Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ranking the regions: #6 2-AAAAA

6. 2-AAAAA

Power teams: M.L. King, the team with the most balance and experience, is always a threat in the post-season. Look at last year's team. The Lions made it to the state Final Four. Big man Greg Henry and wing Demetrius Bates are a great 1-2 punch but this team is built on balance and toughness. The last three games of the regular season are on the road and against the top teams in the region. The Lions must close out strong.

Let's be honest. No one thought Douglass would be a contender this year. Except for the Astros. The team is incredibly athletic and relies on guard play of Reggie Slater, Derrick Spears and Rodney Wright. The only loss this season came at the hand of South Atlanta. The next four games will prove their worth as the Astros play the top four teams in 2-AAAAA in a row.

Redan big man Kenny Hall is one of the best players in the state that no one talks about. Dare we even say he could be a McDonald's All-American level player by the time it is all said and done. He's a super talent with super upside. But as history has shown, it's about the five guys on the floor and not just the one. If and when Redan can find some quality guard play, the team's depth inside will truly shine.

Stephenson is a tricky one to project. The team has plenty of talent, evident by the scoring prowess of junior Adrien Coleman, the length of senior Will Tolefree and the speed of junior Kevin Dukes but the team lacks consistency. They are scary enough to beat anyone in the region.

Sleepers: Keep an eye on Newton. The Covington school is a scrappy bunch and has knocked off Redan and kept it close with Douglass. They aren't out of the picture by any stretch of the matter.

Notes: Teams out of 2-AAAAA have always faired well in the state tournament, advancing to the Final Four nearly every year. Don't be surprised to see one of these clubs to do the same thing this year.

Playoff projection: Douglass, M.L. King, Redan, Stephenson

Counting down the regions

7. 5-AAAA

8. 2-AAAA

9. 5-AAAAA

10. 6-AA