Class A Blog: W.D. Mohammad’s Hamilton-Blake best back court tandem?; Greenforest’s “other” freshman; NCC vs. GAC

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Is there a better guard combination in Class A than W.D. Mohammad’s Muhammad Hamilton and Nigel Blake?

Caliphs’ head coach Farad Abdur-Rahman doesn’t think so.  Hamilton, a senior who has committed to Tuskegee, was already a known commodity in Class A and beyond as one of the state’s top complete guards. But Blake, a freshman, is beginning to make a name for himself as well. The two are combining to score 48 points per game with the 5-foot-11 Hamilton averaging 25 and Blake, 5-8, averaging 23.

“[Blake] can flat out play,” Rahman said. “He wasn’t with us over the summer, but he has come in since school started and has fit right in. You should see these two go to work.”

Abdur-Rahman said Blake has allowed Hamilton, an all-state selection last season, to showcase even more of his game because now he can play off of the ball, while Blake handles the point guard duties. This, Abdur-Rahman said, makes the Caliphs a better team this season. W.D. Mohammed went 22-3 last season and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual private school runner-up St. Francis (80-56).

“Last year we didn’t have anyone who could allow Muhammad to play off the ball,” Abdur-Rahman said. “This year he’s able to do more things and display his whole game. He’s been rebounding really well this season.”

Indeed, Hamilton is averaging 10 assists and 5 rebounds per game, and will be a great addition to the program at Tuskegee next season, Abdur-Rahman said. Even though Hamilton was beginning to draw serious interest from several mid-major Division I programs, Tuskegee, a Division II program, felt like a better fit.

“[Tuskegee head coach Leon] Douglas is an NBA veteran and a man of great integrity,” Abdur-Rahman said. “He cares about his players and they graduate. There are only about [450] NBA slots, and six million kids trying to get one of those slots, chasing that dream. This is about the bigger picture, and from that perspective I think [Muhammad] made a very wise decision.”

So, is Coach Abdur-Rahman right? Is his backcourt the best in Class A? If not, tell us the duo you think is better. And feel free to nominate a tandem from the girls’ game as well.

“Other” Greenforest freshman

The group of freshmen at defending private school champion Greenforest Academy – Luis Hurtado, Victor Enoh, Abayomi “Bay” Iyiola and Ikechukwu “Ikey” Obiagu – has already created a buzz around the state. But there is another freshman turning heads.

Lyndsey Whilby, a 6-foot guard/forward has the Eagles off to a 5-3 start and is the team’s leading scorer at 20 points per game. She has stepped in to fill the scoring void left by the graduation of the dynamic Moses Johnson, now a freshman at Chattanooga.

North Cobb Christian in action

North Cobb Christian is off to another hot start at 8-1, with the only loss coming at the hands of Class AAAAA Tucker (67-60) in the season opener Nov. 23. The Eagles will face another one of the state’s best teams on Saturday in the Southeast Basketball Academy Hoop Festival, when they battle defending Class AA champion Greater Atlanta Christian in the final game of the night at 8:30 p.m.

20 comments Add your comment

Hubie Green

December 19th, 2013
6:05 pm

Read an article today about Greenforest’s 5 Nigerian players. None live with their parents; all should be one year foreign exchange students. One lives with his AAU coach. And they found out about Greenforest thru missionaries from Greenforest. Sounds legit to me. SMH

CSRA706

December 19th, 2013
11:25 pm

Aquinas backcourt is better, with Ahmed Hill and Ruben Garnet, and plethora of sophomores coming off the the bench

Recruiter

December 20th, 2013
7:15 am

Greenforest is turning in to the dirtiest program in the state, led by the dirtiest coach in the state (see FPCA firing). These kids are living with people who are not their legal guardians and they are not brought in through an approved foreign exchange program. They are reclassifying the kids as Freshman so that they can be eligible. They reported only 61 kids in their High School, but barely lost to defending 6A champ Norcross. Something isn’t right and GHSA needs to check in on this program.

Calvary85

December 20th, 2013
1:46 pm

There is no way a school with under 100 kids can or should be able to compete for a state title. The only way they possibly could is by cheating. W.D. Mohammad is in a similar boat. Every program goes thru good and bad years. I would bet the farm that those so called freshmen are 17 years old or older. I don’t really understand why someone hasn’t done something. I read these same stories every year about all of this but nothing is done. I don’t have a problem with schools getting new kids, but those kids are not even American. The coach has been caught before and I am sure it will not be long before it happens again.

WD Fan

December 20th, 2013
5:07 pm

@Calvary85. Please don’t mention W.D. with any other school because they have about 35 boys who live in the area by the school. No other school can say that. All the top A schools recruit players but WD doesn’t. All the players on last years team went to the school from 1st grade. The St. Francis, Greenforest, Whitfield, Holy Innocents, and Aquinas all get players from other areas. Holy Innocents took a player from WD this year by offering a free education. St. Francis team is the Atlanta Celtics none live in the Alpharetta area. Greenforest most of them are grown men. They have Jr. who came in at 6′7 three years ago and hasn’t grown a inch since. WD does it the right way, and if you ever ask anyone who has seen WD play they will tell these boys are just well coached kids. WD doesn’t have a 6′8 players, also WD was the only A team to beat Greenforest last year, plus they beat them on their home court. Greenforest just found a loophole in GHSA rules. If anyone has seen Greenforest play you can tell that these are not 14 and 15 yr boys. Coach Jones is known as a rule breaker. Why hasn’t any other school did what Greenforest is doing?

