By David Purdum / For the AJC
“Our goal is to win the state championship again.”
Those were the confident words of new Columbia girls coach Carla Hollaway. She has the returning talent to back it up.
Hollaway took over a Columbia program that won three of the last four state championships in the Eagles’ classification. She inherited the entire starting backcourt off of last season’s state title team. Senior combo guards Yaktivia Hickson and Shamyia Smith and senior point guard Malisha Harris are all back.
Hickson led the Eagles’ with 11 points in their state championship game win over Sandy Creek. She is one of only two AAAA players out of Georgia to make Prospect Nation’s Elite 150.
Hollaway has coached in DeKalb County for the last seven years, winning two middle school titles. This is her first head-coaching position at the high school level. She points to Jerry Jackson’s Redan team as the biggest challenge in Region 6-AAAA.
After scrimmaging defending AAAAA state champions Southwest DeKalb last season, Columbia opens the season against Greater Atlanta Christian on Thursday in the Hilton Thanksgiving Tournament at Norcross.
BeRecruited.com is one of the many online services designed to aid in high school athletes in the recruiting process. The site claims over one million registered users, including 68 percent of college coaches.
Prospects build online profiles and are able to reach out to coaches. , in turn, can search the prospect database and contact players directly.
I used it to see which Atlanta-area AAAA girls teams were attracting the most attention from coaches on the site. The number of “coach views” a team receives is listed on the site. Carver, Grady, South Atlanta and Marist are the only local AAAA teams on the site.
As of Tuesday, Carver had the most coach views with nearly 800. Senior point guard Diamond Craig and sophomore Antwanesha Watkins are the two Panthers with profiles on the site. Grady is next with the profiles of senior Vanderia Shackleford and juniors Sierra Hicks and Naria Woods attracting more than 200 views. South Atlanta seniors Ciara Corbett, Tonnesha Davis and Latasha Watkins and Marist’s Katherine Robb also have profiles on the site.
By no means is this the ultimate gauge of talent in the area. But for this information-starved rookie reporter, it’s a start.
Top AAAA Senior Recruits
Kahler Fletcher, G, Westover
Keyondra Jenkins, G, Fayette County
Africa Williams, G, Banneker
Note: Crisp County’s Nasheema Oliver has committed to play for Georgia. Oliver committed in Septemeber.