Players To Watch For In Class AAAA

Region 1-AAAA

Westover – Sr. G Allec Williams, So. G Kris Gardner, Fr. G Jordan Brown

Cook – Sr. G Desmond Henry, Sr. G Tavian Allen, Sr. F Jylen Southerland

Monroe – Sr. G Napoleon Harris, Sr. G Trentavious Jackson, Sr. G Emeshuan Offord

Thomas County Central – So. G Tae Cooksey, Sr. F James Baker

Crisp County – Jr. G Ijon Owens, Sr. G Dontavious Tolbert, Jr. F Valdis Daniel

Bainbridge – Sr. G Tyree Crump, Sr. F Trevon Shaw, Sr. G DeVonte Jones

Americus-Sumter – Sr. F Adam King, Sr. G Frederick Bryant

Dougherty – Jr. G David Quimby, Jr. G Charles Porter

Cairo – Jr. G Dontarrius Donaldson, Sr. G Eldrick Harrison

Worth County – Sr. F Anfernee McLemore, Sr. F Brandon Moore, Sr. G Kidarias Gaint

Albany – Sr. F DeAndre Hamilton, Sr. PF Joe Stone, Jr. F Darrell Bryant

Region 2-AAAA

Mary Persons – Jr. G Roger Akins, So. G Cameron Holden

Upson-Lee – Sr. G O’Qualon Harris, Sr. G Zakarriyan Walker

Perry – Sr. F Chris Clerkley, Jr. F Damion Bagley

Veterans – Jr. F Josh Linder, Jr. G Dathan Boyd

Baldwin – Sr. G Brandon Sibert, Sr. G Dalton Strother

Howard – Sr. PF Chris Quainter

West Laurens – Sr. F Kintevius Robinson, So. F Keyontae Tyler

Region 3-AAAA

Liberty County – Jr. G Davion Mitchell, Jr. G Richard Lecounte

Thomson – Sr. F San Antonio Brinson, Jr. G Darius Turman, Jr. F Jucorius Thomas, Sr. F Marquez Winfrey, Sr. F James Lowe, Jr. G Radaren Johnson, Sr. G Billy Mance

Windsor Forest – Sr. G Jaylin Brown, Jr. G Myles Walker

Wayne County – N/A

New Hampstead – Jr. G Oronte’ Anderson, Jr. PF Xavier Jones, Jr. G Santana Riley

Burke County – Sr. G Jordan Gant, Jr. G D’Zarious Holmes, Sr. G Kamario Walker, Jr. PF Quantavious Wilson

Region 4-AAAA

Jonesboro – Jr. F MJ Walker, So. C Jamari Smith, Sr. G Tariq Jenkins

Spalding – Sr. C Brodarious Hamm, Sr. G Brooks Davis, Sr. G DeAundre Alford

Hampton – Sr. F Jordan Ford, Sr. G D’Andre Bryan, Jr. G Jaylen Love

Pike County – Jr. C Acton Shirley

Eagle’s Landing – Sr. G Jordan Lewis, Sr. F Antonio Gibson, So. G Terrance Evans

Griffin – Jr. C Tyshaun Crawford, Jr. G Kobe Smith, Jr. PF Darantae Barber

Locust Grove – So. G Brandon Thomas, Sr. G Odainier Rodriguez

Mt. Zion – So. G Demaje Carter

Riverdale – Jr. G James Johnson, Sr. G Omar Touray, Jr. G Jonathan Foster

Eastside – Jr. G Isaiah Miller, Sr. F Ratayvious Jackson

Walnut Grove – Sr. G AJ Jones, Sr. G Faizon Jackson

Henry County – Jr. G Damion Rosser, Jr. G Javon Greene, Sr. G Dejuan Hyde, Jr. PF William “Kovi” Tate

Region 5-AAAA

Whitewater – Sr. G Victor Ayuk, Sr. F Zach Yeager, Sr. F Ridge Perkins

Troup County – Sr. G Dexter Shealey, Sr. F Sharief King

Sandy Creek – Fr. G T.J. Bickerstaff, Sr. G Christian Turner, Jr. G Elias Harden, Sr. PF Keith Heard II, Jr. F Evan Jester

Fayette County – Sr. G Jaylon Cheffin

Carrollton – Sr. F Desmond Webb, Sr. F Jarel Rowe, So. G Jordan Bonner, Jr. Carson Culverhouse

Woodward Academy – Sr. G Maxwell Chester, Sr. F Jacob Robertson, Sr. G Jake Nestlehutt

Region 6-AAAA

Redan – Jr. G Tyrone Stuckey, Sr. G Strickland Gray

Arabia Mountain – Jr. G Jamal Middleton, So. C Jermon Clark

Lithonia – Sr. F Jacara Cross, Sr. Tyleen Patterson, Sr. G Rodney Chatman, Sr. G Tyheem Freeman

