NEWTON VS MCDONOUGH
FALL LEAGUE HOOPS
OCTOBER 14, 2023
It was a glimpse of what’s to come. The McDonough vs. Newton game during McDonough’s Fall League Saturday (10/14/23) didn’t disappoint. There were some mouth-watering plays from both teams, some oooo’s and ahhs’ from the fans, and boxes becoming checked (and unchecked) from the coaches corner.
Some of the takeaways from Saturday’s game.
McDonough looks tuff’
Running solid sets seems to be the focal point of what McDonough plans to implement this season, based on how they approached the game against Newton. The Warhawks finished last year going 26-5, ranked 15th in the final MaxPreps’ GA Rankings. The coaching staff spent quality time running sets, getting players to specific spots on the floor, then given them the freedom and opportunity to become special. Great way to allow your players to hone their craft and mature on the court, using Fall league for that purpose.
It’s a beautiful thing to see 2025 twin guards Zaiden Greene and Zion Greene continue to play the game the right way – at a high level while feeding off of each other and their teammates. Take a look at a few clips of them in action from the McDonough Fall League. We’ve been watching these two shine since their Middle School days at Union Grove. With the trio of Keenan, the twins and 6’7 Wing Nigel Thomas, McDonough will be a team to beat on the GHSA HS Hoops Circuit this season.
2024 PG Keenen Gray diff’ down the stretch for McDonough
We continue to like what we see out of 2024 PG Keenan Gray. The lefty PG shows flashes of being one of the top 10 players in the State. He was able to take advantage of opportunities that presented themselves, maneuvering around defenders with his dribble and getting to the rack. He missed several eye-opening dunks, but made a couple as well. His ability to attack the rim with both hands and finish (he’s a natural lefty), while putting pressure on Newton’s defense to stop his penetration, was impressive. If Keenan can knock down buckets consistency from distance and behind the arc and showcase his middy (float/runner) on the regular this season, he’ll be a no-brainier and lock for a D1 look.
Newton Rams’ Tay Jefferies has been a scoring machine the past two weeks.
6’0 CG Tay Jefferies has been one of the hottest players at the McDonough Hoops Fall League. He’s been scoring from catch and shoot opportunities, catching the defense slipping in traffic while exposing transition weaknesses. He’s also been knocking down shots in half court sets, allowing Newton bigs to roam freely on the offensive glass, taking advantage of any missed opportunities via second chance points. His willingness not to be shy and take shots, providing others with chances to become special via 2nd chance points, shows how different personalities on your team can impact the success of others, if they understand how to feed off of each other and learn to play the game from a different mindset and approach.
Tay brings a lot of energy, passion, and experience for a Newton squad who’s looking for a fresh identify after the departure of 2023 McDonald’s All-America Stephon Castle (UCONN and a projected 1st Round NBA Draft Pick for 2024), Jakai Newton (Indiana), and the departure of Head Coach Charlemagne Gibbons (Gainesville).
A name you want to remember is Ted Neal. The 6’5 hybrid out of Newton High School. Ted shows the ability to reb. and push then make good basketball decisions in the open court. He can also post down low, receive, then square up and go to work. He has been wreaking havoc on the offensive glass with put backs and tip dunks, catching another body against Union Grove – which we missed due to taking pictures at the time!! As Ted continues to develop in the weight room, adding bulk and definition to his frame, he’ll continue to be a serious problem for opposing teams and a stock riser for the Class of 2025. This young man has been growing up under the umbrella of Atlanta Express, doing a fine job figuring things out on the fly.
Newton was missing 2025 PG Tim Prather who hasn’t played the last two weeks. He was listed 5’11 last season on MaxPreps, but appears to be at least 6’1 now. We were hoping to get a glimpse of Tim in action this fall who, we feel, has all the tools to become the next big thing for Newton under 1st year HC Barry Browner. If all goes according to our crystal ball predictions, Tim should have a break out season on the GHSA HS Hoops Circuit.
The Aux. Gym on the beautiful campus of McDonough high school was center stage on Saturday, as hoopers fresh off summer AAU hoops, competed at a high level. Not too many mental mistakes were made by both teams – which was refreshing to see. Looking forward to a great season of Hoops on the Boy’s GHSA Hoops Circuit in 2023-24. Let’s goooo!