DICK’s National Tournament: Miller Grove vs. Findlay Prep

No. 13 Miller Grove (30-2) vs. No. 5 Findlay Prep, NV (28-1)
Photo by Ty Freeman
Photo by Ty Freeman

Since Wheeler protested and broke the evil spell cast over high school basketball by the GHSA last year which prevented teams from playing in national tournaments at the conclusion of their GHSA sanctioned season, Class AAAAA state champion Miller Grove becomes the second Peach State team ever to play for the mythical national title.1 The Wolverines are no stranger to the big stage, winning seven state championships in the past eight years and becoming a staple on the national circuit. Miller Grove went 4-2 against out-of-state competition, their only losses coming to No. 7 Chaminade, Mo. 86-77 and Lone Peak, Ut. 73-71, both teams headlined by McDonald’s All-Americans and Duke signees Jayson Tatum and Frank Jackson, respectively.

The Wolverines have an ace up their sleeve as they meet Findlay Prep, the three-time DICK’s National Champion hailing from Nevada. Alterique Gilbert keys the Miller Grove attack. The UConn signee racked up the awards this year being named Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Georgia while garnering a Sandy’s Spiel First-Team All-State selection. Gilbert was a stat-sheet stuffer averaging 20.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 4.1 steals his senior season. Findlay Prep Head Coach Andy Johnson is well aware of Gilbert’s explosiveness and will counter with a slew of D-I guards that will try to slow down the Wolverines’ catalyst. Skylar Mays (4-star LSU) and Carlos Johnson (2-star UNLV) will try to use their size against Gilbert if they get matched up. Gilbert stands 5-11 while Mays and Johnson are a pair of physical 6-4 guards.

Alterique Gilbert with Sharman White | Photo by Travis Hudgons
Alterique Gilbert with Sharman White | Photo by Travis Hudgons

Luckily for Miller Grove, they are more than just a one man team. Aaron Augustin averaged 9.9 points and 8.0 assists as the team’s lead guard when the ball wasn’t in Gilbert’s hands. The ETSU de-commit is still deciding on where he will play next year. Augustin’s strong build allows him to rush past defenders and make plays in the lane whether he is kicking out to the corners to deadly shooters Tae Hardy and Colin Young, or finishing at the rim. Everyone Coach Sharman White puts on the floor can spread out the defense and cause matchup problems for the bigger Pilots.

Findlay Prep will have just that however: a massive size advantage. In the state championship Allatoona exploited its size inside with Randy Legros, a raw 6-7 big man, who scored eight points in their 50-48 loss. The Pilots’ post players and much bigger and much more polished with six players standing over 6-7. Tristan Clark (4-star Baylor), PJ Washington (5-star) and O’Shae Brissett (4-star) lead the charge for the basketball power plant.

L-R: PJ Washington, Markus Howard, Oshae Brissett, Skylar Mays | Photo by Jann Hendry/MaxPreps
L-R: PJ Washington, Markus Howard, Oshae Brissett, Skylar Mays | Photo by Jann Hendry/MaxPreps

Washington, a junior, averages 16.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Both Brissett and Clark average close to 10 points while it is point guard Markus Howard (4-star) who leads the team in scoring at 18.6 per. Findlay averages 99.9 points per game, but the competition does have the right to be put into question playing “Academies” such as Planet Athlete, Impact and Elite One, teams the Pilots beat up on a combined 12 times according to MaxPreps, winning by an average of 56.5 points. Findlay’s lone loss came to Bishop Gorman, Nv. 77-71, a team that GHSA Class AAAA runner up Jonesboro defeated 65-64 at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic.

On paper it seems like Findlay Prep is the heavy favorite, but if you delve deeper into the numbers Miller Grove has a puncher’s chance. UAB football signee 6-6 Raylon Richardson must play better than he did against Allatoona (5 points, 3 rebounds) and more like he did against Wofford signee Dishon Lowery and Chase Walter of McIntosh when he posted 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks as an X-factor in Miller Grove’s semifinal rout.

The one advantage the Wolverines have that can’t be disputed will be on the bench in the form of Coach White. White has coached in the USA Basketball program and is a master in-game decision maker. He will put his pack of Wolverines in the best spot to succeed as they look to make history for the state of Georgia in their march to the DICK’s National Championship.

1  MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and USA Today Super 25 [rankings used for tournament] No. 1 Chino Hills & No. 4 St. Anthony, both undefeated, are ineligible to participate in the tournament due to state rules like the GHSA had in place for years.

