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November 27, 2013

ATL area talent shines on Tuesday

MORE: Jared Cook Classic recap

ATLANTA -- Four-star junior Doral Moore, Rivals150 wing Temarcus Blanton and freshman sensation M.J. Walker were some of the standouts at the inaugural Atlanta Hardwood High School Jam Fest. Event organizer Winfred Jordan put together a terrific feidl that consists of top teams from around the Peach State, along with several highly rated prospects.

Moore making progress

It's truly amazing how far Locust Grove (Ga.) Luella junior center Doral Moore has come in the last year. Just 12 months ago, he looked like a tall kid trying to play basketball because that's what seven-footers are supposed to do. This year, he looks like a confident, game-changing post player with a developing post up game. He's far from a finished product, but his progress in just 12 months leads one to think what he could become down the road.

In a tough loss to a scrappy Jonesboro (Ga.) team on Tuesday, Moore only finished with six points, eight rebounds, and six blocks, but his impact on the game was significant. His length and mobility in the paint make it hard for opposing players to get much done around the rim. The next steps in Moore's development are continuing to get stronger to help on the boards and polish up his low-post game.

On the recruiting front, college coaches have taken notice on the progress Moore has made. Offers are in from Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio State, Texas and more. Georgetown, Kansas, and Louisville have also been tracking the No. 38 player in 2015.

South Carolina steals one in Blanton

Moore's teammate Temarcus Blanton signed with South Carolina last week after committing in September. It looks like the Gamecocks were smart to lock him up when they did. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wing played like he's one of the best wings in the southeast on Tuesday, finishing with 24 points and seven rebounds in a tough loss.

Blanton's recruitment never really took off the way it should have. Offers came in from schools such as Arkansas, Florida State, Memphis and several mid majors, but his decision ultimately came down to George Mason and South Carolina before Frank Martin's staff won out. Many schools will likely regret the decision not to target Blanton.

Currently ranked No. 123 in the Rivals150, Blanton continues to get better every time out with the most recent addition to his game being a more consistent perimeter jump shot. Blanton's bread and butter has long been his ability to get to the rim and finish through contact and an improved jumper just makes him even tougher to defend. He's a tenacious defender that can be matched up on the other team's best wing and he rebounds his position well.

Walker will be one to watch

Jonesboro High School will be a hot spot for high major college coaches over the next few years for one reason -- freshman wing M.J. Walker. The 6-foot-4 wing already has a college-ready body and the talent level to take over high school games against stiff competition. He has the look of a no-brainer high major prospect.

Walker struggled early on against Luella while matched up with Blanton, but he got going in a hurry during the second quarter to have 15 points at the half. He showed that he's capable of connecting from three-point range, but more impressive was his willingness to attack Doral Moore at the rim and do so with success.

Walker's combination of size, strength, athleticism, and skill at such a young age will make him a hot commodity to college coaches. It won't be long before scholarship offers start rolling in.

More Tuesday notes

2015 Rivals150 big man Shawntrez Davis had an impressive showing in the opening game on Tuesday. Coming off an up-and-down travel season, Davis looks ready to have a big junior year for Tri-Cities. He finished a win over Shiloh (Ga.) with 15 points and seven rebounds. At 6-foot-8 and around 210 pounds, Davis runs the floor well, has soft hands and great touch around the rim. Clemson head coach Brad Brownell was in attendance to check him out.

Recent Wichita State signee Eric Hamilton transferred to Duluth High School for his senior season and had 13 points in a loss to MLK. Hamilton showed some of the natural ability that made him so attractive to the Shockers coaching staff. He showed off his athleticism on a chase down block where he pinned the ball against the backboard at the top of the square and was very active on the boards at both ends.

MLK junior forward Kevon Harris might have been the most physically imposing prospect in the gym on Tuesday. With his team struggling on shots from the perimeter, Harris took advantage of those misses by gobbling up the rebounds and finishing at the rim. It's not all strength with Harris though. He looked comfortable shooting free throws and has some post up game. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, he looks like a future NFL tight end if basketball doesn't work out.

Jonesboro junior wing forward Tracey Hector Jr. also impressed with his high-motor. When Jonesboro decided to put on a full court press against Luella, the 6-foot-4 athlete thrived in the open court game. He had a half dozen steals that he turned into baskets at the other end.



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