Archive for February, 2010

2010 Georgia High School Basketball Tournament: Here are Round One boys and girls schedules (UPDATED)

Chat with the AJC's Michael Carvell

The AJC's Michael Carvell

The 2010 state high school basketball tourney pairings are set. Whenever possible, AJC high schools beat writer Michael Carvell will try to blog live and take your questions about high school basketball and related topics.

We are here to talk hoops, hoops and more hoops. Going to a game? Take the cellphone or PDA and let us know what’s going on at YOUR game. Got a score update, see a killer play or have a shout-out? Keep it clean and POST IT HERE.

LATEST UPDATES

Game times: Who knows? With so many games even the GHSA doesn’t know official game times for the first couple of rounds. Do you?

If so, hook us up with who’s playing when.

Score Atlanta results: Boys | Girls

Tournament Previews: Boys | Girls

Newsworthy: Columbia boys, girls schedules could change

Video & Inside Scoop: Elbert County’s Rod Rucker slams backboard-shattering DUNK

TOURNAMENT INFO: PAIRINGS

2010 Georgia State Tournament brackets
BOYS: AAAAA | AAAA | AAA | AA | A
GIRLS: AAAAA | AAAA

Continue reading 2010 Georgia High School Basketball Tournament: Here are Round One boys and girls schedules (UPDATED) »

Inside scoop on Elbert County basketball player and his backboard-shattering dunk

It has been around a week since it happened, but Rod Rucker is still the buzz of state’s basketball world after shattering a backboard.

The 6-foot-5 Rucker became an instant YouTube sensation after dunking with such force in last weekend’s region tournament at The Inferno, where Elbert County High School plays its home games.

“Oh yes, our kids know all about it,” Columbia High coach Phil McCrary said. “That’s just so rare, to shatter a backboard. When something like that happens, word spreads quickly in the basketball community. Everybody knows about Rod Rucker.”

Rucker is more than a dunker, but it took his backboard-breaking maneuver to earn widespread acclaim outside of the tiny North Georgia town. He averages 24 points and 17 rebounds, making starts at every position on the court.

“He’s one of the best players in the country,” Elbert County coach Larry Brown said. “I’m not saying that just because I’m his coach. I’ve played some big-time basketball myself, and Rod can …

Continue reading Inside scoop on Elbert County basketball player and his backboard-shattering dunk »

Final candidates for 2010 Naismith Boys and Girls Players of Year announced

The Atlanta Tipoff Club has released its finalists for 2010 Naismith Girls and Boy’s High School Basketball Players of the Year.

There are no Georgia players on the list.

The final six boys are Harrison Barnes of Ames, Iowa, Tobias Harris of Glen Head, N.Y., Kyrie Irving of West Orange, N.J., Brandon Knight of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Jared Sullinger of Columbus, Ohio, and Deshaun Thomas of Ft. Wayne, Ind.

The list of girls has been narrowed down to five: Kaniesha Dawson-Horn of Birmingham, Ala., Chelsea Gray of Manteca, Calif., Bria Hartley of North Babylon, N.Y., Chiney Ogwumike of Cypress, Texas, and Odyssey Sims of Irving, Texas.

Are there any Georgia boys or girls that should’ve made the list? If so, please state your case below. Past Georgia boys winners are Derrick Favors (2009), Louis Williams (2005), and Dwight Howard (2004), among others. On the girls side, Maya Moore won in both 2007-2006, among others.

Continue reading Final candidates for 2010 Naismith Boys and Girls Players of Year announced »

St. Pius sending players to UGA, Alabama and Clemson

Chat with the AJC's Michael Carvell

AJC's Michael Carvell

Soccer powerhouse St. Pius is sending players to college powerhouses all over the county.

Here is a quick rundown of Thursday’s signings: (Ladies, first)

  • Alexa Newfield, who holds the school records for both goals scored in a season and career, is headed to Georgia.
  • Emily Cox, who recorded 19 shutouts in 22 games as a junior, selected SEC rival Alabama
  • Veronica Romera will sign with Emory.

The St. Pius boys are the defending Class AAA champions, and has three going to the next level:

  • Stephen McGill, a four-year starter who was named last year’s MVP, is headed to Clemson.
  • Nolan McKeever will sign with Holy Cross
  • Connor Jones is going to Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss.

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Continue reading St. Pius sending players to UGA, Alabama and Clemson »

NFL star Michael Oher makes appearance at house renovation for Greenville football coach

NFL star Michael Oher, whose life story inspired the movie “The Blind Side,” was a surprise celebrity guest on Sunday, as crews from the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” began building a home for Greenville High football coach Jeremy Williams, who has the terminal illness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“(Oher) was there for the presentation on Sunday, and said some really nice things to Jeremy,” said Carol Lane, Meriwether County’s Superintendent of Schools. “I can’t reveal anything that was said between the two, because the TV people want to keep everything ‘hush hush’ until it is shown on TV.”