Where Are They Now? (Final 2015-16)

A FINAL check up on how some of last season’s top GHSA players faired as freshmen at their respective D-1 schools:


Jaylen Brown (Wheeler to Cal)
14.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 43.1 FG%

Shembari Phillips (Wheeler to Tennessee)
5.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg

Derek Ogbeide (Pebblebrook to UGA)
4.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg

Ty Hudson (Pebblebrook to Clemson)
2.4 ppg

Trhae Mitchell (Pebblebrook to South Alabama)

Bryce Brown (Tucker to Auburn)
10.1 ppg, 33.9 FG%

Devontae Cacok (Alpharetta to UNC-Wilmington)
3.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 65.2 FG%

Marcus Sheffield (Chattahoochee to Stanford)
6.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, 38.9 FG%

Ricky Madison (Norcross to High Point)
4.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg

K’Ja Johnson (Douglas County to Florida A&M)
7.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.1 spg


Lamont West (Miller Grove to West Virginia)

Class AAAA

Tracy Hector (Jonesboro to Kennesaw State)
1.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.2 apg

Austin Donaldson (Jonesboro to Georgia State)
2.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.0 apg

Malik Benlevi (Jenkins to Georgia State)
1.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Montae Glenn (Carrollton to Georgia Southern)
4.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 59% FG

Ty Cockfield (Johnson-Gainesville to Stetson)
7.1 ppg, 0.9 apg, 1.9 rpg – TRANSFERRED TO GA HIGHLANDS

Class AAA

Tookie Brown (Morgan County to Georgia Southern)
17.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.6 spg

Austin Venable (Banks County to Presbyterian)
3.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 51.6% FG

Antwan Maxwell (Johnson-Savannah to Charleston Southern)

Class AA

Reggie Reid (Harlem to FGCU)
3.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 3.1 apg, 0.7 spg, 36.2% FG

Trevon Scott (McIntosh County Academy to Cincinnati)

Eric Jamison (GAC to Gardner-Webb)

Class A

Malik Beasley (St. Francis to FSU)
15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.9 spg, 47.1 FG%, 38.7 3PT% – DECLARED FOR NBA DRAFT

Kaiser Gates (St. Francis to Xavier)
3.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg

Josh Coleman (St. Francis to Coastal Carolina)
30 minutes

‘Turtle’ Jackson (Athens Christian to UGA)
1.6 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 0.6 apg

Justin Ravenel (Greenforest to Florida A&M)
8.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Courtney Alexander (Whitefield Academy to Tennessee Tech)
1.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 51.2 FG%

Trey Kalina (North Cobb Christian to UTC)


Photo by Don Juan Moore

Top Boys Basketball Coaching Openings

Griffin (7-18)

Key Pieces: JR – C – 7’0 Tyshaun Crawford  9.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.0 bpg

Outlook: The Bears were stuck in the difficult R4-AAAA with the likes of Jonesboro, Walnut Grove and Eagle’s Landing. A change of scenery in Region 5-AAAAA should help Griffin be much more competitive with a blossoming big man in the middle.

Athens Academy (8-17)

Key Pieces: JR – F – 6’2 – Jacob Hudson  15.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.1 apg
FR – G – 5’8 – Payton Bowles IV 7.2 ppg

Outlook: Athens Academy will once again be in Region 8-A, a cluster that looks wide open behind Lakeview Academy. Jacob Hudson is slated to return for his senior season and gives whoever is head coach, a true go-to guy. Payton Bowles IV came on strong late in the year but must cut down on his turnovers in year two.

South Gwinnett (5-20)

Key Pieces: JR – F – 6’4 – D’onte Torrence
SO – G – 6’1 – Gimal Evans
JR – G – 6’2 – Angelo Taylor

Outlook: There will never be a shortage of talent in Gwinnett County. That’s the good thing. The bad thing is that there will never be a shortage of talent trading hands. The Comets are going to be stuck in the brutal Region 8-AAAAAAA with Newton, Shiloh and Grayson. Only three seniors graduate off last year’s 5-win team. Next year’s team will be loaded with seniors and juniors.

Lakeside-Evans (11-13)

Key Pieces: JR – PF – Deon Berrien  14.8 ppg, 13 rpg, 1.5 bpg
FR – G – Kalen Williams 13.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.8 apg
JR – F – Kre’Sean Hall 11.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg

Outlook: The Lakeside-Evans job is one of the best available in terms of talent on the roster and an ability to turn things around quickly. The Panthers are in Region 3-AAAAAA with Heritage-Conyers as the heavy favorite. Kalen Williams is a sweet shooting guard with big potential to become one of the best players the school has seen in years. Deon Berrien is a force inside and Kre’Sean Hall is a nice compliment as well.

