Class A Boys Basketball Preview

CLASS A BOYS

Region 1

The lineup: (Division A) Calhoun County; Randolph-Clay; Stewart County; Terrell County; Webster County; Quitman County. (Division B) Miller County; Mitchell County; Seminole County; Baker County; Baconton Charter.

Teams to watch: Calhoun County, Mitchell County, Randolph-Clay.

Players to watch: Jermain Hartsfield, Mitchell County, Sr.; Jaquan Williams, Mitchell County, Sr.; Bruce Bryant, Mitchell County, Sr.; Daron Hodges, Mitchell County, Sr.; Stacey Butler, Mitchell County, Sr.; Markis Boyd, Stewart County, Sr.; Jacolby Jones, Miller County, Jr.; Dontavious McElroy, Quitman County, Sr.; Jakari Martin, Seminole County, Sr.;

Strength of region: 2

Last season: Mitchell County (18-11) got hot late, won the region tournament and made a run to the Elite Eight. .

The skinny: Mitchell County found its groove late with a team loaded with juniors and sophomores. Now those players, like Jermain Hartsfield and Jaquan Williams, have been through the fire of a state tournament. Look for the Eagles to dominate.

Teams that could win state: Mitchell County (Public).

 

Region 2

The lineup: Charlton County, Clinch County, Echols County, Irwin County, Lanier County, Telfair County, Turner County, Wilcox County.

Teams to watch: Lanier County, Turner County, Wilcox County.

Players to watch: Avery Brockington, Lanier County, Jr.; Devin Charles, Lanier County, Sr.; Nate Martin, Turner County, Jr.; Mikail Grace, Wilcox County, Sr.; Johnathan Howard, Wilcox County, Sr.

Strength of region: 4

Last season: Lanier edged Wilcox in the region tournament and went on to the Final Four before losing to eventual-champion Whitefield Academy. Turner County advanced to the Final Four as well and came within a bucket of beating the eventual-runner up, Athens Christian. (46-44). Wilcox could have made a deep run as well but an undisclosed disciplinary issue on the eve of the first round of the state tournament caused the superintendent of the Wilcox County Schools to forfeit the game and end the Patriots’ season.

The skinny: The state champion could very likely come from Region 2. Lanier, Turner and Wilcox could be the three best teams in the classification. Wilcox could lose a few games early while Grace and Howard finish up on the football field, but look for the Patriots to take off when the “Wonder Twins” join the team.

Teams that could win state: Lanier (Public), Turner (Public), Wilcox (Public).

 

Region 3

The lineup: (Division A) Calvary Day, Claxton, Jenkins County, Portal, Savannah Christian, Savannah Country Day. (Division B) Emanuel County Institute, Johnson County, Montgomery County, Treutlen, Wheeler County.

Teams to watch: Portal, Claxton, Jenkins County.

Players to watch: Rico Bonds, Calvary Day, Jr.; Milan Richard, Calvary Day, Jr.; Kenyale Lacue, Emanuel County Institute, Sr.; Zavondric Shingleton, Jenkins County, Sr.; Stacy Morgan, Portal, Jr.; Cory Reese, Portal, Sr.; Gary McGinty, Savannah Country Day, Sr.; Jordan Walker, Calvary Day, Jr.; Jalen Myrick, Savannah Christian, Sr.; Ben Johnson, Savannah Country Day, Jr.

Strength of region: 2

Last season: Portal had a tremendous regular season and won the region tournament as well. But the Panthers fell flat in the first round and it was region-tournament runner up Claxton that advanced to the Sweet 16.

The skinny: Portal, Claxton and Jenkins County will again fight it out for the region title.

Teams that could win state: None.

 

Region 4

The lineup: (Division A) Brookstone, Central-Talbotton, Greenville, St. Anne-Pacelli. (Division B) Dooly County, Hawkinsville, Schley County, Marion County.

Teams to watch: Hawkinsville.

Players to watch: Andravious Smith, Dooly County, Sr.; Jamil McKee, Greenville, Sr.; Thaddeus Ates, Hawkinsville, Jr.; Rashon Griggs, Hawkinsville, Jr.

