Archive for January, 2011

University of Kentucky hires Georgia HS coaching legend to recruit the state’s top college football prospects

Steve Pardue (Courtesy of UK)

Steve Pardue, known for creating the "LaGrange-to-Kentucky pipeline" hopes to build a "Georgia-to-Kentucky pipeline" as an assistant for the Wildcats (Courtesy of UK)

Steve Pardue is one of the better-known college football scouts in Georgia — less than two months after being hired by Kentucky.

Pardue is easily recognizable in the state’s inner circle of high school coaches because he was part of it for so long.

Pardue resigned in November after 17 years as LaGrange High’s coach. After unexpectedly landing his first college job as an SEC assistant a month later, Pardue got another surprise when he started to travel across the state to recruit players for Kentucky.

“I was thinking about that the other day,” Pardue said with a laugh. “I’ve been to about 25-30 high schools in Georgia [during the recent recruiting period] and the funny thing is that I have yet to meet a new coach. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve known the head coach.

“And I didn’t pick the schools, Kentucky’s …

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Believe it or not: Guess which Georgia football player gets left off Parade All-America team? (Hint: Think RB)

UGA recruit Ray Drew (far left) is one of three Georgia players on Parade Magazine's All-America team for high school football

UGA recruit Ray Drew (far left) is one of three Georgia players on Parade Magazine's All-America team for high school football

Thomas County Central defensive end Ray Drew, who signed with UGA on Wednesday, is one of three Georgia players that have been named to the Parade Magazine All-America team for high school football players.

The other two are Kell defensive back Brian Randolph (Tennessee) and Carver-Columbus defensive tackle Gabe Wright (Auburn).

The surprise omission was Wright teammate, Isaiah Crowell, who is considered by some recruiting analysts to be the nation’s top running back. Crowell signed with UGA over Alabama.

What do you think of Parade’s picks from Georgia? And did Crowell get a raw deal? Note: The Parade Magazine All-America team will appear in the upcoming Sunday newspaper.

Continue reading Believe it or not: Guess which Georgia football player gets left off Parade All-America team? (Hint: Think RB) »

Four new teams take No. 1 rankings … Plus: Who’s No. 2? After Milton, there’s ??? …

We’ve got four new No. 1 teams this week – Norcross girls (AAAAA), Chamblee girls (AAAA), Kendrick girls (AA) and Wilkinson County boys (A).

What a mess in Class AAAAA this week. That’s both boys and girls.

Let’s start with the boys rankings: Seven of the Top 10 teams in AAAAA lost last week. Three of them (previous No. 2 Wheeler, No. 3 South Gwinnett and No. 6 Campbell) lost TWICE apiece, yet all three remain at least tied for first place in their regions.

Frankly, I don’t think off any AAAAA team besides Milton is worthy of being ranked No. 2 or No. 3 right now.

Our choice for No. 2 is Peachtree Ridge, which is in good position to win the class’s toughest region, 7. That’s despite the Lions’ 54-48 loss Tuesday to Norcross, which jumped from No. 10 to No. 5. I know: Norcorss has lost NINE times.

Who will challenge Milton?

There’s a bunch of good teams. But which is the second-best team in AAAAA? I think it’s going to be Norcross. The Devils aren’t there yet, but given three …

Continue reading Four new teams take No. 1 rankings … Plus: Who’s No. 2? After Milton, there’s ??? … »

Who has Georgia’s best high school basketball team at this point in the season?

RELATED: Click here to see the AJC basketball rankings

Who has the best high school basketball team in Georgia?

It might be the Milton High boys, which have recovered from some early season struggles. The defending Class AAAAA state champions defeated Wheeler 77-59 on Saturday in front of a capacity crowd.

Milton is now 19-2 on the year, while Wheeler dropped to 14-5, including back-to-back losses to Georgia teams.

Against Wheeler, Milton point guard Shannon Scott (signed with Ohio State) had 16 points, 9 assists and 5 steals. Milton forward Julian Royal (Georgia Tech) scored 13 despite being in foul trouble.  Shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker (Vanderbilt) finished with 9 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals.

Milton was led by swingman Evan Nolte, who scored a team-high 26 points. Nolte is considered of the nation’s top college basketball prospects for 2012.

Who do you think has the best high school basketball team in Georgia? Milton? Miller Grove? Would Milton — which now appears to …

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Lovett and Woodward were top Georgia wrestling teams at Prep Slam

Baylor (Tenn.) won the Clinch Gear Prep Slam, now one of the most elite and competitive wrestling tournaments in the nation.

The top two Georgia teams were Lovett at 8th, followed by Woodward Academy at 9th.

The two-day event, held last weekend at Holy Innocents’ with 44 teams from 11 different states, was awarded “Major” status this year by FloWrestling, which means each bracket winner is automatically qualified for FloNationals, the top high school tournament in America. There are only five Majors in the country, and the Holy Innocents’ tournament is the only one in the Southeast.

“If you want to put it into perspective, we had 39 state champions, 17 runner-ups and 64 state–placers at the event this past weekend,” Holy Innocents’ Coach Jeff Walrich said. “On top of that, probably two-thirds of the state champs left the gym Saturday with a loss in what will probably be their only loss of the season.”

