May 30, 2006

Hopson Emerging as Big Time Player

At this early stage, the Class of 2008 in the state looks like it might possess more basketball talent than the current crop of rising seniors in the pool. That '08 talent pool gets deeper in a hurry if you look just across the state line into Hopkinsville, Ky., home of Scotty Hopson, a versatile wing who is making a name for himself this spring, and showing up on Tennessee's recruiting radar, as well as a host of other SEC schools.

Hopson (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) crosses the border to play his AAU basketball with Jeremy Schulman's Midstate Ballerz program, which typically draws players from Nashville to Jackson and points north and south of that route. Hopson has had several nice events this spring, and playing with the Ballerz 16-and under squad this past weekend at the Bob Gibbons' Tournament of Champions in Chapel Hill, Hopson was one of the most impressive prospects in his age group.

He possesses a lightning-quick first step which he uses to get into the lane against just about any opponent. Once there, Hopson can pull up and stick the short jumper or go hard to the rack where he has the strength to finish among the trees. He's also got a decent stroke from outside and the kind of form on his shot that suggests he's going to continue to improve that aspect of his game.

It's early for Hopson, who is just about to head into his junior year of high school, but the high-majors are already starting to line-up for a crack at recruiting what looks to be one of the upper-echelon talents in his class.

Tennessee is within a three-hour drive of his hometown, but the Vols have more going for them at this time than just distance and convenience.

Hopson's skill set would fit into plenty of different styles, and with two more years to develop before he hits a college campus, he could be a formidable player by the time he's ready to sign. At this point, it doesn't seem a reach at all to project him as a top-50 player in his class, and that could end up being a conservative guess.

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