Strength of region: 1

Last season: Taylor County was the hands-down best team. Even though Central-Talbotton and Hawkinsville finished with sub-.500 records, both advanced, along with Taylor, to the Sweet 16. Taylor was shelled in the Elite Eight by Turner County (70-43).

The skinny: Taylor County has moved to Class AA. Look for Hawkinsville to dominate, as the Red Devils return all but one player from last year’s young team that grew up quickly toward the end of the season.

Teams that could win state: None.

 

Region 5

The lineup: Galloway, Greenforest Christian, Holy Innocents, Landmark Christian, Our Lady of Mercy, Pace Academy, Paideia, W.D. Mohammed, Yeshiva, Eagles Landing Christian Academy, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, Strong Rock Christian, Atlanta International.

Teams to watch: Greenforest Christian, Landmark Christian, W.D. Mohammed.

Players to watch:  Justin Ross, Landmark Christian, Jr.

Strength of region: 3

Last season: Greenforest and Landmark each won more than 20 games last season. However, both made early playoff exits. Greenforest was bounced by Wesleyan in Round 1, Landmark was knocked out by Wilkinson County in the next round.

The skinny: Greenforest and Landmark should compete for the region title. Our Lady of Mercy guard Rashard Fant, an all-region performer in basketball who has committed to Indiana to play football, will skip his senior season to concentrate on training for football.

Teams that could win state: Greenforest (Private).

 

Region 6

The lineup: (Division A) Darlington, Excel Christian, Gordon Lee, Mt. Zion-Carroll, Southwest Atlanta Christian, Trion, Christian Heritage. (Division B) Mt. Paran Christian, St. Francis, Walker, Whitefield Academy, Mt. Pisgah Christian, North Cobb Christian, Fellowship Christian, King’s Ridge Christian.

Teams to watch: Gordon Lee, North Cobb Christian, Mt. Paran Christian, Whitefield Academy,

Players to watch: Daniel Brooks, Gordon Lee, Jr.; Landon O’Neal, Gordon Lee, Sr.; Cody Wilson, Gordon Lee, Sr.; Stephon Jelks, North Cobb Christian, Jr.; Hunter Ware, North Cobb Christian, Jr.; Jordan Versteeg, Mt. Paran Christian, Sr.;  Blake Jones, Mt. Paran, Sr.;  Nathan Bernhardt, Mt. Zion-Carroll, Sr.; Corey Loftin, Mt. Zion-Carroll, Sr.; Eric Lockett, Whitefield Academy, Jr.

Strength of region: 2

Last season: North Cobb Christian was the biggest disappointment of the playoffs, getting bounced in the first round of the state playoffs. Mt. Paran Christian advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing a close game to eventual runner up Athens Christian (58-56).

The skinny: Defending champion Whitefield Academy moves into the neighborhood this season and will duke it out with North Cobb Christian for the region title. Lockett and Jelks will vie for the title of best player.

Teams that could win state: Gordon Lee (Public), North Cobb Christian (Private), Whitefield Academy (Private).

 

Region 7

The lineup: (Division A) Glascock County, Taliaferro County, Warren County, Aquinas. (Division B) Georgia Military, Hancock Central, Lincoln County, Twiggs County, Wilkinson County, First Presbyterian.

Teams to watch: Wilkinson County.

Players to watch: Keon Major, Aquinas, Jr.; Darian Barfield, Wilkinson County, Sr.; David Whipple, Wilkinson County, Sr.; Antonio Whipple, Wilkinson County, Jr.

Strength of region: 2

Last season: Wilkinson County and Aquinas both made runs to the Elite Eight, but both lost to the eventual finalists – Wilkinson to Athens Christian (61-58) and Aquinas to Whitefield Academy (76-64).

The skinny: The Whipple Cousins, David and Antonio, should lead the Warriors to another region title and deep run into the state playoffs, after they have finished their business on the football field.

Teams that could win state: Wilkinson County (Public).

 

Region 8

The lineup: (Division A) Commerce, Lakeview Academy, Rabun Gap, Tallulah Falls, Towns County, Woody Gap, Pinecrest Academy. (Division B) Prince Avenue Christian, Providence Christian, George Walton Academy, Hebron Christian Academy, Athens Academy, Athens Christian.

