Archive for August, 2010

Just released … the AJC’s Super 11 — Your thoughts? Are these the best 11 football players in Georgia?

Who are the best 11 high school football players in the state of Georgia?

We at the AJC have done our best to locate and identify them in our annual selection of the AJC’s Super 11.

It’s one of the most elite teams in the nation, considering Georgia’s status as one of the top states for high school football. Through nominations and feedback from high school and  colleges coaches, along with our own selection committee, here is the 2011 AJC Super 11[Note: click on player's name to see video]

Thomas County Central DE Ray Drew would be my frontrunner for Mr. Georgia Football entering the 2010 season .... to me, he stands far and above anyone else on the Super 11. What are your thoughts?  Post below (AJC photo)

Thomas County Central DE Ray Drew (AJC photo)

  • Carver-Columbus RB Isaiah Crowell [Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, UGA, Miami]
  • Gainesville DE/LB A.J. Johnson [Clemson, Florida, Tennessee]
  • Grady DB Damian Swann [Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State]
  • Griffin DL Xzavier Dickson [Auburn, Alabama, UGA, Florida, Miami]
  • Kell FS Brian Randolph [committed to Tennessee]
  • North Paulding WR Chris Conley [committed to UGA]
  • Pope OL Thomas O’Reilly [committed to Auburn]
  • Thomas County Central DE Ray …

Continue reading Just released … the AJC’s Super 11 — Your thoughts? Are these the best 11 football players in Georgia? »

Camden tops diluted AAAAA; Northside AAAA

Reclassification has been more significant this year than I ever remember it. Down goes Northside, Warner Robins, Carver-Columbus, Sandy Creek, Charlton County, Westside-Macon. Who am I missing?

Class AAAAA is really diluted, and that becomes apparent when trying to find 10 teams to rank and 25 guys to honor with preseason all-state. (Look for that this week in GHSF Daily.)

I know Kell and East Paulding and Union Grove weren’t state contenders in AAAAA, but they were tough outs that made a classification competitive up and down. AAAAA will miss them and their players. I see less parity in 2010, more first- and second-round blowouts, except among the top dozen or so.

The other classes are as strong as they’ve been since the GHSA went to five classes in 2000.

Final thoughts …
Northside would’ve won AAAA last year. … Sandy Creek would’ve won AAA last year. … Charlton would’ve won Class A last year. … Carver-Columbus would not have won AA last year (although one coach told me …

Continue reading Camden tops diluted AAAAA; Northside AAAA »

Tennessee-bound recruit leads Youth Olympic team to basketball win

Buford High point guard Andraya Carter had five points, three steals and two assists for the U.S. Women in the 30-8 win over Angola in the first-ever Youth Olympic Games. Carter is ranked as one of the nation’s top junior basketball players in high school and has committed to the Tennessee Volunteers.

Southwest DeKalb’s Kathy Richey-Walton is the head coach of the U.S. Women, which are playing in the event in Singapore.

“[Angola was] small, so I did go with a little [bigger line-up],” Richey-Wallton said. “Once we realized they didn’t have an answer … we just pounded it away, and they couldn’t stop it.”

The U.S. Women play Singapore on Monday.

  • Please click here for the AJC’s latest news on FOOTBALL and BASKETBALL … and scroll down the page.
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  • Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Continue reading Tennessee-bound recruit leads Youth Olympic team to basketball win »

Video: AJC Super 11 member Damian Swann of Grady HS

Here’s video of Grady DB Damian Swann, a member of the 2010 AJC Super 11

  • What are you thoughts on Swann? Please post below
  • Wanna discuss the other Super 11 members? Click here
  • Please click here for the AJC’s latest news on FOOTBALL and BASKETBALL … and scroll down the page.
  • Follow the AJC’s Michael Carvell on FACEBOOK … and Twitter

Continue reading Video: AJC Super 11 member Damian Swann of Grady HS »

UGA recruit fails to meet college entrance requirements

The University of Georgia’s first commitment to play hoops this fall has been ruled ineligible, Coach Mark Fox said Friday.

Cady Lalane, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Orlando, did not meet NCAA eligibility requirements and will not be allowed to enroll at UGA and play for the Bulldogs, Fox said in a statement Friday.

“I am extremely disappointed for Cady,” Fox said. “I truly feel for him because he is a great young man. We will move forward in preparation for the coming season without him.”

Lalanne was ranked No. 142 on the Rivals150 list of prospects. He said he chose the Bulldogs over Ole Miss, VCU and UMass.

- Alexis Stevens contributed to this report

  • Please click here for the AJC’s latest news on FOOTBALL and BASKETBALL … and scroll down the page.
  • Follow the AJC’s Michael Carvell on FACEBOOK … and Twitter
  • Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Continue reading UGA recruit fails to meet college entrance requirements »

Breaking down the best regions in Class A

Five comments about our Class A region rankings:

– Has anyone noticed Turner County’s schedule? Talk about an October fright-fest: Charlton County (Oct. 1), followed by Clinch County and Wilcox County the next two weeks. What does Erik Soliday tells his kids? Note that the coaches of all those teams have won state titles – Soliday at Americus, Rich McWhorter at Charlton, Mark Ledford at Wilcox and Jim Dickerson at Clinch.

