Sunday, December 17, 2006

Holiday Hoops time

The holiday season is upon us and that means it is tournament time. We take a broad stroke look at the tournaments in the state and the trips that teams are making out of the state. If you notice an event is missing or have a website address for one of the listed events, please email Justin Young at

Chick-Fil-A Classic, Columbia, S.C. Dec. 19-22
Georgia teams involved: Dunwoody, Meadowcreek
(GEORGIAHOOPS will be in attendance)

Atlanta Public Schools Holiday Classic, Various schools (finals at Southside), Dec. 16-23
Teams involved: Therrell, Washington, South Atlanta, Southside, Mays, Douglass, Grady

Peach State Holiday Classic, Atlanta (Morehouse College) Dec. 27-30
Georgia teams involved: Banneker, Bradwell Institute, Creekside, Douglass, Griffin, Lithonia, Lovejoy, Mays, Miller Grove, Morrow, Mundy’s Mill, North Clayton, Riverdale, South Atlanta, Southwest Dekalb, Tri-Cities, Tucker
Website: (not updated)
(GEORGIAHOOPS will be in attendance)

Roundball Classic, Charleston, SC - Dec. 26-30
Georgia teams involved: Dunwoody, East Hall, Savannah Johnson

Deep South Classic, Lilburn, Ga. (at Brookwood & South Gwinnett HS) Dec. 27-30
Georgia teams involved: Brookwood, Central Gwinnett, Chattahoochee, Collins Hill, Mill Creek, Milton, North Atlanta, North Cobb, Peachtree Ridge, South Gwinnett, Tallulah Falls, Walton

Powerade Holiday Classic, Suwannee, Ga. (at North Gwinnett HS) Dec. 27-30
Georgia teams involved: Berkmar, Decatur, Douglas Co., Lakeside-Dekalb, Lithia Springs, North Gwinnett, Parkview, Redan

Campbell Classic, Smyrna, Ga. (at Campbell HS) Dec. 27-30
Georgia teams involved: Campbell, Kennesaw Mountain, Lassiter, Marietta, McNair, Pope, Roswell, Sprayberry

Kingdom of the Sun, Ocala, Fla. (at Vanguard HS) Dec. 27-30
Georgia teams involved: Columbia, Monroe, Whitfield Academy

Academy National Invitational, Houston, TX - Dec. 28-30
Georgia team involved: Norcross
(GEORGIAHOOPS will be in attendance)

Sweet South Classic, Madison, Ga. (at Madison Co. HS) Dec. 28-30
Georgia teams involved: Hillgrove, Loganville, McEachern, Monticello, Morgan Co., Northview, Putnam Co., Rockdale Co., Talifero Co., Winder-Barrow

Les Schwab Invitational, Portland, OR – Dec. 28-30
Georgia team involved: Wheeler

Jr. Orange Bowl Classic, Miami, FL – Dec. 28-30
Georgia team involved: Cherokee

Playground Classic, Fort Walton, FL – Dec. 28-30
Georgia team involved: Rome

High Point Enterprise Christmas Classic, High Point, NC - Dec. 28-30
Georgia team involved: Grayson

Bojangles High School Classic, Charlotte, NC - Dec. 28-30
Georgia team involved: Southwest Atlanta Christian

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dunwoody, Graham rams Rome

DUNWOODY, GA – With a minute left to play, Dunwoody forward Delwan Graham took a knee during a free throw and looked at his cheering section and said with a sigh, “Man, I’m tired.”

He should be. The 6-foot-7 junior put in a big time effort in Dunwoody’s 81-55 win over Rome.

Graham scored 19 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, blocked four shots, passed out four assists and recorded three steals. Rome simply had no answer for the athletic forward. In the first half, Graham was a monster on the boards and used his high-energy motor to grab nine boards and created opportunties for Dunwoody to score around the cup.

“I probably wake up about 4 o’clock tomorrow afternoon,” Graham said half joking, half serious.

Graham played 30 minutes and made the most of it on every possession. If he wasn’t rebounding, he was scoring on his own offensive rebounds. If he wasn’t blocking or altering shots, he was frustrating Rome’s 6-foot-10 center Tony Woods.

Offensively, Graham wasn’t the only weapon for the Wildcats. Dunwoody relied on sharp shooting of Georgia bound guard Zac Swansey. The 6-foot-3 senior finished with a game high 24 points. No one shoots a better midrange jumper than he does.

Swansey didn’t miss a shot in the second half and looked very comfortable with his dribble drive and pop and shot shooting. The future Bulldog has been Dunwoody’s scoring force from the backcourt this season.

Rome struggled with turnovers, with Woods turning it over eight times himself. Woods, a high-major prospect, finished with eight points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots. Sophomore guard Jamalcolm Griffin led Rome with 17 points.

Dunwoody travels to South Carolina next week for the Chick-Fil-A Classic. Georgia Hoops will also be there.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Week 3 Superlatives

Top player of the week: Lance Storrs, Columbia
Top senior of the week: Lance Storrs, Columbia
Top unsigned senior of the week: Dexter Shaw, Cass
Top junior of the week: Al-Farouq Aminu, Norcross
Top sophomore of the week: Cory Warn, Cass
Top freshman of the week: Phil Taylor, Wheeler
Top sleeper of the week: Dexter Shaw, Cass

Teams watched in Week 3: Covenant Christian, Urban Christian, Shaw, East Paulding, Columbia, Wheeler, Norcross, Oak Hill Academy

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Countdown to the Main Event

I’ll admit it. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas right now. Thursday’s games at Georgia Tech is as good as you are going to get in the state this year. Three of the top teams in the Peach State will be on national television and the nation’s most talked about basketball school is coming to town. Honestly, does it get any better than this?

