8th Grade Finale Day 1: Charles Sets Standard
July 12 2017
AUGUSTA, GA — The 8th Grade Finale presented by MADE Hoops serves as the incoming freshmen division for the larger event known as the Peach Invitational Tournament. Now in its third year, and run concurrently with Nike’s Peach Jam, it’s clear that the 8th Grade Finale has become the new pinnacle when it comes to youth team tournaments during the summer months.
The NCAA-certified event kicked off the summer evaluation period on Wednesday afternoon, as an impressive list of teams from the United States and Canada descended upon the Augusta Convention Center, putting their talents on display for all to see…
KORDELL CHARLES, 2021 6’7″ F, UPLAY Canada - Player Profile Coming 7/15/17 (Refresh Page)
It’s been more than a year since I last observed Kordell Charles, and the talented forward has continued to stretch upward, while also expanding his game. Now standing 6-foot-7, Charles showed off his athleticism above the rim on opening night, and proved to be a difference-maker on both ends of the floor as UPLAY Canada began the 2017 8th Grade Finale with a win. The versatile forward is best when playing in attack mode and his team will need him to remain aggressive on both ends for the duration of the tournament.
- Class of 2021
- Norfolk, VA
Jaylani Darden began building a reputation for himself during the winter months, and following several strong spring performances, his confidence is soaring as a key member for the Boo Williams-Chamblee squad. Already fairly advanced as a scorer, Darden possesses tremendous length, which should allow him to grow into an impactful two-way player as he asserts himself defensively. Expect him to be one of Virginia’s premier freshmen this fall as a member of the Class of 2021.
KALEN ETZLER, 2021 6’7″ F, Teague Heat (IN) - Player Profile Coming 7/15/17 (Refresh Page)
Team Teague and Spiece Indy Heat have joined forces for the 8th Grade Finale and the results were impressive on opening night. Featuring a roster filled with future Division I talent, it was 6-foot-7 Kalen Etzler who turned the most heads for this balanced group, demonstrating tremendous overall feel while also flaunting a deft touch from the perimeter. It is not a stretch to think that Etzler may be the best incoming freshman in Ohio’s 2021 class. He certainly looked the part to begin the week here in Augusta.
CALEB HOUSTAN, 2022 6’6″ G/F, CIA Bounce (CAN) - Player Profile Coming 7/15/17 (Refresh Page)
After a few minor, but nagging injuries, Caleb Houstan is back on the court and was easily among the standouts in attendance for CIA Bounce. In the mold of a point-forward, the versatile 6-foot-6 backcourt prospect is tracking as an elite member of the 2022 class, and has a number of tools at his disposal. An excellent passer with good ball-handling ability, Houstan is more smooth than explosive, and is a true set-up man as opposed to bucket-hunter. The consummate teammate, the young Canadian is a pleasure to watch, and should be expected to become a key contributor for the next Team Canada U16 squad in the summer of 2019.
- Class of 2021
- Memphis, TN
Jonathan Lawson was clicking during the opening game of the 8th Grade Finale and he wasn’t shy about letting opposing fans know it. The youngest of the Lawson family (Don’t know them? Where have you been?) is nearing 6-foot-7, has a smooth perimeter stroke, and is also playing above the rim. After watching him with various teams during the spring months, it is clear Lawson’s confidence is on another level when he’s with his hometown team (Memphis Wildcats), and has more pressure to produce. Antics aside, Lawson is clearly one of the more talented prospects in the field, and projects as an elite member in the Class of 2021.