Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

One of the great things about basketball season for us down here at The List HQ is getting to watch all the awesome athletes show their stuff.

Georgia is, of course, the best state for high school hoops – and nobody’s going to convince us otherwise. Don’t even try. We’re impervious to logic on this one.

But as great as the players are today, we’ve got a whole history full of amazing talent that’s come through this state in the past.

Thinking about that got us talking the other day about who from the past we could match up some of today’s best players with and see them go at it on the court. One on one. Mano a mano.

So, once again, through the power of The List Time Machine, we bring you 10 historical one-on-one matchups.

10. Trae Golden (McEachern, 2010) vs. Tadric Jackson (Tift County)

Like Golden, Jackson is a combo guard who can get to the basket when he wants to. They’re also nowhere near physical pushovers in the backcourt, with both being over 6 feet tall and 200-plus pounds. This would be one heck of a physical battle.

9. Walt Frazier (Howard, 1963) vs. Tony Bagtas (Westlake)

Westlake may have the best backcourt in the state, and Bagtas is a big reason why. Only a junior, he’s shown he can handle an offense from the point, score a ton of points and dish out double-digit assists consistently. Frazier may have been even better with the ball in his hand at Howard 50 years ago, and he became a legend in New York later.

8. Joby Wright (Johnson-Savannah, 1968) vs. Quinton Stephens (Marist)

Stephens, a Georgia Tech signee, is a 6-foot-8,, athletic wing player who can knock down big jumpers and has led the Eagles to a No. 2 state ranking. Wright, also playing at a long 6-8, led the Atom Smashers to the 1968 title before eventually playing for Bobby Knight’s first Indiana team in 1971.

7. Al-Farouq Aminu (Norcross, 2008) vs. Jakeenan Gant (Effingham County)

Gant’s got another year to develop, but he’s already showing flashes of the game that helped Aminu lead Norcross to titles his last two years here. The two have similar frames, and Gant is also likely to be one of the top wing recruits in the country next season.

6. Mfon Udofia (Miller Grove, 2009) vs. Taaj Shamsid-Deen (Columbia)

This matchup of two DeKalb County point guards would be interesting. Udofia, who led Miller Grove to its first of four consecutive state titles before heading to Georgia Tech, was one of the state’s best ball handlers when he played for the Wolverines. Likewise, Shamsid-Deen has proven himself to have a great handle and scoring ability. At 5-9, he’d be giving up a few inches to Udofia, but his quickness would help him make up for it.

5. Toney Douglas (Jonesboro, 2004) vs. Ahmed Hill (Aquinas)

Douglas was a big scorer at Jonesboro before first starring at Auburn and then being a first-round pick of the Lakers after averaging 21.5 points for Florida State. Also a 2-guard, Hill is looking like one of the state’s top scorers for 2014, and he has offers from more than a dozen schools, including Georgia, Georgia Tech, Texas, UConn and Indiana.

4. Javaris Crittenton (Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, 2006) vs. Willie Jackson (Athens Christian School)

Only a sophomore, Jackson is showing really impressive raw ability, slashing to the basket and scoring in transition as well as anyone in the state from the shooting guard spot. He’d be an interesting matchup for Crittenton, who showed similar ability early in his high school career, as he was basically unstoppable at SACA.

3. Charlie Ward (Thomas County Central, 1990) vs. Tim Quarterman (Johnson-Savannah)

At 6-5, Quarterman’s length makes him an interesting matchup for anyone – Ward included – at the point guard spot. The LSU commit has shown an ability to score and distribute rather well. Though the Heisman Trophy-winning Ward may have made a bigger name for himself in football, he was a terrific point guard at TCC, then Florida State, followed by a long NBA career.

2. James Forrest (Southside, 1991) vs. Jarquez Smith (Jones County)

Forrest is one of the better big men in state history, leading Southside to the 1990 state title and posting one of the best playoff games Georgia has ever seen with his 55-point semifinal game in 1991. He’d be a great test for Smith, who has shown some impressive ability inside and even a solid game at 15 feet that could serve him quite well at the next level.

1. Darrin Hancock (Griffin, 1990) vs. Brannen Greene (Tift County)

The No. 1 player in Georgia, Greene has shown himself to be an explosive shooting guard who can score at will, impressively enough to sign with traditional power Kansas a couple of months ago. Likewise, Hancock was a quick, athletic shooting guard who couldn’t be stopped on his way to the basket and signed with the Jayhawks.

Now we want to know what you think. Which players would you like to see matched up one on one? Would you switch up any of these guys? Who could you take in a game of HORSE? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

24 comments Add your comment

Eagle 1

February 13th, 2013
9:42 am

I would put Octavious Thomas (W.F.George HS) against any guard ever in the History of Georgia!!

Jeff Haws

February 13th, 2013
12:04 pm

Ox was a beast, Eagle. No question about it.


February 13th, 2013
12:16 pm

Is this serious…. Only a few of these match ups people should be allowed to think about. GA basketball is waaayyyyy down at this point. Certainly from an individual stand point and definitely from a team outlook.

Manny fresh

February 13th, 2013
12:18 pm

It’s no way Naquavious king not on this list #23 for south atlanta he’s better than majority of the people on this list average more points and everything. He’s 1 of the best guards in the state just ain’t never really have all the exposure them guys had but numbers don’t lie. And when teams see him play they asking who is that guy who he sign to. If you don’t believe me ask Columbia hs. And him and Costa Anderson #12 for south atlanta the reason why they have the best back court in Ga hands down.

