MS 15U and 17U AAU State Tournament Tidbits

Mississippi high school prep basketball players to watch the next few years.

Once again Northeast Lauderdale High School basketball player Romero Osby proved to be one of the most talented players on the court. This time, he played for the 15U Jackson Tigers team. The previous weekend he played for their 16U team. Osby will be a 10th grader next season. If he continues to improve, there is no doubt he will be one of the best in the nation.

An AAU teammate of his, Jacolby Pittman, was much more aggressive this weekend than he was last weekend. Of course, he was playing with his own age group this weekend after playing for the Jackson Tigers 16U AAU team last weekend.

He's a well kept secret, but he won't be one much longer. Thomas Manzano (6-3, 185) is a terrific young two-guard who played for the Jackson Panthers 17U team last weekend. A junior-to-be, Thomas will play for a new prep school, Genesis One Christian School in Mendenhall, Mississippi. Next to Osby, this youngster might have been the most talented player I saw last weekend. He dunked, passed the ball well and hit three-pointers like he was born to do it. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York.

Look out for New Hope High School the next three years. The 15U Jackson Panters team, an AAU team that rarely gets beat, was defeated soundly (71-40) by New Hope, thanks in large measure to Mr. Shot Blocker himself, Rashanti Harris. Remember that name. Although he is only 6-9 and comes in at 232 pounds, he plays much taller. The Panthers had a very tough time shooting over this youngster. He had 5 block shots in the first half alone against them. And he will only be in the 10th grade next season.

He's still just a baby, but J. Z. George High Schooler Justin Hearn is a player to watch. Heading into the 9th grade next year, Justin is 6-7 and weighs 210 pounds. He played for the 15U Starkville Bulldogs AAU team. He's still all potential right now, but once he learns to get more aggressive, he could be special.

A player to watch on the 15U Jackson Panthers is 5-9 sophomore-to-be guard Joshua Moore. Joshua plays for Provine High School.

Some of you may have seen it this weekend, but I posted an interview I did with Jackson Panthers 17U team member Shay Hodge. One of the top football players in the state, Shay, who plays for Morton High School, also plans on playing basketball in college.

Speaking of Genesis One Prep School, they are a new prep school. It's the first in Mississippi. Based on talking to their president and head coach, they plan on playing the top prep schools in the country. And they should be able to compete with everyone of them based on their talent. They have one player, Kellen Lee (7-0, 205), who told me that he has all the colleges after him. He also said three NBA clubs are showing strong interest. Another talented youngster on the team is Michael Thorogood, who is originally from New York, NY. Michael is 6-9 and weighs 212 pounds. Both will be seniors. As I wrote earlier, junior Thomas Manzano will also play on their team. He had the option of playing on their regular team or their prep team. He chose the prep team route so that he could play against the other prep schools.

The top senior-to-be at the AAU event was Andre Stephens of Heidelberg High School. Andre, who is 6-7 and 215 pounds, had a nice mid-range shot and showed great athletic ability. He appears to be an MSU lean at that moment, although a lot of schools are showing strong interest.

Indianola's 17U AAU team had a couple of players who also play football, Cordario Calvin and Brandon McCoy. Both play for Greenville High School.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

Gene's Page Top Stories