Thursday, February 12, 2009

Notes from the Notepad: Feb. 12

Five things I’m buying this week

1. Derrick Favors is Mr. Georgia Basketball. Let’s just get that out of the way. He will be my 2009 Georgia Hoops Player of the Year and Senior of the Year. Sorry Mfon Udofia. Sorry Lorenzo Brown. Sorry Richard Howell. Sorry class of 2009. Favors is the last true elite level star this state will see in some time. We’ve had a great stretch of top flight players come from Georgia and Favors has earned all of the individual accolades. With the season now in it’s final week of the regular season, the post-season awards are right around the corner. Cross this one off of your list. It is already in the bag.

2. Kentavious Caldwell. The 6-5 super scorer from Greenville (pictured above) is quietly having one monster season. He is the best scorer in the class of 2011 and he is putting in roughly 30 points a game this season. Caldwell made it look all too easy when I saw him last week against Brookstone, a team that just couldn’t contest with his athleticism and size at his position. The class of 2011 is shaping up to be a fine class for high level talent. Caldwell is making a strong case for one of the top five spots in the Peach State.

3. Tourney time. The next month is when we find out what players are made out of. It is win or go home time for some teams. The sense of urgency raises up and the good ‘ole cliché of big time players step up in big time games. Time to step up folks. Not only do you have a chance to win a region and/or state title you also have a chance to impress college recruiters. Trust me, they are watching. Take full advantage over the next four weeks. With April now closes to college coaches, now is the time to make a great impression.

4. Columbia. If the only time you saw the Eagles play this year was at Centennial for the Tribute to a King event when they lost to Milton, then you probably don’t count them as a favorite to win the AAA crown. That would be a mistake. The Eagles are one of the top five teams in the state. They have talent. They have depth. They have one of the best coaches in the Southeast. They have the pieces to win another state title. JerShon Cobb is the team’s best player and prospect at the moment but there are at least six players that can score at least 15 points on any given night. South Atlanta has the best player in AAA in Favors but Columbia is probably the best team in the class.

5. Confusion regarding the North/South all-star game. The North/South all-star roster was released this week and I must admit, it is a bit head scratching. I am not sure who picked the teams but there are some clear omissions.

Making these teams is a daunting task. Someone is always going to be left out. Hard decisions have to be made. But there are some clear omissions. In fact, nine of my top 25 seniors in the state did not make the game.

Kenny Hall (Redan), Jimmy Bacon (Long County), Andre Malone (South Atlanta), Adrien Coleman (Stephenson), Collin Reddick (McEachern), Kadeem Batts (McEachern), Torrin Walker (Northside), James Vincent (Northside) and Russell Powell (Newnan) were all omitted from the game.

There are three spots on the South team that look to still be empty. Hall, Bacon, Coleman, Walker, Vincent and Powell would be perfect additions.

Favors will likely not play in the game. Players are allowed just two post-season all-star games. He will play in the McDonald’s All-American game and at least one other game. It was announced that he was selected to the Jordan Brand Classic this week, too.

Lorenzo Brown and Mfon Udofia could also play in two other all-star games. However, neither one was selected for the Jordan game. Favors was the only Georgian selected for that game.

Scribble notes

- The 2009 Georgia Hoops Unsigned Senior Showcase is already filling up. There are only 64 spots available for this camp. It is first come, first paid, first served. For more information, click HERE. Here are the essentials: March 21 at Southern Poly Tech in Marietta. We have invited coaches from all over the Southeast to attend. We would love have you there. A free education could be your reward.

- Attention coaches, parents and players. Please send your region tournament brackets to me at I’ll be compiling all region tournament information and posting them on the site.

- I was at the Battle for Athens last week as Athens Christian beat Athens Academy for the first time. The reason? Senior Raymond Higgs. The 6-1 guard has one of the best first steps of any player in the state. He took over in the second half and helped Athens Christian knock out Athens Academy. Higgs is one of the top unsigned seniors in the state but he is also one of the elite track stars in high school nationally. There is a good chance he competes for the Olympics for his native Bahamas in the high jump.

- Remember the name Rod Rucker. The 6-5 junior from Elbert County is one of the top players in Northeast Georgia. He’s having a fine season and is the best rebounder in his area. Rucker is a sleeper within the state but he shouldn’t be. I saw him earlier in the year against Cross Creek and liked his aggressiveness at his position.

- Burke County sophomore Jacquez Rozier and junior big man Martaveous Smith make for a good-looking 1-2 punch for coach Purvis Dukes. Rozier is a 6-5 wing that took over the game in BC’s big win over Liberty County last week. He’s one of the top sophomores in East Georgia and he is playing his best basketball to date at the moment. Smith, a 6-8 center, is steadily improving and looked much more confident in his abilities.

- I had a chance to see Liberty County, a team that I’ve been touting as one of the best teams outside of Atlanta all season, and, of course, I saw them lose a close one to Burke County. The Panthers really need a point guard. Juniors Jordan McRae and Rion Brown can really score but decision making is a major area for improvement if the AAA team wants to play in Macon in March.

- The AJC has it's annual dunk competition online this week. There are some good choices in this year's poll. My vote went for Griffin's Shaq Barber, who is off to South Carolina State next year. Keep in mind he is the shortest of all of the candidates.

- There are a number of young sleepers that have emerged this season and they are worth tracking: Metter’s Devin Byrd, an electric sophomore scorer; Jonesboro sophomore James White has played his way onto the radar this year; Chattahoochee’s Cole Hobbs has put up big numbers for a freshman and is one of the top shooters in his region; Northeast Macon sophomore Jacquez Rozier is a 6-7 wing with good ball skills.