Saturday, October 10, 2009

Georgia Hoops Fall Showcase

WHEN: Saturday, October 17, 2009, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
: New Birth Church 6400 Woodrow Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038
: The camp will comprise players from all high school classes (2010 to 2013).
: $150.00

This year’s event will feature:
  • 5-on-5 competition
  • National Exposure on, the exclusive media partner for the showcase
  • Each player in the camp will be featured in the nationally-respected Georgia Hoops Recruiting Service
  • Top quality individual skill development work from professional coaches, most notably former University of Georgia coach Pete Hermann, professional players, college and high school coaches
  • Compete against the best of the best in Georgia
  • Q&A on the recruiting process from experts and college counselors
You can register today by clicking HERE. Lock yourself in for the best camp in the Southeast.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Still closed but... for some seasonal work. Santa Claus doesn't work around the clock either. Stop by my other venture at the National Hoops Report. I'll be rolling out some one on one interviews on the site this month.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ga. Southern finds coach: Charlton Young

Georgia Southern University will announce Charlton Young as the new head men's basketball coach on Thursday. Young, a 1994 graduate of the school, takes over for Jeff Price.

Young is currently an assistant coach at Georgia Tech and has been with the Yellow Jackets since 2005. Young has coached at Auburn, Jacksonville, Chattanooga and Northeastern.

Young is a familiar face in Statesboro. He was inducted into the Georgia Southern Hall of Fame this year. As a point guard for the Eagles, Young set three GSU basketball records: career assists (530), career three-pointers made (241) and season three-pointers made (93).

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Georgia finds coach: Mark Fox, Nevada

Georgia Hoops has learned that Mark Fox will be the new head coach at the University of Georgia.

Fox will come to Athens after a successful career at the University of Nevada. During his time as the Wolfpack head coach, Fox helped the WAC program shine on the national stage and develop a number of professional players.

Kirk Snyder, Nick Fazekas, Ramon Sessions and JaValle McGee all played for Fox and are now in the NBA.

During his tenure at Nevada, Fox and his staff rarely recruited Georgia or the Southeast. The WAC program was a finalist in Shawn Kemp's recruitment last year.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Recapping the Riverfest

COLUMBUS, GA -- The Columbus Riverfest has been a staple on the Georgia Hoops calendar for as long as we can remember. This year’s event was smaller but competitive as always. The talent in the host city is impressive while some familiar faces stepped up when it mattered.


Adrian Hubbard, Georgia Stars – Strong effort from the 6-7 forward from Norcross. The big man played well inside the paint as a scorer and rebounder in the title game. He recorded a double-double in the victory and was a difference maker down the stretch. He closed out the high school season on a high note and enters the spring schedule right where he left off for the Blue Devils.

Davonta White, Georgia Stars – The strength of the Stars is it’s guard play and in any given game, anyone can be the go-to guy. In the championship game, it was White that took advantage of a mismatch and broke down the defense en route to the basket for buckets. The speedy guard from Centennial finished around the cup and helped the Stars bring home the title.

Trey Bussey, Georgia Blazers – Georgia’s 2010 class is ready for a breakout player and the 6-2 guard from Lithia Springs High School could be that guy during the AAU schedule. Playing the point for the Blazers, Bussey made some tough shots in a highly competitive game against the Georgia Stars in the championship game. He had little trouble getting around the opposing guards and scored either from deep or in the midrange. The game may have been foreshadowing for what could await him on the national stage. Bussey could cement himself into the mid-major level then.

Rion Brown, Atlanta Celtics White – Playing only on Sunday, the 6-5 guard made quick work in his only game of action. The junior from Liberty County shot the ball well, attacked the basket and pumped in roughly 20 points in a tough defeat. He’s turned the corner from pure prospect to a producer. Brown’s game and body is similar to former Westlake and current Winthrop player Gideon Gamble. Brown is better at the same stage.


Kentavious Caldwell, Georgia Blazers – The top spot for the class of 2011 is wide open in Georgia and there is a good chance that the 6-5 guard brings home that title at the end of the spring. In the semi-finals of the Riverfest, Caldwell showed why he will be in such high regard by the high-majors this summer. He drilled five three-pointers in the first half and kept the defense on it’s heels with his offensive ability. Caldwell brings a little bit of everything to the table. He’s on his way to stardom nationally, too.

Tim Dixon, Georgia Blazers (pictured above) – Things are about to get crazy for the 6-10 center from Kendrick High School. The sophomore big man is making big strides in his game and turning the corner into becoming a good-looking high-major prospect in the class of 2011. Dixon has a nice go-to move on the offensive end of the floor with a nice jump hook that he can score with more times than not. His hands and footwork has vastly improved and he remains a fine shot-blocker and rebounder in the low post.

C.J. Blackwell, Lou Will Stars – Is there are tougher player to defend in Georgia’s 2011 class? The 6-5 position-less player is a producer. He lit up one team for nearly 40 points during the weekend. Blackwell plays with a toughness that gives interior defenders trouble because of his strength. He can put the ball on the floor and score by attacking. He’s adding a reliable jumper to the arsenal and becoming a threat in the midrange and from deep. Blackwell could develop into a P.J. Tucker type of player. Tucker was a star at Texas.


Calvin Gaines, Atlanta Celtics White – The 6-8 junior looks like a million bucks. He’s big, strong and has a huge wingspan. Gaines, a class of 2010 prospect at Heat Academy in Virginia, could be a player to really emerge onto the scene this spring and summer. The physical tools are certainly there. Consistency and a glimpse into his offensive game will be the thing that keep people coming back to see him play.

Darren Daniel, Georgia Blazers – The hometown Blazers looked like the clear cut favorite to win the Riverfest event on Sunday morning. Then Daniel, a 6-4 wing, was fouled hard by a Georgia Stars player and was taken to the hospital for a number of stitches in his mouth. Daniel was the difference maker for the hometown team. The Phenix City, Alabama native does a little bit of everything from the wing. His progression will be interesting to watch in the spring.


The Georgia Stars 15 and under team won their age division thanks to team play, offensive balance, a simplistic attack and good depth. From top to bottom, the Stars have a roster full of young players that know how to play.

Chris Denson, a lefty guard from Shaw High School, quietly pumped in 29 points for the Georgia Jaguars. He scored 41 in a game on Saturday.

The Lou Will Stars have a handful of players to keep an eye on in the 16 and under division. Guard Kiki Simmons of Wheeler and wing Blake Ralling of Westlake were both eye-catchers.

Nick Marshall of the Georgia Blazers will have plenty of options for college. He’ll have to make a decision between football and basketball. He’ll be recruited by high-major schools in both sports.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Icebreaker: Several Georgians shine

Georgia Hoops spent Friday and Saturday at the Icebreaker Invitational in Aiken, S.C. A number of teams from the Peach State participated in the event. The Southern Kings Gold played up a division and brought home the second place trophy from the event.

The National Hoops Report, a sister company to Georgia Hoops, recapped the weekend's action. Milton sophomore Shannon Scott (pictured above) was one of the highlights.

Click HERE for the story.

Our coverage of the Columbus Riverfest is coming soon.

GA Stars claim Riverfest title

The Georgia Stars to the 17 and under title at the Columbus Riverfest thanks to a big game from Norcross forward Adrian Hubbard (pictured above) in the title game against the Georgia Blazers.

Georgia Hoops will have more coverage from the Riverfest and the Icebreaker Invitational events throughout the week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mailbag: March 26, part 1

Do you think either Whitefield or Dublin would make a decent game with any of the other classification champs? I've seen all play, but when they are playing against A and AA schools, it's hard to see if they could give a S. Atlanta, Miller Grove or Wheeler a game...

I’m sure the game would be competitive because both Dublin and Whitefield would be ready to play but the talent at Wheeler, Miller Grove and South Atlanta is just too much. Size matters and size is what all three of the bigger schools have over Dublin and Whitefield. I think the smaller schools would give all three teams some trouble on the defensive end but too much size and too much depth wins out.

What are your final top 10 player in the state in order? Class of 09 only.

1. Derrick Favors, South Atlanta
2. Mfon Udofia, Miller Grove
3. Lorenzo Brown, Centennial
4. Ari Stewart, Wheeler
5. Richard Howell, Wheeler
6. Kenny Hall, Redan
7. Glen Rice, Jr., Walton
8. Kammeon Holsey, Hancock Central
9. Noel Johnson, Fayette County
10. Jimmy Bacon, Long County

See above but add classes of '10 and '11, as well. Thanks.

Sorry, I don’t rank the players publicly until they finish their careers. I’m a big believer that rankings take the focus off the task at hand. I will send my rankings to college coaches only. Other than that, I won’t numerically rank players on Georgia Hoops anymore. I’ve seen too many people poisoned by them in the past.