Here are a couple of storylines that I’m incredibly interested in:

Columbia’s Jeremy Price vs. Wheeler’s J.J. Hickson

Hickson is the top player in the state in our senior rankings but he saw the 5A title slip out of his team’s hands last year to Beach. Price, a Georgia signee, helped Columbia win a 4A title. Both are big time big men. Both are giant in size and both are very solid players in the paint.

Price continues to get better and for whatever reason, he doesn’t have the same kind of respect that other big men in the state get. I am a big fan of his game and look forward to seeing him grind it out with Hickson.

Hickson, on the other hand, has been chomping at the bit to hit the hardwood. This is his first game of the season and with the goal of being a McDonald’s All-American, expect him to come out looking for a big game on national television.

Both big men should be double-double players in this one.

Oak Hill’s Howard Thompkins vs. Norcross’s Al-Farouq Aminu

Honestly, who doesn’t want to see this? The two have known each other since middle school and former Wesleyan teammates are looking forward to the match-up.

Before Thompkins left for Oak Hill this summer, I had Aminu as the top player in the state for a number of reasons. For starters, he looked outstanding against on the national circuit until July came around. Potentially, he could be downright scary. In their one-time meeting on the circuit, Aminu got the best of Thompkins at the Wallace Prather Classic.

Thompkins finished the summer strong and is in the best shape he has been in (maybe even before his appendectomy surgery last season). He’s a double-double machine at Oak Hill and is the team’s most versatile big man. I had him penciled in as the state’s second best player in his class prior to his move to Virginia.

In all likelihood, the two will play each other again for the majority of the game. Expect nothing less than a great back and forth battle amongst friends.

Both are amongst the top 12 players in the country in the 2008 class if that gives you any indication of how much of a regard I have for their game, skill set and pure potential.

FYI, here is a good read from the Gwinnett Daily Post on the match-up. Click link to read it.

Oak Hill’s guards

If Dunwoody’s guards had their way with Norcross, then can you imagine with Brandon Jennings (the top point guard in the nation in the 2008 class), Nolan Smith (a Duke signee and son of the late Derrick Smith) and Alex Legion (a Michigan signee) will do against the Blue Devils? Tony Neysmith can only defend so much.

Oak Hill’s guards will be the difference maker. It could get ugly if Norcross can’t match with their strength – size, speed and athleticism inside.


What a treat to have three of the best coaches in the state on the same floor on the same night. Each one brings a different facet to the game. Columbia’s Phil McCrary will slow the game down and pound it inside. Wheeler’s Doug Lipscomb will pressure you on defense from end to end and push the ball up the floor. Norcross’s Eddie Martin has done a lot with little and doing even more with a lot. This year is the best team he’s ever had. For the youngsters that are in the crowd or watching from home, take note of how the players respond to their coaches. You won’t see any selfish knuckleheads on these teams. Same goes for Steve Smith of Oak Hill. He’s coached at least two dozen pros.

Hi, my name is…

If you haven’t seen Columbia’s Travis Leslie or Wheeler’s Ari Stewart, you are in for a treat. Leslie could potentially crack into SportsCenter’s top 10 plays for the today on Thursday. The kid is a ridiculous athlete. He showed that at the Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase. Stewart, a 6-7 sophomore wing, is a budding star. He’ll pick and choose his moments. When those moments come, he’ll look like one of the top players in the state. Both are waiting to break out on the big stage.

Coming to the ACC shortly

There are six future ACC players in the field.

Gani Lawal (Norcross), Lance Storrs (Norcross) – Georgia Tech
Jordan DeMercy (Norcross), Julian Vaughn (Oak Hill) – Florida State
J.J. Hickson – NC State
Nolan Smith – Duke

The envelope please

Finally, here are my picks for the games on Thursday. Wheeler shakes off the first half dust and comes away with a hard fought win. Oak Hill’s guards prove to be the difference maker. The Warriors win by double digits.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cass rides Shaw, Warn all the way

CARTERSVILLE, GA - The plan was simple for Cass High School on Tuesday night against East Paulding. Don’t let the big guys on the other team get touches or rebounds. After all, the first time the two teams played, East Paulding used that formula to win.

Not this time.

Cass limited East Paulding’s big men to put backs and few touches in their offensive schemes and picked up a hard fought 83-72 victory. Of course, getting 61 points from their guards never hurts either.

Cass (3-1) head coach Ed Riddle looked to senior Dexter Shaw early and often as the unsigned prospect went off from all spots on the floor.

Shaw looked every bit of a top 20 player in the state. The unsigned senior was outstanding on the offensive side of the floor. Shaw finished with a flawless 32 points (9-16 FG, 13-15 FT, 3-10 from three) in the victory. Shaw, a 6-4 shooting guard, added seven rebounds, six assists and four steals to his attack.

“He plays like you want your seniors to play like,” Riddle said. “Any time you can have a scorer go to the line like he can, he’s going to be automatic for you. We’re going to try to get him to the line as much as we can.

“He can get up on you and then take one step and he’s gone. He’s so quick and real smooth with the ball and with his shot.”

Shaw, who is averaging 28.2 points a game this year, said he wants to go out swinging in his final year at Cass.

“I’m gong to try to the best that I can every time out and leave Cass High School the best I can,” Shaw said. “But I want to motivate some of these younger players for next year and the year after that.”

The young guys are watching and listening. Sophomore Cory Warn was just as spectacular. The 6-3 slasher finished with 29 points (9-16 FG, 6-11 FT, 3-5 from three).

