The most anticipated and talked about tourney when it comes to middle school basketball is the Battle of The Magic City. Teams from across the country converge in Hoover, AL, to help get the spring and summer basketball season off…
The most anticipated and talked about tourney when it comes to middle school basketball is the Battle of The Magic City. Teams from across the country converge in Hoover, AL, to help get the spring and summer basketball season off to a good start. We can rave about the quality of the tourney all day, but what is special about the tourney is the talent that is drawn, and when it comes to the talent, here are my immediate takeaways…
Keegan Keeton (5’4/CG/’28/Iren Rainey Premiere 2028)
Keegan is the only ’28 kid in my immediate takeaways, but he is one of the best in his class when it comes to shooting the rock from beyond the arc. He just stepped away from baseball to be able to focus solely on basketball, and it is a move that will definitely pay huge dividends if he commits himself to the lab. I talked to his dad, and he said football and baseball were taking a lot of time away from getting the hours needed to be the type of player he desired. Hence, it was a decision that had to be made to accomplish a goal that Keegan has had for several years. He is playing this year with a new squad, but he was providing the same results as he has with previous teams, and that is perimeter shooting. He was streaky this weekend, but that can be chalked up to haven’t been putting in the work needed, as his time had been devoted recently to baseball. Look for Keegan to be the shooter he has become known for nationwide the next time his squad hits the floor. His defense continues to be phenomenal, and he was one of the best on-ball defenders throughout the weekend.
Look for Keegan to be the shooter he has become known for nationwide the next time his squad hits the floor.Terry J. Drake
Lincoln Cosby (6’8/G|F/All-Ohio Sumner 2027)
If you have followed me for a while, you know I am very high on Lincoln and have been highlighting this exceptional talent since his earlier days in TN. I have not seen him since he moved, but catching up with him this weekend was a joy. He has gotten taller, more athletic, and a lot more versatile on both ends of the floor. One thing I appreciate about Lincoln’s dad is that he has allowed me to speak into Lincoln’s life over the years, and every time Lincoln has gone back and worked on things we have discussed. He still has room for improvement as a playmaker/facilitator, and much of that has to do with getting stronger. He may not get any build on his frame anytime soon, but he can still get stronger, as I have shared with Lincoln numerous times that players will try and bully him with physical play. He handled it well over the weekend, but I still want to see him get better with embracing and playing through contact when he is attacking off the bounce. I also spoke to his dad about finishing in the paint and around the rim with his right more, as there were times he missed some easy shots trying to use his left when the right was warranted. Lincoln is a kid that can carry a team with his offensive ability, as he can score it from deep or break down the defense with the dribble and score from mid-range, in the lane, or at the cup. Of the many things I saw Lincoln do well, I really like the emergence of his passing skills. He uses his size and length to pass over smaller players, while other times, he did a great passing out of double teams. I might not get to see my guy much anymore, but he is developing into one of the premier prospects in his class.
Of the many things I saw Lincoln do well, I really like the emergence of his passing skills.Terry J. Drake
Sequel Chance Patterson (6’0/CG/’27/Tre Mann Elite)
Sequel is a player that I have put a lot of ink on, and what he showed over the weekend was no less than remarkable. He put on a scoring clinic and even had the ref come over to me asking if I had him in my notes. I have never seen Sequel be as aggressive as he was over the weekend, especially in the match-up against All-Ohio Sumner. He hasn’t been the most heralded prospect in his class, but he put everyone on notice and showed why his name cannot be left out of the conversation when it comes to the best guards in the country. Sequel is agile, quick, and can penetrate into the lane, with great burst and solid ball handling abilities. He’s got a nice in-between game and a nice touch in the lane and from mid-range. He scores it from deep and just is a walking bucket. He showed his ability to be able to create space to get his shot off, and he was playing with a swag that no one who got in front of him could stop him. I would like to see more of his ability to be a leader on the court, as there was some questionable body language when teammates did not kick the ball to him when he thought they should have given him the rock. Outside of that, he had a sensational showing and is poised for a great spring and summer.
