Friday, February 13, 2009

The Mailbag: Feb. 13

This week’s mailbag focuses a lot on Class A teams, the youth in the state and just how good are junior college players from Georgia doing? We cover all of the bases inside The Mailbag.

Justin, could you give us a list of who you think the top players in the class of 2011 are? Specifically, what do you think of Fayette County's trio of sophomores Malcolm Brogdon, Adam Smith (pictured above) and Maurice Williams?

I missed this question last week so I apologize for it’s tardiness.

All three of the Fayette County sophomores bring something different to the table. Brogdon is one of the best rebounding guards/wings in the state regardless of class. He does a fine job on the boards. I love his effort and his approach to the game. He really competes.

When I saw Fayette County last month against McIntosh, Smith was a shooting machine. His coach, Andre Flynn, said he thinks Smith is one of the best shooters in the state. After thinking about that statement, I’d have to agree. I’ve let it be known that I haven’t seen a lot of good shooters this year. Smith hit four threes and four shots in the midrange. He has good technique and a good awareness of where he is on the floor at all times.

Williams may not be a numbers guy but he serves a big role for FayCo. In fact, it was his block in overtime against McIntosh that helped seal the victory in a big region game. He’s a 6-5 power forward right now that doesn’t really have an identity on the offensive side of the floor. That being said, he is worth watching for the next two years.

Who are the top 5 teams in class A to you. Of course class A is a smaller class but its packed full with talent like Jamail Jones, Joe Chase and Jonathan Merit of Greenforest Christian who has been ranked in the top 7 all year. Regions are coming up and I’m wondering what you think of this class and who will come out of it on top

Traditionally, class A in Georgia is always very good at the top. In fact, some of the best players to ever play in the state have hailed from class A. Five pro players have played in class A at one point in time since 2002. Dwight Howard (SACA), Javaris Crittenton (SACA), J.J. Hickson (SACA), Josh Smith (Whitefield) and Randolph Morris (Landmark Christian). Enough of the history lesson…to your question.

My top five teams in class A almost mirror the coach’s poll. Here are my top five teams in class A:

1. Turner County – Big, strong, deep and have experienced guards. They are one of the top teams in the state for a reason.

2. Wilkinson County – Hard to argue against them. Two of the team’s three losses have come to in-state stalwarts – Dublin and Hancock. Plus, I’m a big Brit Duncan fan. Very underappreciated.

3. Whitefield Academy – Seniors Brandon Reed, Cameron Baskerville and Trey Miller have seen everything that this state can throw at them. In fact, I might even like them better than Turner and WilCo when the state bracket is released.

4. Metter – Like Portal of last season, this team will quietly march through the tournament and win big games. And like Portal did last year, they will rely on a guard. Sophomore Devin Byrd is picking up where David Buchannon left off last year.

5. Paideia – Sure, the Pythons are young but they are talented. Very talented. Youth and inexperience may be the Achilles heel when the state tournament comes around but I like the overall DNA of this team.

Are junior college players and teams overlooked in Georgia?

I love this question because the answer is an emphatic yes.

After graduating from Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, former Redan player Robert Murry moved onto Morehead State. The junior has been named Newcomer of the Week in the Ohio Valley Conference four times this year. He and his Morehead State teammates are on ESPNU on Feb. 21 against Kent State.

Murry’s Redan teammate Carl Taylor, Terrance Hill and Steve Peterson of Jordan, David Forrest of Columbia, Derrick Echols of Covenant Christian, Brandon Shingles of ABAC/Westover and Leon Buchanan of ABAC/Albany all have Georgia ties, too.

Former Northeast Macon star Hugh Robertson is having a fine season at Tallahassee Community College in Florida. The 6-5 wing could be one of the top junior college prospects in the country next year and a possible SEC level prospect, too.

Which guard do you like better Trae Golden or Ryan Harrow?

Tough question. Really tough question. Both are cut from a similar cloth. Each of them loves to shoot the ball. Each of them would much rather score than pass it. Both can score at a high rate. Golden is more polished and much stronger. Harrow is more athletic and much quicker. Golden is probably better overall right now because he defends and more mature in his shot selection but Harrow is probably a better long term prospect.

So, in short, I like Golden better now and probably Harrow better down the road. Overall, it’s a tight, tight race.

What do you think of 2010 prospect Donte Williams from Miller Grove? Is he a high major prospect? It seems we don't hear of him much is it because his high school team is loaded?

To be perfectly honest, I think Williams is the best prospect of all of the 2010 big men in Georgia.

Williams is a long 6-9 and probably still growing. He really rebounds the basketball in and out of his area. He works hard. He isn’t afraid of contact. He has some face up skills. He runs the floor well. There are a number of positives. I really expect him to be a hot prospect in July for high-majors.

He may not receive the recognition that most do because he is his team’s sixth man, a role that is perfect for him at Miller Grove. Williams is one of the top five juniors in Georgia.

Justin, what do you think of Wesleyan? Can they win their region tournament? Can they make a run at state? What are your thoughts on team leader Griffin Schamp?

I saw Wesleyan at the start of the season against Loganville and to be perfectly honest, I need to see them again to give my opinion on them. Call my viewing of the Wolves incomplete.

I think Greenforest and Paideia are better teams than Wesleyan so it would be tough for the Wolves to knock them off and win the region.

The state tournament, however, is a crap shoot. It all depends on the seeding. If Wesleyan is the fourth seed out of Region 7, then Athens Christian will be a tough match-up. Wesleyan, or many teams in class A for that matter, has an answer for Raymond Higgs of AC. He’s too fast, too athletic and too good of a first step. And, yes, he is one player that can take a game over, especially at the Class A level.

Regarding Schamp…I like his effort level and competitiveness. Tough kid, smart player and a guy that understands his abilities. I’d like to see more of him this month. No question about it.

Justin what are your thoughts on region 7A-A? There are some really good players. Providence's Hinton, Paideia's Snipes and Nickerson, Wesleyan's Schamp and Caver, Greenforest's Jones, St. Francis' Kim and Davis?

The 7A region is a good region in class A. Like you mentioned, there are some good players in the region. I’m glad you mentioned Westley Hinton at Providence. Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about him. He sounds like one that snuck past me. I am going to make it a point to see him play. Sounds like a guy that is really under the radar.

I’ve mentioned Paideia earlier in the Mailbag as well as Schamp at Wesleyan. Greenforest’s Joe Chase and Jamail Jones are as good of a 1-2 punch for most Georgia high school teams. Sam Kim and Davonte Davis at St. Francis get lost in the shuffle in this league, too. Kim is a good rebounder and Davis is a tough as nails senior leader.

Eagles Landing Christian’s Mike Tankersley is also a guy you have to mention when talking about this region. He’s an athletic and strong senior that teams have a hard time matching up with.

There will be two teams from this region that are good enough to be in the state tournament but will unfortunately be watching in the stands.

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

Archived mailbags:
Jan. 15
Jan. 22
Jan. 30
Feb. 6