Campbell basketball guard Dante Scott has become the first rising junior to make a verbal commitment.
Cobb County’s leading scorer last season as a sophomore, Scott says he will sign with Mississippi State, according to Campbell coach James Gwyn.
‘’He can score in a lot of ways and has a high basketball ball IQ,’’ Gwyn said. “His physical style of play will transfer well to the college level as he got to the free-throw line about eight-nine times a game. He will be a true combo guard if needed at the college level. He can shoot and score and pass.’’
Basketball commitments coming in much more slowly than those in football. Among rising seniors, only three in Georgia have committed.
One is Elijah Staley of Wheeler, also committed to Mississippi State. Staley is a 6-6 small forward and football quarterback who plans to play both sports in Starkville. He initially committed to Vanderbilt but was concerned that he would not be able to play two sports in
Standout performances by these athletes led to individual and team success during the 2012-2013 school year:
Clint Frazier, Loganville: The senior outfielder batted .485 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs for a team that was 26-6 and reached the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. He hit 63 home runs in his career and played on one state championship team (2012). Frazier was selected at No. 5 by the Cleveland Indians in the first round of last week’s Major League draft. He has signed to play baseball at the University of Georgia.
Brannen Greene, Tift County: The 6-foot-7 senior forward averaged 27 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists for a team that won Region 1-AAAAAA and made the state quarterfinals. Greene, known for his shooting touch, is the No. 1-rated senior basketball prospect in Georgia. He has signed to play basketball at the University of Kansas.
Diamond DeShields, Norcross: The 6-foot-2 senior guard averaged 23.3 points, 6.9
The Georgia High School Association’s decisions to create a sixth classification and hold separate Class A playoffs for public and private schools in most sports beginning in the 2012-2013 school year provided a big boost to the public schools in the state’s all-sports competition.
Walton, McIntosh and Gordon Lee captured Regions Directors Cup trophies this year, marking the first time in the history of the competition that three public schools have won their classifications.
The Directors Cup competition, which has been held every school year since 1999-2000, awards points to each school based on its performances in the playoffs and state meets for the GHSA’s 24 sports. Each school’s eight highest-scoring sports for each gender are counted in the standings.
Walton won its sixth Directors Cup by overtaking Brookwood in one of the closest finishes in the competition’s history. The Raiders, who won Class AAAAAA championships in volleyball and girls tennis and had teams
The Class A public/private split in the Georgia High School Association opened the door for several public schools to win rare state championships this academic year.
But private school domination in classifications above A reached new highs as seven metro Atlanta private schools won 27 of a possible 39 state championships in AAA and AA. Westminster won a state-record 11 state championships.
Below is a list of state championships by school.
But first, here are some observations about the year that was:
-Georgia Military Academy, a public school in Milledgeville, won its first state title since 1976 and when it claimed the boys’ cross country championship last fall. The last public school to win boys cross country in the lowest classification had been Rabun Gap in 1985.
-Towns County, another Class A public school, won its first state title since 1988. It came in girls cross country. The last public school to win girls cross country in the lowest classification was Whigham,
Two Georgia teams are ranked in the top five of the first national high school football poll for 2013.
Norcross, the defending Class AAAAAA champion, is No. 3 in the preseason top 25 of MaxPreps, an online site that covers high school sports.
Sandy Creek, the 2012 champ in AAAA, is No. 5.
Both teams return several major FBS (formerly called Division I-A) prospects from teams that finished 15-0 last season.
Norcross’ bid for a national title gets a sharp test at home on Aug. 24, when the Blue Devils face Booker T. Washington of Miami, which MaxPreps ranks No. 9 nationally. Three Norcross players (WR Myles Autry, DE Lorenzo Carter, LB Kevin Mouhon) are rated four-star prospects or better by Rivals.
Sandy Creek returns two 1,000-yard rushers (Eric Swinney, Delvin Weems), a 2,000-yard passer (Cole Garvin) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Demarre Kitt), all of whom are FBS prospects. It is unusual for Georgia teams outside the highest two classifications to make top-25 national
Ed Koester resigned as South Cobb’s head football coach in January because he wanted to live closer to his home in Cherokee County.
