There was wall-to-wall talent at the Battle of The Magic City, and here are some of the frontcourt standouts that I call the boys in the middle… Gary Neil Beeson (6’4/PF|C/’27/Chattanooga Elite) Instagram: @Zero.gary @5howtimegary Twitter: @Zerogary_ Gary is an athletic…
There was wall-to-wall talent at the Battle of The Magic City, and here are some of the frontcourt standouts that I call the boys in the middle…
Gary Neil Beeson (6’4/PF|C/’27/Chattanooga Elite)
Instagram: @Zero.gary @5howtimegary
Gary is an athletic frontcourt player that is extremely raw offensively. His strength is clearly seen on the defensive end of the floor as he is a presence in the paint as a rim protector. He is quick off his feet and altered a lot of shots. As the game went on, players became hesitant about journeying into the paint when Gary was in the game. Gary’s biggest opportunity for growth area is on the offensive end of the floor. He has good hands and can handle dump-offs and finish, but he is not yet the player that an offense can be run through or a team can throw the ball down to on the low block and say go get a basket. When his offensive game begins to catch up with his defensive game, he will be a player that makes a lot of noise. He is active on the glass and rebounded at a high rate throughout the weekend.
He is quick off his feet and altered a lot of shots.Terry J. Drake
Jaylen Mercer (6’5/PF/’27/All Ohio Sumner)
Jaylen is a stout forward that showed a lot of promise over the weekend. His athleticism and court vision made him one of the more dangerous post players in the entire tourney. He can finish athletically off the low-block, out of ball screen action via his roll or dive, off dump-offs, and when he is running the floor and receiving the pass while out on the break. Jaylen is a physical force while at the same time nimble and fast enough to make plays in the role of a combo forward or scoring forward. With the weapons around him and his ability to demand doubles, his ability to pass the ball could become one of his primary weapons. He is extremely tough to deal with on the low block, as he was just overpowering defenders trying to guard him. I mentioned earlier that he has a lot of promise, but if Jaylen reads this article, I want to share with him the same sentiments that I am guessing his dad shouted out to him during one of the games, and that is, “JUST BE COACHABLE!” A player with Jaylen’s skillset and intangibles could have an amazing future in the game, but it will only be realized if he can be a kid that can be coached.
Jaylen is a stout forward that showed a lot of promise over the weekend.Terry J. Drake
Josh Huggins (6’4/PF/’28/Alabama Fusion)
I have put ink on Josh before, and since last spring/summer, he has gotten bigger, and his size continues to be a problem in the paint. The continued development of his skillset makes him more dangerous than he was last year. He has improved on putting the ball on the floor and attacking the cup from both low block face-ups as well as when he steps out to the perimeter. He really puts teams in a defensive quandary with his addition to this Alabama Fusion team, which is already anchored by Erick Dampier, Jr., who locks down the paint. Josh has the freedom to move about and play in isolation because Dampier demands so much attention. On previous teams, Josh was the player that teams focused their energy on to contain, but now teams have a bigger problem, which benefits Josh. Josh also allows his squad to play small ball, as he can move to the center position when Dampier goes off. His versatility is being shown on a team that allows him to play towards his true all-around skillset.
The continued development of his skillset makes him more dangerous than he was last year.Terry J. Drake
Andrew Rogers (6’6/C/’27/CP3 2027)
Andrew is a physically imposing frontcourt player that plays a very physical game. He is stout and uses his body to carve out space, set solid ball-screens, and establish good rebounding and post position. He was one of the hardest rolling bigs out of the ball screen action, and I like how he rolled, looking for the rock and sealing at the rim. He was a monster on the glass and is a viable asset coming off the bench for his squad. He isn’t a particularly impactful scorer, but his size, physical play, and mere 6’6 stout presence impacts winning for his team.
Andrew is a physically imposing frontcourt player that plays a very physical game.Terry J. Drake
Erick Dampier Jr. (6’8/PF|C/’28/Alabama Fusion)
I was on a court watching a game, and the young Dampier came over, sat, and watched the game. I looked around, and all eyes were on him, and I said to myself, “this kid is handling the notoriety extremely well.” Everywhere he went, he was the center of attention. I have put a lot of ink on Erick in the past, and I will put more ink on him in the future, but from what I saw this past weekend, you see a little more maturity on and off the floor. I give a lot of credit to his dad, who has been there and done that, so I am confident he will be ok as he continues his journey. If you have followed me or any middle school publication, you know about Erick’s game, and at the Battle of The Magic City, he showed continued development. If I had to speak of one thing that stuck out to me the most pertaining directly to his game, it would have to be he is starting to put the ball on the floor in the open court. He is boarding and looking to start the break. I am not saying that part of his game is polished, but I like that he looked to do it in real game action.
I will push out more regarding Dampier’s game, but for now, I like the personal growth that I am seeing.Terry J. Drake
Taj Saragba (6’7/PF/’27/CP3 2027)
Taj was very impressive on the low block, and I was locked in as he put on display his nimble footwork. He is a lengthy post with size and maneuvers well in the paint. He has a variety of low post moves that he throws at defenders. He is really good in transition, as he is a good finisher at and above the rim. Defensively he has a knack for blocking shots, and when he is not blocking shots, he vertically challenges without fouling. He understands how to use his lengthy frame to drive, rebound, and defend. His versatility is one that was amongst the most intriguing throughout the weekend. He is a player that we will continue to keep our eyes on because he is developing into a young prospect with a bright future.
He is a lengthy post with size and maneuvers well in the paint.Terry J. Drake
Gehrig Felix (6’5/PF|C/’27/Triangle Offense)
Gehrig is a physical player with a good frame and is a load to deal with in the paint. He is a physically imposing force who is too much to handle for most opposing bigs. He’s an enforcer in the middle who protects the paint and changes the game with his size, length, and defensive instincts. He changes a ton of shots and does so without fouling. He is a good finisher at the cup and does a lot of his interior scoring on put-backs and dump-offs around the rim. There’s a lot of promise/upside to his game, and a good spring and summer could really position him as a prospect to be talked about as he heads into his freshman year of high school. I would like to see him work to expand his game outside of the paint, which will lead to him in evolving into a more versatile prospect.
Gehrig is a physical player with a good frame and is a load to deal with in the paint.Terry J. Drake