Friday, November 16, 2007

Top 20 power poll: Pre-season


Never has the state been as wide open as this year's season. Who really is the best team in the state? No one knows yet but we have a good idea going into the season. Georgia Hoops is happy to produce the first Power Poll of the season.

The games are the determining factor and wins and losses will alter the poll throughout the season. For now, here is our take at the best of the best, regardless of class.

  1. Wheeler – Doug Lipscomb has a team rich with talent, deep with athletes and size, speed and strength to boot. The Wildcats lost a McDonald's All-American in J.J. Hickson but have at least five Division I players on it's roster this season. They are the top dogs heading into the season across all classes.
  2. Dunwody – Delwan Graham and Pierre Jordan headline the returning players for Scott Bracco and alone, that 1-2 punch is scary enough. Now mix in move-ins Chris Singleton (Cherokee) and Isaiah Grayson (Druid Hills) and you have a team that could very well take that No. 1 spot in the state's power rankings.
  3. Westlake – Keep an eye on the AAAA school. Darron Rogers has a team deep with talent, experienced players, aggressive young prospects and a schedule that will have the team ready for the post-season. In fact, the Lions could very well be the best team in the state when it is all said and done.
  4. Centennial – After a great year that saw the Knights finish as runners-up in the class AAAAA division last season, expect great things again. Coach Allen Whitehart believes his team is deeper and quicker and with junior guard Lorenzo Brown back and an improved Robbie Johnson, the north Fulton County school could be a serious contender for the title.
  5. Norcross – The back-to-back AAAAA state champions lost a lot but return the state's best player in Al-Farouq Aminu, who is headed to Wake Forest next year. The biggest question with this team isn't so much the talent or coaching, it is the depth. Will the Blue Devils be able to find it this year?
  6. Whitefield Academy – The Wolfpack may only be a class A team but you can't argue with the talent and the schedule that will certainly prove just how good Tyrone Johnson's team really is. Don't sleep on this team full of talented juniors. Colin Reddick is the best big man in single A and Brandon Reed has big time scoring power.
  7. McEachern – With the most impressive guard in the state in Trae Golden and a roster filled with athletic and versatile players, the Indians are hoping to avenge their early season departure last year. They'll be fun to watch this season.
  8. Columbia – Gone are the familiar faces that had so much success at the Decatur school but back is Travis Leslie and Darius Morrow, two Division I talents that have paid their dues. And Phil McCrary is one of the best coaches in the state.
  9. Marietta – The Blue Devils are back. After a couple of unfamiliar years of mediocrity, Charlie Hood has a team that can do some damage. The team is well balanced and has a number of players back from last year. This club has Final Four potential.
  10. Tucker – Get ready to hear about another dynamic scorer for the AAAA school. Cameron Tatum and Marshon Brooks groomed junior Manny Atkins and now the 6-5 junior is ready for his moment in the spotlight. He's been hot in the preseason and ready to break out in the state this year.
  11. South Atlanta – Any time you have the state's best player holding down the middle you are a threat. But the team needs to be more than just Derrick Favors. If the guard play can steady the ship, the Hornets will be a major contender to Dunwoody in AAA.
  12. Swainsboro – There is always a stellar team from outside the Atlanta area and this year's top dog is the eastern Georgia club. Leading the way is Alabama bound forward Tony Mitchell. This team will score points and have plenty of plays that excite the crowd.
  13. Jordan – The defending AAA state champions return its top two players in Terrence Hill and Steve Peterson. The Jackets will be battle tested in a very competitive season in Columbus this season. They won't sneak up on anybody this year.
  14. Wesleyan – After winning 23 games last year and returning a good majority of the team returns this season. Oh, and Trey Thompkins is back after a year at Oak Hill. The Georgia signee will be impossible to defend in AA and Clemson signee Tanner Smith will enjoy the open floor in his senior year.
  15. Miller Grove – Mfon Udofia is far from being a secret. The junior guard has been the face of the program since it's inception. Now the athletic and quick point guard will be asked to score more than ever. He's a gamer, much like the player he is eerily similar too, one Javaris Crittenton.
  16. Fayette County – Junior Noel Johnson is ready to take his already skilled game to the next level. The Tigers have a football team mentality and one of the toughest players on the south side of the city in Terrence Turner.
  17. Savannah Johnson – The Atom Smashers boast the best nickname in the state and arguably the best roster outside of Atlanta. Coach Keith Arrington will lean on Colorado bound Toby Veal inside and a long lineup around him will be tough to guard.
  18. Cherokee – The Warriors have a young team and gone is Chris Singleton and Josh Kvam. However, Shawn Kemp, Jr., is a different player from last year and Ryan Fleming is one of the best guards in North Georgia. Roger Kvam will have this team prepared.
  19. Meadowcreek – It is time to see Teondre Williams in the featured role. The Oregon bound guard has a big mantle on his shoulders these days. Joining him in the post-Chris Allen era is Tennessee Tech bound forward Tyler McDaniels, a 6-7 forward.
  20. East Hall – It is hard to keep the Vikings out of the top 20. They Gainesville school will continue to play its helter-skelter, heavy pressure style and frustrate opponents on both ends of the floor. Few places in the state have a better home court advantage.

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