Koester later came up with another solution. He decided to buy a house closer to his job, which is now at South Paulding. Koester was announced as the new head coach of the Spartans this week.
“In the process of looking at jobs that were close to our house, nothing seemed to materialize,’’ Koester said. “I started thinking that I sure am tired walking up and down these stairs in this house. So I opened up the search and decided to relocate to this community. I’m hoping to find a house without so many stairs.’’
Koester replaced Tim Glanton, who started the South Paulding program in 2006. Glanton, who was 29-33 in seven seasons, including 6-4 each of the past three, was hired as an assistant coach at Kennesaw State University.
Koester was 26-27 at South Cobb, including 7-4, 8-4 and 7-3 over his most recent three seasons. South Cobb
By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
They say it is good to save the best for last. Martin Luther King head football coach Cortez Allen hopes that is the case when it comes to the AJC.com 50-in-50 series.
The Lions are the final team on this year’s list. Allen hopes they are the final team left standing in Class AAAAA, at the end of the playoffs. In just 11 seasons of football M.L. King has established itself as one of the state’s top programs with a record of 105-29, and four region championships, including the 2012 Region 6AAAAA title.
But Allen, in his first year as head coach, wants more.
“That’s why you work so hard, because ultimately, you are working and competing to win a state championship,” Allen said. “Winning region championships is great, an outstanding accomplishment, especially in a region as tough as ours. But ultimately, it’s about winning state championships, making sure your kids graduate and go to college, and become successful men in life.
Kevin Shaffer, a former NFL offensive lineman who played his first four seasons in the league with the Falcons, is the new head football coach at Hebron Christian Academy, a private Class A school in Dacula.
Shaffer had been an assistant coach, most recently coaching the offensive line, the past two years at Hebron, or since leaving the NFL. A Pennsylvania native who played at Tulsa, Shaffer played for the Falcons, Browns and Bears in a nine-year career.
Shaffer will replace Sal Battaglia, who was 5-15 in two seasons. Hebron Christian started football in 2007. The team finished 1-9 in 2012, the Lions’ first season of playing a full region schedule. Hebron Christian was 0-7 in Region 8-A.
Hebron has had success in other sports and won a state championship in baseball in 2011.
Chantay Frost, who led Columbia’s girls basketball teams to state championships in 2010, 2012 and 2013, is the new head coach at Mays in Atlanta.
DeKalb County athletics coordinator and former Columbia boys coach Phil McCrary confirmed the hire Friday. Frost was not immediately available for comment Friday.
Columbia had never won a state playoff game in its history until Frost – who had never been a high school head coach – arrived in 2008-09. She immediately led the team to the quarterfinals.
Frost’s record at Columbia was 126-26, and her program sent more than a dozen players to college basketball, including Miah Spencer (N.C. State), Destinee Smith (North Florida) and Frost’s youngest daughter, Zuri Frost (Tennessee Tech).
Frost was an assistant at Stone Mountain before coming to Columbia as a teacher only. She remained involved in basketball in assisting with AAU and middle school teams on which her daughters played. When the Columbia job came open, she took
Georgia’s crop of outstanding defensive backs is deep this season. A couple of dozen have D-1 scholarship offers.
Here are 10 to watch in 2013.
Some of the more heavily recruited players are not included here as defensive backs because their primary position in high school has been elsewhere. Those include Brooks County’s Malkom Parrish and Creekside’s Evan Berry, both quarterbacks, and Tucker’s Dominick Sanders, a running back.
