The Fourth of July has come and gone and Sandy’s Spiel has collected 72 known GHSA transfers with plenty more still to uncover. Kyle Sandy highlights a handful of these moves and what they mean to their new school.
Here is a rundown of some transfers I have heard through the grapevine and a summary of what the additions mean. With a GHSA ruling looming on transfers, it could be a busy offseason earlier rather than later. If you know of anymore or any that are incorrect, please shoot me a tweet @KyleSandy355, leave a comment or email email@example.com
JR Jared Jones – 6’9” 230 lbs – (Pebblebrook to McEachern)
SR DJ Williams – 6’1″ 170 lbs – (South Gwinnett to Grayson)
SR Justin Spencer – 6’1″ 168 lbs – (Parkview to Shiloh)
JR Truitt Spencer – 6’0″ 160 lbs – (Parkview to Shiloh)
SO Toneari Lane – 6’5″ 203 lbs – (Parkview to Shiloh)
SR Grant Howard – 6’3″ 175 lbs – (Alexander to Pebblebrook)
JR Khalil Shaheed – 6’2″ 200 lbs – (Wheeler to Kennesaw Mountain)
JR Ian Hardy – 6’3″ 178 lbs – (Berkmar to Discovery)
JR Lorin Taylor – 6’1″ 160 lbs – (Crete-Monee, IL to Duluth)
SR Corey Myart Jr. – 6’7″ 200 lbs – (Mt. Vernon Presbyterian to Duluth)
SR Ben Groves – 6’5″ 185 lbs – (Peachtree Ridge to Duluth)
SR Mandarius Dickerson – 6’2″ 160 lbs – (Southwest DeKalb to Collins Hill)
JR Kendall Peabody – 6’3″ 165 lbs – (Shiloh to Duluth)
JR Koby Isaac – 6’2″ 160 lbs – (Southwest Atlanta Christian to Westlake)
SR Bryce Brown – 6’8″ 220 lbs – (Grayson to Archer)
JR Nahiem Alleyne – 6’3″ 165 lbs – (South Gwinnett to Mountain View)
SR Terence Porter – 6’7″ 195 lbs – (Creekside to Grayson)
SO Arik Gilbert– 6’5″ 240 lbs – (Woodward Academy to Marietta)
SR Quincy Carter – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (Southwest DeKalb to Collins Hill)
SR Tony Johnson – 6’3″ 185 lbs – (Eufaula, AL to Berkmar)
JR Elias King – 6’7″ 185 lbs – (Huntington Prep, WV to Shiloh)
JR Issa Muhammad – 6’9″ 225 lbs – (Lakeside-DeKalb to Norcross)
SR Khalil Hawkins – 6’2″ 165 lbs – (Marietta to Pebblebrook)
SO Kevon Eskridge – 6’4″ 180 lbs – (Columbia to Norcross)
SR Ty Lilly – 6’0″ 170 lbs – (Dunwoody to South Gwinnett)
SR Jordan Dinkins – 6’3″ 187 lbs – (Johns Creek to Northview)
SR AJ Curry – 6’6″ 200 lbs – (Stephens County to Habersham Central)
JR Donnie Curry – 6’0″ 170 lbs – (Stephens County to Habersham Central)
SR Jim Barnett – 6’0″ 162 lbs – (Gainesville to Habersham Central)
SR Joshua Archer – 5’11” 150 lbs – (Southwest DeKalb to Heritage-Conyers)
JR Cameron Armstrong – 6’2″ 160 lbs – (Alexander to South Paulding)
JR Richard Rivers – 6’11” 250 lbs – (Philadelphia [Formerly Peachtree Ridge] to Dunwoody)
JR Isaiah Scott – 6’4″ 175 lbs – (First Presbyterian Christian Academy to Bradwell Institute)
JR Simon Steele – 5’6″ 140 lbs – (First Presbyterian Christian Academy to Bradwell Institute)
SO Quincy Ademokoya – 6’6″ 180 lbs – (Normal West, IL to Dacula)
SR Khalyn Weekley – 6’3″ 180 lbs – (First Presbyterian Christian Academy to Bradwell Institute)
SO Tyshun Briscoe – 5’10” 155 lbs – (Richmond Academy to Lakeside-Evans)
JR Desmond Jenkins – 5’10” 145 lbs – (Sanderson, NC to Dacula)
JR Messiah Thompson – 5’9″ 145 lbs – (Pebblebrook to North Atlanta)
JR Andrew Robinson – 6’3″ 180 lbs – (Pebblebrook to North Atlanta)
SR Jon Young – 6’3″ 165 lbs – (New Manchester to Tri-Cities)
JR Brenden Tucker – 6’2″ 175 lbs – (Archer to Dacula)
SR Ron Gibson – 5’6″ 145 lbs – (Alexander to South Paulding)
JR Shane Gibson – 5’9″ 150 lbs – (Alexander to South Paulding)
SR Tyler Smith – 6’6″ 225 lbs – (Panther Creek, NC to Langston Hughes)
JR Rafael Robel – 6’1″ 160 lbs – (Lanier Christian to Gainesville)
JR Justice Hayes – 6’3″ 175 lbs – (Woodland-Cartersville to Cass)
SR Zach Pina – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (Starr’s Mill to McIntosh)
JR Brandon Green – 6’5″ 180 lbs – (Mountain View to Buford)
SO Jalen Jackson – 6’3″ 180 lbs – (Lincoln County to Cedar Shoals)
SR TJ Stargell – 5’11” 165 lbs – (Shiloh to Miller Grove)
SO Quincy Canty – 6’5″ 195 lbs – (Athens Christian to Cedar Shoals)
SR Malech Wilson – 6’2″ 180 lbs – (Pepperell to Rome)
SO Tyler Johnson – 6’0″ 160 lbs – (Athens Christian to Cedar Shoals)
SO JeKobe Coleman – 5’11” 155 lbs – (ELCA to Fayette County)
JR Jalen Mason – 6’3″ 175 lbs – (Miller Grove to Woodland-Henry)
SO Caleb Byrd – 6’0″ 150 lbs – (Heritage-Conyers to Rome)
SR Elijah Brown-Kane – 6’7″ 190 lbs – (St. Paul Central, MN to Paulding County)
SR KJ Shade – 6’1″ 160 lbs – (McEachern to Paulding County)
JR Jervon Morris – 6’2″ 165 lbs – (Wheeler to Paulding County)
SO Demetrius Glenn – 6’0″ 160 lbs – (Clarke Central to Cedar Shoals)
SR Keondre Kennedy – 6’3″ 170 lbs – (North Clayton to Columbia)
SR DJ Brittian – 6’0″ 175 lbs – (Grady to Southwest DeKalb)
SR Raphael Rogers – 6’2″ 175 lbs – (Douglas County to Hiram)
SR Terrance Boykin – 6’7″ 190 lbs – (Columbia to Maynard Jackson)
SR Tabias Long – 6’5″ 195 lbs – (Southwest DeKalb to Salem)
JR Justin Webb – 6’6″ 175 lbs – (Georgia Military to Baldwin)
JR Zae Simpson – 5’11” 160 lbs – (Georgia Military to Baldwin)
JR Jordan Wilkie – 6’1″ 150 lbs – (Excel Christian to Cartersville)
JR Avante Lederer – 6’6″ 185 lbs – (Heritage-Conyers to Salem)
SO Walker Kessler – 6’10” 185 lbs – (Landmark Christian to Woodward Academy)
JR Calep Henry – 6’5″ 190 lbs – (Greenville to Upson-Lee)
JR Jarrett Adderton – 6’2″ 165 lbs – (West Orange, FL to Upson-Lee)
JR Tay Howard – 6’4″ 165 lbs – (Madison County to East Jackson)
SR Keshun Byrd – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (Maynard Jackson to Cedar Grove)
JR Kylan Curry – 5’9″ 155 lbs – (Johnson-Gainesville to East Hall)
SR Qua Butler – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (Johnson-Gainesville to East Hall)
JR Lamont Sams – 6’7″ 175 lbs – (Johnson-Savannah to Jenkins)
SR Matt Sams – 6’2″ 160 lbs – (Savannah to Jenkins)
SO Demontae Garrett – 5’11” 160 lbs – (Bradwell Institute to Liberty County)
SR Isaiah Bauman – 5’11” 160 lbs – (Westside-Augusta to Glenn Hills)
SR Josh Kelly – 5’11” 155 lbs – (Westside-Augusta to Josey)
SR Timothy Williamson – 6’3″ 160 lbs – (Hephzibah to Glenn Hills)
JR Kendall Green – 6’1″ 166 lbs – (Houston County to Northeast-Macon)
SR Jelani Shakir – 5’11” 165 lbs – (Aquinas to Grovetown)
SO Josh Smith – 6’3″ 173 lbs – (Rockdale to Holy Innocents’)
SR Daniel Parrish – 6’4″ 190 lbs – (South Aiken, SC to Aquinas)
SO Micah Smith – 5’10” 160 lbs – (Whitefield Academy to Wesleyan)
SO Zy Wright – 6’1″ 165 lbs – (Lincoln County to Aquinas)
SO Chris Williams – 6’7″ 175 lbs – (Grovetown to Aquinas)
JR Trevon Reddish – 6’3″ 175 lbs – (Carrollton to ELCA)
SO Austin Gusaeff – 6’6″ 190 lbs – (Dacula to Hebron Christian)
SR Christian Jackson – 6’3″ 160 lbs – (Fulton Leadership Academy to Greenforest)
SR Cam Chavers – 5’11” 160 lbs – (Parkview to Greenforest)
JR KJ Jones – 6’2″ 150 lbs – (Luella to ELCA)
SO Kaleb Jenkins – 6’2″ 150 lbs – (Shiloh to Greenforest)
JR Ryan Greer – 6’1” 170 lbs – (Lovett to Northfield Mount Hermon, MA)
SO Christian Fussell – 6’8″ 180 lbs – (Stockbridge to Holy Spirit Prep)
JR Trae Broadnax – 6’3″ 170 lbs – (Islands to Montverde Academy)
SO Brady Burnett – 6’4″ 175 lbs – (East Coweta to Trinity Christian)
SR Jamie Lewis – 6’3″ 185 lbs – (Westlake to Findlay Prep, NV)
JR Alex Powell – 7’0″ 175 lbs – (Duluth to York Prep, SC)
SR Brevin Ellis – 6’0″ 170 lbs – (McEachern to Cumberland Christian)
JR JaRon Thames – 6’4″ 170 lbs – (South Gwinnett to Trinity Catholic, MO)
SR Drue Drinnon – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (Pebblebrook to University School, FL)
SR Trey Doomes – 6’3″ 175 lbs – (Allatoona to University School, FL)
SR Trevin Wade – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (South Cobb to Montverde Academy, FL)
SR Will Richardson – 6’4″ 170 lbs – (Liberty County to Oak Hill Academy, VA)
JR Yusef Washington – 6’4″ 170 lbs – (Peachtree Ridge to Denver East, CO)
SO Lamar Oden – 6’5″ 180 lbs – (Southwest Atlanta Christian to Holy Spirit Prep)
SR Jamir Williams – 6’4″ 175 lbs – (East Coweta to Trinity Christian)
JR Laqueveus Nelson – 6’0″ 160 lbs – (Quitman County to Eufaula, AL)
JR Colby Rogers – 6’4″ 175 lbs – (Newton to Roselle Catholic, NJ)
Jared Jones follows the A.O.T. pipeline and will bring his post presence to McEachern to pair up with shot-blocking specialist Babatunde Akingbola to form the most formidable frontcourt in the state with Isaac Okoro starring at small forward.