He put on a scoring clinic and even had the ref come over to me asking if I had him in my notes.Terry J. Drake
Peyton Kemp (6’0/PG/’27/George Hill All-Indy)
If you’re in the grassroots community and you do not know this name, I encourage you to do a little research. So let me tell everyone who does not know, and everyone that already knows Peyton can absolutely get it done. He is a PG that has a very mature game, and he makes everyone around him better. He can facilitate, and he can score the rock and is highly productive at both. He plays on or off the ball but is at his best breaking defenders down with the dribble and getting his own offense or making plays for others. As explosive as he is at scoring the rock off the bounce, he has a knack for finding people, has really good vision, and the passing skills to make any pass that is required. Honestly, there were times when he looked like things were way too easy for him, and often times when that happens, a greater challenge is required to bring out the best. Look for this spring and summer to be one where Peyton looks to tighten up areas of weakness and show on the biggest stages why he is considered one of the best PGs in his class.
He is a PG that has a very mature game, and he makes everyone around him better.Terry J. Drake
RJ Leslie (5’10/PG/’27/Atlanta Celtics)
RJ can be put into the conversation of top PGs that were at the Battle of The Magic City. He is a PG that can get anywhere on the court he wants, as very few defenders could stay in front of him. He has the ball-handling skills, quickness to get by defenders, and decision-making skills to make the right play off dribble penetration. He knows how to keep the offense in rhythm and does not allow the ball to get stuck. He is the epitome of a floor general, as he handles everything on both ends and plays like a coach on the floor. He plays under control, has great body balance, plays with pace while controlling tempo, and has really good vision and passing abilities. He has to continue to work on his finishing skills in the paint, and I would not use that as a knock against him as I only watched him once in a full game and briefly in another one. At the end of the day, he’s got great tools to work with and a chance to develop into a solid PG that will warrant a lot of attention.
RJ can be put into the conversation of top PGs that were at the Battle of The Magic City.Terry J. Drake
Malachi Jordan (6’2/G|F/’27/Team Mookie)
Malachi was Mr. Do-It-All for the young Team Mookie squad. A squad that the program just recently put together. He is a versatile athlete that can get it done inside and out. He functions as a triple-threat player that can contribute as a shooter, passer, and driver. He is active on the glass and defends well on and off the ball. He knows how to exploit mismatches as he posted smaller guards and pulled bigs out of the paint, and attacked them off the bounce. He is a playmaking wing who can convert difficult shots and create easy ones. He can put the ball on the floor and get to the cup, and he was difficult to contain throughout the weekend. He consistently played hard, and although he logged heavy minutes, he remained impactful the entire weekend on both ends of the floor. There is a lot to be seen from Malachi and this Team Mookie squad, but I am sure I will be putting eyes on them again soon, giving me a more in-depth look into Malachi and his squad.
Malachi was Mr. Do-It-All for the young Team Mookie squad.Terry J. Drake
Justin Thomas (5’8/PG/’27/LOFDL BlueChips)
Justin is a floor general that plays big for his squad. He can handle the rock, create off the bounce, and find his teammates for easy buckets. He lived in the paint and was constantly collapsing defenses causing frantic rotations. He is a wiry, twitchy guard with intriguing tools. He can really shoot the ball, has good shot selection, and is very efficient with his middle game and from behind the arc. JT is a natural floor general on the offensive end of the court, but I would like to see him be more of a dog on defense. The grit is there; I just need it to be put into action on both ends of the floor because, offensively, he was just about unstoppable off the bounce.
He can handle the rock, create off the bounce, and find his teammates for easy buckets.Terry J. Drake
Jeremy Jenkins (6’6/PF/’27/FL Rebels)
I have put ink on Jeremy before, and since last spring and summer, he has added tremendously to his toolbox and skillset. I first noticed how much better he has gotten on the low block. His footwork is better, he has several go-to moves when working with his back to the basket, and he can finish with finesse or power in the paint or around the rim. The second thing I noticed was his ability to step out on the perimeter and put the ball on the floor. Jeremy showed his ability to score off the bounce, making him a problem to deal with on both ends of the floor. He showed a high level of dominance throughout the weekend and was exceptional in helping his team take down All-Ohio Sumner. His game is all you look for from a developing middle school throw-back big with some new school flavor. He made a claim to being one of the best front-court players at the tourney as he is a walking double-double with a combination of power and strength and uses both to finish plays in the paint. I look forward to seeing just how dominant he can be this spring and summer.
Jeremy showed his ability to score off the bounce, making him a problem to deal with on both ends of the floor.Terry J. Drake