What you think of Shaw's Chris Denson?

That is a tough question to answer because the player I saw during the high school season didn’t look like the player that I’ve seen in AAU. My evaluation is incomplete. Hopefully I get a chance to watch him again this weekend when I make a quick trip to Columbus for the Riverfest tournament on Sunday.

Are the Milton trio a package deal? What schools are in good position with them?

I don’t think the Milton trio is a package deal. I know their recruiting paths will cross over each others but I’d be surprised if they all go to the same school. As far as what schools are in position with them, I’m not totally sure as of now. I will see them this weekend in Augusta at the Icebreaker Invitational. I will ask them there.

I believe all three are high-major prospects and all three will go to a school at that level.

Where do you think Trae Golden will end up? Do the in-state schools GT and UGA have a chance to land him?

Whoever the new head coach is at Georgia, I think it would be wise of him and his staff to target Trae Golden. For starters, he is a player that you want to usher in a new regime with. He’s a quality kid and a one you don’t have to worry about off the court. In Georgia’s 2010 class, the talent is thin at the high-major level. That is the case nationally, too. The knock on past UGA coaching staffs is that they don’t keep the top in-state talent home. Golden is one of the top guys in 2010. The new staff needs to make a splash with recruiting with guys like Golden, Jalen Kendrick, Jumail Jones, Donte Williams, JerShon Cobb, etc.

Georgia Tech is in the mix for Golden, too. The Jackets have long been a player is his recruitment. Georgia Tech is a school the family knows plenty about.

Will Columbia be the top team in AAA next season?

Because Georgia has an epidemic of transfers during the off-season, it is hard to say anyone is the favorite in any class in March. That being said, I think Columbia will be back in the hunt. The team returns a lot.

Who is top overall freshman, Jordan Price or Tony Parker?

I believe Tony Parker is the best freshman in the state. Furthermore, I think he is the best prospect in the state outside of the class of 2009. Sure, there are still things he needs to work on (as is the case for every player out there) but his hands, footwork and overall feel for the game in the post is outstanding for a young player.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Mailbag is back

Now that the season is over, it's a perfect time to bring back The Mailbag. Feel free to ask your questions regarding basketball within the state of Georgia. The questions aren't limited to just high school hoops either. Ask national recruiting questions. Ask about your college team. Fire away.

Feel free to email me at or leave a message on the message board.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Georgia Hoops AAAAA All-State team

1st team All-State

Richard Howell, PF, Wheeler, Sr. (AAAAA Player of the Year)
Lorenzo Brown, SG, Centennial, Sr.
Russell Powell, PG, Newnan, Sr.
Glen Rice, Jr., SG/SF, Walton, Sr.
Ari Stewart, SF, Wheeler, Sr.

2nd team All-State

Taariq Muhammad, PG, Norcross, Sr.
Javaris Bryant, SF, Westlake, Sr.
Ryan Harrow, PG/SG, Walton, Jr.
Trae Golden, SG, McEachern, Jr.
Julian Royal, PF, Milton, Soph.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Georgia Hoops Class AAAA All-State team

1st team All-State

Mfon Udofia, PG, Miller Grove, Sr. (AAAA Player of the Year)
Noel Johnson, SF, Fayette County, Sr.
Manny Atkins, SF/PF, Tucker, Sr.
Ricardo Glenn, PF, Richmond Academy, Sr.
J.J. Mann, SF/PF, Marist, Sr.

2nd team All-State

Darius Baugh, SG, Hillgrove, Sr.
Malcolm Jackson, SG, Sandy Creek, Sr.
Dee Goens, PG, Marist, Sr.
Aloys Cabell, PG, Mays, Jr.
Shaq Barber, PG, Griffin, Sr.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Georgia Hoops Class AAA All-State team

1st team All-State

Derrick Favors, PF/C, South Atlanta, Sr. (AAA Player of the Year)
Terrence Noel, SG/PG, Westover, Sr.
Rod Rucker, SF/PF, Elbert County, Jr.
DeMario Mayfield, SG, Franklin County, Sr.
JerShon Cobb, SG, Columbia, Jr.

2nd team All-State

James Vincent, C, Northside, Sr.
Jordan McRae, SG, Liberty County, Jr.
Andre Malone, SG/SF, South Atlanta, Sr.
Jerome Hamilton, PF, Worth County, Sr.
George Manomano, SG, Gainesville, Sr.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Georgia Hoops Class AA All-State team

1st team All-State

Jimmy Bacon, SF, Long County, Sr. (AA Player of the Year)
Trent Wiedeman, PF, Greater Atlanta Christian, Jr.
Sherrard Brantley, SG, Dublin, Sr.
Ryan LeGates, SG, Blessed Trinity, Sr.
Matt Brabham, SG, Central Macon, Jr.

2nd team All-State

Wendell Williams, SG, Appling County, Sr.
Marvell Harris, PF, Northeast Macon, Jr.
Dontavious Lee, SG, Crawford County, Sr.
Reshard Smith, SG/PG, Dublin, Sr.
Gerald Dunn, PG, Greene County, Sr.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Georgia Hoops Class A All-State team

1st team All-State

Brandon Reed, SG, Whitefield Academy, Sr. (A Player of the Year)
Kammeon Holsey, PF, Hancock Central, Sr.
Raymond Higgs, SG, Athens Christian, Sr.
Kentavious Caldwell, SG, Greenville, Soph.
Nick Marshall, SG, Wilcox County, Soph.

2nd team All-State

Tyshawn Good, SG, Darlington, Sr.
Jamel Jones, SF, Greenforest Christian, Jr.
Ternell Davis, SG, Turner County, Sr.
Robert Ellis, PF, Terrell County, Sr.
Cody Padgett, SF, Calvary Day, Sr.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sr., Jr., Soph. & Fr. of the Year awards

Senior of the year: Derrick Favors, South Atlanta, Sr.
Seniors of the year
AAAAA – Richard Howell, Wheeler, PF
AAAA – Mfon Udofia, Miller Grove, PG
AAA – Derrick Favors, South Atlanta, PF/C
AA – Jimmy Bacon, Long County, SF
A – Brandon Reed, Whitefield Academy, SG

Junior of the year: Ryan Harrow, Walton, PG/SG
Juniors of the year
AAAAA – Trae Golden, McEachern, SG
AAAA – Aloys Cabell, Mays, PG
AAA – JerShon Cobb, Columbia, SG
AA – Trent Wiedeman, Greater Atlanta Christian, PF
A – Jamel Jones, Greenforest Christian, SF

Sophomore of the year: Julian Royal, Milton, PF
Sophomores of the year
AAAAA – Shannon Scott, Milton, PG
AAAA – Algie Key, Lakeside-Dekalb, SF
AAA – Nick Jacobs, South Atlanta, PF
AA –Paul Dawson, GAC, PG
A – Kentavious Caldwell, Greenville, SG

Freshman of the year: Tony Parker, Miller Grove, C/PF
Freshmen of the year
AAAAA – Evan Nolte, Milton, SF/SG
AAAA – Tony Parker, Miller Grove, C/PF
AAA – Jordan Price, Columbia, SG
AA – Willie Clayton, Thomasville, PF
A – Nate Bucher, Providence Christian, PG

Deep South Classic rosters

2009 Deep South Classic
March 21, 2009
Darton College

East team
James Lee, Monroe
Terrance Weathers, Monroe
Andrew Colvin, Dougherty
Terrance Noel, Westover
Kenji Breedlove, Westover
Greg Green, Westover
Brandon Browner, Terrell County
Martavious Yarbrough, Terrell County
Shaquille Harris, Americus-Sumter
Jimmy Glover, Calhoun County
Jerome Hamilton, Worth County
Meshak Williams, Worth County
Robert Ellis, Terrell County

West team

Melzie Johnson, Bainbridge
James Lodman, Bainbridge
Escondarious Yarbrough, Early County
Kecardis Williams, Early County
Ryan Spann, Randolph-Clay
Quintarius Pollard, Pelham
Arthur Jackson, Mitchell County
Gerald Williams, Mitchell County
Kentrail Brown, Cairo
Brian Berl, Colquitt County
Marquis Williams, Bainbridge
Adrian Knoght, Thomas County Central
Ronald Revels, Thomasville

South Georgia Shoot Out rosters

2009 South Georgia Shoot Out
March 22, 2009
Tift County High School

North Team

Javon Dawson, Crisp County
Jesse Bo Carter, Crisp County
Tray Pearce, Turner County
Todd Lawson, Turner County
Charsini Washington, Dooly County
Eric Martin, Dooly County
Alex Barron, Dooly County
Antonio Marshall, Wilcox County
Kwamaine Outlaw, Wilcox County
Akeem Thomas, Atkinson County
Jamal Burgess, Turner County
Desmin Hall. Crisp County

South Team

Thoulitt Hunter, Valdosta
Rontrel Frazier, Valdosta
Cameron Venus, Valdosta
Anthony Combs, Lowndes
Michael Faulk, Coffee County
Demario Bennett, Coffee County
Keith Edmonds, Clinch County
Darius Davis, Tift county
Dejour Mitchell, Tift county
Killean Thompson, Cook County
Jeremy Fountain, Valdosta
Willie Calhoun, Clinch County

Monday, March 16, 2009

Looking back: Pre-season polls

Pre-season polls don’t mean much, right? Ever wonder who was ranked where when the season began?

