Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

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.

11 comments Add your comment

Hubert Green

February 26th, 2013
9:45 am

You want to watch Isaiah Wilkins from GAC play, a 6′7″ jumping jack hybrid four man who can knock down the three, had 15 blocked shots in a game, is a great passer, and gets two or three dunks each game. GAC has a well balanced team; They play a very good Manchester team at 6:30pm at GAC on Wednesday.

Jeff Haws

February 26th, 2013
9:50 am

Good call, Hubert. Nice to get a 12th kid in here. I haven’t seen Wilkins play yet, but I have heard some good things about his agility and quickness. You’re right. He’s probably fun to watch.

Manny fresh

February 26th, 2013
11:50 am

I see south atlanta Naquavious King still doesn’t get any credit when it comes to these top 10 list when he has dominated tahj them twice from Columbia and have beat Stephens from Marist with Stephens only averaging about 10 points in both meetings. He has dominated this whole region and still gets no credit and he’s probably the coldest 2 or 3 in ga, just don’t have all the hype those guys have but his numbers are much better than some people on this list. It’s shameless to keep not mentioning this guy guess he will just have to show ajc so he can finally get some credit.


February 26th, 2013
12:08 pm

Heard from an Athens source that “Turtle” is headed to Oak Hill Academy in Va.!


February 26th, 2013
1:46 pm

@Manny Fresh, the King kid is a nice player, south ATL has a very good team And you may be right, he could be better or just as good as some on the list. There are probably a few others who could be mentioned, but there are reasons why he is not on this list. You don’t have to put down other kids to make a case for him. They may have beaten Columbia twice but dominate Tahj, really. The first game against Marist the Stephens kid played on a sprained ankle, and they just didn’t play well the last game. Your team has as much a chance to win it all just like Columbia, Marist, and Eagles Landing. May the best team win.


February 26th, 2013
1:57 pm

As great as Brannen Greene from Tift is, the Jackson kid may be as good/better. He plays harder these days and his athletic ability is off the charts. If they ever get back on the football field, he may be a better football player.

Jeff Haws

February 26th, 2013
2:47 pm

Manny – You have a point in that I think none of the individuals on S. Atlanta have gotten the credit they may deserve. They’ve accomplished a lot to this point, but I think they’re sort of considered more of a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” sort of team than a star-laden one. Take that for what you will. King is definitely a good player, and I wouldn’t dispute at all that you could make a case for him on here.

moodswing – The rumors are out there. Until it’s confirmed, I’ll write as if he’s staying, but Oak Hill wouldn’t surprise me at all. Wouldn’t be nearly the first from down here.

SouthGaBoy – From what I hear, I think Jackson’s ceiling may be higher than Greene’s. Greene fits that Kansas mold really well, but Jackson could be a major star at the next level if he maximizes his potential. I could see him being a Jeremy Lamb-type player, but we’ll see how things pan out.

Thanks for the comments, guys.

athens christian

February 26th, 2013
2:49 pm

Just FYI its Will Jackson. He doesnt go by “Willie”…and yes ESPN has it wrong too haha. And keep dreaming moodswing, Jackson and the other 4 sophmores will be dominating region 8 for 2 more years, making it 5 straight region titles

Hubert Green

February 26th, 2013
3:13 pm

Not to be picky, but a guy by the name of Josh Smith made the jump to Oak Hill. How much more recognition can he get at Oak Hill? He already has offers from everybody. Almost every player who has gone to Oak Hill was a ready made D I guy before he ever stepped foot on the Oak Hill campus. Also Jordan Adams went up there and he was the same player that he was at Central Gwinnett. Another player who made that jump got no better, and that was the lefty athlete who transferred from Pebblebrook. And finally I’ll take the “missing” Link’s coaching any day over Steve Smith’s.


February 26th, 2013
7:46 pm

Mr. Green i would beg to differ, Jordan Adams definitely benefited form going up there, lost some weight and got serious….Damien Wilson went as well, progressed a little, got hurt and lost a little bit….they now have terrance phillps who played at woodward last yr and from what i hear they may be getting another atlanta player next year. I think it is a great place to go play if u are seriously trying to make basketball a career.

Manny fresh

February 27th, 2013
11:52 am

True Jeff but Stephens didn’t come in 2nd in the region for MVP King did Tahj won. And I don’t understand why he’s not getting any recognition for his individual performance It’s proven almost every game they played this year he’s averaging 20 or better every game and beating the teams and people that always makes the list. Won the region with the team on his shoulders. Yea they playing good team ball but I never here anything about king on ajc.