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.
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