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July 22, 2013

Jackson taking game to a new level

MORE: Brown plays like a five-star

SUWANEE, Ga. -- It's been an up-and-down travel season for the Georgia Stars. Despite the disappointment in missing the Peach Jam by a tie-breaker and losing some players to other programs in recent months, the Stars found a way to win the Nike Elite Youth Invitational last weekend and made a deep run at the Best of the South this weekend. A big reason for their recent success is the play of four-star shooting guard Tadric Jackson and four-star big man Noah Dickerson.

Jackson has been a known commodity in Georgia since playing on a Georgia Stars 16U team that won the Peach Jam three years ago. Following that summer, his level of play seemed to level off to some extent. Since making the tough decision to stop playing football last year to focus on basketball, he's been on a steady upward trend and just might be the best shooting guard prospect in Georgia. At 6-foot-2, he's very strong and athletic and uses both of those traits to score in a variety of ways. If his jumper becomes more consistent, look out.

Dickerson has been very good for the Georgia Stars for just about the whole travel season, but you could make a strong argument that he had his best tournament yet at Best of the South. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound big man started the long weekend off at the On the Radar Hoops Elite 32 on Wednesday night by going heads up with Daniel Giddens of Game Elite and severely out-played the five-star big man on the block. Dickerson made a habit of scoring in double figures all weekend while also hauling in double-digit rebounds on more than one occasion. He established himself as one of the premier back-to-the-basket big men in the entire country this weekend.

Dickerson added offers from Alabama, Florida State and Memphis this weekend to join a list that already includes Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Tennessee, Virginia and more.

Jackson raising profile

Aim High 17U coach Doug Byrd would more than likely admit to you that he doesn't have the most talented travel team in Georgia. And that works for him. What his team lacks in talent it makes up for with being organized, and being unselfish. That was the recipe knocking off several higher-profile travel teams on its way to the Best of the South championship.

Leading the way all weekend for Aim High was Cleveland Jackson, a 6-foot-1 sharpshooter from Olympic High in Charlotte, N.C. In a semifinal matchup with the Georgia Stars, Jackson brought his A-game when his team needed it most by finishing with 27 points, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the second half, to advance to the championship game. Coming into the weekend, Jackson held no scholarship offers, but it's safe to say that he'll have some in the near future.

Aim High's most-recruited player, forward Eric Lockett, also helped himself this weekend. Lockett spent the past few years playing for Aim High before a stint with the Georgia Stars in the Nike EYBL in the spring. The 6-foot-5 forward affects the game in so many ways and defends just about every position. While not a great shooter from the perimeter, Lockett does most of his scoring in the paint and does it well. Schools such as Appalachian State, Chattanooga, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee and others have extended scholarship offers while several high-majors are tracking his progress.

Davis dominates Elite 32

Paulding County (Ga.) power forward Rasean Davis started to generate some buzz among college coaches last weekend in Aiken, S.C. with a strong performance at the Peach State Summer Showcase. As well as he played then, he took his game to another level this weekend in Atlanta at the On the Radar Hoops Elite 32.

At around 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Davis has really soft hands and really nice touch around the rim. The Smyrna Stars big man is a double-double machine and will also dish out some assists if defenders double down on him.

No schools had offered scholarships coming into the summer, and only a few schools had made contact with Davis. Jacksonville, Kent State and UNC-Asheville extended the first scholarship offers after last weekend. Cincinnati and Wichita State reportedly joined that list over the weekend.

Notes and observations

North Florida Elite shooting guard Troy Holston had the attention of high-major head coaches this weekend. Andy Kennedy, Jim Larranaga, Bruce Weber and Stan Heath watched the 6-foot-4 athletic shooter this weekend.

Isaiah Wilkins had a nice weekend for the Georgia Stars. The 6-foot-7 combo forward does a great job knocking down jumpers off pick-and-pop action and recorded several assists off high-low post feeds to Dickerson.

Jawun Evans is one of the better floor generals around. Could he be the best point guard in the Southeast? He can make a strong argument. Clemson head coach Brad Brownell watched him on Sunday afternoon at Elite 32.

Four-star small forward Dwayne Bacon is an elite talent. He's complete scorer with the ability to beat defenders off the bounce or knock down a long-range jumper. Florida State seems to be the team to beat at this point in his recruitment. Many other high-majors involved.

Jordan Bruner is an intriguing forward prospect to watch out of the Upward Stars program in the 2016 class. The lanky, athletic 6-foot-6 forward is very versatile. Georgia head coach Mark Fox and Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter were in attendance to see him Sunday morning.

Showtime Hoops shooting guard Tyree Crump received an offer from Ole Miss on Sunday.

Head coaches from Alabama, Clemson, College of Charleston, Georgia, Georgia State and Georgia Tech watched an early morning matchup between the Georgia Stars and Upward Stars.

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