As I got into my car, I had a million thoughts running through my head all at once. It was an OTR weekend, which meant I was going to get an opportunity to see some of the best basketball players in the country. It was a 30-minute drive from my home to the Next Play 360 gym, nestled safely in Marietta, Georgia, owned by NBA G League Ignite player and future lottery pick, Scoot Henderson, and his family. While Scooter was preparing himself to be one of the top draft picks in the 2023 NBA draft, there were hundreds of potential prospects in the gym hoping to one day be in his shoes. This would be one of the primary gyms for the 17u matchups this weekend, and On The Radar Hoops would be hosting an event called “Who Wants the Smoke.” This event, which On The Radar Hoops hosts every year, is a fantastic opportunity for players from different shoe circuits and independent programs to compete against each other and prepare themselves for live games, which would be the following weekend. This is the one time every year that you get a chance to see Nike programs face off against Adidas programs, and vice versa. Everyone who is anyone is in the building this weekend. The games are intense, and the competition is elite, which allows the event to justify its name, “Who Wants the Smoke!” On The Radar Hoops is a basketball scouting service and event management company based in Atlanta, Georgia. The company was founded in 2012 by Shun Williams, a well-known figure in the basketball world, who has over 20 years of experience in scouting and player development. On The Radar Hoops specializes in identifying and evaluating basketball talent at the high school level, with a focus on helping players reach their full potential and achieve their goals of playing college basketball.
Attending an On The Radar event is like attending a basketball family reunion. All my friends, even some brothers I consider to be family, are in the building, ready to compete. The family feel starts right when you hit the door, and you see the same people working the door every year, some of the most courteous, friendly, and polite people in the game. I hit the door, and I was immediately greeted with a smile, and the jokes started from there! “Hey man, I see you’re trying to lose a couple of pounds, Dre,” “Yeah, Dre, stop coaching this summer. They were on his neck.” I laughed with everyone else as I walked through the building and found my way to the sideline, where Game Elite 2025 was playing AOT. The first player I noticed on the floor was Rivals 4 Star 6’7 SF Tylis Jordan. Jordan is a highly versatile wing player with a tremendous shooting touch from the outside. He currently holds offers from Kennesaw State, Cincinnati, LSU, Texas A&M, and more. It’s hard to say a kid like Tylis is underrated when looking at an offer list like that; however, I can’t help but feel that way. As the game goes on, I’m sitting beside two guys who are just blown away by the skill set of Jordan, and they begin to compare him to the 3rd overall Houston Rocket draft pick, Jibari Smith Jr. It’s really tough to compare a young player like Jordan to a pro. I agree the similarities are present and can’t be denied, so as I silently agreed with the conversation going on beside me, I couldn’t help but think about whether we were doing this kid a disservice by comparing him so early and not allowing him to grow into his own game. With all that being said, the kid definitely has the goods, and it’s going to be fun watching him develop along the way.
Next, it was time for me to take a look at one of the premier teams in the country, which just so happens to be a staple in the state of Georgia – The Atlanta Celtics! In most states, the Nike team is the lead dog, but not in Georgia. No disrespect to any other program, but nobody has the swagger and cache in Georgia that the 3SSB Atlanta Celtics possess. The green and gold of those Celtics uniforms mean so much to basketball in the state of Georgia, with more players in the NBA than any other program in the state and a history that can rival any program in the country! This year’s Celtics team features a myriad of terrific young talent, with 4-star 6’4 G Gicarri Harris, who holds offers from Stanford, Purdue, Harvard, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and many more, in the backcourt, along with 6’4 CG Kahmare Holmes, who I believe is as talented as anyone in the state at his position. Both of these guys played extremely well, running the team and scoring when needed to ensure they walked away with a win. However, my eyes were glued to the man in the middle, the 6’9 forward Jayden Williams. I have to admit that since his move to Overtime Elite prior to the start of the high school season, I’d lost track of Jayden a bit. He quickly put himself back in clear view with his ability to run the floor, finish through contact inside, block shots, and rebound the basketball. He was an absolute force to be reckoned with inside and also displayed a face-up game that would make it tough to cover him away from the basket as well. It was clear to me that the Atlanta Celtics were ready for the Adidas 3SSB circuit and could compete with anyone.
My next stop took me over to visit the Game Elite 2024 team. They are also on the Adidas 3SSB circuit and are loaded with Power 5 talent up and down the roster. The trio of 4-star 7’0 big man Peyton Marshall, along with the uber-athletic CG tandem of CJ Brown and Jeremiah Wilkinson, would be enough for any organization to feel great about their chances to win big on any circuit, but Game Elite didn’t stop there. They added yet another super-talented trio to this group with 5-star 6’5 super frosh G Caleb Holt, along with 6’11 forward Josh Hill and do-everything 6’7 swingman Cannon Richards. This group quickly comes together like Voltron to become one of the most dominant teams I’ve seen in the last couple of years! With Chris Williams at the reins for this team, I couldn’t help but wonder if we would have a team that could rival “The Migos” team he had some years ago, which featured Ashton Hagans, Josh Nickleberry, and Christian Brown! I guess only time will tell if this current group can accomplish that type of success, but they certainly have the talent to make a name for themselves.
Before I could leave the event, I had to get my eyes on two of the best prospects in the state of Georgia, regardless of class! The 5-star, 6’9″ Caleb Wilson is a player that I call “The Unicorn” because he’s not the type of player that you see many times in a lifetime. The kid is a generational type of talent that can literally do it all! He routinely flirts with triple doubles in most games that he plays and leaves you searching for what the flaws in his game could be! No player is perfect, but I’m pretty sure if you’ve ever designed a basketball player on any video game, they probably looked and played a lot like Caleb Wilson! As usual, Caleb did not disappoint. This is the type of kid that makes 17 rebounds and 5 blocks look effortless.
However, Caleb Wilson is not alone at the top of Georgia’s 2025 class. The 4-star, 6’5″ scoring machine Akai Fleming is quickly climbing up the recruiting boards of every college coach in the country! Akai Fleming has an absolute flamethrower for a jump shot and has continued to display his ability to make the right play in pick-and-roll situations as the ball handler. His midrange game and ability to finish plays over the top in traffic were really impressive this weekend as he had his way in each game that he played. As his confidence continues to grow, he will be must-see TV next season.
Attending On The Radar Hoops events is a must for anyone looking to find high-level basketball talent in the state of Georgia. With a focus on identifying and developing talent at the high school level, On The Radar Hoops has established itself as one of the premier scouting services and event management companies in the country. Their events, including the Super 6 Showcase, the Elite Preview Camp, and the Georgia Fall and Spring Preview, provide players with an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of college coaches and scouts, receive coaching and instruction from experienced coaches, and compete against other top talent. These events have helped countless players achieve their dreams of playing college basketball and have become a must-attend for college coaches and scouts looking for the next generation of basketball stars. If you’re looking to find high-level basketball talent in Georgia, there’s no better place to start than at an On The Radar Hoops event.