Here are five of the top Georgia high school girls basketball players to watch:
Brianna Banks, G, Fayette County: You have to be good to draw the attention of Connecticut recruiters. The 5-foot-9 senior did that after a stellar summer on the AAU circuit, signing with UConn over Louisiana State, among others. “She’s a pretty nice guard,” Norcross coach Angie Hembree said. “She can beat you on her first step. She’s left-handed but can go either way. She can also kick it another gear. Brianna has an outside game but can take it to the hole. She’s one of the best players in the state.”
Aneesah Daniels, F, Redan: The 5-11 senior is one of the reasons Redan has been a state powerhouse over several years, winning the Class AAAAA championship in 2009 and finishing as state runner-up last season. Daniels is a punishing player in the post area and seems to prefer contact. She led the team with 10.6 rebounds per game last season as a junior. Daniels signed with Alabama.
Diamond DeShields, PF, Norcross: It will be hard for DeShields to top the accomplishments of her freshman year, leading Norcross to the Class AAAAA championship and earning Parade All-America honors. The 6-1 sophomore averages 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. Said Hembree, “Her motor is running in a different gear. She has always been an incredible athlete, but now she’s really getting after it this year.” Her father played major-league baseball and older brother Delino was drafted in the first round by the Houston Astros last summer.
Jarae Savage, G, North Cobb: The 5-7 guard is one of the state’s best-kept secrets, signing with UNC-Greensboro. Savage averages 20 points, including a 5.5 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio “which is unheard of in high school basketball,” North Cobb coach Matt Williams said. “She’s one of the hardest workers you can imagine. She’s really gotten strong in the offseason and is a physical presence on the floor.”
Sydney Wallace, PG, Northview: The 5-8 senior chose to stay close to home and sign with Georgia Tech. Wallace averages 18 points and 5.5 assists per game. “She is probably the best ballhandler I’ve seen at the high school level,” Northview coach Evan Deis said. “She is extremely smooth on the floor with her jump shot and ball-handing. I think she is going to have no problem making a transition to the college, other than the speed of the game.”
(Note: These are 5 of the best, not necessarily the best, and we’ll follow others)