Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Mailbag: Jan. 22

The mailbag was loaded with great questions this week. Just how good is Region 6-AAAAA? What region is the top dog in AAAA? Should Mfon Udofia be a McDonald's All-American? Am I covering girls basketball now? I answer those questions and more in this week's edition of The Mailbag.

The State Playoffs are going to be outstanding -- agreed, but what about the Region 6 AAAAA tournament? At least one state-ranked team won't even make it out of the region! The region tournament may be as tough as the AAAAA final 8 (with a bunch of the same teams).

I wholeheartedly agree. Every year Georgia has a region that is stocked deep with talent. I always call it the CostCo region. There is just so much bulk you don't even know where to start. 6-AAAAA is this year's CostCo region.

Here are the contenders in the region:

Why they will make state: They are the toughest - mentally and physically - team in the region.
Why they won't: Numbers crunch. Perhaps this team peaked too early.

Why they will make state: Been there before, speed in the backcourt, Lorenzo Brown
Why they won't: An early pairing against Wheeler and loss in the region tournament will keep the Knights out.

Why they will make state: They defend, they shoot, they are smart and they play as a team.
Why they won't: Not enough athleticism or size to pair with some of the other teams in the region.

Why they will make state: The sophomores are playing at a high level right now.
Why they won't: Too young.

Why they will make state: Glen Rice, Jr. and Ryan Harrow. The duo can go for a combined 60 a game any given night.
Why they won't: Defense has been the Achilles heel all season, lack of depth, five of next six games are very tough

Why they will make state: Too talented not too, they have a schedule that should have them ready for the rigors of tournament play.
Why they won't: They lose focus of their strengths.

The state of GA needs to be pumping Mfon for the Mickey D's Game.

After his dazzling performance on Monday against Centennial, it is hard to argue against that. His 34 points (12-21 FG, 5-6 from 3, 5-8 FT), nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals against Centennial, the No. 1 team in AAAAA at the moment, was spectacular.

It's too bad that there weren't any voters for the McDonald's All-American game in the gym to see the game. However, the game was too late in the season anyways. The final 50 ballot was finalized prior to the game. From what I was told, Udofia was not on that list. That, to me, was very surprising.

While the McDonald's All-American recognition is great, winning a state championship is probably higher on Udofia's things-to-do list. Right now, he and his Miller Grove teammates look mighty fine in their quest for the school's first state championship.

What is the best region in AAAA? Who do you see making the playoffs out of 5-AAAA specifically?

I think 6-AAAA is the best region. Miller Grove, the best team in the state right now, has a lot to do with that. Everyone is gunning for the Wolverines. That raises the level of play across the board in the region. Tucker is Tucker. You know what you are going to get with the Tigers. They play incredibly hard and they will play you physical.

Marist and Chamblee can beat nine of the 10 teams in the region any given night.

Finally, SW Dekalb, Stone Mountain, North Springs and Lakeside are all better than their respective records.

6-AAAA is always one of the best regions in the state year in and year out.

I think you also have to consider 7-AAAA just because it is so incredibly huge. Fifteen teams is too much. What is this, the Big East?! Also, 3-AAAA is tough. The Augusta is always over looked. Richmond Academy, Evans and Glenn Hills are state tournament teams. There are about four other teams fighting for the final spot, too.

Here are the 5-AAAA teams that I think make the state playoffs: Fayette County, Lithia Springs, McIntosh and my sleeper Tri-Cities.

Several teams changed classifications this season and they have had mixed results. Has the jump to AAAAA thrown teams like Westlake and Creekside off balance? Are some classifications clearly better than others? And what is the best team across all classifications? (my money is on South Atlanta.)

I don't think classification really throws teams off. Chemistry and a lack of toughness is Westlake's issue. Creekside is just down this season in talent.

The best team across the board right now in my eyes is Miller Grove. I've come around to that notion. I've always liked their team but I hope I'm smart enough to say they are the best team and most talented from top to bottom of any team in the state.

I was in Albany, Ga on Martin Luther King Day and witness one of the best unknown teams in the State, The Terrell County Greenwaves are a very good team with a bunch of good players that nobody has ever heard of, what do you think there chances are in the state tournament?

I'm glad you had a chance to see some great ball in Albany, one of the best basketball cities in the state. There is nothing like it down there. One of the best basketball experiences I've had was at Albany State. Unbelievable energy in that gym! I digress...

I haven't seen Terrell County and probably won't until the state tournament. Looking over the team's schedule, you are right, they are beating some good teams and two of the three losses have been close ones. I'll keep my eye on the Greenwaves.

Sounds like you also had a chance to see one of the best sophomores in the state in your game on Monday, too. Greenville's Kentavious Caldwell can flat out score the ball.

Justin, now that you aren't attached to anymore, why not branch out and cover some girls hoops as well? Georgia has some phenomenal girls teams, some of which (Westlake, Mays, Fayette County) are among the best in the nation.

I've thought about it for a small second but that isn't my calling at this point in life. Probably never will. I'm sure I'll be watching girls ball in the future when my daughters are older but my calling in hoops has always been on the men's side. I will say this...Maya Moore is the best player to ever come out of Georgia, man, woman, boy, girl or even Dwight Howard, who is neither a man or a boy. He's superhuman. Moore dominates the game in every possible way. She is amazing.

To submit a question for next week's mailbag, click HERE.

Archived mailbags:
Jan. 15