Sunday, March 30, 2008

Georgia Hoops All-State teams



Georgia Hoops is proud to announce our all-state teams, player of the year awards and other various post-season accolades. We spent the season traveling all corners of the state and saw more teams than any media outlet in the Peach State. The selections were not easy because of the depth of the talent in Georgia but we picked the best players that we saw, evaluated and covered over the last five months.

Norcross's Al-Farouq Aminu is the AAAAA, Senior and Player of the Year.


1st team All-State

Al-Farouq Aminu, Norcross, Sr. (AAAAA Player of the Year)

Dequan Jones, Wheeler, Sr.

Lorenzo Brown, Centennial, Jr.

Wesley Witherspoon, Berkmar, Sr.

Kevin Williams, Savannah, Sr.

2nd team All-State

Richard Howell, Wheeler, Jr.

Trae Golden, McEachern, Soph.

Stewart Clark, Hiram, Sr.

Kenny Hall, Redan, Jr.

Yaw Gyawu, Parkview, Sr.


1st team All-State

Travis Leslie, Columbia, Sr. (AAAA Player of the Year)

Ray Willis, Westlake, Sr.

Mfon Udofia, Miller Grove, Jr.

Chris Beasley, Pebblebrook, Sr.

Noel Johnson, Fayette County, Jr.

2nd team All-State

Darius Morrow, Columbia, Sr.

Manny Atkins, Tucker, Jr.

Tony Woods, Rome, Sr.

Brandon Boykin, Fayette County, Sr.

Rashad Hassan, Riverdale, Sr.


1st team All-State

Derrick Favors, South Atlanta, Jr. (AAA Player of the Year)

Chris Singleton, Dunwoody, Sr.

Delwan Graham, Dunwoody, Sr.

Jerel Stephenson, Glenn Hills, Sr.

Brian Bryant, Dougherty, Sr.

2nd team All-State

Reggie Middleton, Glenn Hills, Sr.

Jordan Callahan, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

Demario Mayfield, Franklin County, Jr.

Hugh Robertson, Northeast Macon, Sr.

Jarvis Jones, Carver, Jr.


1st team All-State

Trey Thompkins, Wesleyan, Sr. (AA Player of the Year)

Jimmy Williams, Jr., East Laurens, Sr.

Tyshawn Good, Darlington, Jr.

Tony Mitchell, Swainsboro, Sr.

Harold Doby, Laney, Jr.

2nd team All-State

Reshard Smtih, Dublin, Jr.

Dexter Ellington, Randolph-Clay, Sr.

Tanner Smith, Wesleyan, Sr.

Alex Elam, Lovett, Sr.

Wendell Williams, Appling County, Jr.


1st team All-State

Kammeon Holsey, Hancock Central, Jr. (A Player of the Year)

David Buchanon, Portal, Sr.

Jalen Kendricks, Southwest Atlanta Christian, Soph.

Brandon Reed, Whitefield Academy, Jr.

Jamaal Day, Wilkinson County, Sr.

2nd team All-State

Joel Lamb, Southwest Atlanta Christian, Sr.

Tray Pearce, Turner County, Jr.

Demetrius Ewing, Turner County, Sr.

Quintravis Benjamin, Terrell County, Sr.

Deondrick Pina, Schley County, Jr.

South Atlanta junior Derrick Favors is the state's top junior. (Pictures by Kipp Adams)

Georgia Hoops Player of the Year: Al-Farouq Aminu, Norcross

Senior of the year: Al-Farouq Aminu, Norcross

Seniors of the year

5A – Al-Farouq Aminu, Norcross, PF

4A – Travis Leslie, Columbia, SF

3A – Chris Singleton, Dunwoody, PF

2A – Howard Thompkins, Wesleyan, PF

A – David Buchanon, Portal, SG

Junior of the year: Derrick Favors, South Atlanta

Juniors of the year

5A – Lorenzo Brown, Centennial, SG

4A – Mfon Udofia, Miller Grove, SG/PG

3A – Derrick Favors, South Atlanta, PF/C

2A – Harold Doby, Laney, SF

A – Kammeon Holsey, PF

Sophomore of the year: Trae Golden, McEachern

Sophomores of the year

5A - Trae Golden, McEachern, PG/SG

4A – Aloys Cabel, Mays, PG

3A – Matthew Brabham, Central Macon, PG/SG

2A – Trent Wiedeman, GAC, PF

A – Jalen Kendrick, SACA, SF

Freshman of the year: Julian Royal, Milton

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Riverfest - Friday night

For the national story, click here. The story is free.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Catching up

My email box has had some great subject lines over the last two weeks. Where did you go? Are you hiding from your picks? Did you move? Are you alive? You are just like Florida. Strong for so long and then completely disappeared in March. Are you dead?