Williams and his family had their cell phones confiscated before leaving on a weeklong vacation to Colorado, according to Greenville High team chaplain Gerald Fowler. “The (TV people) want to save Jeremy’s reaction to it for the show.”

On Sunday, Williams had his street blocked off as the family waited for the arrival of TV show’s famous bus. Several family members and …

Continue reading NFL star Michael Oher makes appearance at house renovation for Greenville football coach »

Funeral arrangements announced for slain McEachern RB Rajaan Bennett

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

Funeral arrangements have been announced for McEachern High football star Rajaan Bennett, who was shot to death last week.

Visitation has been scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Powder Springs. The funeral service is at 11 a.m. Saturday, and has been moved from FBC to nearby Trinity Church Chapel of Georgia to “accommodate a larger crowd, if needed,” according to McEachern athletics director Jimmy Dorsey said.

The interment will follow at Cheatham Hill Memorial Park in Marietta.

Continue reading Funeral arrangements announced for slain McEachern RB Rajaan Bennett »

Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Super 11 candidates for 2010

Each summer since 1985, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published its Super 11, a list of the top 11 players in high school football for the coming year. The criteria have changed over the years, but recently a Super 11 is a player that is both highly productive on the field and highly recruited off the field. In 2009, GHSF Daily picked the AJC’s Super 11.

Here’s a look at 11 players who are on the radar for 2010:

OL David Andrews, Wesleyan: Andrews has been rated the No. 1 junior center prospect by Scout.com. For Wesleyan, which spent most of 2009 ranked No. 1 in Class A, Andrews started both ways and averaged 70 snaps per game, though he was out by halftime several times because of lopsided scores. He’s 6 feet, 3 inches and 270 pounds.

RB Isaiah Crowell, Carver (Columbus): Crowell, who was first-team all-state in Class AAA as a junior, rushed for 1,907 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 175 carries. He has the potential to be as highly sought as any Georgia running back …

Continue reading Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Super 11 candidates for 2010 »

McEachern schedules Wednesday memorial service for Rajaan Bennett

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

McEachern High School will have a memorial service at 7 p.m. Wednesday for Rajaan Bennett, the football star who was shot to death last Thursday.

Visitation has been tentatively planned for 6-8 p.m. on Friday, with the Bennett’s funeral the next day at 11 a.m. Saturday — both at First Baptist Church of Powder Springs. However, the venue could be changed to Trinity Chapel Church of God because it has a larger sanctuary.

McEachern athletics director Jimmy Dorsey said the site will likely be determined on Monday. “We’re expecting a large crowd, so we’re studying the options, and then Rajaan’s mother will make the final decision.”

Dorsey said McEachern has been overwhelmed by people mailing checks and calling the school, donating toward Bennett’s funeral costs.

“I was almost about to lose faith in mankind after what happened to Rajaan,” Dorsey said. “Then you see the generosity of people, many of them complete strangers, and it restores your …

Continue reading McEachern schedules Wednesday memorial service for Rajaan Bennett »

Vote in the 2010 Prep Slam Dunk Contest (Round 2) for high school basketball

Columbia’s Jamil Saaka took the first round. Who will win round 2?

Click to watch, then vote below.

Vote! Come back March 1st to see finalists.

Who is the best dunker for Round 2?

  • Adam Smith, Fayette County
  • Brandon Morris, Miller Grove
  • Jamil Saaka, Columbia
  • Donte Williams, Miller Grove
  • Eric Lauderdale, Fayette County
  • L.J. Erves, Fayette County
  • Aljawaune Godfrey, Westlake
  • Jeff Newberry, Westlake

View Results

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Continue reading Vote in the 2010 Prep Slam Dunk Contest (Round 2) for high school basketball »

Elbert County basketball player becomes instant legend with backboard-shattering dunk

Elbert County’s Rod Rucker is an instant school legend.
The high school basketball shattered the backboard with a two-handed dunk in the first round of the region tournament.
”I was scared a little bit,” Rucker told WSGC Radio. “But hey, I took it like a man.”
Play was stopped for an hour, according to the radio station, and the game resumed at another venue — Elbert County Middle School.

Elbert County’s Rod Rucker is an instant schoolboy legend.

The high school basketball player shattered the backboard with a two-handed dunk in the first round of the region tournament.

”I was scared a little bit,” Rucker told WSGC Radio. “But hey, I took it like a man.”

Play was stopped for an hour, according to the radio station, and the game resumed at another venue — Elbert County Middle School. Rucker is a 6-foot-4 wingman for the team.

Continue reading Elbert County basketball player becomes instant legend with backboard-shattering dunk »

McEachern HS creates fund to provide funeral assistance for Rajaan Bennett’s family

VIDEO: Emotional Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson speaks about death of prized recruit

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

McEachern High School has set up a fund for anyone who wants to contribute toward the funeral arrangements of football star Rajaan Bennett, who died on Thursday.

