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.