“He’s just a sophomore and he’s realizing that it is all about players wanting it more,” Riddle said. “When we need to score, we’re going to look to him and to Dexter. Tonight, (Warn) was playing good defense the whole game and he was making things happen.”

Warn was a disruptive force on the defensive end and forced a number of East Paulding (2-1) turnovers.

East Paulding had success in the first match-up, particularly inside with 6-10 center Jon Pack. On Tuesday night, the senior big man was limited to five shot attempts. He finished with a season low five points but did coral 10 rebounds. Senior Rodney Johnson scored a team high 20 points and brought down 12 rebounds. Most of his points came on put back scores inside.

GEORGIAHOOPS Player of the Game: Dexter Shaw, Sr. , Shaw

Monday, December 04, 2006

November Player of the Month: Chris Allen, Meadowcreek

November is behind us and the first month of the season is in the books. After looking over our notes and talking with coaches from all levels, we are happy to announce the first player of the month of the season.
Chris Allen, the 6-4 senior guard from Meadowcreek High School, has been named the GEORGIAHOOPS Plyayer of the Month in November. The Michigan State bound guard put on a show at Georgia Tech against Whitefield Academy, one of the best teams in the state, two days after Thanksgiving.
Allen scored 42 points, including an eye-popping 20 of 24 from the foul line. Offensively, Allen is one of the best guards the state has seen over the last 10 years. He and his Meadowcreek club have the players in line to be a contender for the AAAAA state title.
Congratulations to Allen for the first Player of the Month award of the year.
(Photo: Courtesy of Tom McConnell)

Week 2 Superlatives

Top player of the week: Ralph Sampson, III, Northview
Top senior of the week: DeAndre Washington, McEachern
Top unsigned senior of the week: DeAndre Washington, McEachern
Top junior of the week: Ralph Sampson, III, Northview
Top sophomore of the week: None
Top freshman of the week: Trae Golden, McEachern
Top sleeper of the week: Daniel Stryzinski, Northview

Teams watched in week 2: Berkmar, Harrison, McEachern, Northview, Savannah and South Cobb.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

South Cobb gets early postseaon prep in win

AUSTELL, GA – For South Cobb High School, the games played at the start of the season are meant for preparation for the postseason. On Saturday, the Eagles learned a little something about what it will take to advance in the state tournament.

South Cobb picked apart Savannah High School 78-62 at home in a game that was dominated by guard play.

New South Cobb (3-2) head coach Daniel Bowles said the win was big for his Eagles club.

“Anytime you can get a win against a team like Savannah, you have to be happy,” Bowles said. “That was a game with pride on the line for these kids and to beat a team with that kind of rich tradition was good for them.”

Savannah is generally one of the toughest teams in the state and coach Tim Jordan will always have a roster with players that can fill it up in a hurry and challenge teams in the open court.

South Cobb (4-2) is no different. The Eagles relied on the speedy play of point guard
De’Marion Gordon and tough as nails senior Adam Callaway to help lead the charge. Gordon scored nine points and handed out six assists in the victory while Callaway had an effective 14 points.

“De’Marion hit the game winning shot the night before against Kennesaw Mountain and today he was just a player that made plays,” Bowles said. “He’s a special player. He shot some tough shots and made them.”

The Eagles are working senior wing Austin Kelly back into the rotation slowly. The Duke bound wide receiver injured his ankle in the last game of the football season. The 6-3 senior still provided a spark as he came off the bench to grab five rebounds, hand out three assists and block a couple of shots.

Alvin Jones, a 6-3 junior forward, was the junkyard dog for the Eagles as he did the dirty work inside and knocked down a number of midrange jumpers.

Savannah point guard Norris Rumph, a 6-1 junior, was injured on the first possession of the game, falling hard and injuring his back and neck. He sat out the first quarter because of the injury. His loss allowed South Cobb to go on a 18-2 lead to start the game.

Upon returning, Rumph helped close the gap and was the steady force in the backcourt in all phases. He finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists.

While Rumph was the calm force, Savannah relied on leading scorer Kevin Williams. The 5-11 guard scored a game high 27 points (9-23 FG, 4-12 from deep) in the defeat.

South Cobb plays McEachern, a tough region battle, on Tuesday in Austell.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Northview is tall order for Berkmar

LILBURN, GA – Luckily for Northview High School, games are won by whoever has the most points and not by whoever plays the prettiest. The Titans picked up a 53-37 win against Berkmar High School on Friday night.

Northview (4-0) leaned on the presence of 6-10 big man Ralph Sampson, III inside the paint and played a solid defensive-minded game. The junior lead the way with 18 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in the victory.

Sampson, who is coming off a MVP performance at the Forsyth Turkey Shootout, was an intimidating force around the basket and helped keep Berkmar from getting into the paint. Northview held the Patriots to 13 points in the middle quarters. Sampson’s presence had a lot to do with that. He blocked a number of shots on consecutive attempts and sent a message on the defensive end.

“At first, they weren’t too intimidated but as the game went along they became a bit shaky on bringing it inside. I feel like we just wore them down,” Sampson said.

Sampson wasn’t alone on the glass. Junior guard Daniel Stryzinski was outstanding on the boards, grabbing a dozen rebounds. The son of former Atlanta Falcon punter of the same name was a spark of energy for the team and helped set the tone on the defensive end.

The 6-3 junior added seven points, three assists and a pair of blocks. He didn’t take a shot in the first half but had a giant contribution in the flow of Northview’s success.

Junior A.J. Hawkins added eight rebonds and 11 points in the victory. The 6-6 post is a nice compliment to Sampson’s size and Stryzinski’s versatility. The trio combine for a strong force down low in region 6-AAAAA.

