With so much talent walking through the doors of Hartsville High School, it is no surprise about the number of storylines in the Inaugural Hartsville Invitational. You have top-ranked players, top-ranked teams going against nationally ranked players and nationally ranked teams. You will have unsigned seniors who are fighting for scholarships and friends who are competing for wins.
Without question, we are excited to be covering this, and with multiple NCAA compliant scouts and nationally read media in the stands and videographers standing baseline catching every play, there will be bright lights shined onto the court.
What are we looking for??
Top 5 Quentin Hodge vs. His Old Team (South Florence)
We all know Quentin Hodge started off at South Florence. Since his freshman year, he has been a staple in South Carolina among the Top 5 players in his class for the state. Right now he carries over 15 Division 1 offers and is averaging >>>> South Florence has talent now too though, so it isn’t like this will be a lopsided matchup. Limestone commit Justice Jackson and D2 priority recruit Brian Sparks will be coming for heads in this one, and they are more than capable of catching them. Lakewood is coached by former Clemson great Ed Scott. Watch this one closely, we will be. These players know each other, they have played together before and they are very talented.
What Will Devante Johnson Do with the Bright Lights?
Quick, who is the Midlands area’s leading scorer? It’s senior Devante Johnson of Lugoff-Elgin. Not Korey Richardson, not Josh Beadle, not Raekwon Horton, it is the 6’0”, 175-pound guard who is making 2.5 3s per game and attempting 7 free throws per night. This may come as a surprise, but Johnson is out here getting buckets, and it doesn’t matter who he is playing against. First-year head coach, Brendan Marcell, formerly of Newberry and Coker, has turned this program around quickly. This year, they are 2-1 in region play, these were their first two region wins EVER as a 5A program. He has been able to do this behind the play of his high scoring guard Devante Johnson. Looking at this inaugural Hartsville Invitational, there will be NCAA compliant scouts, nationally read media and likely have college coaches in attendance, we are eager to see how he performs when the lights are the brightest.
Top 10 Burlington School vs. Nationally Ranked Combine Academy
Burlington School is firmly planted in the conversation of a state championship. They feature a 6’9” Rice commit in Mylyjael Poteat, a 6’6” Wichita State commit in Jadun Michael and a 6’10” junior in Kuluel Mading with Clemson and other offers in hand. However, in this matchup they are David. Playing Goliath is nationally ranked Combine Academy, led by a Top 25 backcourt duo Jalen Hood Schifino and Robert Dillingham. As we mentioned they are both ranked among the Top 25 in their class, nationally. The team is led by 10+ year NBA guy Jeff McInnis and they have a slew of other college players, like 6’9” junior Jacori Owens, 6’ junior Kris Robinson, 6’ senior Lawrence Frost and 6’7” junior Jamylan Blakeney, and a slew of others. Leave no doubt, this will be a business trip coming in for both teams, and yes Burlington School, on paper, should be able to compete with Combine Academy. Will they?? That is the question. However, with all that being said, the amount of talent on this floor, for this game, will be like nothing this Pee Dee area has seen this year. Soak it in and enjoy!
How Good are TJ Sanders and Mac Washington?
Around the Pee Dee area, they are very well known. Both juniors, TJ Sanders is a 6’5” 235 pound forward, who is able to initiate the offense, pass out of the high post or score from all 3 levels. The 6’3” Mac Washington is a straight-up bucket getter, he catches the ball and he is looking to cook. Both players are getting Division 1 looks, and rightfully so, they can hoop. This weekend they will be tasked with facing two-time defending state champion Carmel Christian. Carmel is led by 6’6” Youngstown State signee Myles Hunter as well as their junior duo of 6’2” Justin Taylor (USF, Elon, etc…) and 6’7” Ben Burnham (Winthrop). They are explosive and they are versatile. It will be a great test for Sanders and Washington, do well under these bright lights and the Division 1 stuff becomes a very real, reality in the very near future for them.
Liberty Heights vs. Henderson Collegiate is the Underrated Matchup of the Weekend
Liberty Heights has 10 players in its roster who are college-level guys. They have size, shooting, and athleticism. Henderson Collegiate is the odds on favorite to win an NCHSAA state championship this season. Liberty Heights has interior depth, Henderson Collegiate has excellent guard play. People watching this game, be expected to stand out of your seat, there will be some high flying dunks, some big-time blocks and some ridiculous ball-handling and passes that are sure to excite everyone. 6’9” Jemal Davis, 6’7” Dominique Davidson, 6’6” Kahari Rogers, 6’1” Antonee Abraham, 6’8” Tay Williams, 6’5” Kam Edwards will be leading the way for Liberty Heights while 6’3” Javontae Waverly (Top 10 in NC), 6’5” Kalib Matthews (Queens signee) and 6’5” AK Holden will be doing their thing for Henderson Collegiate. This game will not look like much in the layup lines, but when the ball is tipped, the excitement starts. Also, for college coaches, GET HERE FOR THIS ONE!!!