Grovetown (11-13)

Key Pieces: SO – G – Eric Graham  14.8 ppg, 1.5 spg
SO – PG – Chance Fugghett 7.4 ppg

Outlook: Leading scorer Shamar Barrett is graduating but the Warriors should still have a nice youthful backcourt in Region 3-AAAAAA. Eric Graham and Chance Fugghett both have opportunities to improve over the next two years. Seven sophomores are set to return while two juniors will play their final season in 2016-17.

Dutchtown (11-15)

Key Pieces: JR – G – 6’2 – Bryce Parks 11.1 ppg

Outlook: Bryce Parks will need a big senior season to help the Bulldogs in Region 4-AAAAA. If Dutchtown can put some talent around him, the Dogs could be a competitive bunch. Playing in Region 4-AAAA last year should prepare them. Seven seniors will graduate meaning Parks and others will have a greater role.

Duluth (16-10)

Key Pieces: JR – G – 6’0 – Brandon Blair
JR – F – 6’5 – Jalen Hodges
SO – G – 6’2 – Will Huzzie
SO – G – 6’0 – Adam Flagler
FR – C – 6’10 – Alex Powell

Outlook: If the pieces remain intact, the Duluth job is hands down the best on the market in terms of talent and program history. A strong potential starting five is already in line with key pieces set to return. Alex Powell altered countless shots as a freshman and if he can put on weight, he could be a force inside with his advanced skillset offensively. Adam Flagler and Jalen Hodges are two veterans that can ease the transition under a new head coach.

Dawson County (13-13)

Key Pieces: SO – C – 6’8 – Gabe Bryant
SO – G – 6’1 – Cullen Reed
SO – G – 5’9 – Jeremiah Crumley

Outlook: Dawson County could be on the verge of something with everyone returning. Eight sophomores littered the roster headlined by big man Gabe Bryant who will be a D-I big man as he continues to grow his game. If Bryant and the rest of the core remains in place, the Tigers could have some bite in Region 7-AAA.

Coaching Carousel

Majority of information courtesy of Kdubble on The Vent

*Updated 10/10*


Walnut GroveChris Ward
Sandy CreekJanie Hodges—Scotland, NC
Rockdale County
Holy InnocentsNichole Dixon—Wesleyan Asst.
Woodland-StockbridgeMike Johnson—Former Redan Asst.
Franklin CountyTony Watkins Sr.—Grayson
Oglethorpe County
Mountain ViewBrad Blackmon—Asst. on staff
Elbert CountyWes Greer—Dawson County boys Asst.
White CountyJarvis Davenport—East Hall Asst.
BerkmarAnthandus Beauford—Asst. on staff
Central GwinnettShaLisha Davis-–Tri-Cities Asst.
Savannah ChristianJoshua KerkauOak Hall, FL
John’s CreekKirk Call—Parkview
Peach CountyTamica Andrews—Lamar County
NorthsideAshleigh Fox-–Jones County Asst.
ArcherBob Westbrook—Etowah
DaltonJim Case-–Asst. on staff
Blessed Trinity
Tim Rountree—Asst. on boys staff
Arabia MountainFrank Henderson
Miller GroveYolanda Redmond—Miller Grove HC
Schley County
Cliff Royal
Prince Avenue
Richard Ricketts—AD
Nigel Carter—Asst. on staff
Alissa Wilson
Liberty CountyNichole Tazewell—Lewis Frasier Middle School
East Coweta
Cedar Shoals
Takesha Wall—Asst. on staff
GraysonRobin Potter—Tucker
Montgomery CountyDr. Thomas Stockdale
Mt. Pisgah
Regina Tate-Leslie—Former Pace HC
DarlingtonTommy Atha—Asst. on staff
Trip Holton—Asst. on staff
Josh Smith—Asst. on staff
Banks County
Steve Shedd—Banks Middle School Coach
TuckerJJ Oliver Jr.—Bluefield State 
Peachtree Ridge
Vanessa White—Dade County Asst.
ParkviewCynthia Cooper—Asst. on staff
Windsor ForestSamantha Tracy
Melissa Little—Hiram Asst.
Murray County
Hannah Mayo—Asst. on staff
East CowetaLee Heaberlin—Sandy Creek baseball
DuluthApril Tate—Former Dutchdown HC
Seminole County
Carrie Stephens
Carla Holloway—Woodland-Stockbridge
StockbridgeJamilia Green—P.E. Teacher
Stephens CountyScott Strickland—Banks County boys Asst.