Here are the top 10 teams at the start of the season.


1. Wheeler
2. Norcross
3. Centennial
4. McEachern
5. Westlake
6. Walton
7. Milton
8. South Gwinnett
9. Savannah
10. Redan


1. Glenn Hills
2. Statesboro
3. Miller Grove
4. Tucker
5. Fayette County
6. Mays
7. Heritage-Conyers
8. Hephzibah
9. Rome
10. Marist


1. South Atlanta
2. Columbia
3. Carver-Columbus
4. Dunwoody
5. East Hall
6. Flowery Branch
7. Hart County
8. Franklin County
9. Gainesville
10. Liberty County


1. Greater Atlanta Christian
2. Dublin
3. East Laurens
4. Manchester
5. Decatur
6. Buford
7. Blessed Trinity
8. Lovett
9. Jordan
10. Long County


1. Hancock Central
2. Turner County
3. Wilkinson County
4. Whitefield Academy
5. Southwest Atlanta Christian
6. Randolph-Clay
7. Wesleyan
8. Wilcox County
9. Portal
10. Paideia

Of the 50 teams ranked in the pre-season polls, 14 failed to make the state playoffs.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Notes from the Notepad: March 15

Five things I’m buying this week:

1. Wheeler - The state’s most talented team didn’t rely so much on it’s array of offensive weapons to win the class AAAAA championship. It was all defense.

During the first half of the season, Wheeler allowed opponents to score an average of 72 points per game in games played in 2008 of the year. In 2009, the average was 59. The Wildcats were 18-2 in that stretch. In 2008, Wheeler was 7-5.

Richard Howell and Ari Stewart were fantastic in the post-season and both made a strong case for class AAAAA Player of the Year. Junior guard Phil Taylor did a fine job of keeping everyone on the same page as well as providing the team with a legitimate threat from the perimeter.

Mix in glue guys, key glue guys, like Joab Jerome and Karl Cochran and the Wildcats made it absolutely impossible for teams to get close when it mattered.

Outstanding effort by the Wildcats and boy did this team step up when it mattered.

2. Miller Grove - The Wolverines held Tucker to two of 29 from the floor in the first half of the state championship game. That might be the most remarkable sentence written this season in Georgia High School basketball. That is six percent shooting from the floor folks. That’s mind-boggling.

Mfon Udofia is the best competitor in the state and absolutely shined this season and made a strong case for the Georgia Hoops Player of the Year. He is the best clutch player in the state and shined when it mattered.

Miller Grove isn’t all about Udofia either. Stephen Hill, one of the top athletes in the Southeast, shined in the state playoffs on both ends of the floor. Seniors Joe Caldwell, Malcolm Frank, Xavier McGahee and others all came up the ranks at the Lithonia school and accepted their roles in order to earn a title.

The future is bright for Miller Grove still. Tony Parker, the state’s top freshman, Dante Williams, one of the elite juniors in the state, Henry Brooks, a fine sophomore big man, and Adarius Fulton, a quality junior point guard, are all back next season. That alone should keep the Wolverines at the top spot in AAAA.

What an effort by first year coach Eddie Johnson, too. He was thrust into the head coaching position right before the season started due to the ridiculous suspension of Sharman White. Johnson quickly earned the trust from his team and never looked back.
Classy move by the team when the final buzzer sounded against Tucker. They sprinted to White, who was sitting in the first row behind the bench, and immediately mobbed him.

3. South Atlanta - Derrick Favors knows how to go out with a bang. The state’s top player helped his Hornets grab the AAA state title by scoring 38 points and grabbing 21 points against Westover in an 81-62 win.

Favors finally took home the hardware and will enter Georgia Tech as a state champion. He’s the best player the Peach State has seen since Dwight Howard’s remarkable run in 2004. Favors is humble and respectful and a kid that you want to root for.

After Favors’ sophomore season, the rumor mill began to churn and rumors had him at Oak Hill Academy. On a June morning in Cleveland, Georgia, I knew that the rumor had zero legs. Walking into the Truett-McConnell gym with his teammates for a full day of team camp in the North Georgia mountains was Favors, big grin and all. That’s when I learned about the big man’s loyalty. The Naismith Trophy award winner is a kid true to his word and true to those that are true to him.

“Of all the accolades, this is the best one,” Favors told the Macon Telegraph on Saturday night after winning the state championship. “It was because I did it with my team. I’ve been playing with these guys since the ninth grade, and this is the best feeling.”

The Hornets enjoyed a tremendous ride this year and the team will have a memorable year to look back on the rest of their lives.

4. Dublin - Guard play will always win big games. That was the case for the Irish.

Chris Smith and Sherrard Brantley both shot the lights out in the class AA championship game against Blessed Trinity. That shooting touch helped Dublin make the march to Macon. Smith had a terrific game and Brantley came alive in the second half to hold off the surging Blessed Trinity attack.

Senior Rashard Smith did a fine job of gluing all of the talent together, too. Tawaski King, the monster in the middle, played an important role, too. His physical presences on Arris Brundidge was an important factor in the victory.

Dublin did a great job on the defensive end of the floor and fought through a very tough road to the championship game. Earning the class AA title was a tough task and the Irish did a terrific job in the process.

5. Whitefield Academy - I’m never afraid to admit when I made a mistake or when I looked past someone or a team. I looked past Whitefield Academy. The Wolfpack won what I believed to be the deepest tournament in all five classifications.

Two things that I shouldn’t have overlooked: 1. This team is led by a pair of great seniors in Brandon Reed and Cameron Baskerville. 2. This team will flat out defend you.

Not surprisingly, Reed has great success inside the Macon Centreplex. He played well there as a freshman. He’s been to the big stage before and understands the complexity of the moment.

Reed should also be commended on his decision to play at a school where he can make a difference for all four years. The lefty guard will make an instant impact at Arkansas State and should play in the NCAA tournament at some point in his career at the Sun Belt school.

Baskerville played well down the stretch and did what he does best – rebound in and out of his area, score the easy shots down low and occasionally pick and pop for a midrange jumper.

Sophomore Kennard Backman stepped up in the moment and played great in the title game against a big Turner County team.

Overall, great game, great effort and great win to claim the class A title.


- Each of the championship games were blowouts. A re-seeding of the tournament would have been nice. Maybe I’ll roll out my fantasy bracket later in the week.

- I’d love to see a Tournament of Champions in Georgia, where the state champions play for the overall state championship. With only five teams eligible for that setting, I’d re-seed the tournament to 32 total teams.

- Food for thought…J.J. Hickson’s N.C. State team was last in the ACC last year before he went pro. Gani Lawal’s Georgia Tech team was last in the ACC this year. He could be making an unwise choice and going pro this year.

- More food for thought…there wasn’t a Division I school from Georgia in the NCAA tournament. There were four Division II schools in the NCAA tournament: Armstrong Atlantic, Augusta State, Georgia College & State University and Valdosta State.

- Let’s hear your picks for Player of the Year in each class. Post your selections in the message section. I’ll be rolling out the post-season accolades in the very near future.

- AAU coaches, email me at so I can get you a profile form. I’m putting together team reports for the college coaches. They are asking who is playing for who and where teams are going.

- Again, another apology for canceling the 2009 Unsigned Senior Showcase. There were some unforeseen circumstances that forced me to cancel the event. It was a last resort situation.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Webcast of semi-finals available

You can watch the semi-finals on, presented by SCORE Atlanta.

Click HERE for the live, streaming video.

A Final Four primer

Wednesday at Macon Centreplex
Turner Co. vs. Athens Christian, 5:30 p.m.
Wilcox Co. vs. Whitefield Academy, 8:30 p.m.

Why Turner County wins: Because this is the best team in class A right now. It’s been long chronicled on Georgia Hoops that the Rebels have the pieces in place to run the table in Macon. Seniors Ternell Davis and Tray Pearce have proven to be the capable scorers in the clutch while the depth and size inside, paced by Chris Spears and Breon Dixon, are too much for teams to handle. Athens Christian has no answer for all four players. Plus, Eric Holland is proving to be one of the premiere coaches in the state, too.

