In three of Greenbrier's hard fought games that I covered against two of the best teams around, North Augusta and Lakeside, Canaday was the most impressive player on the court each time. He can shoot, he is tough, and he competes fiercely.

Richard Crawford III, Greenbrier (CO 2019) - 5'11" Point Guard

Crawford has been a leader at Greenbrier since the beginning of his freshman season. He is a very good shooter, ball handler, and defender, and, like Jolly, he plays with a lot of basketball intelligence. He averaged 14 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds as a sophomore, and he opened last season with a monster performance against Laney, scoring 25 points, including a three pointer off the dribble that tied the game with less than 30 seconds remaining. Richard played travel ball with the Georgia Stars 16u team on Nike's EYBL circuit.

Eric Graham II, Grovetown (CO 2018) - 6'2" Guard

Graham can pour in the points as well as anybody. He has a sweet stroke and deep range. He can handle it, he moves well, and he can leap better than most people realize. I've seen him single handedly keep Grovetown in games several times over the last two seasons. In his report naming Eric to last season's All Columbia County first team, Ashley Brown noted that Graham averaged 22 points per game in region contests.

Real Time Update:

Will Avery informed me that two more promising prospects have registered for Sunday's event. First, Donald Henley, who enters his senior season having helped to lead Laney to its last three region championships. Henley's quickness and physical and aggressive play terrorizes opposing guards. And he performs his best under pressure, like in last season's opening game when he answered Richard Crawford III's game tying three pointer with a buzzer beating drive and score to give his Wildcats a road win against Greenbrier:

The prospect who will be most unfamiliar to local players and fans Sunday will be Jeremiah Smith, a 6'8" junior transfer from Minnesota who now attends Grovetown. Smith recently worked out with Will Avery, and here is a sneak peek at the newest Warrior:

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