“Our combination is pretty good,” Sampson said of his frontline mates. “We do get a lot of rebounds and we work hard at cleaning the glass. We know we have to play together and rebound really hard if we want to win.”

That combination was the difference maker.

Berkmar (2-3) was led by junior wing Wesley Witherspoon, who scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and swiped seven steals.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Golden effort for McEachern

POWDER SPRINGS, GA -- College basketball’s Feast Week may be over but Cobb County served up a nice rivalry game on Tuesday night at McEachern High School as the Indians hosted cross town opponent Harrison.

It took two and a half quarters to get it rolling but McEachern put it into an extra gear in the third quarter to pick up a 66-52 win over Harrison. The Indians rode the strong play of freshman guard Trae Golden, who scored 24 points in the victory.

Golden shot nine of 14 from the floor and converted six straight free throws in the second half to put Harrison away. The 6-foot-1 guard didn’t play like a kid in his first high school home game against a rival opponent.

“I wanted to come out there and be unselfish and help my team win. I did what I had to do and if that meant scoring the ball, that’s what I did,” Golden said. “I’m just a freshman on the team and I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”

Coach Nick Chaykowsky, in his first home game at McEachern, came out with a royal blue blazer that would make the bright color-friendly Bruce Pearl proud. He also came out with incredible confidence in his young star.

“Boy, he does a lot for a freshman. He’ll do more than some seniors," Chaykowsky said. "He has an innate ability to score. The things he does, man it’s special. We have a lot of senior leaders that keep him under control and don’t let him settle.”

Golden plays with an old school flair and great body control when attacking the basket. All nine of his made field goals were right at the basket and several buckets were highly contested or converted into three point plays.

Several of Golden’s points came from the sharp passing of senior E.C. Williams and quick outlet passing from forward DeAndre Washington. Williams had a solid nine points and four assists in the game while Washington was a force down low, scoring 10 points and collecting 15 rebounds. Washington’s ability to control the glass was huge in the second half.

“That was the key part for us,” Washington said. “We wanted to get the ball and then push it up the floor and make them guard us. We’re going to have to keep it going and keep working hard.”

Williams, an athletic combo guard, showed no ill affects of a sprained ankle in the off-season and dazzled with the ball in his hands.

“We had to strap it down and step up and play team ball,” Williams said. “We know each other so well and we know what each of us can do. We just had to remember that.”

Harrison was led by junior Matt Sundberg's 12 points and junior Gerald Smith came off the bench to score eight points and played solid defense.

Valdosta State and Georgia College & State University were both in the house to see the action.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just a Minute with Justin Young

The first week of basketball is in the books and the season is looking as wide open as ever. Norcross loses to Dunwoody in a scrimmage, who in turn barely beats Milton in overtime. Riverdale beats Columbia in a scrimmage and then loses to Mill Creek.

The lesson learned from the first week of basketball? Anything is possible.

Expect a long, and fun, year on the high school scene. Parity has struck the Georgia prep scene and from the outside looking in, that is what makes this state such a fun place to watch high school hoops. What will happen this year? Buckle up and here we go.

After watching Chris Allen play, I have to wonder, is he the best player in the state? Getting to the line 24 times against a team like Whitefield Academy is impressive. That is a pro quality to his game.

Let’s see what Gani Lawal and J.J. Hickson have to offer this year.

I bumped into Howard Thompkins at the Jump Ball Jam Classic at Georgia Tech. He looked great and looks to be back in 100 percent shape. He has Dec. 7 circled on his calendar, much like the rest of us, as his Oak Hill team comes to Georgia Tech to take on the defending 5A state champions. He’ll line up against his former Wesleyan teammate Al-Farouq Aminu, Georgia Hoops’s No. 1 player in the class of 2008. Thompkins was the No. 2 ranked player in the state’s 2008 before he left for Oak Hill. Needless to say, it is a match-up certainly worth watching.

Whitefield Academy always has talented young players on the roster and this year is no different. I’m a huge Brandon Reed fan. And quickly became a huge Cameron Baskerville fan. He was the best post player that I saw last week. Did I mention he is only 6-6? If he grows to 6-8 (or taller), he’ll be one of the top big men in his class (and maybe even nationally).

Speaking of size, I didn’t recognize Whitefield senior Kelvin McConnell. My goodness, I need to get on that weight program. The sharpshooter dropped over 40 pounds and looks great. He’ll be counted on for the Wolfpack’s run to the Class A title this year.

Cherokee High School ’s staff - Roger Kvam and Bob VanAlstyne - must be commended on a great Jump Ball Jam Classic at Georgia Tech. They put a lot of time and work into the event and the games could not have been more exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing more events like that in the future.

Kudos to the University of Georgia ’s coaching staff. Dennis Felton and assistant coach Desmond Oliver did something that a lot of coaches don’t do. They brought their families out to the event. A lot of coaching staffs preach family atmosphere. Georgia is proving that they live that. FYI…all of the staffs in Georgia are very good family people. We are really blessed with great coaching staffs in this state.

Here’s a commitment that slipped under our nose: Westlake ’s Bryson Barnes is headed to Furman. Good get for the Paladins. He along with Milton ’s Connor Nolte will make for a good duo on the wing. Nolte was outstanding against Dunwoody over the weekend.

I’m off to the Harrison at McEachern game tonight. It should be a good one. McEachern freshman Trae Golden is off to a hot start. The 6-2 rookie is averaging over 20 points a game. The Indians have a good looking team and a new coach that is getting it done in Nick Chaykowski.

