From the Bleachers
George Glymph Fall League (Columbia, SC)
By Eric Dawkins

Former NBA and legendary South Carolina high school coach George Glymph has a new high school fall basketball league named in his honor. Coach Glymph has far too many accomplishments to mention in this short article; so I say with reverence that he changed the landscape of high school basketball in South Carolina. The tournament, played on Wednesdays at Cardinal Newman High School (SC), is the brainchild of James “Pooh” Abrams (Hoop-ology) and Curtis Wheeler (Upward Stars). According to Coach Abrams, they started the league to give players an opportunity to get better in a team atmosphere and to give the fans an early opportunity to see local talent.

The George Glymph Fall League fulfilled both goals. From the Bleachers, the team atmosphere was noticeable alongside the wealth of talent in the building. Featured in the games were players from the following Midland schools: Blythewood, Cardinal Newman, Heathwood Hall, Ridge View, Spring Valley and Sumter. Many of the players were Phenom SC Top 80 alumni including Blythewood’s Robert Braswell and Jonathan Breeland, Sumter’s CJ Felder, Spring Valley’s Julian Smith, and Ridge View’s Malcolm Wilson and James Crosby, to name a few.

Fall leagues provide a wealth of information to coaches sitting in the bleachers. Because high school coaches aren’t allowed to coach, one can sit back and gauge the up and coming talent. Also, many schools have players participating in other sports. That latter allows younger players an opportunity to showcase their skills.

From the bleachers, I was impressed with the Cardinal Newman Cardinals and how they moved the ball. They made the extra pass. The ball never stuck; allowing the vast majority of their shots to be uncontested. With their shooters and athleticism, they should have a productive season.

As stated, a lot of talent was in the building. The following players were eye-catching:

6’0” 2018 Brandon Pirie (Cardinal Newman HS, SC)

Brandon showcased the ability to knockdown the 3 ball as well as drive baseline and finish at the rim. He kept defenders confused. If they did not close-out it was a bucket. If they closed-out, he hit them with the ball fake, drive, and finish. He also has nice court vision and was able find teammates for multiple assist. Surprisingly, hustle is now considered a skill set and Mr. Pirie possesses that skill. He will be tough to guard this season.

6’0” 2021 Tyler Rice (Ridge View HS, SC)

Mr. Rice has become a familiar name on the South Carolina basketball scene. The high skill set and basketball IQ have always been present in his game. Most exciting is that his game is maturing right before our eyes and that is dangerous for opponents. Equally adept at passing with both hands, he displayed that skill by threading the needle on two consecutive 75 foot assists. He led his team with a confidence typically reserved for older players. Play him too close, he gets into paint and makes things happen. Sag off of him, he drains the long ball. Tough!

6’3” 2019 Omar Croskey (Sumter HS, SC)

Omar was impressive. Long and springy with an explosive first step, Croskey plays the game with a controlled edge. He did it all. He defended all. Croskey blocked a shot, recovered the blocked, pushed the break and finished. He ran the point and was able to find teammates; though more suited to play the wing. That first step allows him to beat defenders off the dribble and get into the paint. He can create space to get his shot off. He has a nice left-handed 3 point stroke; connecting multiple times. He can score the ball. Mr. Croskey is one to watch.

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