Why Athens Christian wins: Coming off a monster win over Greenforest Christian, the Eagles are flying high thanks to the speed and athleticism of Raymond Higgs and the perimeter touch of David Mann. Head coach Ron Link has a storybook filled with playoff moments and he has helped this team go from a .500 team to a 28-win team.

Why Wilcox County wins: Nick Marshall won’t let his team lose. That was the case against Wilkinson County last week in Columbus. The sophomore fought through a hamstring cramp and hit big shot after big shot in the fourth quarter. The two-sport star is proving to be one of the elite big game players in the state. The team is young but balanced at the starting five. Junior big man Lonnie Outlaw is a big defensive presence in the paint, too.

Why Whitefield Academy wins: Senior leadership. The Wolfpack has plenty of it. Brandon Reed (pictured) is having about as good of a senior year of any guard in the state and he seems to play his best basketball inside the Macon Centreplex. Big man Cameron Baskerville is a tough match-up because of his inside-outside ability. Watching Reed go against Marshall will be one of the best match-ups of the Final Four in any classification.

Georgia Hoops picks: Turner County over Athens Christian, Whitefield Academy over Wilcox County

AA Final Four primer

Thursday at Macon Centreplex
Greene Co. vs. Blessed Trinity, 5:30 p.m.
Dublin vs. Greater Atlanta Christian, 8:30 p.m.

Why Greene County wins: Coming out of region 4, the No. 3 seed team is marching along quite well. Senior guards Gerald Dunn and Davante Smith may be small (both stand under 5-10) but both know how to score with speed. The team played an aggressive schedule and has played teams better in talent than Blessed Trinity. That could be a huge factor.

Why Blessed Trinity wins: After last year’s run and graduation of key players, there weren’t many that thought the Titans would be back in the limelight. Led by the scoring prowess of guard Ryan LeGates (pictured above) and the interior athleticism of Arris Brundidge, the Roswell team has a good nucleus to make it to the championship game.

Why Dublin wins: The road to the Macon Centreplex has prepared the Irish for anything. After beating Northeast Macon, Long County and Central Macon, Dublin has been battle tested every round. Playing GAC won’t have this team worried. Dublin will have to play smarter and keep the turnovers low. The strength remains in the backcourt with Sherrard Brantley, Rashard Smith and Chris Smith. That trio should be the difference maker.

Why Greater Atlanta Christian wins: Start with Eddie Martin. Winning is what he does. The former Norcross head coach has the Spartans on the big stage in his first year at the Gwinnett County private school. He’s done it with a crew that consists of a big time producer in Trent Wiedeman, a sharp-shooting senior in Taylor Metzger, a crafty sophomore point guard in Paul Dawson and a do-everything player in Bo Herbert. GAC will out-think teams and the game against Dublin will be one of the best of the week.

Georgia Hoops picks: Blessed Trinity over Greene County, Dublin over Greater Atlanta Christian

AAA Final Four primer

Friday at Macon Centreplex
Westover vs. Gainesville, 5:30 p.m.
South Atlanta vs. Columbia, 8:30 p.m.

Why Westover wins: There may not be a tougher player in the AAA tournament that senior guard Terrence Noel. He’s stepped up in the playoffs despite a reoccurring separated shoulder problem he’s been fighting through this season. The Albany locals have raved about this team and some have even called this team the best Albany has offered up in nearly five years. That’s impressive.

Why Gainesville wins: No one outside of Hall County is expecting them to win it. Being the underdog is a huge advantage in your own world. It’s a me against the planet mentality. The Red Elephants roll out a heavy senior laden lineup. The team is 21-5 since Jan. 1, too.

Why South Atlanta wins: It never hurts when the best player in the country mans the middle of your lineup. It’s time for Derrick Favors to shake the monkey off his back, too. The state’s most dominate player since Dwight Howard has yet to claim a state championship title. It is now or never. Think the big fella needs any more motivation than that? Throw in Andre Malone, Nick Watkins, Nick Jacobs, Rashaud Bell and a host of other players that are all difficult to match-up with, the Hornets are ready for anything.

Why Columbia wins: They have to play South Atlanta in the semi-finals. If that won’t get you excited for the big dance, nothing will. Columbia has been here before. Playing in the Final Four is nothing new for this club. Junior JerShon Cobb (pictured above) is a tough match-up for South Atlanta because of his versatility. Mix in Columbia’s size, depth and coaching and Phil McCrary’s kids could be playing for another title.

Georgia Hoops picks: Westover over Gainesville, South Atlanta over Columbia

AAAA Final Four primer

Wednesday at Gwinnett Arena
Bainbridge vs. Tucker, 5:30 p.m.
Richmond Academy vs. Miller Grove, 8:30 p.m.

Why Bainbridge wins: Because no one knows anything about them. The Bearcats are balanced, deep and ready to keep winning. The southwest Georgia team will travel nearly five hours to the Gwinnett Arena and this club could be playing for more respect of any team in the building this week. Senior forward Antroine Williford is the best player. Bainbridge has won 27 games this year and two of it’s losses have come in overtime and just by a bucket.

Why Tucker wins: Manny Atkins. The senior knows the time is now. He took over in a huge road win over Hillgrove in the first round of the state tournament. When your seniors are in a zone, good things happen. Luckily for Tucker, Atkins found his zone as a sophomore and won a state title that year. Plus, the Tigers have already sent two teams worthy of a Final Four run – Hillgrove and Marist – to bed for the season.

Why Richmond Academy wins: The kids from Augusta are looking to continue the city’s success at the Final Four level. Last year Glenn Hills won the AAA title. This year, ARC is looking to bring home the AAAA hardware. Big man Ricardo Glenn is talented but Miller Grove will throw a lot of size at him. Guard play will be the x-factor for the Musketeers.

Why Miller Grove wins: Because the Wolverines are the best team in the state. Too big, too deep, too athletic and too talented. There are too many too’s to mention.

Georgia Hoops picks: Tucker over Bainbridge, Miller Grove over Richmond Academy

AAAAA Final Four primer

Thursday at Gwinnett Arena
Newnan vs. Milton, 5:30 p.m.
Westlake vs. Wheeler, 8:30 p.m.

Why Newnan wins: Russell Powell. The senior point guard is the most successful winner in the state. He quarterbacked Newnan’s football team to the semi-finals, too. After watching him score 29 points and hand out seven assists against a good Valdosta team, Powell continues to play at the pace he’s been playing at all season. Newnan plays basketball like they are playing football. That’s a good thing, too.

Why Milton wins: Milton defends better than Newnan and has better star power. Head coach David Boyd has been to the big dance before and knows how to get the job done. He’s hungry for a win in the new era of hoops in the Peach State, too. Perhaps youthful exuberance comes into play, too. Julian Royal is coming off a monster game against South Gwinnett. Royal, Shannon Scott, Dai-Jon Parker and Evan Nolte should be a staple at the Gwinnett Arena for the next three years.

Why Wheeler wins: The Wildcats have too much firepower you can rely on. Richard Howell, one of the finalists for the Georgia Hoops AAAAA Player of the Year, Ari Stewart and Phil Taylor can all be the go-to player. Plus, the Marietta team is playing about as good as anyone in the state. Defensively, Wheeler is playing like old state championship teams, too.

Why Westlake wins: The Lions have had a bit of an up and down season but since the departure of star junior Jalen Kendrick, Westlake is playing very good basketball, founded on great defense and offensive balance. Wheeler will have it’s hands full with the big frontline of Westlake and the depth. Point guard is the only chink in the armor. Too much Javaris Bryant, Marcus Thornton (pictured above) and the rest of the size at nearly every position could frustrate Wheeler.

Georgia Hoops picks: Newnan over Milton, Wheeler over Westlake

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Georgia Hoops Unsigned Senior Showcase is canceled

It is with great regret that I am canceling the 2009 Georgia Hoops Unsigned Senior Showcase on March 21 due to unforeseen circumstances. If you have previously registered, you have been emailed with further instruction.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Turner County takes out Terrell County

COLUMBUS, GA -- The starting five players at Turner County have been well scouted by nearly every team in south Georgia this year because of its success throughout the regular season.

But if it wasn't for senior Todd Lawson coming off the bench and performing as well as he did in the fourth quarter, the Rebels would have a different ending to the season.

Lawson's defense and big three-pointer helped the No. 1 team in class A knock out Terrell County 68-63 on Friday night at Columbus State.

Lawson's defense on the surging Terrell County attack in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference maker. Terrell County chipped away at a seven point lead with six minutes left to play thanks to great shooting from Martavious Yarbrough. The 6-2 wing hit a pair of three-pointers and eventually took a one point lead with 3:40 to play in the game. Turner County head coach Eric Holland called a timeout and had a conversation with Lawson.