Grady – Sr. G Avi Toomer, So. G D.J. Brittian, Sr. G Ahmad Herron, Sr. G Joshua Jones

St. Pius – Sr. F Kerney Lane, Sr. F Christian Merrill, Sr. F Jakob Spitzer, Jr. G Carson Seramur, Fr. G Brian Gonzalo, Fr. G Matthew Gonzalo

Marist – Sr. PF Patrick Zeck, Sr. G John Waring, Sr. G Jack Owen

Chamblee – Jr. G Jalen Knowlton, Jr. G Odell Ferrell, Jr. G Glenn Robinson

Stone Mountain – Sr. F Dunnell Stafford, Sr. F Michael Graham

Columbia – Sr. G Justin Longstreet, Sr. G Rodriquez Dennis, Jr. G Jalen Cobb, Jr. F Reyhan Cobb

Region 7-AAAA

Ridgeland – Sr. G Tavian Bridges, Jr. G Markeion Jones, So. G Markeith Montgomery

LaFayette – Jr. G KaDarrin Ramsey, Jr. G Tyrese Hunter

Cartersville – So. G Jaylon Pugh, Sr. G Travon Davis, Sr. F Gabriel Gridley

Pickens – Sr. G Holden Roop, Sr. F Trent Rizoti, Jr. G Travis Huffman

Gilmer – Sr. G Cole Edmondson, Sr. G J.T. Bosley, Sr. F Jake Ray

Southeast Whitfield – Sr. G Ty Pendley, Sr. C Noah Ramsey

Northwest Whitfield – So. F Luke Shiflett, Sr. G Levi Mosteller, Jr. G Will Blanchard

Heritage – Sr. G Hunter Erickson, So. PF Cole Wilcox, Sr. F Carson Sherrill, Sr. G Noah Hill

Region 8-AAAA

North Hall – Sr. G Carson Heinen, Sr. G Sam Jackson, Sr. F Brandon Williams, Sr. G Harrison Harper

Chestatee – So. G Donovan Hernandez, Jr. C Matthew Rowland

White County – Sr. G Whit Mauney, Sr. G Brad Hurst

Buford – So. G Alex Jones, Sr. F Will Springer, Jr. G Dawson Wehunt, Sr. G Brandon Iverson

Madison County – Sr. G Ryan Moon, Sr. F Cade Hancock, Jr. F Golston Gillespie, Sr. G Cameron Stevenson

Monroe Area – Sr. G Alfred King, Jr. G Deauntrea Silmon, Sr. G Emory Sheats

Johnson – Sr. F Andrew Sims

North Oconee – Jr. F Jack Chambers, Jr. F Matthew Quint

Stephens County – Jr. G Nunu Walker, Sr. F Tay Jones, So. G Chaz Bridges

Players To Watch For In Class AAAAA

Region 1-AAAAA

Harris County – Sr. G Donald Johnson III, Sr. F Jaylyn Richardson

Columbus – Sr. F Ja’quan Mason, So. G Noah Lott,

LaGrange – Sr. G Rico Smith, Jr. G Laperion Perry, Sr. G Qua Epps

Hardaway – Sr. F Jaquan Daniels, Sr. G Scott Huettner, Sr. G Devin Ford

Shaw – Sr. F Kourtney Shakespeare, Sr. PF Devan Porter-Wilson, Sr. F Dakeen Diaz

Northside  – Sr. C Davion Thomas, Sr. F Dalandis Hopkins

Carver – Sr. F Jawon Pass, Sr. G Rahmir Nelson, Sr. G Ke’angelo Hill

Region 2-AAAAA

Cross Creek – Sr. F Moses Jones, Jr. F Artis Chapman, Sr. G Khamron Gordon

Lakeside – Jr. F Kresean Hall, Sr. G Isaiah Ryans

Academy of Richmond County – Sr. G Madison Williams, Sr. G Chris Jones, Sr. C Nick Roberts, Sr. PF Rashaud Green, Jr. F Moses Williams, Sr. G Trey Brown

Grovetown – Sr. G Shemar Barrett, Sr. G Ziquane Sandford, So. G Chance Fugghett

Greenbrier – Sr. F Jakob Nelson, Sr. G Justen Hartfield, So. G Austin Canaday

Evans – Sr. G Chris Stone, Sr. G Jo’el Grant, Sr. C Michael Steflik

Warner Robins – Sr. G Marquez Callaway, Sr. F Donovan Brown

Houston County – Sr. F Marquis Traylor, Jr. G Amari Colbert, Sr. F Javion Johnson, Sr. G Jaylon Golds