DJ Williams transferred to Grayson during the school year’s second semester. He adds an athletic lead guard that can push the tempo in transition and has the body to become a plus-defender his senior season.
The mass exodus has begun at Parkview as Shiloh pilfers the Panthers for brothers Justin and Truitt Spencer along with Class AAAAAAA Freshman of the Year, Toneari Lane. The Spencers give coach Kim Rivers interchangeable pieces in the backcourt which provide depth and replace TJ Stargell while Lane is a cornerstone player over his final three seasons. Lane’s versatility on the wing and high ceiling will help a Shiloh team which lost it’s direction last year with a disappointing 16-13 finish. For Parkview, it is a tough pill to swallow for a young group that looked prime to breakthrough over the next two seasons.
Known for landing good guards, Pebblebrook attempts to reload and replace Collin Sexton with Alexander combo guard Grant Howard. Howard, 6-foot-3, possesses good size and scoring touch. He averaged over 17 points per game with the Cougars. Howard is a popular name among Low Major and Mid-Major programs. In Pebblebrook’s free flowing offense, Howard may be a fine fit to flourish his senior season.
Ian Hardy brings versatility and athleticism to the Discovery backcourt. Hardy began his career at Berkmar and now will be asked to play a big role with the Titans.
Mandarius Dickerson leaves Southwest DeKalb for Collins Hill after leading the Panthers in scoring at 14 points per game while adding on 4.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals. Mandarius is part of a four-man group of 2018 seniors who have decided to leave Southwest before their final season. Dickerson has been on a tear with Heat Check over the summer months. Dickerson is a good shooter from deep and has worked on slashing to and finishing around the basket.
With a chance to take over at Southwest Atlanta Christian after a large 2017 graduating class including DeAundrae Ballard departing, Koby Isaac is now on the move to his third school in three seasons. Isaac has shown flashes of promise over his career and averaged 6.3 points per game at SACA as a sophomore.
Coming off their best season in school history which included a Region 6 championship, Mountain View looks to carry their momentum by returning their starting backcourt and adding Nahiem Alleyne. The former South Gwinnett guard provides a versatile high-upside piece to relieve the scoring load placed on Spencer Rodgers and Miles Long. The Bear backcourt bolsters one of the state’s best cohesive groups flaunted experience and chemistry. A true sizable post presence is the one element Mountain View currently lacks.
Terence Porter has all the intangibles to have a breakthrough senior season at Grayson. At 6-foot-7, the athletically built Porter is a combo forward. He can rebound the ball but must improve on his ability to finish through contact at the rim. He has spent the summer with Team Power where he primarily worked the high post on offense. Porter provides Coach Geoffrey Pierce more length to pair with junior Kenyon Jackson inside after graduating Gerald Buncum. If Porter can buy into his role and continue to improve, the Rams once again could have one of Gwinnett’s best one-two combos on the glass.
Currently ranked a three-star point guard by 247Sports and the No. 5 prospect in Alabama by HoopSeen, Tony Johnson is heading to Berkmar after starring at Eufaula, AL. Johnson played this offseason with the Southern Stampede, coached by recent Patriot graduate and current Indiana Hoosier, Al Durham’s father. Johnson is an aggressive scorer that will have an opportunity to take the reigns at Berkmar, who seeks a new leader after a large graduating class.
After spending a year away at Huntington Prep, Elias King returns to his home school of Shiloh for his junior season. Currently ranked as a four-star recruit by 247Sports, King is a 6-foot-7 guard that thrives in transition when making decisions with the ball in his hands. Already a skilled passer, King can also fill it up from all three levels. He instantly becomes one of Georgia’s top 2019 prospects and returns to a talented Shiloh roster which already has added 2016-17 Class AAAAAAA Freshman of the Year Toneari Lane along with Parkview teammates Justin and Truitt Spencer.
Norcross has replaced the outgoing duo of Rayshaun Hammonds and Lance Thomas with Issa Muhammad. Muhammad, 6-foot-9 with an interesting skill-set, is tabbed as a three-star recruit by Rivals. With a Georgia Tech offer already in hand heading into his junior season, as a sophomore Muhammad appeared on the scene at Lakeside-DeKalb and averaged 11.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. He parlayed his play into a spot on the powerful Game Elite 2019 team which played up on the Adidas Uprising circuit. With Game Elite, his playing time and production fluctuated. Now heading into 2017-18, Muhammad will have an opportunity to continue to grow his game and find his niche with one of Georgia’s most consistent programs.
One of the best shooters in the 2020 class, Kevon Eskridge, is heading to Norcross after spending his freshman season at Columbia. In Year 1, Eskridge wasted no time making an impact, ranking third in DeKalb County in three-point shooting, nailing 63-of-141 attempts for a 45% mark. Eskridge is a fearless shooter that can take over games when hot. He will join fellow sophomore Brandon Boston in the Blue Devils backcourt, possibly the best 2020 guard duo in the state.
Dunwoody loses its leading scorer, 6-foot senior Ty Lilly, to South Gwinnett. Lilly led the Wildcats at 11.6 points per game, while adding on 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2 steals a night. He was instrumental in upsetting Alpharetta in the Region 7-AAAAAA semifinals, scoring 22 points, collecting 7 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. Lilly should provide Coach Ty Anderson with an experienced ball-handler to pair with South Gwinnett’s improving backcourt.
Habersham Central gets a shot in the arm in new head coach Jeremy York along with three transfers who will make most of their impact on the football field, but still will add value on the hardwood. Brothers AJ and Donnie Curry come over from Stephens County. At 6-foot-6, AJ is a wiry athlete that can protect the paint and chip in on offense thanks to his ability to get out and run. Jim Barnett joins from Gainesville and brings a new dimension of toughness to the 1-23 Raiders.
Joshua Archer heads to Heritage-Conyers after the Patriots graduate a handful of college guards. Archer has big game experience from his time at Southwest DeKalb and should see plenty of opportunities to flourish his senior season under coach Vernon Denmark.
South Paulding receives a boost in the scoring department as Region 5 rival Cameron Armstrong moves in from Alexander. The 6-foot-2 combo guard can put the ball in the basket. He has put up big numbers over the past two summers with Team Forrest and started to show flashes of his capabilities this year with the Cougars. With a large 2017 class filing out of South Paulding, Armstrong could slide in and become one of coach Gil Davis’ leading scorers right away. Armstrong is a streaky three-point shooter that can carry a team at times, but he will have to lock in defensively over his final two seasons to reach his full potential.
6-foot-11 center Richard Rivers is rumored to be on the move to Dunwoody. Rivers lacks varsity experience, but he is a big body that can clog up the lane. He played for BCB last year before joining the Atlanta Xpress this season.
