Here are five of the top high school baksetball players to watch this season:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Greenville: The 6-foot-6 senior is the leading candidate for this year’s Mr. Georgia Basketball. “He’s the best player in the nation with the least amount of publicity and should be the state’s lone McDonald’s All-American,” CourtCred.com’s Kerry Willis said. “He’s a shot hunter that has unlimited range … [and] also is more athletic that he gets credit for, capable of playing above the rim with his long arms.” Caldwell-Pope made a surprising early commitment to Georgia over Florida State and Tennessee, signing with the Bulldogs last month.
Robert Carter, PF, Thomasville: The 6-8, 240-pound junior is considered the most skilled big man in the state. “The thing that separates him from the pack is that he can step outside and knock down the shots consistently, including shooting a good percentage from the foul line, making him even more dangerous down the stretch of games,” CourtCred.com said. Carter has been recruited by Florida State, Texas, Virginia Tech and Ohio State, among others.
Derrick Henry, G, Newton: The 6-2 senior was an a one-man show while carrying his team to last year’s Class AAAAA semifinals. “He does most of his damage when he is in attack mode … he gets to the [basket] with ease and finishes through contact — thanks to his well-built frame,” CourtCred.com said. “This frame also helps him lock down opponents on defense.” Henry has a 3.9 GPA and is one of the state’s best-kept secrets, attracting interest from Harvard, Rice and Richmond, among others.
Jarmal Reid, SF, Columbia: After a stellar performance in AAU ball, Reid has risen to one of the top 100 juniors in the nation. The 6-7 Reid is called “Mr. Mismatch” by his coaches because he can play every position on the court, including point guard. He already has the size of a college player, but is fast. He’s the younger brother of UGA basketball player Jeremy Price, and has offers from the Bulldogs, Florida, Clemson, Oklahoma and Alabama, among others. He helped Columbia win last year’s Class AAA state championship.
Adam Smith, PG, Fayette County: The 6-foot Smith is a scoring machine, singled out as the most prolific perimeter scorer in Georgia since Jodie Meeks at Norcross High in 2006. Smith averages 22.5 points and 3.9 assists, scoring 33 points in a recent win over Rockdale County to avenge a loss in last year’s playoffs. He is tough to defend because he launches his outside jump shots so quickly (65-percent on 3-pointers) and can penetrate the lane off the dribble with either his left or right hand. Smith was overlooked by bigger colleges, signing with UNC-Wilmington.