The trip marks my first trip to McEachern since Morris Almond and Josh Smith played there. Thinking of that, there fewer players that I respect more in basketball than Almond. I was a huge Almond fan when he suited up for the Indians in 2002-2003. I wrote:

“Morris Almond would be a great addition to any program. He understands the game of basketball. If you need interior rebounding, he'll do it. If you need a big three, he'll hit it. And the beautiful thing about his game, is his demeanor. He isn't a showboater. He just does the job. I love that.

Off of the court, he's about as good of a prospect as you'd want. He's great in the classroom. He comes from a good family. That shows in his character.”

As a freshman at Rice, a school he picked over the likes of Indiana and Notre Dame, Almond played sparingly. As a sophomore, he came off the bench to average 7.2 points per game. As a junior, he earned a starting spot and became a first team All-Conference selection in the Conference USA and led the league in scoring with 21.9 points a game. Now he is a top target for NBA teams.

Almond put in the work, didn’t worry about meaningless things like rankings and is now putting himself in a position to play in the NBA all the while earning a degree from one of the best universities in the nation. There is something to be said about that.

Since I ran my camp, I’ve had a lot of parents asking me what they can do to help their sons in the recruiting process.

My answer is always this: 1. Worry about the education aspect because basketball will take care of itself if you respect the game. 2. Listen to coaching. Colleges want to recruit guys that are coachable, whether or not you or your son thinks the coach knows what he is doing. 3. Stay grounded. Don’t look for an answer at another school or taking an un-needed prep year. 4. Don’t worry about rankings. They have and they never will pay for an education. By the way, Florida was ranked 71 in last year’s preseason poll. They were the National Champions.

I say all of this because Almond was a guy (as was his family) that did things the right way. They worked hard at finding the right fit for a college. Almond remained patient and worked hard for his playing time. He could have transferred to an easier school or a more primetime program. But in the end, it is all about accountability.

So what can you do to help support your son or player? Simple, do just that. Support them. And most of all, enjoy this year.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Week 1 Superlatives

After watching 14 teams last week, Georgia Hoops unviels our Week 1 Superlatives.

Top player of the week: Chris Allen, Meadowcreek (Michigan State)
Top senior of the week: Chris Allen, Meadowcreek (Michigan State)
Top unsigned senior of the week: Jahaziel Howard, Southwest Atlanta Christian
Top junior of the week: Chris Singleton, Cherokee
Top sophomore of the week: Cameron Baskerville, Whitefield Academy
Top freshman of the week: None
Top sleeper of the week: Joel Lamb, Southwest Atlanta Christian

(NOTE: We will only name players that we see in a week's time.)
Teams watched this week: Cherokee, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Milton, Parkview, Riverdale, Southwest Atlanta Christian, Stephenson, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Wesleyan, Whitefield Academy

Saturday, November 25, 2006

All-American effort from Allen

ATLANTA, GAChris Allen could do no wrong on Saturday night in the final game of the Jump Ball Jam Classic as he helped his Meadowcreek team claim a big 90-83 win over Whitefield Academy at Georgia Tech.

Allen, a Michigan State signee, scored a flawless 42 points in the victory and was nearly automatic from the foul line, converting 20 of 24 shots from the charity stripe.

If it was a matter of getting into the lane, Allen did it for buckets. If it was a matter of getting to the foul line, he got it done. Ball handling? He put on a clinic. There wasn’t a thing he could not do offensively against a very good and scrappy defensive team.

Allen had help from Navy bound big man Mark Veazy in the first half as the 6-foot-10 post put up 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in his time on the floor.

Whitefield Academy, the No. 2 team in the state’s Class A division by Georgia Hoops, fought hard and had major contributions from it’s starters. Cameron Baskerville was outstanding down low, playing much bigger than his 6-foot-6 frame. The sophomore scored 19 points and grabbed 14 man-sized rebounds.

Seniors Kelvin McConnell and Junard Hartley both scored 18 points while sophomore guard Brandon Reed poured in 17 points, most coming in the second half.

Dunwoody picks up sloppy win

ATLANTA, GA – Another game, another overtime thriller at the Jump Ball Jam Classic at Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon. Dunwoody needed an extra four minutes to put Milton away 60-58.

Senior forward Taylor Brown tipped in an offensive rebound to give Dunwoody (1-0) the last second victory. The 6-foot-5 forward was at the right place at the right time as he secured the loose ball and threw up the shot as the buzzer sounded.

Dunwoody, the two time 3A state champs, looked lethargic throughout the game. Less than a week after beating Norcross, one of the top teams in the nation, in a scrimmage, Dunwoody didn’t seem to have any focus throughout the game.

Senior Bobby Perdue led Dunwoody with 13 points while junior guard Pierre Jordan added 12 points as did Georgia bound guard Zac Swansey. Brown added seven.

Connor Nolte, a Furman signee, was outstanding in defeat for the Lions. The 6-foot-6 lefty scored a game high 31 points and was unconscious in the first half, scoring at will. Milton had a strong 17 from senior guard Tony Smith.

Overtime thriller - Cherokee hangs on

ATLANTA, GA -- After leading by as many as 14 at one point, Cherokee High School held off a dazzling second half performance from Wesleyan's Tanner Smith to claim a 58-57 overtime win at Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon in the first game of the Jump Ball Jam Classic.

Smith scored 25 points in the second half and helped force the game into overtime but had his shot blocked by Cherokee's star junior Chris Singleton with 16 seconds to play in the overtime period.

Singleton's play in the overtime period (five points and two key blocks) proved to be the difference maker. Singleton finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and five steals in the win and helped Cherokee claim their first win of the year. Smith finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds for Wesleyan (2-2).