Northside – Jr. F Jaylan Sandifer, Jr. G Tobias Oliver, Jr. G Trayvon Willis

Jones County – Sr. F Landreveus Bowden, Sr. G Devin Wooten, Sr. G Nick Singleton

Region 3-AAAAA

Brunswick – Jr. C Kymani Dunham, Sr. G Zach Moore

Richmond Hill – Sr. G Isaiah Hill, Sr. PF Zane McKenzie, Sr. F Andre Walker

Coffee – Sr. G Jeremiah Ashley, Jr. G Jarquavius Jefferson

Effingham County – Sr. G Deshaun Wilkenson, Sr. G Rashad Griffin

Glynn Academy – Jr. PF Dominique Walker, Jr. G Durand Green, Jr. F Rilyn Ellis

Ware County – Sr. F Raekwon Davis, Sr. F Kaywan Leonard, Sr. G Ervin Nard

Camden County – Sr. F Logan Ballard, Sr. F Terry Compton, Sr. G Jonathon Canada

Bradwell Institute – Sr. G Deion Stewart, Jr. G Darryll Johnson, Sr. G Desmond Oglesby

Statesboro – Sr. F Michael Salomon, Sr. G Jaylan Patrick, Sr. F Myles White

South Effingham – Sr. F Travis Simmons, Sr. G Collin Rish

Region 4-AAAAA

Drew – Sr. G James Ruiz, Sr. F Bryson Duckworth

McIntosh – Sr. G Jordan Lyons, Sr. G Will Washington, Sr. F Dishon Lowery, Sr. PF Chase Walter, Sr. F Isaac Kellum

Northgate – Sr. G Jordan McGruder, Jr. G Cameron Ramsay

Starr’s Mill – Sr. G Satchell Goodrich, Sr. PF Colin Maguire, Jr. F Stephen Peterson

Mundy’s Mill – Sr. F Kaelon Harris, Sr. G Cartez Crane

Morrow – Jr. F Stanley Henderson, So. G Leviticus Glover

Forest Park – Sr. G Stephen McDonald, Jr. F Avery Wilson, Sr. F James Ragland

Dutchtown – Sr. G Charles Rawling, Jr. F Bryce Parks

Ola – Sr. F Larry Smith, So. F Austin Smith

Union Grove – Sr. F Jordan Ateeb, Sr. G Connor Walker

Woodland – Sr. G Josh Daniels

Luella – Jr. PF Richard Jones, Sr. G Javaun Anderson

Stockbridge – Sr. F Virgil Fields, Sr. G Jadon Davis, So. G Raheem Ramsey

Region 5-AAAAA

Alexander – Sr. F Trae Jones, So. G Grant Howard, Sr. G Josh Heath

Allatoona – Sr. G Ephraim Tshimanga,  So. G Trey Doomes, Sr. G Kevin Perry, Sr. G Dylon Ramsey

Paulding County – Sr. G Malik Rush, Sr. G Thaddeus Williams, Jr. C Marcus Austin, Jr. G Dawson Kramer

Hiram – Sr. C Devon Brewer, Sr. G Tre White

Lithia Springs – Sr. F James Williams, Sr. G Jachin Capers, Jr. PF Damion Howell

New Manchester – Jr. G Clinton Bentley, Sr. F Tabashi Thomas, Sr. PF Aaron Reddick

Chapel Hill – Sr. F Cameron Gill

East Paulding – Jr. G Jalen Browder, Sr. G Lennard Browder

South Paulding – Sr. G Kane Williams, Jr. F Ja’Cori Wilson, Sr. F Anthony Brown

Villa Rica – Sr. G Tye Hill, Sr. F Noah Smith, Sr. G Malik Thompson

Region 6-AAAAA

Dunwoody – Sr. F Bernard Millard, Jr. G Zaire Mateen

Stephenson – N/A

M.L. King – Sr. G Juquan Jones, Sr. PF Xavier Smith, Sr. G Owen Clark

Southwest DeKalb – Sr. F Keith Gilmore, Jr. G Darius Hogan

Clarkston – Sr. PF Su Su Entongwe, Sr. G Deshawn Roumou

Druid Hills – Jr. F Jordan Foote, Jr. G Cameron Starkes

Miller Grove – Sr. G Alterique Gilbert, Sr. F Raylon Richardson, Sr. F Aidan Saunders, Jr. G Josh Jackmon, Sr. G Aaron Augustin, Jr. G Tae Hardy, Sr. G Collin Young

