Coach Derrick Brooks and his 15U South Georgia Kings squad have had a stellar summer. In April, the boys took first place at the Coast to Coast Super Regional Tournament in Jacksonville and also won the AAU Super Regional. One month later, the boys earned another tournament crown at the Future 150 Memorial Day Classic in Birmingham, Ala.
The team rounded out its season with a third-place finish at the Big Shots South on July 30 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. The spectacular run earned some of Brooks’ players invitations to the exclusive Future Top 150 Camp this weekend in Birmingham.
Brooks said his squad did well, defeating the Greensboro Warriors twice and the Smyrna Stars of Atlanta once in the Big Shots Tournament. The boys ended up losing to Team United.
“We lost 55-53 to them on a last-minute basket and it was a heartbreaker for us, but we performed well nonetheless,” Brooks said. “We played and well and had scouts from different colleges asking about the kids.”
The coach said scouts from Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina, Greensboro and Jacksonville University inquired about SGK players and told Brooks his athletes have talent and skills.
The coach said the buzz about his team is growing.
Future Top 150 organizer Mark Reeves and Horace Neysmith, coach of the Atlanta Celtics, called Brooks and invited SGK players Derrick Brooks Jr., Kirk Hill, JJ Frazier, Saadiq Muhammad, Aaron Scott, Jamal Anderson, Chris LaRochester, Darien Lassiter and Connor Bailey to this weekend’s camp.
The players say the experience helped them develop their skills and prepare for the high school season.
Brooks Jr., Hill, Frazier and Scott all attend Faith Baptist Christian Academy and say they plan to showcase their improvements as they chase another state title this season.
“It’s really helped me a lot and I’ve improved my basketball skills,” Hill, 15, said. “I really couldn’t dribble that much, but now I can dribble a lot better than I used to.”
The shooting guard said he wants to work on his scoring ability and be noticed by a few college scouts.
Frazier, 14, said he thinks the camps and AAU summer programs of the SGK will get him noticed.
“I’m a point guard and my decision-making is getting better,” he said. “These camps are making me stronger physically and mentally and, hopefully, this camp we are going to will get us all recruited by some college coaches.”
Brooks’ son, also a Crusader, garnered a lot of attention this summer when he was named one of the top 25 performers at the Adidas Top 150 Phenom Regional Camp and ranked among the best as a member of the Top 20 All-Star team for the Adidas top 150 National Camp, held June 26-27 in California.
“This summer has brought me a long way,” Brooks Jr. said.
The youngster, an incoming freshman, said the summer was a breakout AAU season for him and has improved his overall performance on the hardwood. He said he wants to show the scouts that he can play alongside the seniors despite his age.
“I can do everything they can do I’m just in a different grade level,” he said.
Scott said he echoes Brooks’ sentiment as far as improving his overall game. The SGK and Crusader player made an impact last season, helping the Faith Baptist squad earn another state title, coming in with quality minutes and superb shooting skills when his senior teammates needed a rest.
Scott said his AAU and high school teams are fairly similar
“We are both fast and we run the court a lot,” he said. “The games are fast-paced. We both shoot a lot and we both have good defense. I want to play as hard as I can.”
Blue Tide player Jamal Anderson, 15, said his work this summer benefited his abilities as a small forward and shooting guard.
“It helped me with my ball-handling skills, decision-making and basketball IQ,” he said.
While fairly new to the squad, Saadiq Muhammad, 15, said the SGK offers a high level of competition he will be able to carry over to the Johnson High Atomsmashers’ squad.
“I want to get in better shape and prepare for the season,” he said. “There are a lot of things to work on from ball handling skills to my athleticism.”
“We have an abundance of talent and, like I said, right now it seems that these kids are turning the corner,” Brooks said. “People are recognizing their talent and their skill level so we are getting invited to a lot more places. I’m just ecstatic that these kids are getting the opportunity to go and showcase their skills. Like I always say, keep working hard and the sky is the limit.”