Posted On: 01/1/20 3:58 PM
I had the honor of attending the James Blake Holiday Classic in Rock Hill, SC over the Christmas Holiday. The goal was to take a look at the up and coming talent within the state of South Carolina. All teams present played hard and represented themselves well. I was impressed with some of the talents in the tournament. If these players continue to have the right attitude and strong work ethic, they will become players to watch! Here are five players from the James Blake Holiday Classic to keep an eye on moving forward!
Randolph is a 6’1” center from Westside High School in Anderson, SC. Randolph is in the 8th grade! She is long and moves her feet well. On defense, she has the versatility to play the paint but also challenge shots on the perimeter. Her length is a major advantage and as she matures she will become a dominant force. Offensive players will have major issues trying to score when she is on the floor in the years to come. On offense, she is still developing her skill-set. She is not utilized heavy in the offense yet but that’s because she is young. I’m confident that she can work on her postgame, develop a great mid-range shot, improve her dribble and maybe even consider a 3-point shot. Once she gets stronger mentally and physically she will be one of the best players in South Carolina sooner than later!
Burton is a 5’11” forward from Lancaster High School in Lancaster SC. Burton is in the 9th grade! Burton also plays softball which lets me know she likes to compete and has skills from softball that translate to basketball. She is tough and makes things happen for her team. Whenever there was a play to be made or moments when someone had to play strong, it was Burton who stepped up. As she grows and gains more experience, I can vision Burton being a solid scorer and game-changer for Lancaster. I’m certain she will improve her overall game and become a major player for Lancaster. Keep an eye on Burton!
Hicks is a 5-5 junior guard from Daniel High School in Central SC. In watching Hicks, she is on the cusp of being very good. Hicks has the potential to be the general on the floor. To elaborate, some players can control the game by running the offense, getting the team in the right offensive sets and making good decisions. They manage the game and pick moments to take over. Hicks can be that type of player. She is capable of getting her shot off and getting to the basket. She is quick enough with the ball to drive past some players but to drive past the majority, she needs to improve her ball-handling. If she can work on her ball-handling and the ability to control the game she could be one to watch.
Johnson is a junior guard from York Prep in Rock Hill SC. Johnson is a slasher who can get to the basket and can get any shot off she pleases. She can push the tempo and get easy baskets for her team. She has no fear and is willing to do whatever it takes to lead her team. I’d like to see improvement with her shot selection. There are times when she will take some wild shots which leads to transition for the opposing team on the other end. If she can clean that up she will be solid! She is fast, pretty quick and hustles like no other. She will dive for loose balls and fly back on defense to defend. Overall she is a good player!
Gist is a 5’4” sophomore guard from Lancaster High School in Lancaster, SC. Gist is a player. Every time there was a steal or a break to the basket, Gist was leading the way. She has a knack for the ball. The ball seems to be a magnet to her. The reality is, she puts herself in spots to get her hands on the ball. She is fast and has good quickness. As her overall game develops I can see her being one of those guards that will give the opponent nightmares because she will disrupt your game plan. She will also be a problem to defend off the dribble.