– From a preseason perspective, Region 2-A possesses perhaps the best three teams ever contained in one region in Georgia’s smallest classification. Wilcox County is the defending Class A champion and returns class player of the year in QB Nick Marshall. Clinch County lost in the semifinals 20-14 to Wilcox last year and has won four state titles, most recently in 2004.

Then there’s Charlton County, dropping down from AA, where the Indians have averaged 12 wins and won three state titles since their last venture into Class A, the 1999 state championship …

Continue reading Breaking down the best regions in Class A »

Basketball: UGA, Clemson and Auburn offer Miller Grove HS 6-foot-7 small forward Brandon Morris

Brandon Morris (No. 31 shooting the ball) has offers from UGA, Clemson and Auburn, among others (AJC photo)

Brandon Morris (No. 31 shooting the ball) has offers from UGA, Clemson and Auburn, among others (AJC photo)

Every summer, there are a few high school basketball players who seemingly come out of nowhere to grab the attention of college coaches.

Brandon Morris, the 6-foot-7 small forward out of Miller Grove High, was one of those rags-to-riches stories this summer.

UGA, Clemson and Auburn are among the college who have offered basketball scholarships to Morris, who also has offers from Georgia State and Nevada.

Morris, who will be a rising junior, is also under scholarship consideration from Georgia Tech, Tennessee, and Alabama, among others.

“He can do so many things … he’s so talented and his skills set is off the charts,” said Anthony Hardnett, coach of the Southern Kings Red AAU team.

“Being at 6-7, he handles the ball like a point guard and has the ability to take the smaller guys to the post. With his flexibility, I can have him at point guard and slide him to the power …

Continue reading Basketball: UGA, Clemson and Auburn offer Miller Grove HS 6-foot-7 small forward Brandon Morris »

Breaking down the best regions in Class AA

Five comments about our Class AA region rankings:

– A controversy is a brewin’ in Region 8, which split into subregions that are far from equal. According to the Maxwell Ratings, the top five teams in the South (East Jackson, Elbert County, Hart County, Jefferson and North Oconee) are all stronger than the North’s top team (Fannin County). None of the North schools has won a playoff in more than a decade.

But whichever team wins the North is guaranteed a home playoff game in the first round as at least the No. 2 seed. The South schools wanted region play-in games involving the No. 4 and No. 1 seeds but were voted down because one South school voted with the North.

“There are a lot of people not happy about this,” one 8-AA South coach said.

– The Maxwell Ratings believe that Region 1-AA is better than any region in AAA. We wouldn’t go that far, but 1-AA is far and away the best region in AA when you consider depth. Four teams are legitimate Top 10 contenders in the state and …

Continue reading Breaking down the best regions in Class AA »

Breaking down the best regions in Class AAA

Five comments about our AAA region rankings:

– The GHSA did a nice job of putting together essentially a new region in 2-AAA. It picked up Region 1 champ Peach County, Region 3 champ Baldwin and plucked a Top 10 team from Class AAAA in Westside. Suddenly, you’ve got yourself the best region in AAA.

– Not to be outdone, Region 4 snagged two region champs from in Sandy Creek (also a state champion, by the way) and Eastside of Covington to join reigning champ Jackson. Henry County tied for first in its region last year. Not bad.

– The best region, team for team, is still Region 1, but there’s only one serious state contender in Cairo.

– Monroe Area, 0-10 last season, ought to make the playoffs this year going from the state’s toughest AAAA region in 2009 to a relatively weak subregion in AAA.

– Class AAA in Northeast Georgia won’t be the same without Flowery Branch (moving up), Hart County (down) and Elbert County (down).

Here are our region rankings, with the teams we …

Continue reading Breaking down the best regions in Class AAA »

State championship coach risks ‘getting cut out of the will’ after football scrimmage, jokes father

Sandy Creek’s Chip Walker and Mary Persons’ Rodney Walker, the first father-son tandem to win state football championships in Georgia as head coaches, have long talks about strategy nearly every day.

This week, the phone conversations have been much shorter as the two teams will play each other in a scrimmage at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mary Persons.

Sandy Creek's Chip Walker (AJC)

Sandy Creek's Chip Walker (AJC)

“It has been a little different the last few days … We haven’t gotten into talking about as many X’s and O’s or any schemes like we usually do,” Chip said with a laugh.

Chip, 38, led Sandy Creek to Fayette County’s first-ever football championship, winning last year’s Class AAAA title. Rodney, 64, is entering his 38th season as a head coach in Georgia, including the last four at Mary Persons.

“I thought the scrimmage was a pretty good idea when we decided to do it way back when,” Chip said. “It was something for fun, with my dad getting toward the end of his coaching career.

