The most surprising thing about the Class AAAAAA boys rankings this week might be the presence of Morrow at No. 5.
The Mustangs were 12-14 in 2011-12, their sixth losing season in eight years, and their best player, 6-9 Dante Ottley, transferred.
What’s new is head coach Creswell Foy, who led Andrew Jackson of Jacksonville to four state quarterfinal appearances before new administration came in last and dismissed him and his staff. Georgia Tech’s Stacey Poole was one of Foy’s players at Jackson.
At Morrow, Foy doesn’t have a single player with a scholarship offer, which is hard to believe for a Top 10 team. But Morrow is 11-1. Its most impressive victory came against Westlake on the road last week.
‘’Beating Westlake was a big win for us,’’ Foy said. “It was a big stage for our kids that they’ve never been on before. We had to deal with the crowd, but we fought hard and hung in there and led the entire game.’’
What Foy does have is experience. There are nine seniors. One of them is 6-foot-8 center Kris Bell, perhaps the most heavily recruited for his size. Also starting are 6-2 senior shooting guard Kalid Rowe, 6-7 senior forward Chris Datcher, 6-5 junior wing Demarkus Loman and 6-0 junior point guard Cameron Davis.
Foy declined to give out any statistics because he didn’t want to put any player above another as the team deals with the spotlight of an unexpected top-10 ranking. And then there’s another big game tonight (Tuesday) as Morrow plays at Luella (10-3).
“I go at least 10 to 11 deep, and there’s just not one player you can say if you stop him, you’ve got ‘em,’’ Foy said. “There’s nothing special about us except that we’ve accepted our roles on the team and we’re getting after it on the defensive end.’’
Some key games Tuesday:
Shiloh at Archer (R8) – Archer is 12-2 overall, 7-0 in region play, and ranked No. 3. Shiloh, the preseason region favorite, is 9-2, 5-1, and ranked No. 7. The AJC’s Robert Haddocks will cover this one.
Wheeler at Milton (R5) – Milton, the 2012 champion of Class AAAAA, is 7-5 under new coach Van Keys, who replaced the ousted David Boyd. Wheeler, the Region 5 team to beat, is 7-4 and ranked No. 9. The two programs have won six state titles over the past 12 seasons.
Morrow at Luella (R2) – These are the remaining unbeaten teams in Region 2. Luella is 10-3 overall. Morrow is 11-1.
Collins Hill at Norcross (R7) – This is probably the toughest region in AAAAAA. Norcross is 9-5 overall, 5-1 in the region, and ranked No. 8. Collins Hill is 11-5, 5-2.
Campbell at McEachern (R4) – Two tradional powers in Cobb. McEachern, the 2012 champion in AAAAA, has bounced back from an 0-5 start. Campbell (9-6) has bounced back from an off season in 2012.
Colquitt County at Valdosta (R1) – Six of the seven teams in this region have winning percentages of .725 or better. These are two of them. Valdosta is 11-1. Colquitt is 9-2.
Westlake at Douglas County (3) – Both won 23 or more games last season. This is their season opener. Westlake is 9-3, Douglas County 8-2.