Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it is time to go over some of the events that took place during November in the Southeast. The last 3 weeks have included a multitude of quality tournaments, allowing me to see lots of good teams and players. First up is the Carmel Tip-Off, which I’ve been going to the last 2 years. Some exceptional programs from North Carolina competed throughout the day at Carmel Christian and many guys rose to the occasion. Here are a few that left their mark.

6’3” Derin Saran (2023/Asheville School)
I quickly became fond of Saran’s game when I first watched him with Asheville School last high school season and felt like he was due for a heavy recruitment. The travel season was a bit quiet but things picked up for him during the fall and it looks like he has carried momentum into the season. Saran was arguably the most important player to his team in the whole event on Saturday as one of the lone ball-handlers for Asheville while facing off with a physical, defensive-minded Carmel Christian group. After a bit of a slow start, he settled in and created offense constantly for himself & others. Saran has good size, plays through contact well, and doesn’t allow himself to be rushed by defensive pressure. He has unique finishing ability with both hands in traffic and also has good vision kicking out to others when he draws help. Although not overly explosive, he is deceptive and changes speeds well to penetrate often. Saran is always composed and has a next-play mentality. As he keeps adding confidence and consistency to his 3-point shot, Saran should be a very productive college player.

6'2" Zion Walker (2024/Burlington School)
The highest scoring output of the day went to Walker, finishing with 33 points in a Double OT victory against Cannon. His performance in the 2nd half & the extra periods was particularly good, scoring 29 of those 33 after halftime. Nearly every possession down the stretch, the ball was in Walker’s hands and he was getting downhill to make something happen. A thick, muscular guard who has speed & a solid handle, Walker put nonstop pressure on the defense and often got all the way to the basket. He initiated & finished through contact multiple times while also showing he can make jumpers off the bounce. He came through time & time again and being able to sustain that type of effort & production in a long, physical game was very impressive. Burlington has big matchups throughout the year and they’ll need him to continue to step up.

6'4" Isaiah Henry (2025/Cannon)
Another physically imposing guard, Henry countered Walker with a great effort of his own in the Burlington-Cannon matchup. He came through in multiple big moments and finished with 31 points. Similar to how he caught my eye at CP3 Rising Stars, Henry quickly stood out with his advanced physical nature for a 2025 prospect. He used that to his advantage again, as his strength helped him in getting to the basket frequently. I also really liked how he rebounded against Burlington, securing 10 boards in the game with physicality, powerful leaping ability, and determination. This effort ignited transition and created second chances for Cannon. Henry continues to make strides as a shooter as well. He nailed 4 3’s, including a couple clutch ones, and has the form & release that leads me to think he could develop into a serious threat from deep. The boxes he checks and versatility he brings should result in him being a popular prospect down the road.

JJ Moore & Isaiah Tate (2023’s/Concord Academy)
Concord built a big lead in the 1st half versus Greensboro Day behind the play of their backcourt. Moore and Tate both came out aggressive in this matchup and lit it up from deep, connecting on 8 3’s combined and scoring 28 points before halftime. They played off of each other well and stayed ready to shoot but also used their speed & quickness to get inside, which also helped to open up more opportunities from deep. Being on the smaller side, Moore and Tate need to be reliable shooters. They showed that in this game and have proven to be capable with the ball in their hands in the past as well. GDS made a very impressive 2nd half push and Concord almost gave up their lead, but the production from those 2 led Concord to victory. Overall, they combined for 43 points and 10 made 3’s in this game. A week later, they combined for 21 points & 15 assists in a nice win over Asheville School. 

6'3" Antonio Perkins (2023/Northside Christian)
He didn’t necessarily have the loud moments like others mentioned in this piece, but I was impressed with his motor and overall level of impact in Northside’s win over Northwood Temple early in the day at the Carmel Tip-Off. He finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds and was key in helping them pull away in the 2nd half after a back & forth 1st half. I liked how he maintained a balance of his production both inside & outside the arc. In previous viewings, I felt like he hunted his 3-point shot a little too much at times, but in this matchup that was not the case. He made 2 3’s but was also very assertive as a cutter, runner in transition, and offensive rebounder. His timing on the glass was good and he snuck in multiple times for extra opportunities. Perkins has good size and an ideal skillset for a college wing; he’ll open the eyes of coaches with more showings similar to this one.