Georgia Hoops will have more throughout the day live from Georgia Tech.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Action from the Parkview Basketball Tip-Off Classic

Mill Creek 55, Riverdale 50

LILBURN, GA -- Two games into the high school season parity found a way to creep into the picture. Mill Creek knocked off Riverdale, a top team in 4A, in the second round of the Parkview Basketball Tip-Off Classic in an exciting 55-50 win.

Spencer Gay, an unsigned 6-foot-5 senior, earned the respect of the number of high school coaches in the crowd. Gay was Mill Creek’s top player in the game, scoring 16 points, grabbing four rebounds and collecting a pair of blocks and assists.

Gay had help from Jermaine Jackson, who scored 17 points. The strong bodied senior guard was the spark in the second half on both sides of the ball.

Chris Barnes, a Georgia signee, was a non-factor in the first half and missed out on a couple of key offensive rebounds late in the game. The 6-foot-8 forward finished with a quiet 11 points, four blocks and three rebounds.

Turnovers plagued the game from start to finish as both teams struggled to protect the ball and execute crisp passing.

Mill Creek will play Southwest Atlanta Christian on Tuesday for the championship while Riverdale will play the tournament host Parkview.

GEORGIAHOOPS Player of the Game: Spencer Gay, Mill Creek

Southwest Atlanta Christian 60, Parkview 51

For the first time in a long time, Southwest Atlanta Christian does not have a McDonald’s All-American leading the way for Courtney Brooks. So what do the Warriors do in the first year post-Crittenton/Howard? They put the ball into the hands of the most experienced player – Jahaziel Howard.

Dwight’s little brother is carving out his own niche and looking like a solid Division I player in his own right. The 6-foot-5 versatile wing scored 19 points to lead SACA to a 60-51 win over Parkview.

Howard did a little bit of everything, mostly in the first half as he scored 14 points in the first 16 minutes. The Warriors relied on the dynamic rebounding of 6-foot-7 junior Joel Lamb, who collected 10 boards, and the quick strike scoring of 6-foot-3 junior guard Dorian Smith, who added 11 key points in the second half.

Yaw Gyawu helped lead the late fourth quarter Parkview surge, scoring 11 of his 23 points in the second half. The 6-foot-3 guard’s efforts proved to be a little late in the game for the Panthers.

GEORGIAHOOPS Player of the Game: Jahaziel Howard, Southwest Atlanta Christian

Other news and notes from the tournament:

Tanner Smith had a huge game in Wesleyan’s blow out win over St. Pius. The top 10 junior in the state dropped in 31 points in the victory and made it look easy. Wesleyan and St. Pius will participate in the Jump Ball Jam Classic at Georgia Tech on Sat., Nov. 25.

Kennesaw State was the only Division I school in attendance for the tournament on Monday night. Assistant coach Evan Black is one of the rising recruiters in the state. FYI, the Owls play host to Atlantic 10 power George Washington on Tuesday night at the Convocation Center.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Week 1 Notebook - Jackets cruise, Owls fall

Buckle up. The hoops season is officially here. Georgia Hoops had a chance to slide out and catch a couple of local college games this weekend.

On Friday, Georgia Tech tipped off their season against Elon College of North Carolina. The Jackets beat the Southern Conference school easily, 83-49.

The freshmen were impressive, combining for 48 points in the victory. Javaris Crittenton led the way with 17 points, five assists and five rebounds. For those that watched last year’s Jackets, Crittenton has upped the pace of the game. He is quick from end to end and powers his way into the lane with ease.

Memphis native Thaddeus Young was equally impressive, scoring 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. It is easy to see why he is considered one of the top players in the ACC, regardless of class. He was one of the few Jackets that got on the floor for loose balls and made plays off of offensive rebounds. Enjoy him as long as you can. He won’t be in Atlanta for very long.

Zach Peacock and Mouhammad Faye combined for 16 points. Former Crisp County star Lewis Clinch scored 14 points in the win and was the perimeter spark while Anthony Morrow slowly works himself back into 100 percent after a back injury he suffered in the preseason.

Recruits on hand were plenty. Signees Gani Lawal of Norcross and Lance Storrs of Columbia were both there. 2008 target Chris Singleton of Cherokee was on hand. So was 2009 stud Derrick Favors of South Atlanta. Talk about getting it done on the recruiting front.

FYI, Storrs says he will be running the point at Columbia this season. Mark this date down on your calendar: Dec. 27 at Morehouse College. Favors, the No. 3 ranked player in the class of 2009, according to, will play DeMarcus Cousins, the No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2009, according to, at the Peach State Classic.

On Saturday, we made the quick trip over to Kennesaw State as the Owls played host to Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers knocked out the Owls quickly, winning 96-55.

Former Norcross star Daniel Emerson returned back the Atlanta area and played well in front of friends and family. The 6-foot-8 forward has transformed his body and knows how to use it even better in the paint, scoring 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. Former Macon area star Mike Walker is also on the WKU roster. He added four points and six rebounds in the victory.

The Hilltoppers have a great looking squad. Courtney Lee is one of the best players in the country that no one knows about. Freshman guard A.J. Slaughter looked good as well, scoring 18 points and was automatic from three all night long. Don’t sleep on Darrin Horn’s team in March.

The Owls have done a tremendous job of building a strong community within the high school ranks. Etowah, Walton, Norcross and Harrison had full rosters at the game while a number of other prospects were in attendance for the game.
If you know Tony Ingle, you can see why the community is starting to catch on to the excitement going on off Chastain Road. Next up at home for the Owls is George Washington on Nov. 21.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Georgia Hoops preseason top 10 - 4A

Can anyone knock off Columbia, a top 20 team in the country, this season? That is the question that will bounce around the powerful and deep 4A class. Georgia Hoops unveils our preseason top 10 picks.