Well, according to those that wear long white suits, I could have almost died. I missed the last week of the state tournament because I was in the hospital. All is better now. No worries. Thanks for those of you that checked in. Hopefully I'm back to full strength. I've never been this sick in my life.

So...that is where I've been.

My first trip back out on the road was spent at the Southern Shootout. Despite the crazy weather on Saturday that knocked out the lights at Clayton State and Jonesboro's Rec & Sport building, the games were solid. You can tell it is early in the AAU game and teams are starting to get their legs under them. (So was I that weekend.) The Worldwide Renegades won the 17 and under division.

This weekend I'm off to Columbus for Riverfest, which should be a pretty good event. I'll have coverage on our national page on Friday and Saturday. Here is the schedule for the weekend.

There will be a good sampling of teams at the event and I'm hoping to sneak a peek at teams in the 17, 16 and 15 and under divisions.

And in case you are wondering, I haven't forgot about the post-season awards. I really haven't. Those will come soon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Two more off the board

Ebuka Anyaorah is headed to Colorado. (Picture by Kipp Adams)

North Gwinnett shooting guard Ebuka Anyaorah verbally committed to Colorado late Tuesday night. He joins Savannah Johnson forward Toby Veal in the Buffaloes' 2008 recruiting class.

Cook County senior Kelvin Martin, one of the state's biggest sleepers, verbally committed to Charleston Southern on Tuesday, too. The 6-5 athlete joins SACA forward Joel Lamb in the 2008 recruiting class. Also at CSU are former Gainesville star JaMarco Warren and Villa Rica star Tovi Bailey.

With the two seniors now off the recruiting board, the total count of college bound basketball players from Georgia is up to 45.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Join the Georgia Hoops Tourney Pick 'Em

Think you know a thing or two about the NCAA tournament? Join the Georgia Hoops tournament pick 'em challenge on Yahoo! Sports.

The group is password protected. The group number is 88850 and the password is peach. The password is case sensitive, too. Type it in just as you see it.

To sign up click HERE.

I hope to see a number of you in the challenge!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Freshman of the Year: Julian Royal



The state of Georgia has a long line of talented big men that have paved the way for the stars of tomorrow.

Since the 2004 graduating class, guys like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Randolph Morris, Robert Dozier, Luke Nevill, Korvotney Barber, J.J. Hickson, Gani Lawal, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Singleton, Howard Thompkins, Derrick Favors and Kenny Hall have fine tuned their skills before making it big in the pro game, the college level and even on a national high school stage.

Milton High School freshman Julian Royal is next.

Royal, a 6-foot-7 power forward, is also the Georgia Hoops Freshman of the Year.

The humble rookie was the clear cut choice for the top player award for the class of 2011 after his sensational debut, posting better numbers than any player his age.

Royal got better as the season went along and gave a preview of good things to come this season under the direction of Milton head coach David Boyd.

"I think I did pretty well this year. It wasn't a bad start for my freshman year," Royal said. "I would have liked to have done a lot better, of course. I would have liked to have gone to state and gone that far."

Talented, yet humble, Royal doesn't come off as a player that knows he has arrived. In fact, the notoriety he has received doesn't seem to much meaning to the well-grounded player.

"It's nice to have because I've worked hard but it doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things," Royal said.

What means a lot to him is getting better. That was evident just by watching him work this season. Posting a double-double was a normal occurrence. So was playing step-for-step with some of Atlanta's top players.

"He's playing against really good teams and great players. He knew that if he didn't come to play, he was going to get embarrassed. He played against D1 players all year," Boyd, the coach at Milton, said.

Boyd knows a little something about coaching high-level freshman. He coached Georgia Tech freshman and former McDonald's All-American Gani Lawal at Riverdale as a freshman.

Royal said he hears the comparisons from Boyd as well as from others that watched Lawal fine tune his craft at Norcross for his junior and senior year.

"I hear that all the time," Royal said. "[Coach Boyd] told me that when Gani first started that he wasn't that strong or that athletic so he just worked really hard. That was the thing that coach told me that I had to do – just develop that work ethic."

Boyd said he sees some similarities but notes their differences, too.

"They are about the same size in the ninth grade. Gani was probably a little stronger and a little bit better defender and rebounder. But Julian was a little bit more skilled offensively, ball-handler and shooter. He has a great touch. He can consistently shoot the three-pointer. That wasn't Gani's forte," Boyd said. "They are very similar. If Julian can combine Gani's strength and work ethic with his skill level, then you have something really special there."

Like Lawal, Royal is an engaging young man off the court. His leadership skills were the foundation of a decision Boyd made at the beginning of the year. He named Royal a team captain.

"You never have to worry about him getting into trouble or not doing his work or anything like that. He doesn't have a mean chip on his shoulder," Boyd said. "That's important to me and I think that is why he's going to be a great player because he's a great person and a great student from a great family. You put all of those things together and you're going to be good."