After winning a state title with First Presbyterian Christian Academy in the GISA in 2015-16, All-State wing Isaiah Scott and point guard Simon Steele move over to try their hand at the GHSA with Bradwell Institute. The Tigers won 6 games in 2015-16 and flashed major signs of improvement early on last year with a 5-1 start, but ultimately finished the season missing out on the Class AAAAAA playoffs with an 11-12 mark. Scott is a wiry scorer that should be among the Tigers’ leading scorers from Day 1 while Steele adds ball handling and team chemistry. The two will join Coastal Crew Rebels teammate Javonte LeCounte who averaged 12.1 points as a sophomore.
First Presbyterian Christian Academy is officially drained as Khalyn Weekley becomes the third player to move to the GHSA at Bradwell Institute. Weekley exploded onto the scene with his play at the Norman Parker Showcase. He is an aggressive point guard with college size. Weekley attacks the basket going downhill while still maintaining a respectable three-point shot and also the ability to get his teammates involved. Weekley’s will to win coupled with some familiar faces could help him cement himself as a D1 player and one of the best 2018 guards in Georgia all while thrusting the Tigers into the postseason picture.
In a potential state altering move in Class AAAAAA, 6-foot-6 sophomore Quincy Ademokoya is off to Dacula after spending his freshman season at Normal West High School in Chicago. Scouts from the area love his potential and say his motor runs hot. He projects to be an advanced defender and already holds an offer from DePaul. He is visiting both Illinois and Southern Illinois in June. His versatile size added to an already strong returning backcourt makes Dacula interesting contender for 2017-18.
Lakeside-Evans bolsters its backcourt firepower with the addition of Tyshun Briscoe. Briscoe comes in from Richmond Academy with a similar scoring mindset to that of lead dog Kalen Williams. Briscoe is a microwave from beyond the arc that can score in bunches. He will start alongside Williams his sophomore season.
Messiah Thompson returns to North Atlanta after seeing limited time at Pebblebrook. Thompson instantly becomes the number one option. He is the engine for the Warriors and will have everything run through him. Thompson has good court vision and can create his own shot. His size will hurt his recruitment, but Thompson has an advanced feel for the game.
Brenden Tucker makes an in-county move from Archer to Dacula for his junior season and in the process bolsters the Falcons’ backcourt, making it possibly the strongest on paper in Class AAAAAA. Tucker used an electric first-step to average a team-best 14.2 points per game with the Tigers while adding 3.2 assists and 1.7 steals a night. Tucker will fit in alongside point guard Mekhail Bethea, Class 6A 2016-17 Most Improved Player Arusha Hunter and Reggie Horton.
After losing Malachi Rhodes back to ELCA, Langston Hughes instead gets the second scoring option they’ll need to repeat as state champs in the form of Team Wall forward Tyler Smith. Smith comes in from Panther Creek, NC where he averaged 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds as a bruising 6-foot-6, 225-pound junior forward. Smith spent his final summer traveling the nation with Team Wall where he showcased his physicality and nimble footwork along the baseline. His jump shot is still improving as he currently butters his bread in the paint and attacking the rim from the mid-range and in, with the ability to knock down the open shot. Smith enters one of Georgia’s more competitive regions where toughness will win games.
After taking a trip to the Sweet 16 in Class AAAAA, Starr’s Mill will look to replace Zach Pina who makes the 6.5 mile move to play at neighboring rival McIntosh. Pina won Freshman of the Year his first season with the Panthers and followed up by averaging 15.9 points as a sophomore and 12.3 as a junior. He brings experience and a knack for scoring the ball to a McIntosh team which should be much improved after undergoing a rebuilding season.
For the second season in a row, a Mountain View Bear transfers to Buford. This time it is Brandon Green. The 6-foot-5 forward has yet to make a major impact on the varsity level and will try to put his versatile skill set to use in coach Eddie Martin’s system. Green averaged 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds as a part of Mountain View’s Region 6-AAAAAAA championship team.
Jalen Jackson brings over size and plenty growth to Cedar Shoals after seeing quality minutes as a freshman at Lincoln County. Jackson, who is expected to grow upwards of 6-foot-6 when all is said and done, is a tough rebounder who averaged 7 points and 6 rebounds in Region 7-A.
Miller Grove adds veteran lead guard TJ Stargell to handle the point guard duties. The Wolverines went through some growing pains at times last year with a young backcourt and should be better for it this season. Stargell brings a true pass-first mentality to the roster with plenty of big game experience already under his belt from his days at Shiloh.
Athens Christian will try to survive a devastating blow as Quincy Canty departs for Cedar Shoals. At 6-foot-5, Canty was an All-Region performer and the Eagles’ leading scorer as a freshman forward. Athens Christian was set to open the season as one of Class A-Private’s top programs, but with the bouncy and physical forward gone, they will now seek a new No. 1 option. For Cedar Shoals, they get an impact player to build around after graduating an important senior class which included Charleston Southern-signee Phlan Fleming.
Tyler Johnson has followed Quincy Canty to Cedar Shoals after initially the duo looked like the long term answer for Athens Christian and seemingly had the ability to thrust the Eagles deep into the state playoff picture. Instead, they will suit up for the Jaguars. Johnson is a talented guard who plays much larger than his size, often leading to stuffed stat sheets. He can get red-hot from beyond the arc, but also can do damage in the paint. The sophomore is a very good rebounder for his size and is a pest on defense.
Jalen Mason returns home to Woodland-Henry and has a chance to immediately make the team his and truly cement himself as a Division I point guard. At 6-foot-3, Mason is an explosive athlete who has played against elite level competition while at Miller Grove and with the Georgia Stars. Mason averaged 6.3 points per game with the Wolverines while sharing time in a crowded backcourt. Now at Woodland, Mason should see his production skyrocket heading into his upperclassman seasons. Mason possesses quick lateral movements and can get into the lane. He has a quality three-point shot and has the intangibles to become a high-caliber perimeter defender.
The No. 12 ranked small forward in Georgia, Terrance Boykin, will suit up for Maynard Jackson his final season after starring at Columbia. At 6-foot-7, Boykin has shown the ability to play point-forward. The versatile D-I prospect averaged 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists (second in DeKalb County). At Maynard Jackson, Boykin will be expected to showcase his scoring more consistently in Coach Travis Williams’ system.
Salem lands a physical piece to the puzzle in former Southwest DeKalb Panther Tabias Long. The 6-foot-5 forward has an athletic build that he uses to bully opponents or rise over them for clean looks. He averaged 4.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in Southwest’s balanced offense. While at Salem, he may be asked to score the ball more and stuff the stat sheet.
Baldwin plucks away two of Milledgeville’s better players in Georgia Military College’s Justin Webb and Zae Simpson. Webb is a 6-foot-6 combo forward entering his junior season. Last year with the Bulldogs he averaged 11 points and 5.2 rebounds. Webb is a sleeper in the 2019 class, but with Buck Harris coaching him up, Harris may be able to pull out his potential. Webb will need to get tougher as he has had a tendency to shy away from physicality. Simpson saw limited minutes at GMC, but could provide good rotational minutes for the Braves.
The future of Class AAAA potentially has changed if not this year but for the long-term as Landmark Christian legacy Walker Kessler has transferred to Woodward Academy, who already has reigning Class AAAA Freshman of the Year, dual-sport standout 6-foot-5 Jacorrei Turner, in place. While at Landmark Christian, the 6-foot-10 rising sophomore averaged 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3 blocks per game on his way to earning All-State Honorable Mention. Kessler is widely regarded as the most skilled 2020 big man the state has to offer. Kessler’s father, uncle and older brother all played for the Georgia Bulldogs, his dad drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers. Kessler spent the summer with the 15U Atlanta Celtics where he showcased his soft touch which extends to beyond the three-point line and his ability to alter shots and rebound at a high clip. The Woodward Academy Eagles now have an accumulation of young talent that could be ready to come to fruition in a classification which is wide open behind reigning state champion Upson-Lee and runner-up St. Pius. A frontline of Kessler, Turner and 6-foot-8 2019 forward Kevin Powell is the best the class has to offer.
Tay Howard makes the move from Madison County to East Jackson to help out on the perimeter. Howard was an All-Area Honorable Mention selection last year. His 6-foot-4 length on defense causes problems for smaller guards, leading to steals and transition opportunities. He will have two seasons to continue to grow his game as East Jackson takes the next step during their rebuild.
Cedar Grove gets help at point guard in the form of rising senior Keshun Byrd. Byrd averaged 10.1 points and 3.4 assists at Maynard Jackson. He will share the ball handling duties with junior Devon Barnes.
Savannah-power Jenkins adds senior guard Matt Sams from Savannah High and 6-foot-7 junior Lamont Sams from Johnson-Savannah. Matt led the Bluejackets in scoring at 14.9 points per game while Lamont averaged 3.1 points backing up Amanze Ngumezi. Lamont is still raw but he has length and confidence to shoot from three in the corners. Both Sams will have an immediate opportunity to contribute for the Warriors.
The addition of Isaiah Bauman strengthens a Glenn Hills backcourt that takes a hit with graduation. Bauman moves 9.7 miles to join a Spartans group that saw a 13-game win increase this past season. Bauman is an aggressive scorer with a dog mentality. Bauman has had a strong summer with Sports Academy South as the team’s leading scorer and consistent All-Tournament performer at HoopSeen events. He and Eric Farmer could compose of one of Augusta’s better backcourts which still has 6-foot-8 Timmy Sellers anchoring the paint.
