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2024 Tip-Off Classic Top Performers

The Tip-Off Classic has been the most anticipated event since its inception in the Southeast. This year was no exception. There were a few players you expected to standout because of their reputations and body of work but what makes events like this fun to watch are the players that plant their flags, putting them on the radar. Here are some of the standouts from this weekend.

6-9 2025 F Hakeem Weems (Atlanta Xpress) It’s exciting to see the growth in Weems. His energy was a force on both sides this weekend. He was active on the glass, protected the paint, making multiple plays in sequence and showed he is more than adequate guarding ball switches. Offensively he is a pick and pop threat, can score in the mid-post, gets out in transition and is solid making a play off the dribble. In the past it was his over-use of the dribble that got him in bad spots, now he seems to understand the why and how. His continued play at this level will undoubtedly have high majors calling.  

6-10 2026 C Marcis Ponder (Team Breakdown) was an absolute load in the paint. Nicknamed “Baby Shaq”, Ponder tried his best to emulate that moniker. He was an immovable force getting deep post position and turning that into poster dunks. On the defensive side he is rim protector and gobbles up misses. A year spent at Overtime has really improved his body and conditioning, enabling him to a presence for longer stretches on the floor.

6-9 2025 F Tylis Jordan (Game Elite) continues to ascend among the eyes of many. He has a full bag of offensive tools that enable him to be effective from anywhere on the court. Jordan can hit trail three, pick-and-pop three’s, trail drives for put back dunks, hit the mid-post and create shot opportunities off the bounce. Although improving I would love to see more on the defensive end where his length and athleticism can be a huge factor. I look for Jordan to make a leap on the national level this travel season.

6-3 2025 SG Marcus Gillespie (Atlanta Xpress) was the most impressive shooter this weekend. He possesses a quick trigger with range who must be tagged in transition. On numerous occasions his teammates found him transition for a knock-down three. Gillespie is smart at attacking over-zealous close out to rise up from mid-range or finish plays in the lane. He showed a good handles to get to his spots and aware enough to make the right plays when attacking the basket. The underrated guard is one for high majors to get eyes on in May.

6-7 2025 SF Shon Abaev (SOH Elite) continues to improve his shot-making ability. Yes, he can make three’s but when you expand that to making contested three’s you’re separating yourself from other shooters. The other thing Abaev did this weekend was using his shot fake to attack hard closing defenders to get to the basket. 

6-10 2026 C Moustapha Diop (Game Elite) continues to show that his work in the lab is paying dividends at tip off. Where you see it most is his recognition of arriving double teams, not forcing the action and finding open perimeter shooters and cutters. Still improving but you can see the work he’s put in on his jumper, hitting multiple J’s throughout the weekend. He has good defensive instincts, guarding ball switches and paint protecting.

6-4 2026 CG Ikenna Alozie (Utah Prospects) could always attack the basket with speed and change of direction but now, with added muscle, he can create contact that leaves him on the winning end of such collisions at the rim for buckets. He was very purposeful when utilizing ball screens to hit rollers and corner shooters after sucking in backline defenders for threes. Alozie has a dependable pull-up but is now showing improvement in extending his game beyond the arc. Still a hawk on defense, he made it tough for opposing guards to get into their offense.

6-6 2026 SF Manny Green (Atlanta Celtics) had a good weekend shooting the ball and showing efficient movements with the dribble. He is developing a go-to one-two dribble pull-up while improving his three-point consistency. Green can be a three-position defender with his length and athleticism. He also showed his motor, making him a reliable rebounder on either end.

6-8 2026 SF Chris Washington (B-Maze Elite) always considered a highflyer, is now adding range from the downtown. He consistently made shots from beyond the arc, showed his high-level bounce and defended well all weekend. On quite a few occasions he was catch open looks due to his awareness to give the ball-handler open passing lanes with his movement without the ball. He at times can over dribble to create shot opportunities but when he catches and rips through or drives off DHO’s he’s at his best.

6-7 2026 F Jalan Wingfield (AE5) opened eyes and put folks on notice that he’s a name to remember in the 2026 class after his performance in the Underclassman All-American Game. Wingfield scores on all levels, utilizing his improved shooting ability behind the arc, and mid-range while showing his strength to score in the paint. Defensively he can be a force but must stay engaged off the ball to an effective help defender and rebounder. Wingfield spent this past high school season as a spectator on Tri-Cities HS team but is making up ground as one of the top prospects in Georgia’s 2026 class.

6-2 2027 CG Tre Keith (AE5) has continued his stellar play from the high school season. Keith plays angles well as he attacks defenders and shows a good change of pace and speed opening driving lanes for the finish or pull-up. He provides the perimeter punch for the Anthony Edwards 5 program which is a good compliment to Wingfield. Keith showed he’s the top guard in the freshman class in Georgia and has the potential to knock on the national door.

6-2 2027 PG Martay Barnes (Austin Rivers Select) doesn’t waste time with the dribble, beating defenders with speed and pace. Barnes does a good job in finding his teammates for open looks, effective on ball screens to his floater, roller or mid-range and has the ability to knock down kickouts from the post. He showed a willingness to hound the ballhandler and isn’t afraid to mix it up for his fair share of rebounds. The Florida native has 5Star potential.

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