Manny fresh

February 13th, 2013
12:23 pm

Yea oct was da truth #2 pg in da nation behind Jason Kidd.


February 13th, 2013
1:04 pm

It’s always fun to read Jeff’s Top Ten lists as it provides a chance to think about players from long ago. Being a former AtomSmasher, it is always great to see Joby Wright’s name mentioned in an article.

Jeff, I don’t recall if you’ve done a Top Ten matching teams from across the years but it would be interesting. I’d like to see the Beach team that won after integration against the great 1979 Southwest Macon team. Now that I think about it, I’d like to see ANY team attempt to match up with that Southwest Macon team.


February 13th, 2013
1:18 pm

@ eagles 1 George quite few guards… Mokie and the guard that went UGA. But, I take Paris Dennis as the best guard… lead Mays to upset win of Decatur high snap that 60 game win streak.
@ Ernest…. I still think that ‘79 Southwest Atlanta was a better team that year. They finish 30-1 and lost to SW Macon by 1 point.


February 13th, 2013
2:19 pm

Tony Bagtas is a SR. He will be in the Ivy League playing for PENN next year.


February 13th, 2013
3:58 pm

@THEHILLISREAL, thanks for commenting! If SW Atlanta lost to SW Macon, that means they were 2nd best that year.

My recollection is the 2nd best team in the state that year was Northeast Macon for AAAA. SW Atlanta played AAA. Check out the following link and look for page 181.


February 13th, 2013
5:01 pm

watched an epic game in the early 2000’s….I wanna say 2000 or “01″….a freshman Louis Williams against a Sr. Wayne Arnold, Arnold was arguably the best player in the state at the time, and playing on the BEST team in the state…Both played great, but Williams scored 40+ as a fresh….knew then he would make the jump straight to league!!

Manny fresh

February 14th, 2013
12:29 am

Vincent Banks class of 2003 was a monster probably the best shooter I ever seen come out of hs

Decatur 4 Life

February 14th, 2013
9:45 am

Manny Fresh

I agree Vincent Banks was a beast it’s a shame they didn’t state that year, Griffin came to play though can’t take anything away from them. However I don’t feel your logic behind putting King (#23) and Anderson (#12) on this list. They are great players and nobody can take away the type of year they’re having but the other players on this list have done it for more than one year. Before this season I never even heard of these guys you’re talkng about not to say that they weren’t good they just weren’t on the radar yet and that’s probably why they aren’t there. No need to ask Columbia how good they are, we know they can play but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be on the list!


February 14th, 2013
2:27 pm

Tim Quaterman hands down best all around player in the state…. Like to see him and Branden Greene play against each other….


February 14th, 2013
2:28 pm

Tim Quarterman hands down best all around player in the state…. Like to see him and Branden Greene play against each other….

Eagle 1

February 14th, 2013
5:13 pm

Marques “Keekee” Hicks of Douglass HS c/o 89 and Antonio “Moe” Moore Southside c/o 90 were hands down two of the best pure shooters ever in Atlanta.

Jeff Haws

February 14th, 2013
8:31 pm


Glad you enjoy the column. That’s an interesting idea, matching up teams from different years. Might be hard to squeeze it in with the season winding down, but I’ll see if it’s a possibility the quarterfinal/semifinal week. I may have too much lined up now, though.

Thanks for reading.

coach j

February 15th, 2013
9:16 am

jackie dorsey vs mike tree mitchell ????????


February 15th, 2013
10:01 am

Only considering their high school day’s, Melvin “Hollywood” Howard was the real deal.


February 15th, 2013
11:46 am

Coach J,

I have to agree with you. I am an oldtimer who saw first hand Mike Mitchell and Jackie Dorsey, I would love to see that. Was there ever a better reach region than that old city league where Mike Mitchell, Jackie Dorsey and Tony Flanagan all came out of the same 8 school region?

Decatur 4 Life

February 15th, 2013
1:32 pm

Eagle 1

What you know about Kee Kee for three? Lol, I remember those days vividly my sister played on the girls team at Douglass then. Dollar had some nice squads there during that time, a lot of height too 6′8’s and 6′9’s every year plus they were getting into division 1 schools regularly

trent allen

February 15th, 2013
2:54 pm

What about Daryl Walls, Dontonio Wingfield, Micheal Spruell, Melvin Drake, and Keith LeGree?

Manny fresh

February 16th, 2013
12:00 pm

All ima say is I told u so. #23 and #12 showed Marist last night thy shoulda lost by 20 thy was dwn 15 in da 4th. We got Columbia tonight. Numbers don’t lie. South Atlanta is not playing


February 16th, 2013
1:46 pm

We have a kid here in tifton named donell tuff! I would like him to be matched up with anybody else in Georgia, and see who is the better forward/center! No shot take inside the three point line is safe with donell in the game.

Manny fresh

February 17th, 2013
12:21 am

I’m not saying nothing else bout #23 frm south atlanta guess we just going to have to show y’all on the state. We beat Columbia again #23 put on a monster show. But they keep snubbing him. Keep telling y’all south atlanta got the best back court in ga. It’s no way he don’t make this list.