Daniel Parrish brings confidence and versatility to the Aquinas frontcourt with the ability to play positions 3 thru 5. Though he has an unorthodox left-handed stroke, Parrish can knock down threes when left open, hitting a a 35% clip while averaging 13.6 points and 8 rebounds.
Zy Wright heads to rival Aquinas after spending his freshman season at Lincoln County. Wright came on strong when his team needed him the most, averaging 24 points per game in the postseason, dropping in 26 points in a Sweet 16 loss at Treutlen. Wright comes from good bloodlines, his mother the leading scorer in Lincoln County history and a D-I player herself.
Trevon Reddish moves from Carrollton to ELCA. The rising junior is a talented guard that plays above the rim and can hunt his own shot. He can score from all three levels and likes to use his size to his advantage on the block against smaller defenders. Reddish has seen major minutes over his early career and brings experience into his final two seasons. The Chargers are on the rise in Class A-Private after winning 20 games with a young team.
With their roster in flux, the two-time defending Class A-Private state champs Greenforest have added Parkview sharpshooter Cam Chavers. The 5-foot-11 senior averaged 8 points per game as a junior after leading the Panthers as a sophomore at 10.3. Chavers provides an off-ball floor stretcher that can open up the interior for Greenforest’s bigs down low.
Trinity Christian over in the GISA gets a good one in Brady Burnett. The 6-foot-4 forward comes over from neighboring East Coweta and brings with him a diverse skill set at the stretch position. With the ability to put the ball on the deck and finish with both hands, Burnett also possesses a soft touch which can extend out to the three-point line in time.
Lovett’s Ryan Greer heads up north to Massachusetts to Northfield Mount Hermon. Greer was possibly the state’s most underappreciated guard, a scorer and leader of the Lions.
Here we go again.
After the emotion-filled Isaac Kellum saga at McIntosh last season, it seems like common sense is escaping the GHSA yet again. This time the situation revolves around 6-foot-6 sophomore Jalyn McCreary. Haven’t heard of him? You’re not the only one.
McCreary’s case is much different than Kellum’s from a year ago, but still the ruling is a bitter pill to swallow for those involved.
McCreary, who has lived in the Kennesaw Mountain zoning district since 2008, decided to attend Wheeler his freshman year. McCreary’s mother, Kristie Gordon, explained why in her hardship letter which is attached below.
“I am a Cobb County employee and my son began his freshman year at Wheeler High School on the school choice. I chose this method (school choice instead of employee choice) because I wanted the decision to send Jalyn to Wheeler to be only possible through the intervention of God. So when school choice opened I submitted an application just as any other Cobb County parent. The slots at Wheeler were limited and to our surprise Jalyn was selected to attend.”
Things went sour when McCreary was involved in an altercation involving two other students on January 26 in the school cafeteria.
“I received a phone call from Mr. Jones (Assistant Principal) and he described a fight and indicated that Jalyn had been involved. I was floored. Jalyn had never been in a fight and was still very new to the school. I asked him if he was okay and if I could speak to my son. At that time, I was placed on speaker phone and Jalyn described purchasing glasses from a student for twenty dollars and later being approached from behind by two boys he did not know while eating his lunch. His exact words were, ‘I was jumped momma.’”
Gordon felt like the best decision was to withdraw Jalyn after weeks of back and forth with the school district and reenrolled him to Kennesaw Mountain in February where he finished out the school year.
McCreary, back to his normal routine with lifelong friends, got back to the basketball court this summer with the Mustangs before receiving the call that he was ineligible and his hardship was denied. The GHSA ruled that he cannot play varsity this year and must spend his season on the junior varsity, potentially stymieing his development.
Both McCreary and Gordon would be the first to admit that attending Wheeler over Kennesaw Mountain was a poor choice, but the fact that he is ruled ineligible is not a good look for the GHSA.
With over 93 transfers collected for this upcoming season, it always seems that the GHSA puts the kibosh on the most logical movement.
- He still lives in the KMHS district
- His mother is a school counselor
- He withdrew after being the victim in a fracas
- He finished the 2015-16 school year at KMHS
It looks even worse that Wheeler has seven transfers in – from all over the country, some committing via YouTube – but when a player leaves the school, he isn’t cleared.
There needs to be a case by case basis where everything is taken into account.
The GHSA has become the Wild Wild West with player movement as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The fact that McCreary must sit out a year after emerging as a game-changing talent is a disappointing outcome for him, his family and Kennesaw Mountain.
Jalyn McCreary likely won’t play varsity basketball this year after Kennesaw Mountain, Gordon and everyone involved have exhausted all avenues of justice. McCreary isn’t the first and won’t be last student-athlete that gets the short end of the stick when it comes to GHSA rulings.
While it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel as far as eligibility goes, McCreary’s eye-opening play at the HoopSeen Fall Preview has opened doors for him moving forward. He landed a spot on the EYBL Southern Stampede’s 2019 team following the conclusion of the upcoming high school season.
In a matchup with one of the nation’s top ranked sophomores, Terry Armstrong (who moved into Wheeler from Michigan this summer), McCreary cemented his upside posting 23 points and nine rebounds. Whenever the lanky lefty is cleared to play, he will make an immediate statewide impact at Kennesaw Mountain and will become a name college coaches need to take notice of.
Hardship Letter sent to the GHSA:
May 18, 2016
To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter of request for a hardship in order for my son, Jalyn McCreary, to be eligible to play varsity sports this upcoming 2016-17 school year at Kennesaw Mountain High School. Just to give you some history, I am a Cobb County employee and my son began his freshman year at Wheeler High School on the school choice. I chose this method (school choice instead of employee choice) because I wanted the decision to send Jalyn to Wheeler to be only possible through the intervention of God. So when school choice opened I submitted an application just as any other Cobb County parent. The slots at Wheeler were limited and to our surprise Jalyn was selected to attend. We were hesitant but as parents trusted that this must be what was intended for his future.
However a very unfortunate incident took place in January that changed our outlook on everything. The incident occurred on January 26th in the school cafeteria. I received a phone call from Mr. Jones (Assistant Principal) and he described a fight and indicated that Jalyn had been involved. I was floored. Jalyn had never been in a fight and was still very new to the school. I asked him if he was okay and if I could speak to my son. At that time, I was placed on speaker phone and Jalyn described purchasing glasses from a student for twenty dollars and later being approached from behind by two boys he did not know while eating his lunch. His exact words were, “I was jumped momma.” My initial response was to scold Jalyn for being disobedient. We have a rule in our home that there is absolutely no buying or trading with students at school. This is a common thing but something we did not want Jalyn to participate in because of the potential to cause confusion. It was then that I asked Mr. Jones if this was true and he said “yes, that is pretty accurate”. I asked if I needed to leave work and pick up Jalyn and I was told because of his calm demeanor he could stay and finish the day. However from my knowledge the other students were required to leave because of their actions in initiating this event. An hour later, I arrived to pick up Jalyn and he was leaving ISS. I approached the office and requested to see Mr. Jones. When he arrived I asked to view the video footage where my son was jumped. I was told that should not be a problem and that he would get back to me the following day. The next day, I was told I could not view the tape because of the rights of the other parents. I asked them to check with other parents and I was never contacted again about it until I reached out to higher authorities. I then requested to speak to Mr. Giles (school principal). I was later contacted by him and he begin to verbalize what he viewed on the tape. He said my son was seated and two gentlemen approached him. At this time, Jalyn was put in a headlock and glasses were ripped off of his face by an unknown student. Jalyn’s face was cut by this assault and his shirt was ripped. Understandably, he proceeded to stand up to defend himself. When he stood up, the second student shoved him to the ground from behind.
Ultimately, Jalyn was given the same consequences as the other students, I totally disagreed with this decision because he has attended Cobb County schools since 2nd grade and has never been suspended from school. Jalyn has always been described as the “gentle giant” by his teachers and is even still described as having a pretty impressive moral compass. He was a part of the Mustang Leadership Academy at Hayes Elementary and a part of the Amigos Leadership Academy at Pine Mountain Middle. For this reason, I was disappointed and decided to advocate for his reputation and most importantly his FUTURE. The outcome was grim and nothing changed as we approached day 6 of the suspension.
Following this event, I received contact from teachers and parents in the community expressing their regret that something like this happened to Jalyn. I notified the school about possible retaliation and accusations of gang affiliation too from individuals in the community. In the end, I was still denied the right to view the video of my son and the story changed from person to person each time it was recollected. There was very little consistency. However, the part that never wavered is that Jalyn was put in a headlock and violently shoved to the ground before he responded. In my opinion, this is a clear indicator of bullying and intimidation. As I described to administration, Jalyn is asthmatic and is medicated for this daily and if that headlock had gone wrong or been too long, we could be discussing much more than a fight.
