Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Georgia Renegades: Under-the-Radar Freshmen from the Class of 2016!!!


Written by: Juwan Hopkins & Prospect-Central

The 2012-13 high school basketball season is off and running. As expected, there are a number of freshmen from the Class of 2016 performing at a high level. Prospect-Central featured some of these players in a Freshmen Watch List back in July, but there's always more names to emerge as the season unfolds.

Every big thing has small beginnings, and the 15U Georgia Renegades are no different in that respect. Two-years ago the Renegades practiced in run down gym's with no lights and last year they actually played outside. Despite this adversity, the Renegades have a starting five that's currently playing very well for their respective high schools.

It's hard for an independent AAU program from a rural community to garner any attention, but the success of the Renegades has to be contributed to their head coach Juwan Hopkins. With his in depth knowledge of the game, coupled with his high morals and values, Mr. Hopkins is not only developing these young men into excellent basketball players, but even better human beings.

While the deck might be stacked against the Renegades, that still doesn't stop them from chasing their dreams. With three more years of high school ball, plus the rest of their freshmen seasons, I'm sure these players will eventually get the recognition they deserve. For the time being however, these Georgia Renegades are five under-the-radar freshmen from the Class of 2016. * Below is a breakdown of five standout freshmen from the 15U Georgia Renegades.

Jordan Harris pg/sg / 6'4'' 175 / Seminole County / Iron City, GA
Of the five Georgia Renegades featured in this article, Jordan Harris appears to be the most skilled. The lefty has a number of attributes you love to see in a developing prospect, but it's his smooth jumper that really sets him apart from his peers. He's extremely accurate from beyond the arc and shows an uncanny ability to get his shot off in traffic. With his explosive first step and tight handles, Harris does an excellent job at attacking the basket off the bounce. He also rebounds very well for his position and can really get after it on the defensive side of the ball. He needs to be more assertive on the court, as well as add some weight to his frame, but he's clearly a very talented basketball player. Even though most of the 15U Georgia Renegades have yet to receive scholarship offers, George Mason and Mississippi State have already offered the ninth grader. Some other schools showing interest in Harris include, Alabama, Clemson, Tennessee, Stanford and Michigan State, but I'm sure that list will only continue to grow as the years go by. Like the majority of the Georgia Renegades, Jordan Harris knows the true meaning of hard work and is willing to put in the time and effort needed to take his game to the next level.

Trey Clemons sf / 6'7'' 195 / Marianna High / Marianna, FL
While Jordan Harris might be the most talented baller of the five Georgia Renegades, Trey Clemons appears to be the most athletic. Plays above the rim in every sense of the word. Already 6-foot-7 and still growing, Clemons might have the most upside of all the Renegades as well. Has a rapidly developing skill-set and is just beginning to show the type of player he can become. His offensive game may be a work in progress, but he's an excellent shot blocker and does a good job rebounding the basketball. Clemons has a nice jumper, but needs to develop a mid-range game and add some post moves to his repertoire. Even though he plays his AAU ball for the Georgia Renegades, Clemons attends Marianna High School in Florida and has more than held his own playing varsity basketball as a freshman. While no schools have officially offered the ninth grader, there are a number of Division 1 programs showing interest. Florida State, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Georgia, Miami and Creighton are just a few schools reaching out to the 15-year old. If he continues to develop his game at his current pace, Trey Clemons should be another Georgia Renegade headed for athletic prominence.

Anfernee King pg / 5'11'' 160 / Seminole County / Donalsonville, GA
Don't tell Anfernee King what he can't do on the basketball court, because this freshman will surely prove you wrong. What King lacks in measurable's, he more than makes up for with his competitive spirit and relentless work ethic. Bottom line, Anfernee King will make himself into a player one way or another. As it stands right now however, the freshman certainly seems headed in the right direction. He's an extremely athletic guard and does a terrific job slashing to the basket. He also has a nice mid-range game and shows the ability to be a lock down defender at times. King needs to work on his left hand, as well as become more consistent with his 3-point shooting, but there's a lot to like about his future potential. Besides being a standout hooper for the Renegades, King's also playing very well for his local high school Seminole County. Despite the fact he's somewhat under-the-radar, he's still garnering attention from some big time programs. Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Stanford, Georgia and Virginia Tech are just a few schools interested in the talented ninth grader. By all indications, it appears it's only a matter of time before Anfernee King has a scholarship offer ready and waiting.

Herman Williams sg/sf / 6'2'' 170 / Marianna High / Marianna, FL
Florida has always been known as a football state. Over the past couple of years however, the basketball talent coming out of Florida has been right up there with the best in the country. Luckily for Herman Williams, he's a standout in both sports. Even though he plays his AAU ball with the Georgia Renegades, Williams currently resides in the Sunshine state and was actually the starting quarterback for Marianna High School this past fall. While he probably isn't the next Robert Griffin, III, I'm sure he'll settle for being the next Charlie Ward :) Williams has some nice skills on the basketball court, but it's his athleticism where he hangs his hat. The freshman's an explosive leaper and plays well above the rim. He's very good at finishing through contact and is definitely not afraid to take it strong to the rack. He also has a solid jump shot and is an excellent defender. He needs to rebound at a higher rate, as well as work on his shot selection, but the future's certainly bright for this Georgia Renegade. Some colleges interested in Williams include, Mississippi State, Kent State, North Florida, Austin Peay and Mercer. If he continues to develop his game, don't be surprised if Herman Williams starts catching the eyes of some high-major programs in the future.

Shaquarious Baker pg / 5'9'' 155 / Marianna High / Marianna, FL
There's no question basketball's a game of size. Height on the other hand, only matters from the eyebrows up (intelligence). Shaquarious Baker might not pass the eye test, but he certainly knows how to run a basketball team. Baker's decision making is second to none for any freshmen baller, as he's basically an extension of a coach on the floor. He controls the pace of the game very well and rarely makes the wrong play. With his tight handles, solid vision and overall feel for the game, he could definitely end up becoming a nice point guard down the road. If he truly wants to evolve as a player however, Baker needs to work on his lateral quickness and must improve his on the ball defense. As crazy as this sounds, there's more to life than basketball and a persons education certainly falls into that category. Shaquarious Baker seems to have gotten the memo. The ninth grader is an honor roll student at Marianna High School and understands that a quality education is the foundation for a successful life. While his success in the classroom has been duly noted, his skills on the court are beginning to receive the same recognition. Mississippi State, North Florida, Austin Peay and Mercer are some schools interested in the freshman and there will no doubt be more programs checking him out in the future. As you can see, the Georgia Renegades have a number of players ready to make names for themselves in the world of high school basketball. With hard work, dedication and the tutelage of their head coach Juwan Hopkins, these Georgia Renegades should be on the radar in no time!

15U Georgia Renegades Key Contributors
Jamel Johnson sg / 6'1'' 175 / Marianna High / Marianna, FL
Darren Troupe, Jr sf/pf / 6'3'' 200 / Seminole County / Donalsonville, GA

15U Georgia Renegades Newcomers
Marquise Mitchell pg/sg / 6'1'' 175 / Decatur High / Decatur, AL
Jarmel Dillard pg / 5'10'' 160 / Marriana High / Marianna, FL

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