Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Notes from the Notepad: Feb. 17


After a blowout win against Lovejoy last Friday night, Westlake senior Javaris Bryant was the last player on his team to make it into the locker room. He casually strolled to the back door, took a couple of last pictures inside the new, spacious Westlake gym, hugged some well-wishers and eventually exited the floor.

You can’t blame him for staying on the court. The Bethune-Cookman bound senior has found great comfort on that court. He has found great comfort within the walls of Westlake High School. He has found great comfort from the people that hold the thread of the school together since his freshman year.

Sure, one of the reasons why he is so well liked at the school is because he is the most valuable player on a loaded basketball team and one of the most undervalued players in the state. That is one of the reasons why so many people wished him the best after Senior Night last Friday.

But the 6-5 forward’s memories will certainly run deeper than any box score of night filled with balloons or special ceremonies. Two years ago, the school and the people inside of it were all that he had.

Two years ago, Bryant buried his mother.

“This means a lot to me,” Bryant said after he walked off the floor and into a back hallway leading to the locker room. “I was really trying hard not to get emotional. This is my family. They were with me when my mom passed away. I went through some tough times but they were always there. Always.”

Bryant’s eyes drifted away into thought. You knew where his mind was going.

So did Westlake head coach Darron Rogers.

“The reason why he gets so emotional is because he has had so much success in that gym. He hit the game-winning shot against Newnan. He’s been the guy to pound his chest and life up his teammates. He’s been very emotional this whole season because I think he really feels blessed,” Rogers said.

Bryant’s story will have a happy ending. He’s been fantastic all season long and he should play major minutes as a freshman at Bethune-Cookman. He is so talented that he should be an all-conference level player for the MEAC team.


Chattahoochee was up quite a bit in the first half against Duluth but saw it’s lead diminish in a quick hurry in the second quarter and eventually won 69-62 in overtime.

Senior guard Hajj Waldman turned it up late in the fourth quarter with two big three-pointers and two huge assists, one that was a three-pointer from A.J. Hobbs to help the Cougars advance in the 7-AAAAA region tournament.

Duluth made it a game with a first half 23-2 run but freshman forward Jaron Blossomgame’s 14 points and 12 rebounds were a difference maker along with Waldman’s strong play in the fourth.

South Forsyth won a slowed down game against Northview 40-33 thanks to the controlled tempo and senior leadership inside from Derek Zittrauer.

The 6-8 senior scored 10 points, blocked five shots and grabbed five rebounds but moreover, he held Northview’s talented freshman Kyle Meyer to two points and bucket-less from the field.

Scribble notes

- The Westlake-Jalen Kendrick relationship didn’t even last a full year. The talented 6-5 wing was suspended for two games two weeks ago and with his injuries, he decided to make the suspension last the full season. He and the team split ways officially. Kendrick remains a student at Westlake but several sources say he is looking at other options. Norcross was mentioned as was Findlay in Nevada, Montverde in Florida and a handful of prep schools in New England.

- If you haven’t seen the online dunk contest yet on AJC.com, check it out. Pretty cool. But I would like to bet Westlake’s Marcus Thornton would like to have his replaced with this monster he threw down against Lovejoy last Friday.

- Redan head coach Dalton Greene is no longer the head coach of his team. According to sources, he resigned from his post due to unspecified public reasons.

- Former Griffin head coach Ferris Qualls suddenly passed away last week. He was one of the true gentlemen of the game.

- Lorenzo Brown scored his 2,000th point last week in his final game at Centennial last week.

- I've released my top 25 prospects across the country for the class of 2010 on my other blog, the National Hoops Report.