Fearful of Jalyn being labeled, I continued to have email and phone communication with Mr. Ragsdale (CCSD Superintendent), Dr. Daniels (CCSD Assistant Superintendent), Dr. Giles, and Mr. Jones. I also refused to sign the write up of the disciplinary action because it indicated that Jalyn was involved in a fight. It never indicated that he was victim of a premeditated attack by these unknown students. I requested school mediation with the school counselor per my emails. I was told that boys will be boys and that we didn’t need to rehash something that the kids were already past. I was also told that none of this was an attempt to label my otherwise “good” student and that no one would look at Jalyn differently. Jalyn returned back to school for a little over a week with no issue and then we received a notification from the Cobb County Juvenile Courts. At this time, I felt the need to withdraw Jalyn from Wheeler and take him to his home school, Kennesaw Mountain. This decision was made because even through all of our communications, the school and CCSD in no way contacted me or revealed to me that they would be putting my son through this. They were very evasive about what occurred on that day and what would follow for my child. With our backs in a corner we hired an attorney and reported to court. At the court proceeding one of the other parents discussed watching the video footage with administration and clearly seeing that Jalyn was a victim. Her son even admitted to Jalyn paying for the glasses. At this time, the charges of affray and disruption of a public school were thrown out and the mom requested additional community service for her son and apologized profusely to Jalyn. The other student involved was given probation.
After hearing from her that the same administration that denied me seeing the footage sat down with her to view the footage, I knew I made the right choice by withdrawing him. Children die in schools all the time and I continuously expressed to all that I spoke to the need for my son to stand his ground and to be safe every day that he is outside of my care and protection. Sadly, the school policies are completely contradictory to the state law.
When I asked what Jalyn could have done differently, I was told he could have went and found a staff member to assist. I guess they were referring to the same staff members who were supervising this cafeteria when my son’s health and safety was initially put in danger. At this point other than loving the opportunity to participate in a basketball program with his AAU teammates there was nothing good I could attribute to his attendance at Wheeler. The most unfortunate thing is that Jalyn enjoyed playing on the freshman team there and had great stats on his first season of high school basketball. Another unfortunate thing is that because of the transition at the time he transitioned, Jalyn will now be required to attend summer school in order to have sophomore status next year.
Since enrolling at Kennesaw Mountain in February, Jalyn has made much better grades and adjusted well. I am sure the reason for this is that he has known most of the students since 2nd grade. The final step in putting this behind us would be for this hardship to be granted in order for him to go on as planned in the world of basketball.
Jalyn was not at all recruited by Kennesaw but has played basketball since he was 5 years old and it is a major part of our lives. Although, the fight was unfortunate we have reflected back on it with a different perspective. We feel that Jalyn needed to learn a lesson of resilience and overcoming adversity and he has done just that. Due to the fact that we have lived at the same address for several years and he has been a part of this community for so long, we are hopeful that he will be approved to play this next season and not have to suffer through another consequence for something out of his control. However we are prepared to find the “teachable moment” in this process as well, and if not in our favor we are still appreciative of the opportunity to share our story and be given consideration. Jalyn will not give up but continue with relentless tenacity to achieve his goals no matter the outcome.
My Sincere Thanks,
Here is a rundown of some transfers I have heard through the grapevine and a summary of what the additions mean. If you know of anymore or any that are incorrect, please shoot me a tweet @KyleSandy355, leave a comment or email KyleSandy355@gmail.com
JR Dylin Hardeman – 6’3” 170 lbs – (St. Francis to Woodstock)
SR Brian Coffey Jr. – 6’1” 170 lbs – (GAC to Shiloh)
SR Brandon Blair – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (Duluth to Shiloh)
JR Joseph Toppin – 6’6” 190 lbs – (Meadowcreek to Norcross)
SR Jordan Ferguson – 6’2″ 248 lbs – (St. Francis to Norcross)
SR Jordan Usher – 6’6” 205 lbs – (Sequoyah to Wheeler)
JR EJ Montgomery – 6’9” 210 lbs – (Montverde, FL to Wheeler)
SO Terry Armstrong – 6’6” 180 lbs – (Carman-Ainsworth, MI to Wheeler)
JR Brandon Younger – 6’6” 175 lbs – (Mt. Pisgah to Wheeler)
JR Austin Johnson – 6’8” 210 lbs – (McEachern to Wheeler)
SR Jordan Tucker – 6’7″ 207 lbs – (Archbishop Stepinac, NY to Wheeler)
SO Isaac Martin – 6’5” 185 lbs – (McEachern to Wheeler)
JR Dontarius Carter – 6’4” 195 lbs – (Cherokee to Kennesaw Mountain)
JR Drue Drinnon – 6’0” 170 lbs – (East Jackson to Pebblebrook)
SO Jared Jones – 6’9” 230 lbs – (Potter’s House, FL to Pebblebrook)
SR Elias Harden – 6’6” 180 lbs – (Sandy Creek to Pebblebrook)
SO Messiah Thompson – 5’8 147 lbs (North Atlanta to Pebblebrook)
JR Julian Larrieu – 5’9” 155 lbs – (Dacula to Collins Hill)
SR JaQuan Morris – 6’2” 170 lbs – (Central Gwinnett to Collins Hill)
JR Caleb Holifield – 6’3” 185 lbs – (Pace Academy to Peachtree Ridge)
JR Travis Anderson – 6’0” 170 lbs – (East Jackson to Grayson)
SR Aaron Rowe – 6’2” 165 lbs – (Parkview to Grayson)
SO Reco Hallmon – 6’1″ 160 lbs – (East Jackson to Grayson)
SR Gerald Buncum – 6’6″ 180 lbs – (Jack Britt, NC to Grayson)
SR Isaiah Miller – 6’0” 165 lbs – (Eastside to Newton)
JR Amari Kelly – 6’7” 243 lbs – (Brookwood to Meadowcreek)
JR Cory Hightower – 6’7″ 175 lbs – (Brookwood to Meadowcreek)
SO Jamir Chaplin – 6’4″ 170 lbs – (Stephenson to Meadowcreek)
JR Daylan Smith – 6’0″ 165 lbs – (Centennial to Duluth)
SR Jaylen Morgan – 6’4″ 170 lbs – (East Jackson to Central Gwinnett)
SR Cameron Starkes – 5’11” 150 lbs – (Druid Hills to Lakeside-DeKalb)
SO Jalyn McCreary – 6’6″ 180 lbs – (Wheeler to Kennesaw Mountain)
FR Christian Wright – 6’3″ 170 lbs – (Holy Spirit Prep to Milton)
JR Ulyric Wright – 6’2″ 170 lbs – (Texas to Milton)
JR Landers Nolley II – 6’6” 205 lbs – (Curie, IL to Langston Hughes)
SO Jeremiah Sanabria – 6’5” 170 lbs – (Columbus to Allatoona)
SR Ellis Merriweather – 6’2” 200 lbs – (King’s Ridge to Alpharetta)
SO Brandon Barron – 5’10” 165 lbs – (Westlake to Alpharetta)
JR Justin Brown – 6’1” 165 lbs – (Milton to Northview)
JR Andrew Stimpson – 6’1” 165 lbs – (Etowah to North Atlanta)
SR Ma’Kel Wallace – 6’0” 170 lbs – (Veterans to Houston County)
SR Joshua Cammon – 6’3” 195 lbs – (Eastside to Tucker)
JR Jon Young – 6’4” 175 lbs – (Westlake to New Manchester)
JR Tyson Jackson – 6’7” 190 lbs – (Whitefield Academy to Creekside)
JR Jarrel Rosser – 6’6” 180 lbs – (Newnan to Gainesville)
JR Jarred Rosser – 6’6” 180 lbs – (Newnan to Gainesville)
JR KaJuan Hale – 5’11” 160 lbs – (Austin-East, TN to Gainesville)
FR Knowledge Ruben – 6’5” 210 lbs – (Texas to South Paulding)
SR Jaylon Terrell – 6’3″ 180 lbs – (Lovejoy to Jonesboro)
SR DL Hall – 6’2″ 170 lbs – (Houston County to Valdosta)
JR Dequavious Bell – 6’1″ 160 lbs – (Whitefield Academy to New Manchester)
SO Joesph Jones – 5’7″ 150 lbs – (Maplewood-Richmond Heights, MO to Northview)
SR Clayvon Croom – 6’4″ 200 lbs – (McEachern to Mays)
JR David Viti – 6’5” 195 lbs – (Lambert to Buford)
SO Donell Nixon II – 5’8″ 150 lbs – (Mountain View to Buford)
SO Marcus Watson – 6’6” 210 lbs – (West Forsyth, NC to Buford)
SO Karston Miller – 6’1” 170 lbs – (North Gwinnett to Buford)
JR Will Richter – 6’2” 160 lbs – (St. Francis to Johnson-Gainesville)
JR Jermon Clark – 6’6” 220 lbs – (Arabia Mountain to Miller Grove)
SR Mohammed Abubukar – 6’8” 225 lbs – (Hamilton Heights, TN to Eagle’s Landing)
JR Brandon Thomas – 6’3” 170 lbs – (Locust Grove to Eagle’s Landing)
SR Kenton Eskridge – 6’2” 195 lbs – (Tucker to Columbia)
SR Reyhan Cobb – 6’7” 190 lbs – (Pius XI, WI to Columbia)
FR Joshua Taylor – 6’6″ 175 lbs – (Holy Spirit Prep to Columbia)
JR Champ Dawson – 6’2” 180 lbs – (First Presbyterian Day to Warner Robins)
JR Kennedy Willis – 6’7” 190 lbs – (Therrell to St. Pius)
JR Troy Stephens – 6’1” 160 lbs – (GAC to St. Pius)
SR Eric Williams – 6’3” 180 lbs – (Fayette County to Sandy Creek)
SR Khalid Wilkins – 6’0” 175 lbs – (Mt. Vernon Presbyterian to Sandy Creek)
