Macon, Ga — Every summer we prioritize attending Mercer’s June high school basketball team camp to get an early offseason glimpse at some of the top squads and players from the Peach State. Mercer Head Coach Greg Gary provided several intriguing matchups on Friday & Saturday and wrapped things up Sunday with an invitation only bracket style tourney. Let’s take a look at a few top performers and teams from the weekend.

McDonough (headline picture) went 7-0 in three days and brought home the hardware. The Warhawks are coming off back-to-back deep postseason runs and early indications point to them being in state title contention again next season. Keenan Gray was sharp all weekend making plays for himself and others. The 6-foot-4 guard has the capacity to take the game over with or without the ball in his hands and will lock up defensively when it’s time to get a stop. Nigel Thomas is a long, versatile forward that consistently put his stamp on the game in a variety of ways. The 6-foot-8 rising junior effectively guarded multiple positions and demonstrated the ability to score it on every level. Especially, from the perimeter. Several collegiate programs are actively courting Thomas, so expect a few offers to start coming down the pike soon.

Southwest-Macon has a good mix of experience, youth, and talent headlined by guards Chase Dupree and Caron Howard. The class of 2026 duo impressed Mercer HC Greg Gary during camp resulting in official scholarship offers. All-State transfer Brandon Ashley is feeling his way through, but still managed to add some much needed perimeter scoring. The Patriots have plenty to be excited about with a few new faces to go along with a solid returning core. Don’t be surprised to see Coach Hardnett and crew make some real noise next season.

Houston County once again looked to be taking steps in the right direction. Fresh off a Georgia State offer breakout freshman Malik Gillespie was sidelined this weekend due to injury, but backcourt mates Malachi Jackson and Kam Plummer held down the fort. Jackson is a little sparkplug guard that put the ball in the hole regularly while Plummer brought a healthy balance of poise and leadership that enabled the Bears to have a productive camp. Barring any setbacks, a return trip to the state playoffs seems inevitable for second year head coach Buddy Bivins.

Jaden Priester, 6’7 F, Cross Creek, 2025

Active, aggressive, and productive best describe Priester’s play. He is a bouncy, physical four-man that made his presence felt facing up in the midpost area as well as with his back to the basket. The athletic rising junior was also a frequent flyer catching highlight reel lobs. This kid has major upside and will more than likely become a popular name on the recruiting trail moving forward.

Hayden Clay, 6’8 F, Trinity Christian, 2026

Clay is a fundamental inside-out threat that proved to be one of the best prospects at camp. At 6-foot-8, he showed good touch around the rim and displayed coordinated foot work. His high ceiling intrigued Mercer prompting the staff to keep close tabs on him moving forward.