GriffinWillie Reese—Meadowcreek
Lanier CountyTy Randolph—Dougherty
JacksonAl Williams—Rockdale AD/Former Rockdale HC
Fellowship ChristianRoshown McLeod—Johnson Ferry Christian
Glascock County
DoughertyRufus McDuffie—5 state titles @ Mitchell-Baker
West ForsythFredrick Hurt—Alpharetta
West  LaurensEd Ford—Montgomery County Co-HC
Chapel HillKen Austin—Former Langston Hughes girls Asst.
Glynn AcademyTerrance Haywood—last at McIntosh Academy
Oconee CountyThad Burgess—Dawson County
East JacksonDavid Akin—Former Parkview Asst.
Athens AcademyEd Wilson—Frederica Academy
EtowahAllen Whitehart—last at Buford
South GwinnettTy Anderson—North Georgia Asst.
VeteransNick Brooks—Warner Robins Asst.
LakesideJeff Williams—Greenbrier Asst.
GrovetownRaymond Epps—Asst. of Staff
DutchtownJamal Basit—South Gwinnett
Warren County
DuluthCabral Huff—Alcorn State Asst.
BainbridgeTerry Smith—Peach County
Greene CountySteve McNease—Asst. on staff
CreeksideGregory Freeman—Lovejoy
Johns CreekKeenan Temple—Lambert Asst.
AlpharettaJason Dasigner—Pope Asst.
Dawson CountyChad Pittman—Chestatee
Bradwell Institute-Will Douberly
Coahulla Creek
Matthew Legg—Murray County Asst.
Macon County
Prince Avenue
Will Cantrell—Hebron Christian 
Seminole County
Elbert County
Don Hurlburt—Etowah
Dodge CountyRobert Cotton—Wayne County
Kevin Strickland-–Brookwood Asst.
SequoyahAllen Carden—Sprayberry girls HC
Mt. Pisgah
Doug Able-–Notre Dame, MD
WesleyanAdam Griffin—Asst. on staff
Peach CountyPrelvis Paster—Lamar County
Curtis Gilleylen—Columbia girls HC
St. Anne-PacelliCorry Black—Former Chattahoochee Valley C.C. Asst.
Taylor CountyGerald Tranquille—Blountstown, FL
Xavier Woods—Twiggs County HC
Jenkins CountyQuinton Sweet—Asst. on staff
Brice Hobbs—Asst. on staff
John Holladay—Volleyball HC
Pierce County
Joseph Garner—Tift County girls Asst.
Terrence Pendleton—Jacksonville State G.A.
Miller Grove
Rasul Chester—Stephenson
Hebron Christian
Derrick Heberling—Central Gwinnett Asst.
Lamar County
Warren Sellers—Former West Hall HC
HallBobby Pless—Girls Asst.
ELCADerrick Mason—Emmanuel College Assoc. HC
Central-CarrolltonDeion Sims—Asst. on staff
Mundy’s MillDwight Callaway—Former Riverdale Asst.
Excel Christian
Stratford Academy
Sean Sweeney—Georgia Southwestern Asst.
Wayne CountyLemetrice Ray
ManchesterDr. George McElroy—Shaw Asst.
Dr. Phil McCrary—Former Columbia HC
Carlos Cliett—Former North Springs HC
Heard CountyKeith Simmons—Carrollton Asst.
StephensonDwayne McKinney—Former Southwest DeKalb HC
Savannah Country DayHughes Barber—Asst. on staff
PepperellZach Mendence—Asst. on staff
HardawayKendall Mills-–Current Girls HC
Travis Williams—Former Tennessee State HC
Toombs CountyLaberton Sims—Tift County Asst.
Cross KeysDuane Kelley—Former Alcovy HC
Woodland-CartersvilleColman Roberts—Former girls HC
Pinecrest AcademyTerrance Vinson—Asst. on staff
Mount de SalesDuane Hunter—Asst. on staff
Twiggs CountyAndrew Johnson

New Region Alignments Early Preview

New region alignments go into effect next year, so what does that mean in the grand scheme of things for the 2016-17 basketball season? Transfers and coaching changes will rock the landscape in the upcoming months, but let’s try to take a look at how the new seven classifications will change the balance of power.


Class AAAAAAA features most of the big boys familiar with making deep state playoff runs as Class AAAAAA teams. Region 2 looks like it will be home to some of the powerhouses. Wheeler, Westlake and Pebblebrook along with Campbell line up in the six-team region. Westlake returns a bevy of talent with Chuma Okeke, Jamie Lewis, Danny Lewis and Michael Durr all slated to return. Pebblebrook will display Collin Sexton and JJ Smith in the backcourt while Wheeler boasts standout guard Darius Perry along with new faces sure to make an appearance.