"He came to me and said 'Coach, give to me.' So when your best defender comes to you and says that, you listen," Holland said.

"Todd really wore him down. His legs started to get heavy and then his shots stopped falling. The thing with Todd is that he can be a starter for this team but he accepted his role with this team and really gives us a spark."

Lawson hit a three pointer promptly after the timeout, giving Turner County a four point lead at the three minute mark. The Rebels never lost the lead again.

Turner County was paced by senior Ternell Davis, who scored 22 points on nine of 24 shooting from the floor. The Chipola bound guard also grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded four steals.

Big man Chris Spears added 13 points and seven rebounds in the win. Trey Pearce and Breon Dixon both scored nine points each.

Terrell County had to play nearly all of the fourth quarter without its star big man Robert Ellis because of foul trouble. Ellis was a headache for Turner in the first half. He owned the glass and was a terror as a shot-blocker. Ellis grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 10 shots but only scored six in the defeat. Holland said Terrell County became a tougher team to defend without the big man on the floor.

"They actually became a different team. They became faster. They have better speed and probably even became more athletic," Holland said.

Terrell County point guard Terel Hall played a big role in his team's comeback. The 5-8 sophomore dished seven of his ten assists in the fourth quarter.

Turner County will play the winner of the Athens Christian-Greenforest Christian game on Weds., March 11 at 5:30 at the Macon Centreplex.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Forcasting the field: Quarterfinals

The road to the Final Four is quickly approaching the first exit of the long and competitive highway this weekend. Eight teams in each classification woke up Friday morning with the hopes of reaching it to the grandest stage in Georgia high school hoops. By late Saturday night, four teams will be making plans to play at the Gwinnett Arena or the Macon Centrreplex.


Norcross (27-2) vs. Wheeler (22-7)
Saturday, March 7, 8:30 p.m. at West Georgia

This is the game everyone is waiting for, at least at the AAAAA level. The two powerhouses met for the state championship last year and Norcross raised the trophy for the third time in as many years. Wheeler is hungry to raise it’s first title since 2005, when the Wildcats beat the Blue Devils.

Wheeler has too much talent and size at each position for this year’s Norcross, one of the premier defensive teams in the state. Quietly, Wheeler has been defending as good as anyone, too. Mix that with star power, shot-makers, rebounders and an array of athletes and Wheeler should be marching onto the Gwinnett Arena this year with the hopes of bringing the title back to Marietta.

Georgia Hoops pick: Wheeler

AAAAA notes

Can South Gwinnett do it again? The senior-laden Comets probably hope they don’t need a double overtime game to pull off another impressive playoff victory. Age is the team’s best strength going into this weekend’s game against Milton, the best young team in the state.

Can a Savannah team make it back to the Gwinnett Arena? Two of the last three years, a team has. Last year it was Tim Jordan’s Blue Jackets were there. In 2005-06, Beach made a run to the title game. This year’s Savannah team is balanced, deep and ready for another run. The team will have it’s hands full with a similar Westlake team.

Can Russell Powell get some love? The Newnan star is one of the top three contenders for the AAAAA Player of the Year award by Georgia Hoops and a run to the championship game will certainly help his cause. The 5-9 point guard is the fastest guard in the tournament, poised and ready to prove himself on the big stage. Valdosta, winners of 28 games this year, will not be an easy task at Fort Valley on Saturday. That game is beyond intriguing.


Miller Grove (24-3) vs. Fayette County (22-7)
Friday, March 6, 8:30 p.m. at West Georgia

Here we go again.

In what was probably the most exciting game of the AAAA last year in the state tournament, the two teams will go at it once again in the quarterfinals. This one could be just as exciting or better than last year or even a blow out.

Both teams are led by a big time senior. Miller Grove’s Mfon Udofia is the best player in the clutch in the state. Fayette County’s Noel Johnson can score 30 points a game any night. Both teams have tremendous youth. Miller Grove has the best freshman in the state in Tony Parker. Fayette County leans on sophomore starters Malcolm Brogdon, Adam Smith and Maurice Williams. Both teams are certainly ready for the battle.

However, Miller Grove just has too many weapons and the size advantage will give Fayette County trouble.

Miller Grove also has the luxury of matching up Johnson with Stephen Hill, a Georgia Tech bound football player that doubles as one of the most exciting athletes in the state. Hill, Joe Caldwell and Xavier McGahee should play a big role in Miller Grove’s likely win.

Georgia Hoops pick: Miller Grove

AAAA notes

The Fayette County-Miller Grove game will have at least eight Division I players on the floor at one point in the game. Wow!

The Marist-Tucker game is one of the best of the entire weekend because of it’s history. Tucker was riding a nine game winning streak over Marist since 2005 and James Hartry’s club seemed to have their number. Until this year. Marist won both meetings in region 6 play. Both games were in the 40s and Marist played the way it wanted to play. Dee Goens is the key for Marist while Manny Atkins is playing about as good as anyone in the state right now. Should be a dandy of a game. Can I retract my pick of Marist making to the title game? I'd like to go with Tucker now. Hey, I make my own rules.

Looking for a game rich with sleepers? Try the games at Fort Valley State tonight. The Bainbridge-Statesboro game features a total of 51 wins between the two teams. Glynn Academy-Richmond Academy game. Ricardo Glenn, a 6-7 post for Richmond, will have his hands full with 6-10 center Thomas Vonashek for Glynn.


South Atlanta (26-3) vs. Washington County (25-4)
Saturday, March 7, 8:30 p.m. at Northwest Columbus State University

South Atlanta has rolled through 99 percent of the teams from Georgia that have lined up against them this year. This weekend’s game against Washington County shouldn’t be considered one that will be taken lightly.

The kids from Sandersville are small but they play like a bunch of gnats on a muggy day. They pester, pressure and annoy you beyond belief on defense. If there is one chink in the armor for South Atlanta it is the backcourt. That’s the area to attack and Washington County does it about as good as anyone.

At the end of the day too much Derrick Favors will prevail.

Georgia Hoops pick: South Atlanta

AAA notes

Six number one seeds still remain. Westover, Northside Columbus, Gainesville, Washington County, South Atlanta and Columbia are all still very much in the hunt.

Keep an eye on the Elbert County-Columbia game. Rod Rucker is the top junior sleeper in the state and he has his team rolling right now. Columbia is too big, too talented and too experienced. Nevertheless, things at the Northwest Georgia Trade Center will be interesting for this one.


Dublin (28-1) vs. Central Macon (15-7)
Saturday, March 7, 8:30 p.m. at Savannah State

Central Macon guard Matthew Brabham is tearing teams up with his scoring touch in the post-season and he’ll have his hands full against Dublin.

Dublin travels very well to Savannah and oftentimes have the feel of a home game inside Savannah State. Brabham has played well up against the ropes this season. The drama will make for a fun and competitive match-up.

Dublin’s size, defensive pressure on the wings and depth in the backcourt should wear Central Macon down.

Georgia Hoops pick: Dublin

AA notes

Coosa is the top underdog in the tournaments still. At 14-16, the kids from North Georgia are still fighting. Good luck with GAC. The Spartans are tough.

Want to watch unselfish basketball? Go to the Blessed Trinity-Dade County game.


Terrell County (26-4) vs. Turner County (28-1)
Friday, March 6, 5:30 p.m. at Columbus State

Georgia Hoops will be courtside for this one. Both teams are rich with talent.

Turner County may be the deepest team outside of AAAAA and they are certainly in the mix for one of the top five spots in the state, too. Senior Trey Pearce scored 25 points last round. He’s just one of the four or five players that can explode for those kind of scoring numbers any night.

Terrell County is paced by big man Robert Ellis. The 6-7 post will have his hands full with Turner’s size inside.

Georgia Hoops pick: Turner County

A notes

Disclaimer: If you see errors in today/tomorrow’s story on the Wilcox County-Wilkinson County game, forgive me. Writing Wilcox and/or Wilkinson over and over again may throw my pea sized brain off.

It’s too bad we won’t see Athens Christian and Darlington play. Both are underdogs to make it to state title game. The two teams boast the two best scorers in the state. AC has Raymond Higgs and Darlington has Tyshawn Good. Go to the stat page on You’ll see there names number one and number two in the scoring column.