Dallas Page

December 22nd, 2013
12:08 pm

North Cobb Christian lost by 13 to GAC last night. NCC is very talented. If the state tournaent brackets work out we could have NCC, St Francis, Greenforest, and Whitefield Academy in the semifinals. Those are the 4 best teams but there are a few other teams who could beat them and keep them out of the semis. Last night, NCC got down big in the 2nd quarter and then came back and made it a 3 point game mid 3rd quarter. That was as close as they ever got. GAC took a commanding double digit lead (near 20) in the 4th quarter before a couple late 3’s from NCC. NCC starts 4 division 1 players but GAC just flat out gets after it on defense. Very entertaining game.

Tiger Patpaw

December 22nd, 2013
4:06 pm

Darlington senior Maggie Beth Atha led the Lady Tigers to their second straight Rome News-Tribune Seven Hills Rotary Holiday Festival Basketball Tournament championship at The Cage Center at Berry College on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 with 28 points, giving the Pepperell Lady Dragons their first loss of the season. Atha took tournament MVP honors after tourney victories over Armuchee and Cartersville preceding the Tigers’ claiming the Gold Ball Trophy.

athensbball

December 23rd, 2013
9:13 am

Athens Christian played in the Chick-Fil-A Invitational in south carolina this weekend against Hammond H.S. and their star player Seventh Woods.(as seen on ESPN) It was supposed to be a showcase game between him and Turtle Jackson, but Jackson was out with injury. Should have been a blow out then right?….ACS led from start to finish and beat Hammond by 9. Their defense held Hammond to just 11 points in the first half. If they can do that without Turtle Jackson…look out Class A. We love being the underdog….again. Just like last year, “no way ACS beats NCC” woops.

atlanta bball

December 23rd, 2013
9:14 am

GHSA will not investigate unless another school turns Greenforest in….so all you schools in here, quit complaning (which solves nothing) and tell your coaches and administrators to do something about by asking the GHSA to investigate them

athensbball

December 23rd, 2013
10:57 am

dekalb baller

December 23rd, 2013
10:58 am

@ STC: for the Greenforest part of your article you should have put the word “FRESHMAN” in quotes…..not “OTHER” haha what a joke.

Tha Truth

December 23rd, 2013
12:06 pm

@WD Fan… Check your facts about St .Francis….All but 2 of starting 5 started there in 9th grade…3 from Alpharetta and 2 from Roswell…Only 2 players on starting 5 play for Atlanta Celtics…everyone needs to stop the finger pointing and whining….Believe it or not Georgia has some of the strictest transfer rules…check it out…most other states alllow free transfers AND reclassifying !!….Like it or not the BUSINESS of basketball has trickled down to High School, AAU and middle school….its either play the game or GET PLAYED !!!

dekalb baller

December 23rd, 2013
12:17 pm

@the truth: i agree to a point what your saying. i think kids should be able to transfer and go to whatever school they want to. but to bring in 5 kids from Africa who are probably at least 18 years old and claim that they are freshman so you can have them for 4 years is just flat out wrong. not to mention they are playing in Class A…the smallest division in all of high school sports in georgia. you wanna play dirty like that (legal or not) then you should be forced to play in 6A. PERIOD.

Tha Truth

December 23rd, 2013
12:32 pm

@dekalb baller…Im with you on that one my friend….thats just taking it too far…Greenforest should just play a national or prep schedule like Convenant Christian in Marietta…Convenant does the same thing with a lot of imported players but they do not compete in the GHSA.

retired coach

December 23rd, 2013
12:35 pm

@the truth: you are obviously a fan or a player. or a wanna be player. but you are definitely not a coach. coaching has been almost completely taken out of high school basketball. which is what made it special AND different than the college game. now its all about getting the best players into your school. its glorified AAU ball. with only 5 people on the floor, talent can win out almost every time. its ruined the heart of what high school sports are all about….being able to win with what you got.

Tha Truth

December 23rd, 2013
1:14 pm

@retired coach…you are absolutely right I am a fan and having been a coach has absolutely nothing to do with it. I am just a very keen and truthful observer…Stevie Wonder can see what High School basketball has become ….what things SHOULD be and what they ARE two totally different things

moodswing

December 23rd, 2013
1:16 pm

Retired Coach: Well Said!

retired coach

December 23rd, 2013
2:25 pm

what im curious about is with all the “investigative” journalism around, how come the AJC doesnt ever look into topics like whats going on at Greenforest if its SO OBVIOUS to everyone else? Is it because its not football? I wonder what would happen if a Class A school with less than 100 kids started beating Buford and Norcross in football? I bet everything that the AJC would be standing outside their fieldhouse everyday looking for answers as to how something like that could ever happen.

Tha Truth

December 23rd, 2013
2:52 pm

@retired coach…I have to say I agree with you on this one Coach…there needs to be some sort of limit on the number of “foreign exchange” players on a team….also people seem to forget in addition to the 5 Nigerian players on Greenforest…. they have a 6′6 Venezuelan point guard !!

BBasketballFan

December 24th, 2013
11:29 am

@S. Thomas Coleman, it will be great for you to share stories about programs who do not recruit but are very competitive every year ie. Paideia Girls BBall lead by Paul Meiere.