Continue reading Lovett and Woodward were top Georgia wrestling teams at Prep Slam »

No. 3 Chamblee girls beat three-time defending state champs, Southwest DeKalb

The Chamblee Lady Bulldogs used a 12-0 run in the last half of the fourth quarter to pull away to a 59-49 victory over the Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers in a match up of Class AAAA Top 10 ranked teams.

Chamblee (16-0) entered the game ranked No. 3 in the AJC Poll while the three-time defending Class AAAA state champion Southwest DeKalb (12-6) was ranked No. 7.

Olivia Gibbs helped Southwest DeKalb close a seven point (39-32) Chamblee lead early in the fourth quarter to two (45-43) as she hit her third three-pointer of the quarter with 4:01 to play in the game.

The Lady Bulldogs answered the challenge as they had when trailing 5-0 in the first quarter and 19-16 in the second quarter with defense. By forcing several turnovers and bad shots by Southwest DeKalb, Chamblee put together a 12-2 run to put the game away.

Jasmine Camp started the run off a steal and layup and Paden Smith hit four consecutive free throws to push the lead to 51-43.

Gibbs scored Southwest DeKalb’s only …

Continue reading No. 3 Chamblee girls beat three-time defending state champs, Southwest DeKalb »

Starr’s Mill swim team wins county championships for 11th year in a row

Starr’s Mill High’s swim team beat out five other high schools to win the Fayette County championship for the 11th season in a row.

“When you hold the championship title for ten straight years, we knew the other county teams were working hard to take that title away,” Starr’s Mill coach Rebecca Rickeard said. “We knew we had a strong team and they really pulled through [last weekend].”

  • Please click here for the AJC’s latest news on FOOTBALL and BASKETBALL … and scroll down the page.
  • How do you get a college scholarship for an overlooked senior? For advice, click here
  • Follow the AJC’s coverage of Georgia top high school teams and prospects, led by Michael Carvell, on FACEBOOK … and Twitter

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Columbia High basketball coach wins 500 games, changes lives

Columbia High basketball coaching legend played football and baseball at Clark Atlanta University, later being inducted into the college's Athletic Hall of Fame (AJC)

Columbia High basketball coaching legend Phil McCrary played football and baseball at Clark Atlanta University, later being inducted into the college's Athletic Hall of Fame (AJC)

Phil McCrary has built a basketball dynasty at Columbia High, leading the Eagles to three state championships and this year’s No. 1 ranking in Class AAA. This past weekend, McCrary picked up his 500th career win at the DeKalb County school.

Not bad for a guy who had no intentions of coaching basketball for a career.

“I never saw it coming,” said McCrary with a laugh. “I always thought I would end up being a football coach. Some of the guys I went to college with, when we get together, we always laugh about it. They say ‘How in the world did you end up in basketball?’

“But strange and unexpected things happen in life, and I feel blessed that basketball has been part of my mine.”

Over the past 24 years, McCrary has posted a 502-183 record at Columbia. His teams have played for the state …

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We’re taking nominations for the AJC Slam Dunk Contest

It’s that time again for one our most popular high school sporting events of the year — the celebrated AJC Slam Dunk Contest.

It’s official: Beginning now, we’re looking for a few good men (or women)  for the AJC Slam Dunk Contest, ones on Atlanta area high school basketball teams that can dunk with the best of them.

We are taking nominations between now and midnight on Jan. 31.

Do you know a local high school basketball player who is a prolific dunker? Someone who dunks with such a smooth style that it causes fans from BOTH teams to rise to their feet? That’s the player we want. Lots of players can dunk but we’re looking for creativity. Take a peek at this video and then read more below …

We are taking nominations, if you have one. Please list the player’s name, high school, and your best description of this player’s dunking ability below in the comments section. This is very important: Please also post a video link from the player you are nominating (for example, if the …

Continue reading We’re taking nominations for the AJC Slam Dunk Contest »

New rankings: Hillgrove, South Atlanta move to No. 1 … Miller Grove’s national title hopes fade … How can you rank Norcross?

Lots to talk about this week …

Miller Grove’s chances for a national title probably slipped away Saturday at Norcross, where Wolverines lost 70-63 to Dr. Krop of Miami.

Miller Grove (16-1) was ranked between No. 2 and No. 4 in four national polls entering the game. Dr. Krop’s star player, Kansas State-bound Angel Rodriguez, scored 16 points and had seven steals, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post’s game story. Miller Grove was only 2-for-9 at the foul line.

MG still could finish in the top 10 or top 5 of the national rankings. It’s been a great season. Dr. Krop is a nationally known program as well, and was ranked No. 24 by ESPN.

Georgia teams did have some nice wins over the weekend otherwise.

In Morgantown, W.Va., Columbia’s boys went 2-0, beating Jamesville-Dweitt 55-40 and Thomas Jefferson 71-57. Both opponents were from new York.

