Well, if last week didn’t get you excited about the state tournament, we probably can’t help you much.
The first two rounds had everything you’d expect – upsets, last-second shots, huge games from great players, favorites marching on. In short, it was just as awesome as it always is.
Now, we move on to the quarterfinals, where we’ll get a little closer to learning who the state champions will be and whether we won our tournament pool this year (We never win; it’s always the person on the second floor who can’t name any of the teams).
And, because we’re just such nice people here at The List HQ, we thought we’d get you primed for the boys quarterfinals with a list of 10 players you want to see if you can the rest of the way.
10. C.J. Foster, Berkmar (AAAAAA)
at Norcross, 7 p.m. Wednesday
He was little more than a defensive specialist as a junior, but he’s become a key part of the Patriots’ attack on both sides of the ball this season. He started the season with 32 points in Berkmar’s opener and posted a game-high 22 Saturday in the Pats’ 56-48 upset of Alpharetta. A 6-foot-2 guard, Foster is quick and is always capable of putting up 20 points.
9. Willie “Turtle” Jackson, Athens Christian School (A Private)
vs. North Cobb Christian, 7 p.m. Wednesday
Jackson has established himself as one of the state’s toughest matchups from the shooting guard position, and he’s just a sophomore. He’s a slasher and scorer with a tremendous all-around game, even posting a triple-double in the Eagles’ win last weekend over Mount Pisgah, with 23 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds.
8. Brandon Goodwin, Norcross (AAAAAA)
vs. Berkmar, 7 p.m. Wednesday
The Southern Miss-bound combo guard gets a lot out of his 6-foot size. He’s tough to guard and has an excellent handle, knifing through defenders and getting to the basket. He scored 18 in the Blue Devils’ 69-50 second-round win over Archer last weekend, and he’ll be an interesting matchup for Foster on Wednesday.
7. A.J. Davis, Jr., Buford (AAA)
vs. Woodward, 7 p.m. Wednesday
The son of long-time NBA player Antonio Davis, A.J. is a combo forward with great length and natural ability. He was recruited by a number of Southeastern schools before choosing Tennessee in September. He led all scorers with 32 points during Buford’s 84-68 second-round win over Gordon Central last weekend.
6. Ahmed Hill, Aquinas (A Private)
vs. Excel Christian, 6 p.m. Wednesday
Aquinas coach Bernie Norris told the Augusta Chronicle after Hill scored 13 of his game-high 29 points last weekend to lead the Irish to a 58-49 win over Lakeview and notch his 2,000th career point, “When you got ‘Med, you got a lot.” Indeed, you do. One of the nation’s most sought-after juniors, Hill has offers from some of the country’s best programs, and you only have one more year to see him play here.
5. Jakeenan Gant, Effingham County (AAAAA)
vs. Creekside, 8 p.m. Wednesday
Gant is a long wing with plenty of scoring ability. A junior, he already has offers from the likes of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana and Marquette, and he’ll be even more heavily recruited next year. In Effingham’s second-round win over Starr’s Mill, he only had 13, but he didn’t need to do much once his team was up 50-19.
4. Taaj Shamsid-Deen, Columbia (AAAA)
vs. Marist, 6 p.m. Wednesday
One of the state’s best guards when it comes to making the difficult and acrobatic look almost routine, Shamsid-Deen has tremendous body control and is accustomed to pressure from the Eagles’ three straight state titles. His 32 points were a big reason Columbia survived a trip to LaGrange last weekend and get to play Round 3 with Marist, having won the first two matchups by a combined three points.
3. Tim Quarterman, Johnson-Savannah (AAA)
vs. Tattnall County, Wednesday
Another big-time player performing when it counts, Quarterman scored 19 of his game-high 28 last weekend to avoid an upset at the hands of Carver, notching a 70-65 win. He chose LSU over a slew of schools that were after him, and his 6-6, 180-pound frame make him a prototypical high-major wing who can score at will.
2. Quinton Stephens, Marist (AAAA)
at Columbia, 6 p.m. Wednesday
Another long wing, the 6-8, 180-pound Stephens is wiry and quick, with a nice stroke from beyond the arc. He’s helped get Marist as high as a No. 2 ranking this season, and now he has the Eagles on the verge of their first semifinal appearance since the 2000 title. He had 14 points in Marist’s 24-point win over Shaw last weekend.
1. Brannen Greene/Tadric Jackson, Tift County (AAAAAA)
vs. North Cobb, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
We couldn’t pick just one Tift player after the Blue Devils dropped 100 points on Westlake last weekend. In that one, Jackson scored a season-high 27 points, while Greene – considered by many to be the top senior in the state – put up 23 of his own. This is one of the best 1-2 punches in Georgia; Greene is headed to Kansas, and Jackson has offers from high majors all over the map. Don’t miss what could be your last chance to see these two play together, if you’re in the Tift area Wednesday.
Now we want to know what you think. Which players will you be making it a point to catch over the final couple of weeks of the season? Who’s the most exciting player you’ve seen so far? Can we just put these 10 together for a little 5 on 5? Let us know here in the comments or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.