Day two at PeachState 2023 did not disappoint. There were a lot of talented players on the courts, and here are a few that stood out to me… Brooks Loftin (6’4/C/’28/MC WARRIORS) Instagram: Brooks.l6 Brooks is an interior player with good…
Day two at PeachState 2023 did not disappoint. There were a lot of talented players on the courts, and here are a few that stood out to me…
Brooks Loftin (6’4/C/’28/MC WARRIORS)
Brooks is an interior player with good positional size that impacted everything inside the paint on both ends of the floor. He scored it well on the offensive end, contested shots on defense, and dominated the glass. Even though some around the MC Warriors say that he is still working thru an injury, he is a major contributor and is one the key pieces to his team as he holds down the middle. Brooks’s footwork helps him to get looks, and he has a nice go-to jump hook over the left shoulder. With so many listed power forwards and centers playing on the perimeter, Brooks has some traditional big-man tendencies as he plays with his back to the basket on the low block. He is a prospect that is going to garner a lot of attention from the collegiate level if he stays on his current trajectory.
Connor Brown (6’1/PF/’28/Memphis Wareagles)
Often when it is spoken that a player is cerebral, it falls onto players at the lead guard position, but the cerebral label can be applied to Connor. He is a heady player with a great understanding and feel for the game. He is a hard-playing prospect who brings a lot of energy and effort to the floor. He scores the rock in bunches on the inside, and his footwork, along with sheer determination, helps him with his high level of production. He has a strong body, can really bump down low, and is really physical when attacking the glass, as well as attacking the cup off the bounce. Connor has some extremely high intangibles that impact games in ways that don’t always show on the scoresheet. I have put ink on him before, and from the last time I saw him play, he has definitely improved his game. He has to keep working on his explosiveness off the floor and using his right hand, particularly when he is going right, which he did a couple of times but tried finishing with his left.
Artrell Burt (6’1/SG/’28/Palo Alto Flight)
Artrell qualified for my sniper school article because he made well over three trey balls in a game I was watching, but his play forced me to put him in this article of standouts I saw on day two. He has an intriguing scoring arsenal along with his playmaking skills and showed to be a player who can do everything on the court. He is physically gifted enough to play 1-3, as it does not matter if he is playing on or off the ball. He initiates the offense some possessions, and at other times, he shows his scoring ability off the dribble with floaters over smaller defenders from the midrange. As I hinted earlier, he showed some deep pull-ups from behind the arc. Artrell is a threat creating offense for himself as he needed little space to get his shots off. He is a player to definitely keep an eye on over the next few years.
Zaiden Nelson (5’7/PG/’29/Middle GA Push ’28)
Zaiden is a 2029 kid playing on the 2028 Peach State stage, and he is handling himself very well. He is a pass-first PG with very good set-up skills. In an era where teams look to their lead guard for point production, Zaiden gives us some traditional PG flair. He has PG skills and IQ and showed his ability to be a floor general and operate as a coach on the floor. He is a crafty ball-handler who doesn’t over-dribble but understands keeping his dribble alive until a decision needs to be made. He didn’t force the action, but he showed the ability to make high-end decisions with the ball. If the full scope of stats were being kept, you would see high production in the assist column. Zaiden is a reliable and trustworthy lead guard.
Cooper Zachary (5’8/CG/’27/Team Teague)
I do not even know where to start when it comes to Coop, but I guess the first thing I can say is that he is a gamer. He is a talented and gifted scorer and is really crafty with the ball in his hands. He has open floor speed with bursts allowing him to get past his man and score from mid-range or deep in the lane. He makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball as he has a quick first step which helps him get wherever he wants on the court. He is a wizard with the rock and is one of the best ones on one scorers at Peach State. Coop operated well as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll and showed his ability to make plays in tight spaces with small windows. He quickly became an antagonist to the opposing team’s fanbase, and he seemed to get better as they rooted against him. He plays with a swag that some on the side were trying to label as arrogant, but in actuality, he is a caliber player that is a ferocious competitor and puts his heart into every possession he plays. He plays the game like it is his last and wants to take nothing off the court with him. He is bolstering his stock here at Peach State, and the scary part of his game is he is probably just scratching the surface of his potential. Oh, did I mention he can shoot the trey ball.
Ty Schlagel (6’5/SF/’27/PJ Hoops)
Ty is a wing with good positional size and a nice skill set. His versatility was on display, and when the lights were the brightest, he stepped up and let his game shine bright. He can spread the floor with his shooting but also open things up with his slashing and creation off of the dribble. He plays off 1-2 dribbles and is as talented as anyone at creating shots. He is a threat from behind the arc, and you won’t find him standing waiting to get the ball as he moves well without the ball, working on getting open for a shot opportunity. It looks exhausting to defend him as he is constantly moving. Ty is the kind of player that every team that is serious about contending needs. He is at his best when he is aggressively looking for his offense. He still has to get better at sprinting on his cuts, but he showed the ability to cut and get his body ready for a quick release off the catch. I overheard him talking about how he was being fouled as he walked out to his car with his mom, and I wanted to say to him to get used to it. I wanted to tell him to get in the weight room and get his body physically ready to take a pounding night in and night out because where he is headed in the game, his body will take a pounding as teams prepare to play him physically. Ty has a bright future ahead of him.
Jakai Black (5’7/PG/’29/Austin Select’ 29)
I finally got to watch some 6th-grade action, and I had the opportunity to catch Austin Select, and Jakai had an impressive outing. He is a shifty PG with handles and a nice skillset. He uses his dribble to get to his spots on the floor where he can be productive. Even though he can score the rock and create his own shot, he showed that he is an unselfish player as he looked to make the additional pass and get teammates involved. I was really impressed that he actually played out of triple threat instead of just getting the ball and immediately putting it on the floor. I watched him set up his man with jabs, then was patient until he got what he wanted and made plays off of what the defense gave him. Jakai has a basketball IQ that is impressive for his grade, and along with his talent at the lead guard position, I look forward to his continued development.