JR Lincoln Smith – 6’4″ 175 lbs – (Columbus to Shaw)
SR Avery Showell – 6’2” 195 lbs – (St. Francis to Cartersville)
SR Trey Foster – 6’2” 176 lbs – (Rutland to Westside-Macon)
SR Jaylyne Brown – 5’9” 160 lbs – (Rutland to Westside-Macon)
SR Kentrevious Jones – 6’11” 285 lbs – (Central-Macon to Westside-Macon)
JR Kylan Hill – 6’3” 180 lbs – (Jones County to Central-Macon)
SR Dalton Smith – 5’11” 180 lbs – (Rogers, AR to Bremen)
JR Brice Paster – 6’2″ 193 lbs – (Lamar County to Peach County)
SO Tyrin Lawrence – 6’3″ 170 lbs – (Monticello to Morgan County)
SR Perrell Brisbane – 6’2″ 175 lbs – (Long County to Pierce County)
JR Jace Bonds – 6’1″ 165 lbs – (Oconee County to East Jackson)
SR Myles Walker – 6’3″ 180 lbs – (Windsor Forest to Jenkins)
SR Christian Robinson – 5’10” 185 lbs – (Westside-Augusta to Butler)
SR Javier Flohr – 5’11” 160 lbs – (Grovetown to Harlem)
SR Laberton Sims Jr. – 6’4” 180 lbs – (Tift County to Toombs County)
FR Julius Sims – 6’1” 160 lbs – (Tift County to Toombs County)
SR Mo Merritt – 6’7” 195 lbs – (Sprayberry to North Cobb Christian)
JR Trent Bowdre – 5’10” 140 lbs – (Grovetown to Aquinas)
JR Dajuan Hill – 6’5” 190 lbs – (Cross Creek to Aquinas)
JR Jelani Shakir – 5’10” 170 lbs – (Harker Heights, TX to Aquinas)
SO Koby Isaac – 6’2” 170 lbs – (Norcross to Southwest Atlanta Christian)
SR David Quimby – 6’3″ 190 lbs – (Dougherty to Greenforest)
SR Cameron Evans – 6’6″ 215 lbs – (Chattooga to Darlington)
JR Oliver Oden – 6’3″ 175 lbs – (North Atlanta Christian Flight to Mt. Vernon Presbyterian)
JR Ward Phillips – 6’1″ 170 lbs – (North Atlanta Christian Flight to Mt. Vernon Presbyterian)
JR Corey Myart – 6’7″ 195 lbs – (Duluth to Mt. Vernon Presbyterian)
SR Nick Hargrove – 6’0” 172 lbs – (Southwest-Macon to New Rock Prep)
SR JJ Smith – 6’4” 190 lbs – (Pebblebrook to North Carolina)
SR Jaylin Wimberly – 6’3” 165 lbs – (Lee County to Terrell Academy)
JR Gabe Bryant – 6’8” 210 lbs – (Dawson County to Dorman, SC)
SR Zach Butler – 6’5″ 180 lbs – (Norcross to Dorman, SC)
JR Juwan White – 6’0” 180 lbs – (Dacula to Norman North, OK)
SR Tajah Fraley – 6’3″ 180 lbs – (Shiloh to 22ft Academy, SC)
JR Tolu Jacobs – 7’0″ 275 lbs – (King’s Ridge to California)
SR Michael Durr – 6’9″ 220 lbs – (Jonesboro to Oldsmar Christian, FL)
SO Elias King – 6’6″ 185 lbs – (Shiloh to Huntington Prep, WV)
SO Jaykwon Walton – 6’4″ 165 lbs – (Northside-Columbus to Carver-Montgomery, AL)
Last season Region 3-AAAAAA ruled supreme as Westlake defeated Pebblebrook in the state championship game. Westlake transformed itself from a 13-15 team into a 27-4 powerhouse thanks to the transfer circuit. This season, Region 2-AAAAAAA is loaded as the arms race has begun between Pebblebrook and Wheeler.
Pebblebrook and Wheeler have been among the busiest teams this offseason trying to catch up to Westlake. Pebblebrook has landed consensus High Major D-I talents in Drue Drinnon, Jared Jones and Elias Harden (Xavier) to surround superstar Collin Sexton.
Drinnon is as experienced of a junior as they come, posting big numbers since his freshman year at East Jackson. The point guard will now be asked to distribute the ball to the weapons around him. Drinnon was named Sandy’s Spiel Class AAA Best Scorer and was a First Team All-State selection after averaging 21.3 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
Jones comes from Potter’s House, FL and is a handful inside. Jones can score with his back to the basket and rebounds well in traffic. He has the ability to step out to the three-point land and can help stretch the defense to allow Pebblebrook’s guards slashing lanes. Add Harden from Sandy Creek, and the Falcons have another long wing at 6-foot-6 that can stroke it from deep and also attack the basket. Harden was a Sandy’s Spiel Class AAAA All-State Second Teamer after averaging 20.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
Wheeler counters with hot prospects as well in EJ Montgomery and Jordan Usher. Montgomery is heralded as a five-star power forward by 247Sports. He fills the role left behind by Romello White, who is now at Arizona State after decommitting from Georgia Tech. In a further effort to revamp the frontcourt, Usher joins from Sequoyah where he will see a massive step up in competition night in and night out, but brings an undeniable athleticism to the wing and can attack the basket, especially in the open floor. At Sequoyah, Usher averaged 18.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks his junior season.
The Wildcats didn’t stop there. Though they struck out in landing Zion Williamson (for now), Wheeler did add Terry Armstrong and Brandon Younger. Armstrong comes over as the No. 1 ranked player in Michigan in the Class of 2019. The long and athletic wing should thrive with the amount of talent surrounding him. Younger is young and lean like Armstrong. He averaged over 11 points per game as a sophomore at Mt. Pisgah but much like Usher, sees a major increase in competition during the regular season.
Austin Johnson moves in as the most unheard of out of the group, but the long-armed big man can block shots and also score with both hands around the hoop. He played with 16U Game Elite Orange and could be a solid rotational piece with some upside moving forward. Isaac Martin also joins the party as Wheeler’s embarrassment of riches continues to pile up. The 6-foot-5 guard played a big role with McEachern last season as a freshman. He is a good distance shooter which will help spread the floor.
On August 24, Jordan Tucker became lucky No. 7 in the Wheeler recruiting class as he took to Twitter to announce his commitment. Tucker can score inside and outside and does everything you want from an aggressive wing. He averaged 17.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks as a junior. He sank 51 threes at a 35% clip and got to the line 214 times where he converted 72%. Earlier in the day, Tucker was ranked No. 39 in ESPN’s Top 100.
North Florida-commit Brian Coffey Jr. makes the move to Shiloh after leaving GAC mid-season. Coffey will step in to fill the void left by Perry Battle at point guard. Coffey can score the ball but is best at setting his teammates up. Also joining Coffey is Brandon Blair, a 6-foot senior guard that brings quickness to the Shiloh backcourt. At Duluth he averaged over nine points and three assists per game.
Grayson hopes the second time is a charm as D-I prospect Travis Anderson is back playing with the Rams in the offseason. After starting at Holy Innocents’, Anderson played with Grayson last offseason into the fall before jettisoning at the last moment to go play at East Jackson. Anderson, who averaged 18 points per game, is back in Gwinnett County and will provide a major boost in the Grayson backcourt after the graduation of Alphonso Willis and Austin Dukes. Anderson’s experience could be invaluable for a young guard rotation consisting of freshman Deivon Smith and sophomore Justin Fleming.
Joseph Toppin joins the Norcross Blue Devils across the county after leaving Meadowcreek. Toppin is a long and raw athlete that has a chance to polish his game his final two seasons at Norcross. He has put in a lot of work over the summer and should be an integral piece moving forward for Coach Jesse McMillan. The emerging standout has garnered D-I offers from a handful of SEC schools and has a chance to cement himself as a top junior now that he’s in the spotlight at Norcross.
Woodstock clinched a state playoff berth for the first time in school history – 20 years – last season and looks to continue building. Dylin Hardeman makes the move from St. Francis back to Woodstock and will have an opportunity to take the scoring burden off Tyreke Johnson’s shoulders. Hardeman is coming off a strong summer season with 16U Team Atlanta where he was counted on being a top backcourt option. The 6-foot-3 guard should pair up with Johnson to form one of the best backcourts in Cherokee County with their diverse ways of scoring the ball.
Caleb Holifield brings over a deft touch from beyond the three-point line to Peachtree Ridge. Holifield played at Pace Academy last season but lost eligibility coming down the stretch. He gets a new lease on life his junior season and should bring a nice scoring punch to the Lions backcourt.
First rumored to head to Jonesboro, Isaiah Miller instead lands at Newton where the Rams backcourt is now as good as anyone’s in the state. The unapologetic pure bucket-getting senior is starting to heat his recruitment up heading into his final season. Miller was among the state’s top scorers last year, pouring in 25.3 points per game while adding 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 4.3 steals and 1 block. Couple him with Ashton Hagans and JD Notae, and the Rams have a dynamic backcourt that should overpower teams at times if Miller can fit into Coach Rick Rasmussen’s system.