“We’re trying to help the family with funeral costs, clean up of the house, and numerous other expenses they have,” McEachern football coach Kyle Hockman told the AJC on Thursday.

“More than anything, we’re trying to help the family in this time of uncertainty. (Rajaan’s family) didn’t have a lot of possessions, and I know they could use some financial assistance with the funeral — you know, to do something nice to celebrate his life.”

“We’ve had some people within the McEachern community to step up and offer (financial) help. But we also wanted to provide information to others that may want to help, too.”

To donate, Hockman said send checks made out to the McEachern Endowment Fund with “Rajaan Bennett …

Continue reading McEachern HS creates fund to provide funeral assistance for Rajaan Bennett’s family »

VIDEO: Emotional Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson talks about death of McEachern RB Rajaan Bennett

Vanderbilt football coach Bobby Johnson spoke to reporters on Thursday in the aftermath of the death of McEachern football star Rajaan Bennett, who had signed a football scholarship with Vanderbilt earlier in the month.

Bennett was one of Georgia’s top high school football players. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Bennett rushed for 1,857 yards and scored 29 touchdowns for McEachern (10-1), which finished the regular season with an undefeated record.

Related stories on the death of McEachern running back Rajaan Bennett (click on each link)

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

The special bond between RBs and their blockers: Vanderbilt OL recruit Grant Ramsey of Pope High on Bennett

Metro football coaches fondly remember Bennett, talk to own players about death

Vanderbilt’s coaches make the tough call to Georgia recruits about Bennett

Roswell WR Chris Boyd on Bennett

Continue reading VIDEO: Emotional Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson talks about death of McEachern RB Rajaan Bennett »

The special bond between RBs and their blockers: Vanderbilt OL recruit Grant Ramsey of Pope High on Bennett

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

Rajaan Bennett (McEachern HS)

Offensive linemen and running backs have unique and special relationships in football.

The big linemen are the guys who fight it out with defenders to open holes and create pathways for their teammates who carry the ball. Many running backs (at least, the smart ones) are quick to publicly thank the overlooked linemen after stellar performances. They know their successes depend on the guys blocking up front.

Pope offensive lineman Grant Ramsay and McEachern running back Rajaan Bennett were in the beginning stages of creating that special relationship. The two had grown close in recent months. Understandingly, Ramsay cried when he heard about Bennett’s death on Thursday.

“I had just gotten home from working out at the gym and was about to get in the shower to get ready for school when … when I got that call,” Ramsay said in a low voice.

“I was crushed … I broke down. I had played with (Bennett) in an all-star game, and spent some time with him after …

Continue reading The special bond between RBs and their blockers: Vanderbilt OL recruit Grant Ramsey of Pope High on Bennett »

Vanderbilt’s coaches make the tough call to Georgia recruits about Bennett

Vanderbilt’s coaches tried contacting as many recruits as possible this morning about the death of McEachern running back Rajaan Bennett, who had signed earlier this month with the Commodores.
Fitzgerald wide receiver Trent Pruitt looked at his cell phone when it buzzed around 9 a.m., and the caller ID said it was Vanderbilt assistant Charlie Fisher.
“I didn’t know what to think, or why (Fisher) was calling me at that time,” Pruitt said. “Coach just said ‘It is a sad day for Vanderbilt football’ and then explained everything … but he really couldn’t put it into words.”
“The main reason (Fisher) was calling is because he wanted me to know before I heard about it on the news, so I wouldn’t be shocked and caught off guard.”
Pruitt and Bennett had talked a few times in passing, and we’re looking forward to being college teammates next year. Nine Georgia high school football players signed with Vanderbilt, and many of them communicated throughout the day on Thursday to deal with …

Continue reading Vanderbilt’s coaches make the tough call to Georgia recruits about Bennett »

Roswell WR Chris Boyd says “were like family”

Roswell wide receiver Chris Boyd said Rajaan Bennett and the other eight Georgia high school players to sign football scholarships with Vanderbilt earlier this month “were like family.”

“I’ve been texting back and forth with other Vanderbilt recruits all morning,” Boyd said. “None of us really know how to react. We’re all in a state of shock and can’t believe that Rajaan is gone. It’s so sad.”

Boyd and Bennett became fast friends at December’s North-South all-star game in Columbus. Boyd was a longtime commitment to Vanderbilt and was trying to convince Bennett to also pick the SEC school.

“We hung out and chilled together that week,” Boyd said. “We talked about the recruiting process. He had big dreams for his college football career.

“He showed everybody what he could do that week. He was an amazing running back. He ran hard, running people over on defense, and gave it his all every play.”

Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson had grown close to Bennett and his family during the …

Continue reading Roswell WR Chris Boyd says “were like family” »