Ahmed Hill and Michael Scott are still teammates, but this isn’t regular high school basketball.
Passes have to be crisper, drives must be stronger and defensive communication has to be better as the Aquinas boys basketball players compete for the Southern Stampede and prepare for the 16 & Under portion of the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam.
“My teammates and coaches, we
want to be perfect,” Hill said. “On this circuit, you can’t make mistakes and you got to keep your head.”
This past season, Hill and Scott led Aquinas to a 23-7 mark and a Class A state quarterfinal appearance. Both are rising juniors and are already hearing from college programs. They have a chance to gain more attention with good performances at the Peach Jam.
Hill, listed at 6-foot-4, 185 pounds and ranked No. 26 in his class by Scout.com, has a lengthy list of schools that have offered, including Connecticut, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana and Kansas. Hill said there is no favorite right now.
Scott is 5-7 and 135 pounds, but Stampede coach Michael Stokes said Scott is, pound-for-pound, the toughest player in the country at his age. Scott has heard from George Mason, Alabama-Birmingham, Winthrop, College of Charleston and others.
Hill and Scott form a duo that helps Aquinas dominate Class A opponents. For the Stampede, the two are sometimes in the backcourt together when the Stampede go small.
“I know where he’s at and where he can score,” Scott said.
The tandem could showcase that connection in front of the best college coaches at the Peach Jam. But until then, the Stampede will be practicing and playing 5-on-5s
against the likes of former Augusta State star Garret Siler and Glenn Hills graduate Reggie Middleton, who averaged almost 13 points per game as a senior at Winthrop University this past season.
Those players should get the Stampede ready for the Peach Jam, where Hill and Scott get to play at home after making several trips to other tournaments.
Though no other Stampede player lives in Augusta, they do practice here, making them a part of the de facto home team for the EYBL Finals.
“Now, we’re home. Basically, this is our second home,” Stokes said. “I love my chances.”