JaQuan Morris exploded this summer as a name to keep an ear out for. Morris was consistently seen pouring in 20+ points on a regular basis at HoopSeen tournaments. The 6-foot-2 guard blows by defenders with his quickness and ability to finish at the rim. He’s also shown he can bang home threes in bunches as a deadly shooter. Morris averaged 11.6 points per game at Central Gwinnett last season and after his meteoric rise with 17U God’s Property, he should raise his output his senior season back at Collins Hill, where he played his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Meadowcreek receives a boost in the form of 6-foot-7 junior Amari Kelly. He averaged 6.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game with Brookwood and is continuing to learn the game and improve his skillset. Kelly has a chance to be a key cog in the Mustangs’ attempt at a turnaround.
A year after being bitten by the transfer bug, Langston Hughes gets a talented player back in Landers Nolley II. Nolley started his high school career at Lovejoy then transferred to Curie, IL where he won a state title before coming back to the Peach State this year. The 6-foot-5 guard will get a chance to play with the ball in his hands and off the ball as well with Khalil Cuffee and Derrick Cook both versatile players on the perimeter. Nolley has a dangerous three-point shot but is also a tough cover when driving the lane and creating for his teammates.
Navy football commit Ellis Merriweather brings his scoring prowess on the hardwood to Alpharetta. Merriweather is a rock solid guard that can fill up the cup. The addition of Merriweather along with first-year head coach Jason Dasigner to the Raider program could prove beneficial right away. A nice group of seniors return to a new wide open region that doesn’t have a clear cut favorite, giving the Raiders as good a chance as anybody to return to the postseason for a sixth straight season.
Northview gets a massive shot in the arm with Justin Brown returning home after spending his sophomore season at Milton. Brown averaged 15.1 points per game as a freshman at Northview and took a backseat at Milton trying to get D-I teammates Alex O’Connell, Chris Lewis and Kyrin Galloway their shots. At Northview, Brown should instantly go back to being the No. 1 option on offense.
Ma’Kel Wallace is set to play at Houston County this season after transferring last year but being ruled ineligible to play. He will be an instant difference maker his senior season with the Bears as a reliable guard that can get his own shot off. If Houston County is going to make a trip back to the postseason, Wallace must provide leadership and accountability as one of Coach Stephen Walls’ top guard.
Tucker loses leading scorer Kenton Eskridge to Columbia but replaces him with Eastside’s Joshua Cammon. Cammon was a team captain on the Eagles’ 20-win team last season and averaged 13.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game. He was overshadowed by 25-point-per-game scorer Isaiah Miller but Cammon can play. The muscular athlete has tight handles in traffic and can create his own shot. He was a streaky three-point shooter, hitting three or more in seven games and taking 187 on the year, but only connected at a 27% rate. Nonetheless, Cammon should step in and instantly be one of Tucker’s leading scorers, soothing the loss of Eskridge.
Creekside lands a big piece in 6-foot-7 junior Tyson Jackson. The long and lanky forward averaged 7 points and 6.4 rebounds while blocking 1.3 shots per game and showed flashes of his upside throughout the season. At Creekside he should see a few more touches offensively and will be asked to anchor the paint with his shot blocking in an increasingly difficult region.
Gainesville wasn’t going to have much of a drop off from last year’s 21-6 team and now with the addition of twins Jarred and Jarrel Rosser, the Red Elephants look like an early favorite to make a deep run into the state playoffs. The 6-foot-6 juniors are extremely versatile with the ability to score in and out. Adding them to Gainesville’s already free flowing offense makes the Elephants look positionless at times on the floor with each player able to play multiple positions. The Rosser twins can help the most on the glass, easing the rebounding burden that Bailey Minor and KJ Buffen shoulder.
Knowledge Ruben moves from Texas to join his older brother Jordan at South Paulding. At 6-foot-5 with plenty of meat on him, the rising freshman holds promising in the paint. Already known for his strong rebounding, if he continues to grow and polishes his game, he could bring some similar traits to the table that all-time leading rebounder Anthony Brown, who graduated in 2016, put to use.
North Atlanta fell on hard times last year, but the addition of Andrew Stimpson could help build a solid backcourt as he teams up with rising sophomore point guard, Messiah Thompson.
Jaylon Terrell, an explosive guard, moves from Lovejoy to new region foe Jonesboro. He gets to team up with five-star guard MJ Walker and one of the best coaches in the state, Dan Maehlman. At 6-foot-3, Terrell brings with him a high motor and tenacity that should fit in well with the Cardinals. He holds an offer from Navy.
Coach Eddie Martin has wasted no time in attracting talent to Buford. With a sparkling new gym set to open up, the Wolves are starting to become a destination. Four new players have made the leap to come play for the state champion head coach. The Wolves add size in the frontcourt with David Viti and Marcus Watson while Karston Miller and Donell Nixon II provide three-point shooting and guard play. Both Viti and Watson are physical presences inside with the ability to play outside as well. Watson has spent his summer attacking from the wing with 15U Team CP3. Nixon as a freshman paced Mountain View averaging 12.4 points per game while draining 69 threes at a 45% clip. Smith is a young guard that contributed 7.9 points per game at North Gwinnett.
Another multi-state championship winning coach is back on the sidelines in the form of Dr. Phil McCrary. The five-time state champ looks to turn around a Columbia program that sunk to 14-13 last year. Outside of Miller Grove’s run of six-straight state championships, Columbia is the last team to three-peat back in 2010-12 under the guidance of McCrary. The excitement of a living legend back on the bench has prompted talent from around the area to flock to Columbia.
Kenton Eskridge leaves behind Coach James Hartry after leading the Tucker Tigers in scoring as a junior. Eskridge is a stout guard that uses his body when attacking the rim. He joins a Columbia roster that already has length throughout. A key piece to that length is the return of Reyhan Cobb. The 6-foot-7 senior played at Columbia as a sophomore and blocked 1.4 shots per game before transferring to Wisconsin where he averaged 10.7 points as a junior. The shot altering forward is athletic and will run the floor on fastbreaks for dunks.
Mohammed Abubukar could be a game-changing post player for Eagle’s Landing after transferring in from Hamilton Heights, TN. At 6-foot-8, Abubukar is a strong workhorse on the low block. He will anchor an Eagles frontline that lacked in post production. Abubukar seems confident with his back to the basket and can spin hard into the lane to set up a baby hook. Keep an eye on his senior season. Joining Abubukar is potent junior wing Brandon Thomas. The 6-foot-3 scorer has D-I interest after pouring in over 18 points per game and shooting over 40% from three with Locust Grove.
Miller Grove adds frontcourt depth with Jermon Clark entering the fold. The 6-foot-6 shot blocker averaged 5.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a sophomore at Arabia Mountain. He will fight for playing time between Tworn Seals and Kevin Paige.
Johnson-Gainesville continues its rebuild and adds Will Richter as a piece to the future. The junior guard is a St. Francis transfer that will be inserted into the Knights starting lineup right away. His ability to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting and his experience playing with St. Francis and the Georgia Stars bodes well for Coach Tim Slater. If Richter can get stronger and polish his dribble-drive game, he could put together a nice career in Hall County.
Champ Dawson might not be known outside of the Middle Georgia area yet, but the rising junior guard and son of a coach has high-IQ and the smooth skills to make an impact in the already young and talented Warner Robins backcourt that is now ready to step out of the shadows cast by its graduating class. Dawson led First Presbyterian Day in scoring at 10.8 points. The son of current Central Georgia Tech head coach Reco Dawson, has a soft pull-up in the lane and can find ways to get to the basket. Dawson is a willing passer as well that shouldn’t have a problem taking a backseat to get his teammates involved.
St. Pius adds Kennedy Willis and Troy Stephens. Willis comes in from Therrell and brings with him length and size at 6-foot-7. He hasn’t reached his potential yet but has a nice skillset and the ability to play multiple positions. Stephens is an athletic ball handler that has a chance to earn minutes in the backcourt alongside the Gonzalo brothers and Everett Lane.
Sandy Creek loses Elias Harden to Pebblebrook, but sees Khalid Wilkins and Eric Williams move in. Wilkins, a 6-foot guard from Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, led the Mustangs in scoring last year while Williams, 6-foot-3, averaged 5.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists at Fayette County.
The addition of Lincoln Smith to Shaw not only helps the Raiders but hurts region rival Columbus where he comes from. The 6-foot-4 wing led the Blue Devils in rebounding and narrowly in scoring, posting 11.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and adding 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks . With a strong senior class graduating, Smith will step in right away and give Coach Terry White a viable option to slide in and continue to power Shaw’s recent turnaround.
Avery Showell brings athleticism, toughness and experience to Cartersville after averaging 4.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals with St. Francis his junior season. The Wake Forest football-commit fits the Purple Hurricane mold of being a two-sport star. He should see plenty of playing time and plenty of opportunities to help out an already talented Cartersville backcourt.