Newnan over Valdosta
Westlake over Savannah
Milton over South Gwinnett
Wheeler over Norcross
First round prediction record: 12-4
Second round prediction record: 6-2
Total: 18-6

Statesboro over Bainbridge
Richmond Academy over Glynn Academy
Tucker over Marist
Miller Grove over Fayette County
First round prediction record: 15-1
Second round prediction record: 7-1
Total: 22-2

Westover over Northside Columbus
South Atlanta over Washington County
Cedartown over Gainesville
Columbia over Elbert County
First round prediction record: 11-5
Second round prediction record: 7-1
Total: 18-6

Greene County over Henry County
Dublin over Central Macon
Blessed Trinity over Dade County
Greater Atlanta Christian over Coosa
First round prediction record: 12-4
Second round prediction record: 6-2
Total: 18-6

Turner County over Terrell County
Wilkinson County over Wilcox County
Greenforest Christian over Athens Christian
Whitefield Academy over Darlington
First round prediction record: 16-0
Second round prediction record: 8-0
Total: 24-0

State tournament total to date: 100-20

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Norcross or Wheeler: Who has the bragging rights?

Todd Holcomb of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution breaks down a great look at the Norcross-Wheeler rivalry.

He dove deep into the issue, dating back to 2000.

For the full story click HERE.

Who do you think has the bragging rights?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Nothing but 'Net: Round 2 recaps Gainesville advances to the next round with a win over Druid Hills. Cedartown ends the season for North Hall. Blessed Trinity ends the season for Riverside Military. Jershon Cobb scored 28 points to help Columbia move on with a win over West Hall.

Albany Herald: Westover moves on to the Elite Eight with a four point win over Liberty County. Bainbridge advances in the AAAA tournament with a win over Stockbridge. Terrell County makes easy work with Aquinas. Quick recaps of Washington County and Turner County wins.

AJC: Norcross wins the battle over Walton. Now the Blue Devils will play Norcross. That's exactly what Ari Stewart wants. The senior scored 25 points to help the Wildcats send Peachtree Ridge packing.

Augusta Chronicle: Richmond Academy gets 21 points and 18 rebounds from Ricardo Glenn in a win over Brunswick.

Brunswick News: Glynn Academy did something that few away teams do at Jonesboro: win in Clayton County.

Fayette Daily News: Fayette County is headed to the Elite Eight and will play Miller Grove in a rematch of last year's AAAA semi-final game.

GPB: David Mann scores 32 points for Athens Christian as the class A team knocks out North Cobb Christian.

Gwinnett Daily Post: Denzail Jones has asked for a big shot his entire life and got it in a huge win for Norcross over Walton. South Gwinnett's Adonis Harrison scores 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a double overtime win over Centennial. Wheeler goes on big third quarter run to put out Peachtree Ridge. GAC's Elliott Long mixed with some Eddie Martin emotion helps the Spartans send home Chattooga. Milton has little trouble with Central Gwinnett.

Macon Telegraph: Dublin shot 29-35 from the foul line to send Long County packing. Central Macon closed out it's gym in style with a blowout win over Appling County. Wilkinson County had to fight tooth and nail to beat Greenville. Wilcox County gets a big game from junior Lonnie Outlaw against Calvary Day to move onto the Elite Eight.

Marietta Daily Journal: Ari Stewart brings it in the second half to help Wheeler win. Another recap of the Norcross-Walton game. Tucker head coach James Hartry said Manny Atkins played his best game of the season in a win over Hillgrove.

Newnan Herald-Times: Newnan's Russell Powell steps up once again in the fourth quarter to beat Redan.

Rockdale Citizen: Too much speed, size in a Miller Grove win over Rockdale County.

Savannah Morning News: Savannah uses a late run to send Coffee packing.

Tifton Gazette: Westlake uses size, balance to move onto the Elite Eight over Tift County.

Thomasville Times Enterprise: Greene County, a No. 3 seed, upsets Thomasville, a No. 1 seed.

Valdosta Daily Times: Jay Rome scores 20 points a 64-61 Valdosta win over Riverdale.

How’d we pick ‘em in the first round? Pretty good actually, part II

AAAAA – 6-2
AAAA – 7-1
AAA – 7-1
AA – 6-2
A – 8-0

State tournament total: 100-20

Tucker still dancing

Tucker senior Manny Atkins knows when it is time to dance, you save your best moves when the spotlight is on you.

The 6-5 senior helped Tucker keep their dancing shoes for a couple more days after he sank a three-pointer with 1:49 left to play in the fourth quarter. The bucket proved to be the difference maker in Tucker’s come from behind 62-59 win over Hillgrove on Wednesday night in Powder Springs.

The decisive three-pointer was the fifth Atkins made on the night and the bucket was the first lead Tucker held all night up to that point at 57-54. Atkins, the MVP of the state tournament just two years ago when Tucker won the crown, has been trained to shine in those moments, he said.

“Being in these types of games before, you just sort of get used to it,” Atkins said. “I knew that when I got the ball (with two minutes left to play), that I was going to knock it down. We wanted to put the pressure back on them.”

The Virginia Tech bound senior finished with a game high 28 points and 10 rebounds.

After being down for 30 minutes of the game, Atkins said he was happy with the way he and his teammates stayed with their game plan and pressed forward when they were up against the ropes.

“We have a lot of confidence right now. We beat a very good 27-2 team on their home court,” Atkins said. “We realize we can beat some good teams. Tonight, we were the best team.”

Hillgrove came out of the gates strong, going on a 14-5 run to start the game. Senior guard Darius Baugh scored 10 of the 14 points and set the tone early by hitting all four of his shot attempts.

Baugh finished with 21 points. Junior forward Heath Houston added eight points.

Tucker will play Marist on Friday, March 6 at 5:30 at West Georgia in Carrollton. Marist beat Cass 64-42 on Wednesday night.

Notes from the notepad: State playoffs edition

Here we go again.

The second round of the state playoffs tip off tonight for the boy’s teams and the slate of big time match-ups are plenty. I’ve picked out the best game in each of the classifications.


1. Walton (19-9) at Norcross (26-2): Offense vs. defense. That is what this game will come down to. Walton’s offense marched through McEachern in the first round. Norcross has proven to be one of the elite defensive teams in the state.

Walton has scored over 80 points in 19 games under 80 points this year. Norcross has only allowed a team to score more than 60 points just five times all year. There will be one team pushing, and one team pulling. The two different styles will be fun to watch play out.

If Norcross can hold Glen Rice, Jr. and Ryan Harrow to a combined 40 points, then the Blue Devils have a good shot at moving onto the next round of the state tournament. Norcross’s depth and ability to step up in the moment on it’s home floor should be the difference maker.

Georgia Hoops pick: Norcross

2. Tucker (17-8) at Hillgrove (27-2): Old meets the new in this game. Tucker has been to the Gwinnett Arena before. Three times, in fact. The Tigers are used to winning in March. In it’s third year of existence, Hillgrove is already making history in post-season basketball by making into the second round of the state tournament.

Tucker’s eight losses are deceptive. So are Hillgrove’s 27 wins. Tucker is better than it’s record presents while Hillgrove will have a major challenge matching Tucker’s size and physical play inside and on the wing.

Manny Atkins has been Mr. Clutch this season for the Tigers and the supporting cast has a sizable edge over Hillgrove. The Hawks will need a big game from guard Darrius Baugh and big man Heath Houston. The edge Hillgrove has is two fold: home court advantage and they are a better defensive team.

Georgia Hoops pick: Tucker

3. Liberty County (20-5) at Westover (24-6): What a match-up in AAA. Both teams match-up well and the talent level on the floor would usually be matched up against each other in a deeper round of the playoffs.

Westover’s Terrence Noel steps up in the big games. He scored 20 of his 30 points last week against Shaw in the second half. The 6-3 senior is a tough player when it matters. It will most certainly matter against Liberty County.

Liberty County will have to drive four hours to Westover for the night game. While most teams may struggle with the logistics, the Panthers are used to traveling thanks a brutal 3-AAA map. Juniors Jordan McRae and Rion Brown make for a tough match-up on the wings because of their size and length.

Georgia Hoops pick: Westover

4. Long County (21-6) at Dublin (27-1): For the second round in a row, the top team in AA will be challenged at home. Dublin was up against the ropes against Northeast Macon and had to fight deep into the fourth quarter to get a hard earned victory.

Long County is rolling in 2009. The Blue Tide has only lost one game since Jan. 3. Dublin has been dominate all season long. The only loss came to Collins Hill at a tournament in Florida.

The game also features two of the best unsigned seniors in the state in Dublin’s Sherrard Brantley and Long County’s Jimmy Bacon.

Expect another close one and the Irish having just a wee bit more luck in the end.

Georgia Hoops pick: Dublin

5. Hancock Central (20-8) at Turner County (27-1): There are a lot of best involved with this game.

Hancock Central has the best big man in the class in Kammeon Holsey. The Georgia Tech bound big man is coming off your run-of-the-mill 34-point, 22-rebound game against Portal.

Turner County is the best team in class A and one of the best in the state. The Rebels have one of the deepest rotations in the state along with one of the best coaches in Eric Holland.

