Class A Blog: W.D. Mohammed boys continue to rise, latest power rankings

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Time for this week’s look at the new power rankings in Class A basketball. Love it or loath it, the power ranking system is here to stay – for this season at least. (Next week we’ll examine how the system is working out thus far.)

But first we check in on a team that is quickly staking its claim as one of the contenders for the boys private school title: W.D. Mohammed (18-1). Tuesday night, the Caliphs, ranked No. 5 in this week’s AJC Top 10, served notice that they are indeed for real, with a 43-42 win over No. 3 Greenforest Christian. The Eagles’ (14-4) previous losses were to South Atlanta (14-3), No. 10 in AAAA, Norcross 11-6), ranked No. 6 in AAAAAA and Wenonah, the top ranked team in Alabama in AAAAA.

All of this seemed impossible just three years ago when head coach Farad Abdur-Rahman jumped from leading the W.D. Mohammed girls team over to the boys. In the five years prior to his arrival, the Caliph boys were a combined 27-84 with no appearances in the state tournament. Last season he led them to the second round of the state playoffs. This season’s lone loss came in finals of a holiday tournament in Alabama to AAAAAA Hillgrove.

“At the end of the day, I’m all about what’s best for our community,” Abdur-Rahman said. “I could see [the boys team] had some talent, but they lacked discipline and structure. That’s really all I’ve brought to the program. That and an attitude of never quitting, never giving up.”

That was on display front and center Tuesday at Greenforest, a team with four players taller than the tallest player (6-foot-5) on W.D. Mohammed’s roster. Down 42-40 with just 1.9 seconds left in regulation, senior Yusef Muhammed drained a jumper from near half-court.

“I tell them all the time that they just have to believe,” Abdur-Rahman said. “Believe in themselves and play as a team. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Along with the new-found confidence, the Caliphs have one of the state’s best backcourt tandems in point guard Muhammad Hamilton, a junior, and shooting guard Jihad Hameen, a senior.

“In all honesty, I think they are the best backcourt in Georgia,” Abdur-Rahman said. “They are very good basketball players. We don’t have much size, but we are talented and we are relentless. When you play us, you better bring your lunch.”

Something Greenforest found out the hard way.

And now for this week’s power rankings. Give us your thoughts on whether or not this system has it right. The first number in parenthesis is the AJC Top 10 ranking while the second number is last week’s power ranking.