1. Columbia (6A-AAAA) – Nearly everyone is back. And they might be even better than last year’s state championship team. Big man Jeremy Price and wing Lance Storrs will demand the most attention while transfer Dante Harvey, a 6-foot-6 Division I signee, adds to the strong frontline. Juniors Travis Leslie and Darius Morrow will certainly be featured.

2. Westlake (2-AAAA) – A move to 4A shouldn’t change the way this team plays, especially with Darren Rogers leading the way. Seniors Bryson Barnes and hold it down around the basket while juniors Gideon Gamble and Khamori Watts are sparks on the wings. Finding a point guard to glue it all together is the key for the Lions.

3. Stone Mountain (6A-AAAA) – With an athletic and quick team to work with new coach William Johnson has to like his chances with seniors Terrell Bell, Andrew Goudelock and Raylin Brown. Bell is one of the most versatile players in the state while Goudelock can bury the long ball and Brown is deadly above the rim.

4. Tucker (6B-AAAA) – Sure, Cameron Tatum, one of the elite players in the state from last year, is gone. But back is Jeremy Simmons, the most underappreciated player in the state. The 6-foot-7 forward is consistent and he has youthful help in rising star Manny Atkins on board help ease the scoring punch lost by Tatum.

5. Cherokee (5A-AAAA) – Chris Singleton is a different player these days. The 6-foot-9 wing is bigger, stronger and more poised with his game. He alone will raise the level of play of an already strong team. The Warriors have fundamentally sound guards and it doesn’t hurt that Roger Kvam is one of the best coaches in the state.

6. Riverdale (4-AAAA) – Future Georgia Bulldog Chris Barnes is one of the top big men in the state and he’s motivated to make some noise this season. Joined with his younger brother Terrell, a 6-foot-7, and 6-foot-6 forward Jeremy Allen, the team has plenty of potential for a postseason run.

7. Griffin (4-AAAA) – Never bet against Ferris Qualls, one of the best coaches in the state. He’ll have this team ready to compete once again this year. With the sharp-shooting and speed of Sidney Harris and the post versatility from Charles Corbin, the Bears will be a staple this season in 4A.

8. Chapel Hill (5B-AAAA) – Gone is Matt Heramb, who is now at Auburn but back is Brian Mills, who signed with Mercer. Mills, a 6-foot-7 forward, is a more complete player and the team returns a solid team with good size.

9. Lithia Springs (5B-AAAA) – Buckle up, the Lions will push the ball. Sophomore Rico Spear will be one to watch and is one of the rising stars of the loaded 2009 class. Jason Slate’s crew played well in the summer and should have a big year this season.

10. Cedar Shoals (8B-AAAA) – With guard Chris Kupets back for his senior year, the boys from Athens will be amongst the top scoring offenses in 4A. Kupets could very well be amongst the top scorers in the state across all classifications.

Your thoughts are welcomed. Make a post on the comment board and spread the word about the Georgia Hoops blog!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Georgia Hoops preseason top 10 - 5A

Make no mistake about it. Georgia’s 5A class is the real deal. With three teams in the national top 50 and a number of programs all contending for the top 10, this year should be a wild ride. Georgia Hoops breaks down our preseason top 10 schools in 5A.

1. Norcross (7-AAAAA) – The defending state champions are amongst the best teams in the country. The consensus top five nationally ranked program has three Division I signees starting in Gani Lawal, Tony Neysmith, and Jordan DeMercy and the best junior in the state in Al-Farouq Aminu. Now throw in the state’s top coach in Eddie Martin and the Blue Devils are tough to beat.

2. Wheeler (6-AAAAA) – Close behind the Blue Devils are the Wildcats, the traditional powerhouse. Can Doug Lipscomb help WHS win it’s fourth state title in the last six years? With J.J. Hickson, the state’s top player, on board, Wheeler is tough to beat. They were knocked out of the tournament before tasting the state title game. Guard play determines their success.

3. Meadowcreek (8-AAAAA) – A 1-2 punch of Chris Allen, a Michigan State signee, and junior Teondre Williams is as athletic as it gets. Allen is the most dynamic scorer in the state and Williams is much improved compared to last year and his confidence is at an all-time high.

4. Beach (3-AAAAA) – Last year’s playoff shocker team has the respect of the state and the majority of the team is back with a new coach in Russell Ellington, who instantly gives this team maturity and valuable experience at the helm. Big man Ladaris Green, guard James Fields and wing Markeith Cumming leads the way this season for the Bulldogs.

5. Peachtree Ridge (7-AAAAA) – This should be the year the Gwinnett County team steps into power house role. Led by seniors Zach Graham, Cameron Heyward, Bassy Inameti and point guard transfer Kevin Anderson, the Lions have a dynamic starting lineup full of size, athleticism and skill.

6. Mundy’s Mill (4-AAAAA) – Tu Willingham has a solid team to work with this year. With good size at every position, the Tigers will be a team to contend with this season. Seniors Rod Williams, David Brown and Daniel Brown are joined by juniors Dennis Harris and Todd Salter. Keep an eye on this team. They could really surprise.

7. Redan (2-AAAAA) – The Raiders are always one of the toughest teams in the state and play a region schedule that will prepare them for just about anything. Guard play is strong and the frontline has a true enforcer in Obi Edwards. Senior Antoine Fisher is one of the most underappreciated players in the state.

8. M.L. King (2-AAAAA) – Athletic, fast and with good size, the Lions are a team that should not be taken lightly. Keep an eye out for Jihad Ali, he is one of the top senior sleepers in the state.