Teams to watch: Athens Christian, Lakeview Academy.

Players to watch: Austin Montgomery, Lakeview Academy, Sr.; Will Jackson, Athens Christian, Soph.; Thomas McMillan, Commerce, Sr.; Trent Hunt, George Walton Academy, Sr.; Jonathan Book, Commerce, Sr.; Tyler Matthews, Hebron Christian Academy, Sr.; Dallas Manus, Towns County, Soph.; Eric Williams, Athens Academy, Soph.; Charlie Scott, Providence Christian, Sr.;

Strength of region: 2

Last season: Athens Christian was the unquestioned beast of the region and advanced to the state finals, where the Eagles were blitzed by Whitefield Academy (73-49).

The skinny: Will Jackson is a Player of the Year candidate who could end up being the all-classification player of the year in Georgia before his high school career is done. He should lead the Eagles to another region crown.

Teams that could win state: Athens Christian (Private).

35 comments Add your comment

coachdee

November 8th, 2012
9:23 am

Cameron Myers, transfered to Tucker not at Paideia

Rebel Fan

November 8th, 2012
9:44 am

Demarcus (DJ) Bryant “transferred” down the road to Tift County.

South Georgia B-ball

November 8th, 2012
9:48 am

Haha “transferred”

Hoops Fiend

November 8th, 2012
9:51 am

Ahmed Hill from Aquinas (c/o 2014) is the 26th ranked player in the COUNTRY.

CJ

November 8th, 2012
10:55 am

Some of these regions aren’t even right. Come on AJC care about basketball!!!!!

BBall Fan

November 8th, 2012
11:15 am

Thomas

You have region 6 comments in region 5…..

coachW

November 8th, 2012
12:20 pm

S. Thomas Coleman

Didn’t do his homework on region 5

coachP

November 8th, 2012
12:38 pm

Greenforest is loaded with talent, and no mention of any of their players.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 8th, 2012
1:27 pm

@coachdee: Thanks for the update on Cameron Myers.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

November 8th, 2012
1:29 pm

@Rebel Fan: Thanks for the update on Bryant. Hope the Rebs can still make a run at the title.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

November 8th, 2012
1:33 pm

@HoopsFiend: Sorry. Couldn’t find a list of All-Region 7 players from last season. We’ll keep an eye on him.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

November 8th, 2012
2:01 pm

@CJ, @BBallFan, @coachW: Our apologies for the errors. Some were typos, some poor cut and paste jobs. Everything has been corrected/updated. We’ll do better next time.

Thanks for reading and posting.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

November 8th, 2012
2:05 pm

@Coach P: The only Greenforest player on which we could find information from last year was Babatunde Sanusi, and he graduated. Feel free to have Coach Jones email me the names of some of his better players to watch out for.

Thanks for reading and posting.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Hoops Fiend

November 8th, 2012
2:15 pm

@ Coleman – No problem!! I give you much props for writing a preview this early!! Good Job!

Augustafballer

November 8th, 2012
4:59 pm

Whoa. Boy did you miss on Aquinas. Ahmed Hill is not only the #22 ranked Junior in the country by ESPN (26 by Rivals), but has been offered by most major programs, including Kansas, Indiana, UConn, etc. Junior point guard Michael Scott is being looked at heavily by D1 mid majors. Those two were the reasons why Aquinas made the quarterfinals last year. Throw in a big transfer, and Aquinas is loaded.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
9:15 am

@Augustafballer: Sorry, but we just couldn’t find enough pre-season information on the Irish, and it was hard to get a read on them based on last season.

They dominated a woefully weak sub-region and lost a close one to a pretty good Wilkinson team in the region tourney final. But then in the state tournament they only beat a vastly overrated Lakeview Academy team by 10 and barely beat a so-so Mt. Pisgah team in the second round. They did keep it relatively close against Whitefield though in the quarterfinals.