BOYS

PUBLIC

1. Wilkinson County (6) (3)

2. Mitchell County (4) (1)

3. Wilcox County (10) (2)

4. Seminole County (7) (3)

5. Dooly County (NR) (10)

6. Turner County (8) (7)

7. Treutlen (NR) (5)

8. Hancock County (NR) (NR)

9. Jenkins County (NR) (14)

10. Portal (NR) (8)

11. Greenville (NR) (16)

12. Lanier County (NR) (9)

13. Stewart County (NR) (12)

14. Trion (NR) (13)

15. Hawkinsville (NR) (6)

16. Claxton (NR) (11)

PRIVATE

1. North Cobb Christian (1) (1)

2. Greenforest Christian (3) (2)

3. Excel Christian (NR) (4)

4. Calvary Day School (NR) (8)

5. W.D. Mohammed (5) (9)

6. Mt. Paran Christian (NR) (5)

7. Holy Innocents (NR) (3)

8. Athens Christian (2) (7)

9. Landmark Christian (NR) (5)

10. Aquinas (9) (11)

11. St. Francis (NR) (10)

12. Savannah Christian (NR) (13)

13. Lakeview Academy (NR) (15)

14. Mt. Vernon Presbyterian (NR)

15. Mt. Pisgah (NR) (14)

16. Whitefield Academy (NR) (NR)

GIRLS

PUBLIC

1. Randolph-Clay (3) (1)

2. Gordon Lee (5) (3)

3. Turner County (10) (2)

4. Treutlen (NR) (4)

5. Claxton (NR) (8)

6. Wilkinson County (NR) (5)

7. Irwin County (NR) (6)

8. Towns County (8) (7)

9. Mitchell County (NR) (10)

10. Calhoun County (NR) (9)

11. Greenville (NR) (16)

12. Marion County (NR) (11)

13. Seminole County (NR) (14)

14. Clinch County (NR) (NR)

15. Jenkins County (NR) (12)

16. Hancock County (NR) (13)

PRIVATE

1. Southwest Atlanta Christian (1) (1)

2. Holy Innocents (2) (2)

3. Darlington (4) (3)

4. Calvary Day School (9) (4)

5. St. Francis (6) (5)

6. Paideia (NR) (7)

7. Atlanta International (NR) (6)

8. George Walton Academy (7) (9)

9. Mt. Paran Christian (NR) (10)

10. Greenforest Christian (NR) (13)

11. Prince Avenue Christian (NR) (12)

12. Strong Rock Christian (NR) (8)

13. Walker (NR) (14)

14. Pace Academy (NR) (15)

15. Savannah Country Day (NR) (11)

16. Brookstone (NR) (16)

9 comments Add your comment

athensbball

January 23rd, 2013
1:13 pm

Looks like AC is getting punished for their pathetic region. They are 15-1, keep winning, and keep dropping in the poll. Outside of Lakeview, none of those teams in Region 8 could win a region championship in GISA. Then of course no local teams wanna play them (cedar shoals, clarke central, oconnee schools) because they have nothing to gain by playing them and dont wanna lose to a Class A school (in fear their kids may transfer). So they have had to spend half their season playing teams in Augusta, who like to report scores about once every two weeks. Great system! haha

S. Thomas Coleman

January 23rd, 2013
3:19 pm

@athensball: I’m hopeful that the GHSA’s basketball committee will sort everything out before the final power rankings are tabulated. They’ll go back and check to make sure that all scores/wins are reported and counted.The only downside to a lower-than-normal seeding for AC is that they’ll only get to host one playoff game. But I fully expect them to be in Macon for the semis.

Thanks for reading and posting.

S. Thomas Coleman

athensbball

January 23rd, 2013
3:37 pm

This is just my guess of how top 10 teams would be seeded (region champs automatically go ahead of everyone else regardless of power rankings)
1)N Cobb Christian
2)WD Mohammad
3) Athens Christian
4)Calvary Day
5)Aquinas
6)Greenforest
7)Excel
8)Holy Inn
9) Landmark
10)Mt. Paran

* That could put ACS (AJC#2) and Greenforest (AJC#3) playing in the second round…wow

HSbball

January 23rd, 2013
9:36 pm

This system is defintely broken, more so than than the system before it that this was supposed to fix.

That being said, I can’t wait until the plyoffs. The teams that are crying about their power rankings or their ajc rankings get a chance to prove everyone wrong in the “real” season. It will be interesting to see who gets left out with only 16 teams getting in for each side.

@athensball, in the system last year #1 North Cobb Chr. would have played #2 Whitefield in the 2nd round, but they forgot to beat St. Francis along the way. Good luck to all teams down the stretch.

Region2AAGuru

January 24th, 2013
8:59 am

S. Thomas Coleman …Only the finals will be played in Macon this year

@athensbball

January 24th, 2013
9:35 am

@hsbball: That’s exactly my point! (#1 NCC set to play #2 Whitefield in second round last year) No playoff system should pin the top teams against each other until the end. I think that this point system will succeed in getting the top 10 teams in, which is all that really matters, but the seedings are going to be so important. Last years system (top 4 in every region) gave us the Hebron vs Whitefield game where Hebron only scored 12 points. At least it gets rid of teams like that. They should just get rid of the regions all together and teams just go play whoever you want. Its stupid anyways that public schools and private schools have seperate tournaments but yet are still in the same regions together. And then those regions potentially decide where your seeded

Really

January 24th, 2013
11:54 am

I saw WD Mohammed pound Galloway last week. Their guards were just too strong. Quick, athletic, good basketball IQ. They bring a shooter off the bench. The playoffs will be interesting. Too bad we are left with this public/private mess.

basketball junkie

January 24th, 2013
3:51 pm

Enter your comments here

basketball junkie

January 24th, 2013
3:54 pm

the playoffs will be great! Region 6 looks to be loaded with playoff teams if the power rankings hold true. Whitefield as the number 16 team right now…… that is not a fun first round match-up for the top team whoever that ends up being. St Francis is loaded with talent! I am shocked they have lost as many games as they have this year, but no one will want to play them in the playoffs either. Looks like it will be alot of fun