The addition of Trey Foster bolsters the lineup around superstar Khavon Moore. Foster averaged 15 points, 8 assists and 3 steals per game as one of Middle Georgia’s toughest guards. The hard-nosed perimeter defender can push the pace and get teammates involved. Following him is teammate Jaylyne Brown, an experienced guard that will help with ball handling most likely off the bench.
Another Middle Georgia mover, Kylan Hill joins Central-Macon after averaging 8.9 points and leading Jones County in rebounding at 7.6. Hill will be a vital piece inside now that Kentrevious Jones has transferred away.
In a move that shakes the landscape of Middle Georgia and the state title picture in Class AAA, Kentrevious Jones has departed from Central-Macon (27-3) and has moved cross town to join Khavon Moore at Westside-Macon (22-7). The 6-foot-11, 285-pound center with HM D-I offers will now anchor the Seminoles in the paint and immediately makes Westside a true state title contender as he pairs with the 6-foot-8 five-star junior along with fellow transfers Trey Foster and Jaylyne Brown. Also still in the fold is guard Samone Reed. Jones brings with him his 17.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. The loss is a potentially crippling blow for Central-Macon as a region rival reaps the benefits.
Christian Robinson played a big role in helping Westside-Augusta to the Elite Eight and will now bring his tenacious downhill attack to Butler. Robinson is a powerful guard who averaged over 11 points per game last season. Built like a fullback, Robinson has a bulldog mentality when getting to the basket and defending ball handlers. Robinson should help steady Butler, a team that could be one of the best in the Augusta area this season.
Javier Flohr averaged 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals at Grovetown. He represents solid depth and experience for Harlem who sank to 2-23 last year.
Brothers Laberton Jr. and Julius Sims could be impact players right away for Toombs County as their father Laberton Sr., has taken the job after serving as an assistant at Tift County. Laberton Jr. saw some time on the Tift County varsity, a major step up from the type of competition he will see night in and night out at Toombs County. He should vie for a big role along the Bulldogs frontline with the ability to play above the rim while Julius could debut as a freshman.
Mo Merritt brings a much needed post presence to North Cobb Christian. The springy 6-foot-7 forward is a tough rebounder but a smooth finisher inside. He played well at Kennesaw State’s Elite Camp and only rose his stock. He’s not a hot prospect just yet, but with a year at annual powerhouse North Cobb Christian, the stretchy big man has a chance to really make a difference in Class A and build upon his interest he currently holds from Georgia Southern and Savannah State.
Aquinas lands an underrated tenacious guard in Trent Bowdre. A rivaling coach had this to say about Bowdre after he averaged 6.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as a sophomore at Grovetown: “He is an animal on defense, great at attacking the basket, lefty and can shoot from the outside. He is a dawg. He is fearless.”
Dajuan Hill spent his time on the Cross Creek JV last year, but will likely play a prominent role inside for Aquinas as a junior. The 6-foot-5 post has nice footwork and physicality inside.
Koby Isaac gets to officially announce his presence to the GHSA after playing sparingly on the Norcross varsity team as a freshman. He heads to Southwest Atlanta Christian where he teams up with DeAundre Ballard in the backcourt. Isaac, pegged as a three-star recruit, already has interest from Wake Forest, Memphis, Georgia Tech, Florida State and more.
If there was ever a smidgen of a potential but still unlikely weakness for defending Class A-Private state champs Greenforest it would be the Eagles backcourt after John Ogwuche (New Hampshire) graduated, leaving Justin Forrest as the lone proven starter. Those worries of who will slide in next to Forrest are all but put to rest with the addition of David Quimby. The 6-foot-3 scoring guard exits Dougherty, a program that was blasted with controversy and suspensions due to playing illegal players which resulted in a 2016-17 postseason ban and a fine. Quimby now joins the heavy favorite to repeat for a title. He exploded this offseason as a high scoring guard that poured in 40 points in a single game. He can score from all over the floor, especially from deep when he gets hot. Quimby is a major stock riser that will garner attention his senior season.
Mt. Vernon Presbyterian took a blow last year, losing 6-foot-11 Texas-commit to La Lumiere, IN for his senior season. This year KJ Jenkins is off to Sandy Creek, but the Mustangs have talent to fill the void. A pair of home schooled guards, Oliver Oden and Ward Phillips join the backcourt. Oden averaged 16.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals. Phillips averaged 9 points per game and drilled 45 threes on the year. Corey Myart comes in from Duluth and will have an opportunity to polish his game at Mt. Vernon where the 6-foot-7 forward will see plenty of playing time.
***UPDATED 5:23 PM, 11/19/15***
Class 5A No. 2 McIntosh tipped-off its season with a ho-hum 89-68 win over Morrow on Tuesday night. The usual suspects did their normal damage with Will Washington scoring 20 points and dishing out eight assists, Jordan Lyons scoring 24 points and Dishon Lowery and Chase Walter doing their expected yeoman’s work inside.
One new Chief however was unable to suit up. Make that, not allowed.
Isaac Kellum, a 6-foot-4 swingman that averaged 13.8 points per game, transferred over to McIntosh in the offseason for his senior season. This wasn’t a crazy out-of-state transfer or someone moving in from a school that is hours away, but a 13-minute transfer over from Fayette County High School. With over 60 known transfers and plenty of more that slipped through the cracks, you would think a simple move such as this would go unopposed, but for some reason the GHSA threw a red flag against little old McIntosh.
From all accounts, Kellum is a great student in the classroom (3.8 weighted GPA, ACT 24, SAT 1,580 and dual enrolled at Clayton State) and a good kid. So why out of all the transfers along the state, is one of the most logical transfers getting the kibosh? As of this week, the senior is still ineligible to play his final year of high school ball while seemingly every other transfer has already begun playing with their new team.
In July, Kellum and his parents moved to Peachtree City. Soon after moving, a rough patch occurred and his parents separated. Isaac, living in the McIntosh school district with his mother, was still set to play basketball until October 27 when he found out he would be ineligible. The family went to a hardship hearing in Thomaston, Ga. but was denied for some reason.
To make sure they had all the proper paperwork again, the parents even went to get official legal separation documents to soothe the GHSA if they had any inclination that something amiss was taking place. Charles Kellum, Isaac’s father, let me know that the family sat in the courthouse for six hours hoping to get the paperwork signed and have the issue eventually resolved. Upon the judge hearing the reasoning why they were there, to let their son play basketball, the judge said he had never heard of a governing body making a family go to such extreme lengths just to prove he is living in the district and has the correct custody.
When the verdict came down, the judge said he could not sign the document because Isaac is an 18-year-old adult and he can’t be signed over to a specific parent.
So the GHSA is now not letting an 18-year-old adult play basketball his senior year of high school in the correct school district after dealing with a whirlwind of unfortunate events. The GHSA denied him on the initial hardship hearing and the appeal last Tuesday and will not give the Kellum’s a straight answer to why he can’t play, not listing a violation of the by-laws or any other potential hangup.
Funny how your life can change in one day.
— Jūke❌Toes (@_Juiccee_) November 18, 2015
Even more motivation, we winning this for you @_Juiccee_ 🏀💍
— Chase Walter (@chasewa1ter) November 17, 2015
Wow. We are going to do it for you bro @_Juiccee_ . I love you ✊🏽
— Jordan Lyons ™ (@J_Lyons_23) November 17, 2015
It's crazy how when we try to succeed other people bring us down. #McIntoshBasketball
— Smitty ™ (@W_Washington3) November 17, 2015
I personally am not a huge fan of transfers, but I understand it is part of the game and it is not something I bemoan. Building super teams is good for the players to get exposure but of course bad for homegrown teams that have played together their entire life – like McIntosh. The Chiefs had a player fill out all the proper paperwork, but the GHSA won’t accept the simple move.
We can’t have double standards. If you are going to let almost every other school land their new move-ins, and ones that come from out of state, where is the reasoning behind a player who is 13 minutes away from his new school not getting the green light to play ball? And the worst thing about all this? It’s not that McIntosh has a realistic shot at a state title, but it’s the fact that basketball is being taken away from this 17/18 year-old, in his final season. Kellum will likely be able to find a home to play basketball at in college if he so chooses, but nothing will ever compare to going to school with your peers and lacing them up and playing in front of packed houses every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday as the team – or family – attempts to make their march to Macon and history.
Pray For My Brother. Won't Nun Make Me Happier Tommar Than To See My Guy Make It 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/QchaYGna34
— D. Lowery (@DLowery_15) November 17, 2015
What To Do?
Basketball fans and supporters of fair play can only hope that this issue gets resolved quickly and Kellum is cleared to play. There is too much player movement to single out one athlete and blow the whistle on them. It is either abolish transferring (too hard to do) or let everyone make the move as long as the proper paperwork is submitted. Right now, Kellum is devastated over the ruling and he, his family, friends and teammates are still trying to find an answer from the GHSA as to why he is unable to play.
We are in 2015, closing in on 2016. There is no place for a governing body to pick and choose who gets to play and who doesn’t. There needs to be one set guideline. There should be no foul play involved and everything should be on the up-and-up. No ‘Wizard of Oz’ act hiding behind the curtain and not answering why some players are allowed while others disallowed. Let’s hope for a New Year’s Resolution, the GHSA gets its act together and allows Kellum and every other properly filed transfer who got rejected a chance to play the game they love.