Regions 7 and 8 have some scary teams as well. Norcross, Berkmar and Brookwood headline Region 7. The Blue Devils return Rayshaun Hammonds and Lance Thomas to one of the state’s most talented frontcourts while Kyle Sturdivant should see vast improvement his sophomore season. Berkmar will lean on its guard play with Al Durham, Zach Cooks and Jay Estime as Coach Greg Phillips’ catalysts. Brookwood loses do-everything guard Micah Kinsey, but a strong nucleus of leading scorer Bubba Parham, Trae Higginbotham and Amari Kelly should all be back after a 17-win campaign.

Newton will be the favorite to win Region 8 along with Shiloh while Coach Geoffrey Pierce looks to play spoiler again at Grayson with a Rams team that should never be counted out. If JD Notae, Ashton Hagans, Josh Tukes and Dre Butler remain intact, Coach Rick Rasmussen will have one of the toughest teams in the state. Life after Josh Okogie, Malik Chandler and Dejon Waters Jr. begins for Coach Kim Rivers, but the Generals still have Greg James and Thurman Massenburg expected to return, with a D-I commit from within the county transferring in.


A lot of new faces will meet up in Class AAAAAA. Perennial powers Jonesboro and Tucker square off in Region 4. MJ Walker Jr. headlines the region’s talent while physical guard Kenton Eskridge leads the Tigers.

Talented athletes load Region 5 with South Paulding, Douglas County, Mays and Langston Hughes pacing the nine-team region. Kane Williams and Ja’Cori Wilson return to form a formidable duo as seniors for Coach Gil Davis at South Paulding. Rory Welsh will try to avoid being bitten from the transfer bug this year and has a great senior backcourt of Khalil Cuffee and Derrick Cook calling the shots as two guys with D-I potential. Mays snuck its way into the Elite Eight last year at 13-14, but has bigger things in store with the development of Reo Wright and Horace Wyatt Jr.

In Region 8, Dacula and Gainesville meet. The graduation of Kevon Tucker and Derek St. Hilaire opens the door for Gary Bishop to be the lead dog his senior season. Gainesville loses a strong group led by D’Marcus Simonds, but Bailey Minor, KJ Buffen and Xavier Bledson form an experienced trio with firepower.


Class AAAAA sees Miller Grove paired with Southwest DeKalb, Lithonia and Columbia in Region 5. The latter three proud programs will be chasing the Wolverines who will be the favorites to hang another banner. Cedar Shoals and Buford should enter 2016-17 as the frontrunners in Region 8. Walnut Grove graduates a ton off its 24-win roster and will attempt to reload to keep stride with the Jaguars and Wolves.

Class AAAA

Region 4-AAAA has some offensive firepower with Henry County, Eastside, North Clayton and Salem in the mix along with Woodward Academy. Javon Greene and Damion Rosser have juice in the backcourt for Henry County head coach Vincent Rosser. Isaiah Miller was one of the state’s most prolific scorers as a junior at Eastside, averaging 25.3 points to go along with his 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 4.3 steals per game. Coach Martisse Troup has a legitimate big man to feed the ball to inside with 6-8 Ahsan Asadullah. Woodward could surprise this year with three key juniors set to return.

St. Pius will need to get accustom to long road trips as they will play the likes of Madison County, Stephens County, Jefferson and the Oconee County schools in Region 8. Those programs haven’t seen the likes of a winner like St. Pius, but it won’t necessarily be a cakewalk for the Golden Lions after graduating Kerney Lane and Christian Merrill. NuNu Walker, Ty Nails and Deundra Singleton all return to Stephens County and could be a top contender to trouble the Lions after a 16-9 season.

Class AAA

Region 5-AAA is an interesting cluster. Cedar Grove, Pace Academy, Lovett, Westminster, Towers, Stone Mountain and Redan round out the potentially exciting region. Wendell Carter Jr. leads the defending state champion Knights, but Cedar Grove and Lovett will not back down while Stone Mountain and Redan always produce scrappy teams. Who is the elephant in the room in Region 7? That would be GAC who joins the likes of East Hall, Dawson County, Lumpkin County, North Hall and others.

Class AA

Two explosive guards meet in Region 3-AA with Dublin and Kameron Pauldo welcoming Nick Hargrove Jr. and Southwest Macon to Class AA. South Atlanta drops to Region 6 and should be the favorite with Therrell as a potential spoiler with Anthony Edwards entering year two.

Class A

A hellacious test will be presented to Holy Innocents’ and Wesleyan as both teams drop to Region 5-A with defending state champion Greenforest looming along with De’Andre Ballard of Southwest Atlanta Christian. Public powers still lie in Region 7 with Wilkinson County, Hancock Central and Lincoln County as the heavy favorites to make deep playoff runs.