Royal is good. In fact, he is really good. He's so good that his decision to be named the Georgia Hoops Freshman of the Year was the easy choice of all of the classes this season.

The Royal File

Points: 18.3 per game

Rebounds: 11 per game

Blocks: 65

Field goal percentage: 48

Free throw percentage: 67

High points: 29 vs. Chattahoochee

High rebounds: 17 vs. Chattahoochee

Interested colleges: UAB, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, North Carolina, Southern Cal, UCLA

Commitment catch-up

In back-to-back days, two Georgia juniors have given a verbal commitment to two different Southeastern Conference schools.

Redan forward Kenny Hall (pictured) unofficially visited Tennessee over the weekend and saw the Vols knock out Kentucky on Saturday. He committed shortly after his trip to Knoxville. The 6-foot-8 forward also considered Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and others.

A day later, North Clayton guard Andre Malone picked up the phone and called Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo to commit to the Tigers. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard will join Robert Chubb of McIntosh in Auburn's 2009 recruiting class. Both Malone and Chubb have played in the Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase.

Georgia has a verbal commitment from Franklin County star DeMario Mayfield.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Glenn Hills beats Washington Co. for fourth time

COLUMBUS, GA -- There were no secrets in this one. Playing in their fourth match-up against each other this season, Glenn Hills and Washington County stuck to their strengths and traded punches in the Elite Eight round of the AAA state tournament at Columbus State on Saturday.

Glenn Hills just happen to have the bigger punch in the end and moved onto the Final Four with a 56-44 win over its region foe.

Glenn Hills attacked the basket with round after round of drives to the rim from the team's guards and always seemed to have an answer when one was needed.

The Spartans won the first three prior meetings and head coach Richard Wallace said he was a little nervous about playing the Golden Hawks for a fourth time this season.

"I'll be honest, I didn't really want to play Washington County for a fourth time. That's a good basketball team," Wallace said. "The law of averages usually wins out. I'm glad it didn’t today because we are happy to move on."

The strength of Glenn Hills is the team's different looks that it can throw at a team. If Reggie Middleton isn't scoring, Chris Reynolds is. If Jerel Stephenson isn't scoring, Jihad McCloud is. The depth at the guard position is strong and all four players know how to play their respective positions.

Glenn Hills picked apart the Washington County defense and scored at the rim with relative ease.

"The type of zone they were running was like a match-up zone that spread it out and made us penetrate to the basket," Wallace said.

McCloud, a 6-foot unsigned senior, scored a team high 15 points. Middleton, a Winthrop signee, finished with 11 points while Stephenson, a UNC Wilmington signee, chipped in with 11 of his own and grabbed 10 rebounds. Reynolds, who signed with Campbell in the fall, scored eight in the win.

"This time of year it is about executing what you know what to do," Wallace said.

And that is just what Glenn Hills excels at.

Glenn Hills will play Hart County on March 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Macon Centreplex.

East Laurens has little trouble with Long Co.

SAVANNAH, GA -- In case you were wondering, East Laurens is really, really good. The Falcons certainly proved that with a message-sending 79-53 win over Long County in the AA state tournament on Friday night.

East Laurens opened up the third quarter with a 20-4 run and never looked back. The Falcons played near flawless basketball in the second half, particularly in the third quarter and broke the game open with a 26-point lead. East Laurens led by seven at halftime.

The trio of senior Jimmy Williams, Jr., senior Ken Taylor and junior Terrance Lewis proved to be too much as they combined for 57 of East Laurens's 79 points.

"I told our guys that in order to beat a team like Long County, you can't led them get the ball and run and don't let them beat us on the offensive glass," East Laurens head coach Jimmy Williams, Sr. said. "Once we got that figured out, we set the tone on how we wanted to play. I was really happy with the way we got the ball and sent three to four guys at them as soon as we got the rebound."

Williams wasn't kidding. As soon as East Laurens grabbed the rebound, it took a blink of an eye to get across the halfcourt line and from there, the Falcons knew what to do with it.

Taylor scored 12 of his 18 points in the first quarter while Williams was involved in nearly every play throughout the game. If he wasn't powering to the basket both to the left and right to score, he was grabbing rebounds (he finished with 10), making a pass (he had five assits) or making a steal (he recorded five).

Lewis, a tight end on the football team, was relentless inside and seemed to score at will inside. The 6-foot-3 junior scored 18 points.

Long County could never find a rhythm in the game. The team's top player, Jimmy Bacon, scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds but fouled out late in the third quarter after receiving a technical foul.

Sophomore guard Justin Boyd took over the offensive responsibility in the fourth and finished with a team high 21 points.

East Laurens will play the winner of the Lovett-Coosa game on Thursday, March 6 at the Macon Centreplex at 8:30 p.m.