Sunday, December 14, 2008

Notes from my notepad: Dec. 14

Five things I'm buying this week:

1. Centennial. Wow, what a win at Wheeler on Friday night. Great crowd. Great energy. Great poise. And what a great player Lorenzo Brown is. The question mark surrounding the future N.C. State has always been his ability to take over in the home stretch. Against South Atlanta, a game Centennial lost at Georgia State last month, Brown did all he could do. Against Wheeler, Brown took over in the fourth quarter, scoring an amazing end to end drive with an in and out dribble that he took to his left and scored. The bucket gave Centennial the go ahead score. A play later, he made a beautiful assist that helped seal the deal. He's my clear cut AAAAA Player of the Year right now.

2. Wheeler having some issues. There are only two players on the team in my opinion that are making correct basketball plays – Richard Howell and Karl Cochran. The rest of the team gets too immersed in one-on-one thinking. The Wildcats have the most talent of any AAAAA team in the state. There is no denying that. Two keys to this team: Better decision making from Phil Taylor and more production from Ari Stewart. That alone is 15 more points for the Wildcats and four to six made field goals given up on defense.

3. Georgia State recruiting the state. It has been a long time since I've seen the kind of attention given to the state of Georgia by the Panthers. Assistant coach Scepter Brownlee has been working the local kids. Don't be surprised for a big in-state recruiting haul in 2010 by GSU.

4. Peachtree Ridge sophomore Cory Blackwell. Don't get in his way or else you'll be looking for a trainer. The 6-5 sophomore is the real deal. Blackwell put 25 points and 15 rebounds against Norcross on Thursday night. I can't tell you the last time an in-state sophomore did that against the Blue Devils. He just owned the paint in his team's tough loss the Norcross. He reminds me a lot of Penn State forward Jamelle Cornley.

5. Time away from the computer, phone and Blackberry. I'll be back on Jan. 5. Upon my return, the Top 20 Power Poll will return. (Don't everyone jump out of chairs at once.) Thanks for all of the support during my transition to another post within the hoops media world. The phone calls, emails, texts, etc. have all been great and very supportive. Too bad a bean counter in Sunnyvale, California doesn't agree.

Here are some observations from last week:

- Norcross lowered the banner for last year's state championship team on Thursday night when the Blue Devils played their first home game of the season. Eddie Martin, who surprisingly left the school in the summer for Greater Atlanta Christian, was on hand for the celebration. He helped guide the team to an 86-9 record in that span. Wow. That's big time.

- Congrats to Jesse McMillan on his first win at home as the new Norcross head coach. There are few better people involved in the game of basketball than McMillan.

- Want to know the best team from the Augusta area? Richmond Academy. The team is 6-0 and taking care of business and big man Ricardo Glenn is one of the best players on the east side of the state. Big game on Friday when the 6-0 team travels to defending AAA state champs Glenn Hills (4-2).

- South Atlanta is beating teams by an average margin of victory of 45 points. Centennial, arguably the best team in AAAA, was the closest game and the Knights lost to the Hornets by 15 at the start of the season. Can you say total domination?

- Is there a team that is currently ranked in the coaches' poll that doesn't have a transfer? Geez, this is getting out of hand. If you are good enough, then prove yourself as a winner with the group of kids you grew up with. Exposure is such a misunderstood term these days.

Food for thought: Of the 12 Georgia players ranked in the Rivals150, eight are with the same school that they enrolled in as freshmen. In comparison, there are 11 players that are considered three-star players (good mid-major to high-major prospects) that are at the school that they enrolled as freshmen. There are seven three-stars that transferred.