Ahead of the prep basketball season, Hypesouth takes a look at some hidden gems from the Middle Georgia area to watch for in 2016-17. These upperclassmen aim to have breakout seasons and solidify themselves among the top players in the state of Georgia.
Dallas Ogletree, Lamar County H.S. (GA), c/? 2018
Ogletree started every game last season for an inconsistent Trojans ball club and averaged 11-points and 5-rebounds per game in his first season (soph.) as a full-time starter. This season, the junior swingman looks to continue to improve and expand his game under first year Head Coach Warren Sellars. Measuring in at 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, Ogletree has the ideal size and build to become a force on the perimeter, where he is expected to be heavily featured under the new regime.
Currently, the big guard from Lamar County is not mentioned among the elite players from around the state of Georgia, but that could change in a hurry as he is primed to have a breakout 2016-17 season for the Trojans.
On the recruiting trail, New Mexico Lobos, Georgia Tech, and Florida A&M are showing minimal interest in Ogletree.
See Highlights: 2015-16 (So.) Season
Nate Brooks, Stratford Academy (GA), c/? 2017
Brooks is a physical specimen that loves to mix it up on the court. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound senior brings the combination of an inside and outside presence on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he is very effective on the low block and can also faceup and consistently knock down the mid-range jump shot. On the defensive end, Brooks is versitile enough to effectively guard all five positions. Brooks has flown under the radar around the state, but with Quintez Cephus (Wisconsin) and O’showen Williams (South Ga. State) both departing, look for him to quickly cement his name alongside the state’s elite hoop prospects.
At this point, the talented forward holds offers from Central Michigan, Citadel, Cleveland State, Toledo, and St. Petersburgh University, with a plethora of other mid-major programs expecting to follow suit.
See Highlights: Soph. Season
Damien Saffold, Crawford County H.S. (GA), c/? 2017
Saffold looks to build on his solid play from a year ago. In a limited role, he averaged 10.5-points, 4.8-assists, and 2.8-steals per game for the Eagles. He is a crafty point guard that can break down defenses in a variety of ways. The 5-foot-9 senior can beat defenders off of the dribble one on one to get himself going offensively as well as set up teammates for easy buckets. With the departure of Monkeize Moore, expect Saffold’s production to skyrocket even more as he is set to become the team’s primary floor general.
According to sources, JUCO and low major interest is starting to heat up for the fiesty guard from Crawford County.
Aaron Ridley, Southwest-Macon H.S. (GA), c/? 2017
Ridley returns as the lone veteran for Southwest. After battling a nagging injury that forced him to miss significant time last season, he finished the season on a high note averaging 10.2-points, 4.8-rebounds, 3.9-assists, and 1.7-steals per game. The 6-foot-5 combo guard is an above average (37%) three point shooter and is a sneaky defender. He effectively utilizes screens offensively to get wide open shots and uses his lengthy wingspan on defense to harass opposing offensive players. With last season’s leading scorer, Justin Slocum moving on (Columbia State) and Nick Hargrove’s transfer to New Rock Prep Sports Academy, Ridley is expected to be the No. 1 option for the Patriots this season.
The long-armed senior has taken officials to Columbus State University and Tennessee State University who are both very high on him per sources.
Christopher Parker, Washington County H.S. (GA), c/? 2017
Parker is a high academic (4.0 gpa) kid that is already a collegiate qualifier. Further, he’s a high character kid that is a faculty and staff favorite on the Washington County campus.
On the athletic side, he is a little known prospect that doesn’t possess highlight reel athleticism or the flash to wow spectators. However, Parker is arguably one of the most fundamentally sound players in the state. He has a tight handle on the ball and can shoot the cover off it from 3-point land. In fact, the sharpshooting combo guard led WACO in three pointers made last year. This season, expect Parker to step into a leadership role and continue his solid play for the Golden Hawks.
Currently, low major and NAIA programs such as Brewton-Parker College, Armstrong Atlantic University, and Southern Union University are among the programs that are heavily courting the 5-foot-11 senior.
See Highlights: 2015-16 (Jr.) Season
Calvin Slaughter, Tattnall Square Academy (GA), c/? 2017
Slaughter has a well rounded game and can effectively do a little bit of everything on the court. The 6-foot-1 shooting guard has a sweet shooting stroke, defends well, and is an excellent rebounder from the guard position. Last season, he averaged averaged a team leading 17 points per game and chipped in 6 assists and 5 rebounds en route to being selected to the All-Middle Georgia team. Slaughter is another slept on prospect that will definitely be a major boost for any JUCO or low-major program.
At the time being, college interest for the crafty guard is low, but with the graduation of fellow backcourt mate, Aubrien Kemp, Slaughter will definitely demand more attention on the recruiting trail.
Marquise Jackson, Windsor Academy (GA), c/? 2017
Jackson is a fearless player out of the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA). He is super competitive, quick, athletic, and can score in bunches. The 5-foot-11 senior gets it done during school ball season as well as on the summer travel circuit. Last season, he averaged 20.1-points, 7.4-rebounds, and 6-assists per game for the Knights and was a key component for the 2016 Macon Bucks (17u) state championship travel team.
Columbus State University and Tuskegee University are both mulling offers to Jackson per sources. In addition, Western Carolina is also showing significant interest in the energetic point guard.
See Highlights: 2015-16 (Jr.) Season