Jamesville-Dewitt’s top player was DuJuan Coleman is rated the No. 2 center among juniors by one recruiting service, but Columbia’s Jamal …

Continue reading New rankings: Hillgrove, South Atlanta move to No. 1 … Miller Grove’s national title hopes fade … How can you rank Norcross? »

Voting Day: Who is No. 1 with slam dunks in high school basketball?? AJC Slam Dunk Contest

Milton High's Shaquille Johnson, along with Miller Grove's Brandon Morris, are my early favorites to win the AJC Slam Dunk Contest (AJC)

Milton High's Shaquille Johnson, along with Miller Grove's Brandon Morris, are my early favorites to win the AJC Slam Dunk Contest (AJC)

[Note: This blog has moved. We are taking nominations at this blog ... click here]

The AJC is looking for a few good men — ones on high school basketball teams that can dunk with the best of them.

Yes, it’s about that time of year again for one our most popular events: The AJC Slam Dunk Contest.

Past participants have included NBA lottery pick Derrick Favors, UGA all-star Travis Leslie and last year’s Mr. Georgia Basketball (Westlake’s Marcus Thornton).

Do you know a local high school basketball player who is a prolific dunker? Someone who dunks with such a smooth style that it causes fans from BOTH teams to rise to their feet? That’s the guy we want.

If you do know of someone with these superman qualities, please post their name, high school, and your description of their dunking capabilities below. You will also get extra points for linking …

Continue reading Voting Day: Who is No. 1 with slam dunks in high school basketball?? AJC Slam Dunk Contest »

Basketball controversy settled between archrivals Redan and Southwest DeKalb (Updated)

The GHSA will not address the controversy surrounding Redan’s 60-58 loss to Southwest DeKalb last month.

It was a significant event because it was Redan’s first loss during the regular season since 2008. Redan is currently ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA.

Redan girls coach Jerry Jackson said he submitted paperwork to the GHSA, indicating that his team did not get credited for two points scored in the first quarter due to miscommunication between the scoring table and referees. Jackson said it was an innocent error, but he had the film to prove it. He was hoping the GHSA would rule the game result as a tie.

Redan coach Jerry Jackson addresses the No. 1 team in Class AAAA (AJC)

Redan coach Jerry Jackson addresses the No. 1 team in Class AAAA (AJC)

“We don’t hear protests when it comes to overturning the results based on the call of an official or the official scorebook,” said Ralph Swearngin, the GHSA’s executive director. “Whatever is the final score that is validated, that’s what the final score is. There is nothing that can undo that.”

Jackson knew …

Continue reading Basketball controversy settled between archrivals Redan and Southwest DeKalb (Updated) »

Fayette County High reschedules basketball games

Due to the severe weather last week, Fayette County High School was forced to postpone two region 3-AAAA basketball contests.  Those contests have been rescheduled.

On Wednesday, January 26, Fayette County will travel to Upson-Lee High School to take on the Knights.  Tipoff of the girls game will be at 6 PM with the boys to follow.

On Saturday, January 29, 2011 Fayette County will travel to Northgate High School to take on the Vikings.  Tipoff times for those games have not yet been set.

– Courtesy of Fayette County HS

  • Please click here for the AJC’s latest news on FOOTBALL and BASKETBALL … and scroll down the page.
  • How do you get a college scholarship for an overlooked senior? For advice, click here
  • Follow the AJC’s coverage of Georgia top high school teams and prospects, led by Michael Carvell, on FACEBOOK … and Twitter

Continue reading Fayette County High reschedules basketball games »

Quick look at some of metro’s top wrestlers

Langston Hughes senior Kevin McCoy had a scare when he was rushed to the hospital for an overnight stay after suffering a concussion during a holiday wrestling tournament. After McCoy was released, rather than go home, he returned to the event to cheer on his teammates.

McCoy, who has a 28-6 record at 140 pounds, is still waiting on medical clearance to wrestle again but has attended every one of the team’s practices over the past three weeks.

“Kevin is the epitome of a dedicated athlete,” said Langston Hughes coach Ben Arnold. “He is loved by all his teachers … and single-handedly got the guys in better shape this year than ever before [during voluntary workouts].”

Here are some of the metro’s other top wrestlers:

*Robbie Martin, St. Pius: The junior 125-pounder has a 20-1 record, including 11 pins. He took first place at the Stockbridge Tiger Classic and Brookwood Invitational. The team captain also has a cumulative 90.54 GPA.

*Ryan Mosley, Shiloh: The junior has a 34-1 …

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Football recruiting: UGA, Alabama, Georgia Tech and Auburn make late push for Colquitt County OT Xzavier Ward

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The best recruiting soap opera to watch in the state of Georgia over the next two weeks may be Colquitt County’s Xzavier Ward.

Georgia Tech, UGA, Alabama are among the schools making a late push for the 6-foot-7, 275-pound offensive tackle.

Ward was originally scheduled to take an official visit to Alabama, along with Florida, earlier this month but the recruiting trips were canceled because both schools said they had too many commitments at the tackle positions.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen made an in-home visit on Monday, along with a couple of Georgia Tech assistants. Ward agreed to take an official visit to Mississippi State this weekend, while Georgia Tech called on late Tuesday, trying to convince Ward to travel to its campus instead.

“Mississippi State and Coach Mullen have been to his house, and Xzavier is going …

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