Turner County’s tiny gym will also be the best atmosphere to watch a game on Wednesday night. That should make for the best game of the entire night across the state.

Who’s best will be best tonight?

Georgia Hoops pick: Turner County

Three more to keep your eye on:
South Gwinnett at Centennial – The Comets are a sleeper to watch. The majority of the team knows Lorenzo Brown’s game very well from AAU ball. The Comets are bigger and deeper. Don’t be surprised to see an upset tonight from South Gwinnett but I can’t argue against Lorenzo Brown. The Knights hold on for the win.

Paideia at Whitefield Academy – This is a passing of the torch game in class A. Whitefield has been the staple of consistency in the state’s smallest region. With seniors Brandon Reed and Cameron Baskerville, the Wolfpack should make another run to Macon. Paideia will step into Whitefield’s dominating role next week.

Burke County at Northside Columbus – A lot of size in this game. There are three Division I players in this game that stand over 6-8. And both teams feed the post. Northside should take advantage of playing at home.


- I wonder if Mother Nature comes into play for the second round games. There are some schools that have Monday off because of the Blizzard of 2009. There are some schools, most notably Gwinnett County schools, that can not practice on Monday. Those that did had school on Monday, as they should, those schools practiced.

- The GHSA released the locations for the quarter-finals and the reception has been mixed. The clear winner is class A. The south quarter-finals will be at Columbus State on March 6. The north quarter-finals will be at Marietta High School. Both venues are perfect for the teams involved.

On the flip side, the reception has been mixed for the AAAAA brackets. Fort Valley State will host the south side of the bracket. Sure, both venues are a little out of the way. Sure, there may have been other locations that seemed like a better fit. Sure, sure, sure…

But I like the two choices. Fort Valley and West Georgia have two of the nicest, and newer, gyms in the state. Both venues are certainly big enough and both are a great atmosphere to watch a game. Enjoy the drive, make a memory and fans will travel near or far to see their team in action. It’s only one game folks.

- How about some fun with numbers? Thirty-three of the 40 number one seeds moved onto the second round. Twenty-two of the 40 number two seeds moved onto the second round. All eight number one seeds moved on to the next round in class A. Both AAA and AA send six number one seeds onto the next round, the lowest of any class.

- I’d love to see all 10 teams that make it to the state finals play a rematch as a non region game next year in the schedule. It could be the season opener at Georgia State or Georgia Tech or at Mercer or wherever in a central location at a college gym. Have five games on a Saturday in November and start the year off where the previous one left off. Just a thought…

- Of the seven remaining No. 4 seeds, Walton is clearly the best of the bunch. No need to spell that one out. But keep an eye on North Hall and Decatur. North Hall could make a push to the Final Four. Decatur will likely match-up with Region 6 foe GAC in the Elite Eight.


Valdosta over Riverdale
Newnan over Redan
Centennial over South Gwinnett
Milton over Central Gwinnett
Coffee over Savannah
Westlake over Tift County
Wheeler over Peachtree Ridge
Norcross over Walton
Last week’s class AAAAA record: 12-4

Stockbridge over Bainbridge
Statesboro over Forest Park
Marist over Cass
Tucker over Hillgrove
Richmond Academy over Brunswick
Glynn Academy over Jonesboro
Miller Grove over Rockdale County
Fayette County over Clark Central
Last week’s class AAAA record: 15-1

Westover over Liberty County
Northside-Columbus over Burke County
North Hall over Cedartown
Gaineville over Druid Hills
Washington County over Monroe
South Atlanta over Cairo
Elbert County over Cedar Grove
Columbia over West Hall
Last week’s class AAA record: 11-5

Thomasville over Greene County
Henry County over Cook County
Blessed Trinity over Riverside Military
Dade County over Calloway
Dublin over Long County
Central Macon over Appling County
GAC over Chattooga
Decatur over Coosa
Last week’s class AA record: 12-4

Terrell County over Aquinas
Turner County over Hancock Central
Athens Christian over North Cobb Christian
Greenforest over Pace Academy
Wilcox County over Calvary Day
Wilkinson County over Greenville
Darlington over Athens Academy
Whitefield Academy over Paideia
Last week’s class A record: 16-0

Monday, March 02, 2009

GHSA quarter-final locations are set

The Georgia High School Association has set the locations for the quarter-finals this weekend. They are as follows:

A - South Columbus State University Columbus March 6
A - North Marietta High School Marietta March 7
AA - South Savannah State University Savannah March 7
AA - North The Forum Rome March 7
AAA - South Columbus State University Columbus March 7
AAA - North Northwest Georgia Trade Center Dalton March 7
AAAA - South Fort Valley State University Fort Valley March 6
AAAA - North University of West Georgia Carrollton March 6
AAAAA - South Fort Valley State University Fort Valley March 7
AAAAA - North University of West Georgia Carrollton March 7

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Georgia Hoops on 790 the Zone today

Tune into 790 the Zone today between 1 and 1:30 p.m. I'll be a featured guest on the new high school and recruiting show. You can listen live HERE.

Nothing but 'Net: Round 1 Recaps North Hall pulls the upset at Franklin County. Greenforest Christian sends Lakeview home. Riverside Military stays hot. Chattooga takes care of Dawson. Free throws did Flowery Branch in against Elbert County. Gainseville stomps past Eastside.

Albany Herald: Bainbridge wins easily over Wayne County. Westover senior guard Terrance Noel scored 20 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to lead his team past Shaw. Monroe knocked out LaGrange. Terrell County and Turner County both move on.

AJC: Wheeler looked like a track team against Harrison. Centennial gets past North Cobb.

Augusta Chronicle: Stockbridge went to Augusta and ran past Cross Creek. Aquinas beats Savannah Country Day.

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: Northside took care of Peach County. Cairo Syrupmakers smother a comeback from Kendrick. Ryan LeGates scored 27 for Blessed Trinity in a win over Jordan.

GPB: Charlie Hood's career ends at 999. Central Gwinnett shocks Collins Hill. Live blog from the Walton thriller over McEachern.

Gwinnett Daily Post: Norcross holds off Meadowcreek late rally. Central Gwinnett pulls upset off over Collins Hill. Peachtree Ridge avenges early season loss to Brookwood. South Gwinnett holds on against Mill Creek. Trent Wiedeman has a monster game for GAC. Athens Academy wins on a last second shot.

Macon Telegraph: Dublin-NE Macon game has Ali-Frazier feel. Matt Brabham continues his strong play, dropping 40 points on East Laurens to help Central Macon move on. Washington County rolls past Rutland. Brunswick bounces Westside-Macon out of the playoffs.

Marietta Daily Journal: Walton wins an instant classic at McEachern. Goodbye coach Charlie Hood. Tahj Tate comes back to the Wheeler lineup in a big way for Wheeler.

Savannah Morning News: Calvary Day moves on to Round 2. Savannah High needs an overtime period to beat Creekside.

Valdosta Daily Times: Valdosta playing with heavy hearts in state tournament.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quick Saturday night wrap-up

My battery on my phone died early tonight. Not a big surprise really. The text messages were flying in at a quick pace. The web-browser was working overtime trying to collect the scores. And, of course, plenty of phone calls to keep T-Mobile in business in this dire economic state.

So, what did we learn in the first round?

1. Region 6-AAAAA is no joke.
2. Class A is probably the best tournament from top to bottom in the state.
3. Most impressive road win? Riverdale at Groves. Monster win on the road. OR Long County traveling nearly five hours across the state to beat Early County.
4. Walton’s Ryan Harrow against McEachern’s Trae Golden was the match-up that delivered.
5. South Atlanta is great with numbers. The Hornets are beating Georgia teams by an average of 40 points a game. Saturday’s win was a 41-point blowout over Thomson.
6. Round two will be even better.

Upsets of round 1:

AAAAA – Central Gwinnett over Collins Hill. Huge win for the 14-14 Golden Knights. Freshman Jordan Adams has a monster game while Collins Hill abandons great high/low game in the second half.

AAAA – Cass, a No. 4 seed, overcomes 20-point fourth quarter deficit on the road to beat Loganville, a No. 1 seed, 88-86 in overtime.

AAA – North Hall, a No. 4 seed, beat Franklin County 54-44 at the No. 1 seed’s home court. That’s a big win on the road and against one of the best players in the AAA bracket in DeMario Mayfield. OR Cedar Grove, a sub .500 team, beating Carrollton at home. Carrollton is a 25-win team.

AA – Decatur traveled to Manchester and picked up a one point win in central Georgia. Manchester has only lost won game in 2009 until tonight.

A – None. Single A went as expected. The second round, however, has a number of match-ups of note. Hancock Central at Turner County, a rematch of last year’s state title game, probably already has a line outside of TC’s gym waiting to get in.