“However, the closer it’s …

Continue reading State championship coach risks ‘getting cut out of the will’ after football scrimmage, jokes father »

Breaking down the best regions in Class AAAA

Five comments about our AAAA region rankings:
– Region 8-AAAA was considered a fair-to-middling league of Northeast Georgia schools that hadn’t won much in recent history. Then came November, and it’s suddenly the top region in Class AAAA – on paper. Putting three teams in the quarterfinals will do that for a region that didn’t play any non-region games until the playoffs. Now, the region picks up Flowery Branch, a consistent Top 10 team from Class AAA, and it’s tough to match this region’s depth.
– However, old-school fans such as us have a problem ignoring regions 1 and 6, which have many more schools with more recent state titles, such as Northside and Warner Robins, Thomas County Central, Tucker, Marist and Southwest DeKalb. So our choice is …
– Region 1. Northside, the Class AAAAA runner-up last year, will open the season ranked No. 1 in most polls.
– 5-AAAA North is the toughest subregion in the state. Could a school such as East Paulding actually finish fifth? …

Continue reading Breaking down the best regions in Class AAAA »

Basketball: Milton High now has S-I-X players, yes count ‘em 6 … with major-college scholarship offers

Milton High will have one of the talented-loaded basketball rosters the state of Georgia has ever seen this year.

The Eagles have six players who are holding major-college scholarships after rising junior Shaquille Johnson was offered by Auburn. The 6-foot-4 junior guard is a transfer from Rockdale’s Salem High and has a ridiculous 38-inch vertical jump. He is known for his rip-roaring dunks and made headlines earlier this summer for breaking a rim on a Tomahawk dunk at an AAU tournament.

“Yes, it was exciting to get my first offer,” Johnson said. “Auburn is a great school, and I like them. I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully earn some more.”

Johnson’s next offer could come from Clemson at camp later this month.

Milton PG Shannon Scott (Photo by AJC's Michael Carvell)

Milton PG Shannon Scott (Photo by AJC's Michael Carvell)

The Milton All-Stars already have a lineup that has college coaches drooling, with four senior prospects — point guard Shannon Scott (committed to Ohio State), shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker (multiple …

Continue reading Basketball: Milton High now has S-I-X players, yes count ‘em 6 … with major-college scholarship offers »

Basketball: Rockdale HS guard remains committed to Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl loves the athleticism of Kevin Ware (Photo by adidas)

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl loves the athleticism of Kevin Ware (Photo by adidas)

Rockdale County’s point guard Kevin Ware, who has committed to Tennessee, will get the cast off his left hand on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-5, 178-pound Ware missed most of the summer basketball after colliding with a defender and breaking a finger in a June AAU tournament. He was fitted with a soft cast for two weeks, and then shifted to a hard cast for the last four weeks.

“It has been kind of frustrating because I want to play,” Ware said. “But [Tennessee coach] Bruce Pearl said not to worry about it because it doesn’t affect my scholarship. He said to let it heal and spend my free time to get my grades down.”

Ware said he has heard from a few other SEC schools in recent months, but still plans to sign with Tennessee in November. “They’ve been great to me with this injury, so there is no reason for me to turn my back on them.”

Ware attended the adidas Nations tournament last weekend but did not play …

Continue reading Basketball: Rockdale HS guard remains committed to Tennessee Volunteers »

Defensive coordinator hopes to get top job with Miller Grove

Miller Grove, the only GHSA football team without a head coach, isn’t in the bad shape that many think, said Darrell Caldwell, the team’s defensive coordinator.

Caldwell has headed the program since last month, when Jasper Jewell resigned to take a job in Atlanta Public Schools. Miller Grove is a Region 6-AAAA school that finished 6-4 last season.

“It hasn’t hurt the team at all because they’ve been doing the same routine since spring practice for three consecutive months,” Caldwell told Georgia High School Football Daily on Monday. “The continuity is here.”

It’s expected that DeKalb County will give the job to Caldwell this week. The delay was caused by a change in principals at the school.

Caldwell led his alma mater Mays to a 16-6 record in two seasons (2003-04) and coached a semipro team called the Henry County Horsemen until coming to Miller Grove in 2008. He was the defensive coordinator in 2009.

Caldwell says Miller Grove has most of its starters back, …

Continue reading Defensive coordinator hopes to get top job with Miller Grove »

Daughter of former NBA All-Star Mark Price making name for herself in tennis

Former NBA All-Star Mark Price says daughter Caroline is playing so well in junior tennis that he is considering taking the year off from coaching basketball just to watch her.

Price, who starred at Georgia Tech and played 13 seasons in the NBA, was a shooting consultant with the Hawks the past two seasons. However, Price was not retained when the team changed coaches from Mike Woodson to Larry Drew.

“I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do this fall … I’m still trying to figure that out,” Price said. “I’m still talking to some other [NBA] teams about possibly going to work with them.

“I’m also possibly thinking about taking a year off after the success my daughter has had with tennis, so I can travel with her some. There are a lot of options, so I’m not too stressed out about it.”

Caroline, 17, is one of the hottest names in junior tennis after winning the USTA Girls’ 18 Clay Court Championship last month in Memphis.  Price advanced from the No. 13 seed to form an all-metro …

Continue reading Daughter of former NBA All-Star Mark Price making name for herself in tennis »