They’ll have plenty of opportunity to prove how good they are this season.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Stan

November 9th, 2012
9:16 am

Whitefield @ W.D. Mohammed Sat. 5:30pm Pre-season @ Coleman come check-out.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
9:31 am

@Stan: Thanks for the tip! I’ll be covering the cross country championships in Carrollton all day, but may try to get to over to check that one out. Does WD have its own gym? I’ve never been to the school.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

South Georgia B-ball

November 9th, 2012
9:47 am

WALB out of Albany is reporting that Tift County is under investigation by GHSA. It’s on the station’s website. The story reports that they were turned in by Turner County.

NEGAbballobserver

November 9th, 2012
10:30 am

I wouldn’t count out Lakeview Academy. Their 6′8″ big man and his team the Atlanta All Stars placed 7th at the AAU National Championships over the summer. Rumor has it he “blew up” over the summer, and has lots of college offers as well.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
10:37 am

@SouthGA B-ball: Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out and try to get a comment from Coach Kellogg at Turner Co.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

NEGAbballobserver

November 9th, 2012
10:37 am

Oh and the vastly overrated Lakeview Team that Aquinas played at State, had one injured (didn’t play) starter Askounis and their big man Montgomery was playing with Pneumonia. I know no excuses, just giving the facts. Curious if you watched them play during the regular season? They were not dominated by Athens christian at all, Only lost by a handful of points on both.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
10:45 am

@NEGA: That’s Austin Montgomery. Do you know how many, if any, of his teammates at Lakeview plsyed with him on his AAU squad? Still, you might be right. They have a ton of kids coming back, provided they didn’t have a lot of transfers. Looks like they might be able to give Athens Christian a battle for the region title.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

NEGAbballobserver

November 9th, 2012
10:59 am

I don’t believe any others played on his AAU team. I might be wrong, but he was the only single A player on the ATL Allstars. It will be interesting to see how the match ups play out when AC and LV play. With Z. Lillie leaving, AC doesn’t have a big man to match up with A. Montgomery and the same with A. Pearson graduating no match up for W. Jackson..
No transfers in and out of LV, unsure if AC has brought in exchange students this year.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 9th, 2012
3:04 pm

@NEGA: “exchange students” … That’s hilarious! They don’t meet until late January. Should be intereting to see how this plays out.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Fan

November 9th, 2012
6:49 pm

Missed out on Excel. They’ve got some players to watch coming back from injuries, including one attracting D1 schools after some strong performances at high end showcases. Kid’s being called the best kept secret in Georgia and a huge under the radar player. Also a great coach and supportive fans. 14-12 last year and 5-3 in the region with half the team out with injuries, going to shock some people this year.

Fan

November 9th, 2012
6:56 pm

And North Cobb Christian now has Kendall Crute. Jelks is great but not as great as Crute, I’ve seen them both play. Crute should probably be on your players to watch list for region 6.

Stan

November 10th, 2012
8:37 pm

@ Coleman WD has it own gym located by east lake golf course. WD beat Whitefield.

Fan

November 11th, 2012
10:18 am

@ Stan Did you think it was a testament to Whitefield’s weakness after their coach, Gaines, Carter, and Pinkett, or to W.D.’s strength?

Stan

November 11th, 2012
10:35 am

@Fan Whitefield still plays like a champion, and they will not be an easy out. Of course they lost two good players. WD will find out how good they are on 20th when we play Lakeview Academy. Since from what I reading the 6′8 Austin Montgomery is one the best players in the state. WD seems to be overlook as a good team. I guess that’s why you asked the question.

Fan

November 11th, 2012
2:23 pm

@ Stan W.D. seems to really be surging these last couple years. Thanks a lot.

Stan

November 11th, 2012
8:22 pm

@Fan my prediction WD will win the state title this year.

Fan

November 11th, 2012
9:34 pm

@Stan Bold prediction. Can you give any info on playing style, top players, etc.? I don’t really know much of anything about them.

Stan

November 12th, 2012
10:04 am

@Fan We play hard defense for 32 mins. You just have to see for yourself. Come see the match up with Lakeview next Tuesday

westside story

November 15th, 2012
9:46 am

Player to watch. Tai Dozier at SACA. Best shooter under the radar. Colleges have been paying attention.