9. Johnson (3-AAAAA) – Every year a team from Savannah surprises the state. This year, it is this group. Led by junior forward Toby Veal, the Atom Smashers should be a team that can advance deep into the playoffs this year. Mix in athletic wings Ben Evelyn and Josh Smith, a transfer from South Carolina and they could mean trouble in the post-season.

10. McEachern (-AAAAA) – Not since Morris Almond and Josh Smith donned Indians jerseys, the Cobb County school looks to be a real contender this season. Darius Garrett, Trae Golden, Bobby Grier, Deandre Washington and Eric Washington make for a tough starting five. And the bench has size to boot.

We will update the poll every week during the season.

Your thoughts are welcomed. Make a post on the comment board and spread the word about the Georgia Hoops blog!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jump Ball Jam Basketball Classic

The Jump Ball Jam Basketball Classic at Georgia Tech on Nov. 25.

The schedule is as follows:

Cherokee (Chris Singleton) vs. Wesleyan (Tanner Smith) 12pm

Etowah (Darren Harris) vs. St Pius 2pm

Dunwoody (Zac Swansey, Pierre Jordan, Delwan Graham, Justin Thurman) vs. Milton (Connor Nolte) 4pm

Whitefield Acad. (Brandon Reed, Collin Reddick, Cameron Bakersville) vs. Meadowcreek (Chris Allen, Teondre Williams) 6pm

Make it 27

The 27th player from Georgia's 2007 recruiting class picked a Division I school on Tuesday. Terrance Birdette, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard from Buford High School, is headed to Elon.

The four-year starter averaged 11.2 points per game last year and led the 2A power in scoring. He collected 4.24 rebounds a game while shooting over 50 percent from the floor.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

26 Georgia players headed to Division I from 2007 class

There are 26 Georgians from the class of 2007 that are committed to play basketball at Division I schools next season. Here is the list as of Nov. 5:

Martavius Adams, Wilkinson County – Oklahoma State
Chris Allen, Meadowcreek – Michigan State
Chris Barnes, Riverdale – Georgia
Terrell Bell, Stone Mountain – Virginia Tech
Phillip Brown, Eagle’s Landing Christian – Air Force
Matt Clark, Evans – The Citadel
Jordan DeMercy, Norcross – Florida State
Adam Demuyakor, North Gwinnett – Harvard
B.J. Frazier, Stepheson – Western Kentucky
Zach Graham, Peachtree Ridge – Ole Miss
Ladaris Hall, Thomasville – South Alabama
Dante Harvey, Columbia – Toledo
J.J. Hickson, Wheeler - NC State
Senario Hillman, Wilkinson County – Alabama
Bassy Inameti, Peachtree Ridge – Tennessee Tech
Lyndon Jordan, Winder-Barrow – Fairfield
Gani Lawal, Norcross – Georgia Tech
Brian Mills, Chapel Hill – Mercer
Jamar Moore, Thomasville – South Alabama
Tony Neysmith, Norcross – Oklahoma
Connor Nolte, Milton – Furman
Jeremy Price, Columbia – Georgia
Steven Sargent, Whitewater – VMI
Lance Storrs, Columbia – Georgia Tech
Zac Swansey, Dunwoody – Georgia
Dontrell Taylor, Wilkinson County – Alabama

Owls down North Greenville

KENNESAW, Ga. - Kennesaw State won its exhibition season opener on Thursday evening, downing North Greenville, 90-54, at the KSU Convocation Center.

Bulldogs roll past Wolves

ATHENS, Ga. – Five Bulldogs finished in double figures as the University of Georgia defeated West Georgia 96-52 Friday night in an exhibition basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum.

Tech Topples Morehouse

ATLANTA - Freshman Thaddeus Young scored 20 points to pace five players in double figures as 21st-ranked Georgia Tech defeated Morehouse, 96-52, in an exhibition on Saturday afternoon at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Georgia Hoops will be at Georgia Tech for the Jackets season opener against Elon College on Friday, Nov. 10. Tip off is at 8 p.m.

Welcome to Georgia Hoops

Welcome to Georgia Hoops, the ongoing blog produced by Justin Young of and the Georgia Hoops Recruiting Service. Young is the leading expert in Georgia high school basketball. Outside of his duties as the National Basketball Recruiting Analyst for, Young covers the Peach State better than anyone.

This blog is an ongoing project that we will update throughout the year and updated as news breaks regarding all basketball in the state of Georgia. Please use it as a reference point and discussion forum.

Young has nearly 10 years of experience in the media world. During his time on the high school basketball scene, he has covered major summer events such as the Nike Peach Jam, Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, Charlie Weber events, Las Vegas Spring Showcase, Real Deal on the Hill, King James Shooting Stars Classic, Kingwood Classic, Atlanta Basketball Classic, NBA Players Association camp, ABCD camp, adidas Superstar camp, Nike All-America camp, AAU Super Showcase, AAU National Championships, adidas Super 64, Reebok Big Time, Main Event, Pangos Midnight Madness as well as dozens of other tournaments.

Before joining the network, Young was the Associate Sports Information Director at Kennesaw State University, a Division II school northwest of Atlanta. While there, he won various awards for his basketball coverage at KSU and in the Peach Belt Conference.

While with, Young was the website's most public figure. He was a featured guest on NBA TV as well as more than 100 radio stations across North America and Europe.

He has been a writer and editor of several small newspapers in Georgia, Oregon, Texas and Washington. He has been awarded Excellence in Sports Media - Print Journalism by the Georgia Press Association as well as Best Column by the GPA in 2004.

Young and his wife reside in metro Atlanta, Ga., with their daughters.