- Cameron Albright, North Cobb: The top defensive player on a Class AAAAAA semifinal team in 2012, Albright had 40 tackles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He also had four touchdowns as a receiver on offense. Recruited as a safety, Albright (6-2, 200) has more than a dozen scholarship offers, including those from Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
- Allen Artis, Wheeler: Artis’ 109 solo tackles led Cobb County last season. He helped lead Wheeler to its first playoff appearance since 2006. He was
By Craig Sager II
Rising junior Asia Durr led St. Pius to the Class AAA basketball title this season and is considered by many to be the top recruit in the country. The southpaw guard can live in the paint and is lethal with her pull-up jumper. Durr was invited to Colorado Springs May 23-27 to tryout for the 2013 USA Women’s U16 National Team among a field of 124 of the nation’s best players. In the end, Durr was one of 12 to make the final cut.
“There is nothing Asia does that surprises me,” said St. Pius head coach Kyle Snipes. “We knew it would be a huge honor and I expected Asia to go up there and do what Asia does.”
Practice for the 2013 Federal International Basketball Association (FIBA) takes place in early June, and Durr will travel back to Colorado Springs for it. The (FIBA) Americas U16 Championship will be June 19-23 in Cancun, Mexico, with the United States opening play against Brazil. The women’s teams have participated in two prior
It’s understandable why a coach would want to come to Lambert. The 4-year-old school in Forsyth County just finished fourth overall in Class AAAAAA in the Georgia Athletic Directors Cup standings and won state titles in cheerleading, girls swimming, girls golf and gymnastics.
What made Tony Watkins’ move surprising was the place he left behind. Watkins was 59-2 in two seasons as Parkview’s girls head basketball coach, and he was returning 10 of its top 12 players. Parkview’s only loss last season came in double overtime against eventual state champion Norcross.
“I probably left the best team in the state, no doubt about that,’’ Watkins said. “I certainly hate to leave Parkview. I certainly hate to leave those girls. I love them to death. But it had a lot more to do with just basketball. It was more of a family decision.’’
Off-season coaching changes in basketball don’t get the same attention as football, but there have been a few big ones this year.
For the the Sandy Creek Patriots, the only real question in 2013 is motivation.
You can talk about the kicking game – the Patriots just graduated Mitchell McMillin, perhaps the best kicker and punter in school history – or the offensive line, where they sustained the biggest losses of any position group.
But they return the bulk of the skilled players who rolled up 660 points and 6,354 total yards in 2012.
So the question is motivation. For that, head coach Chip Walker is leaning on selective memory. He’d like his players to forget 2012. He’d like them to remember 2011, when they fell to Gainesville in the state quarterfinals.
“A lot of these guys started on that 2011 team,” Walker said. “So they remember what it was like. A bunch of those guys played and played a lot. At the spring game when it was over the other day, I was talking to them about preparing for next season. You don’t want that feeling like we had in 2011 to be the last one you have when you walk off
The financial crisis in the Jackson County school system has cost East Jackson its head football coach and athletics director.
Robert Andrews, former defensive coordinator at Grayson, and Brent Tisdale, Grayson’s former athletics director, resigned last week. Three assistant coaches, including former Dacula defensive coordinator Gary Hughes, also have stepped down, according to various media reports.
The school system recently announced additional furlough days for 2013-14 and other budget-cutting moves, including the closing of an elementary school and the merging of two middle schools.
“It seems like it would be a great place, but with those furloughs and the instability of what the system looks like, I just can’t justify moving out there at this time in my life,” Tisdale told the Jackson Herald. “None of the guys [coaches] we wanted to bring out there we were going to be able to bring on. It’s already hard enough building a football staff and an athletic
Blair Harrison, the former coach in Brookstone of Columbus who left for a job in Tennessee last year, is back in Georgia.
The Tennessee native has been hired as head coach at Towns County in the north Georgia mountains.
“All their schools are on the same campus,’’ Harrison told the Knoxville News. I’ll get to work with my wife. My kids are going to be on the same campus. The facilities are wonderful. They’ve just never won in football. They think they can, and they’re going to give it one last shot.”
Harrison was head coach at Kingston and led the to a 7-5 finish in his only season. Harrison spent nine seasons at Brookstone and had a record of 73-29. His team advanced to the Class A quarterfinals in 2007.
Towns County has achieved only one winning season (2008) since resuming varsity football in 1975. The school has not played a region schedule since 2005 or won a region game since 1999.