How’d we pick ‘em in the first round? Pretty good actually

AAAAA – 12-4
AAAA – 15-1
AAA – 11-5
AA – 12-4
A – 16-0
Total: 66-14

Georgia Hoops will have much, much more this weekend until Wednesday.

Central Gwinnett knocks out Collins Hill

Central Gwinnett freshman Jordan Adams should be getting used to this by now.

Adams hit four of his last five free throws and a big three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to help seal a 63-61 Central Gwinnett win over Collins Hill to advance in the AAAAA state tournament.

Adams finished with 22 points in the victory. He sat out seven games in January and just got back into the team’s rotation during the region tournament because of the hamstring injury.

Stepping up in the moment is something Adams is starting to get used to.

Six months ago, the 6-3 wing lined up under center for the Black Knights football team and won three of the last five games of the year for the football team as the starter. On Saturday night at Collins Hill, Adams came off the bench to help lead his number four seed team knock of one of the hottest teams in the state on the road.

“I tell you what, he was huge tonight. He’s a big time player,” Central Gwinnett head coach David Allen said after the game. “He has a great feel for the game. His knowledge of the game really showed there at the end. I was proud of him and the rest of our guys. They played their hearts out.”

Indeed they did. Central Gwinnett never seemed intimidated by Collins Hill’s size in the post. The Black Knights relied on perimeter shooting and aggressive rebounding late in the game.

Allen said he was happy with the way his team closed out the game. His team has lost seven games this season by four points or less. Winning a close one, on the road no less, is something that his team has fought hard to do this season.

“They really endured well late in the game. That is something that we’ve struggled with this year. So the timing was perfect,” Allen said.

Collins Hill had a monster effort from Utah bound senior Jeremy Olsen. The 6-10 big man dominated the game in the first half, scoring 19 of his team’s 34 points and only missed two shots in the first 16 minutes of play. Olsen finished with 29 points (11-15 FG, 7-8 FT), 15 rebounds and four blocks in the defeat.

Speedy sophomore guard Saah Nimley added 22 points in the defeat. Collins Hill struggled without production from Reed Buck and Derek Hood. The senior starters combined for just five points in the loss.

Central Gwinnett will travel to Milton on Wednesday for the second round of the AAAAA state tournament.

For scores for all first round games, click HERE.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Breaking down the brackets: A

Buckle up Class A basketball fans. The ride to Macon will be bumpy and beyond exciting.

The depth of the class A state tournament is ridiculous.

Nine of the 10 ranked teams in current coaches poll are in the field. Of those nine, seven are No. 1 seeds. The other two teams are No. 2 seeds. Only Metter failed to make the tournament.

All of that talent, plus talented teams like North Cobb Christian, Athens Academy, Wesleyan, Greenville, Calvary Day, Wilcox County and Dooly County round out deep tournament field.

Sure, AAAAA may have better teams. Or AAAA has the best team in the state in Miller Grove. Class AAA has the state’s best player in Derrick Favors. But class A is loaded with talent.

Moreover, the potential match-ups in the second round of the tournament and beyond may be the best Sweet 16 of any of the classes in Georgia.

The march to Macon will be hard fought and the team that hoists the championship trophy on March 14 will have certainly earned it. The strong will survive in this classification.


Dooly County at Terrell County - The potential for a four seed beating a one seed is low across the board this year in the state tournament. This is one of those games. Dooly is a fine four seed and could even potentially be a No. 1 seed in several other regions in class A. Terrell County will be ready, too. The Green Wave have knocked out Westover, Thomasville and Greenville this year. This game should be the best in the opening round of the class A tournament.

Savannah Christian at Wilkinson County - The Palace is one of the toughest places to play in the state and the WilCo fans will be ready to welcome Savannah Christian to Irwinton on Saturday night. And there is nothing more than Josh Sparks and SC would like to do than get out of the first round of the state tournament. Sparks and company will give a good fight, there is no doubt about that, but WilCo is just too big, too experienced and too good at home.

North Cobb Christian at Gordon Lee - NCC is in the state tournament in it’s first year of GHSA play and the Eagles want to continue making history. The team has size anchored by Milos Kluet, speed thanks to Romeo Lewis and toughness from Stefan Frank. Gordon Lee is a good basketball team but NCC might just be too much to handle in what should be an entertaining game.

Athens Academy at Wesleyan - The teams are evenly matched and both are led by a versatile and talented junior. Athens Academy leans on the perimeter scoring of Jeremy Burgess while Wesleyan hopes to have a healthy Griffin Schamp, who missed one game of the Region 7 tournament with strep throat and was only used for half of the other games. Home court advantage may be the difference maker in this game.


Brit Duncan, PG, Wilkinson County – He’s the leading scorer for the Warriors and one of the best guards in class A. Duncan is averaging 17 points a clip on a team with great balance. Duncan’s been through the rigors of post-season play before and the road to Macon for WilCo is not an easy one either. His leadership will be relied on a lot for Dr. Aaron Geter and the Warriors over the next couple of weeks.

Tyshawn Good, SG, Darlington – Is it possible to be one of the top scorers in the state for two years in a row and be a relative unknown in the state’s discussion for top players? Some how, some way, it is possible. Good lives up to his name. He’s a dynamic scorer, He is a quick scorer. He is a jet to the basket and has dominated North Georgia hoops since moving south from New York. Sure, the competition in Region 6-A isn’t the best but scoring over 28 points a game for two straight seasons is beyond impressive. Teams will have to game plan to contain him.

Cody Padgett, SF, Calvary Day – He’s not a sleeper in the Savannah area. That’s because he has been one of the top scorers in the city for the last couple of years. The 6-3 wing played his heart out in the region tournament and will certainly fight tooth and nail to keep his team in the tournament.

Raymond Higgs, SG, Athens Christian (pictured above) – He averages nearly 27 points a game. Here is the scary thing: Basketball is his second sport. The potential Olympic level high jumper has one of the most explosive first steps in the state and gets to the basket at will. He has game-changing ability and has picked apart any type of defense that has tried to contain his route to the rim. There probably isn’t a team in the state that can slow him.

Eric Martin, PF, Dooly County – The 6-6 senior was very impressive in a tough loss to Turner County during the Region 2-A tournament last week. He uses his length to crash the boards, score in the paint and he can even step out and knock down the midrange jumper. Dooly runs a nice high-low game with Martin and Charsini Washington. Martin anchors the team’s interior game and if the Bobcats make it through the first round, a trip to the Elite Eight is a strong possibility.


Breon Dixon, PF, Turner County – A great showing in the state tournament could potentially propel the 6-7 forward to the top of the class of 2011 individual rankings in Georgia. Dixon is knocking on that door right now. He plays a big role for Turner County, the Georgia Hoops favorite to win the class A title, and can score, rebound and blocks a ton of shots.

Kentavious Caldwell, SG, Greenville – Like Dixon, Caldwell is very close to being named the top sophomore in the state. He’s a do-everything wing that is getting better and better each time out. Now that Will Bailey, also a sophomore, is on Greenville’s team, Caldwell does not have to fight through triple teams anymore. Just double teams and box and one defenses.

Nick Marshall, SG, Wilcox County – He’s a quick trigger shooting guard that has the athleticism to match his scoring ability. Of all of the young talent in class A this year, Marshall has the best wow potential. He can score from deep but he is also a terror en route to the basket.

The Paideia kids – The Pythons have a deep roster of young talent and lean heavily on the youth to win ball games. E. Victor Nickerson is the team’s top producing youngster. The 6-7 forward does a little bit of everything while Nigel Snipes is an athletic match-up problem on the wing. Sidki Muwallif, a 6-8 center, blocks a good number of shots. Sophomore point guard Kharon Butcher and freshman combo guard Keenan Palmore both factor into the game’s outcome with their ball-handling and shooting touch. This crew will make noise for a while at the state level.

Top No. 1 seed: Turner County
Top No. 2 seed: Paideia
Top No. 3 seed: North Cobb Christian
Top No. 4 seed: Dooly County


Terrell County over Dooly County
Aquinas over Savannah Country Day
Turner County over Seminole County
Hancock Central over Portal
Athens Christian over Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy
North Cobb Christian over Gordon Lee
Greenforest Christian over Lakeview Academy
Pace Academy over Bremen
Calvary Day over Warren County
Wilcox County over Clinch County
Wilkinson County over Savannah Christian
Greenville over Lanier County
Darlington over Our Lady of Mercy
Athens Academy over Wesleyan
Whitefield Academy over Bowdon
Paideia over Commerce


Turner County vs. Greenforest Christian
Wilkinson County vs. Whitefield Academy


Turner County over Whitefield Academy