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.
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