Tri-Cities – Fr. G DeMarcus Johnson, Sr. G Laquan Wiltshire

Mays – Sr. G DeMarco Locklin, Sr. G Charles Arnold, Jr. G Roland Pack

Creekside – Sr. G Shawn Rushing, Sr. F Tremell Gooden, So. PF Ibrahima Dado

Carver – Jr. G Kenny Atkins, So. F Octavious Battle, Jr. G Erico Corbett

Banneker – Sr. G Jalen Williams, Jr. F Brendon Tyler,

Region 7-AAAAA

Woodland – Sr. G Jonathon D’Andre Pritchett

Cass – Sr. F Michael Sims, Sr. C Noah James

Sequoyah – Jr. G Jordan Usher, Sr. G Cameron Cox, Sr. G Levi Biddy, Sr. F Jake Sunday

Creekview – Jr. F Chandler Wright, Sr. F Zach Russell, Jr. G Weber Sandlin

Dalton – Sr. F Drake McCowan, Jr. G Nick Hurt, Sr. G Shazman Baggla

Rome – Sr. PF Jai Creamer, Sr. G Trey Driver, Sr. G Daniel Reyes

River Ridge – Sr. G Marcus Spears, Sr. F Stephen Omorogbe

North Atlanta – Sr. G Isaiah Patterson, Sr. G Jordan Williams, Jr. F Derrick Donagan

Cambridge – Jr. G Jackson Boyea, So. G Greco Battles

Sprayberry – Sr. G Rian Oliver, Sr. F Djiman Wilson, Sr. G Chris Cottman

Forsyth Central – Sr. G Cale Jackson, Sr. G Eli Brown, Jr. G Hunter McDonald

Riverwood – Sr. PF Kohl Roberts, Sr. G Elijah Johnson, Sr. G Pryce Watkins

North Springs – So. G Vinnicius Viana, Jr. F Grant Showell, Sr. F Derrien Wright

Kell – Sr. G Tre’ Johnson, Sr. F Jonah Patton, Jr. F Brian Thomas

Region 8-AAAAA

Heritage – Jr. G Isaiah Banks, Jr. G Jordan Thomas, Sr. F Makyle Wilkerson, Jr. G Byron Abrams

Winder-Barrow – Sr. G CeCe Green, Sr. F Brandon Hayes, Sr. F Jay Branch, Sr. G Drezdin Williams

Loganville – Sr. F Tyler Rhodes, Jr. G Dawson Ballard

Clarke Central – Sr. G Desmond Sorrells, So. F Jack Mangel, Sr. G Rayshawn McCall

Lanier – Sr. C Derrick Brown, So. G Adrian Martin, Jr. G Tyler Taylor, Sr. F Tahj Tolbert

Gainesville – Sr. F D’Marcus Simonds, So. F KJ Buffen,  Sr. G Messiah Dorsey, So. G Xavier Bledson, So. F Bailey Minor

Apalachee – Sr. G Kamar Baldwin, Sr. F Jabari Hill

Flowery Branch – Sr. F Gabe Holston, Sr. F Trey Bailey, Jr. G John Mills

Cedar Shoals – Jr. G Phlandrous Fleming, Sr. G Jerrick Mitchell, Jr. F Stavion Stevenson

Discovery – Jr. G DJ Young, Sr. G Theo Benn Jr.

Salem – Sr. F Michael Green, Sr. C Chandler Davis, Sr. G Marcel Small

Players To Watch For In Class AAAAAA

Region 1-AAAAAA

Tift County – Sr. G Tyrie Jackson, Jr. F Preston Horne

Lowndes – Sr. F Brandon Benjamin, Jr. G Octavious Fudge

Lee County – Jr. G Jalin Wimberly, Jr. G Tyler McConnell

Colquitt County – Jr. G Tory Ponder, So. G Cam Singletary

Valdosta – Sr. G Brandon Sharper, Jr. G John E Slater

Region 2-AAAAAA

Lovejoy – Sr. G James Mays

Tucker – Sr. G Javier Russell, Sr. F Adonis Green, Sr. G Amir Butcher, Jr. G Kenton Eskridge

Lakeside – Sr. G Sean Atwater, Sr. G Bennett Fahsel

Alcovy – So. F Darnell Jefferies, Sr. G Jovon Rosse

Rockdale County – Sr. G Jalen Jordan, Sr. G Adam Ellis

Newton – Fr. G Ashton Hagans, Jr. G JD Notae, Sr. G Jaquan Simms

Region 3-AAAAAA

Westlake – Jr. F Chuma Okeke, Sr. G Raquan Wilkins, Jr. G Daniel Lewis, Jr. PF Michael Durr, Sr. F Ronald Bell, So. G Jamie Lewis

Pebblebrook – Sr. G Jared Harper, Jr. G Collin Sexton, Jr. G JJ Smith

Langston Hughes – Jr. G Khalil Cuffee, Jr. G Derrick Cook, Sr. G Justin Jones

Douglas County – Sr. F Brandon Robinson, Sr. G Reece Anderson, Sr. G Kalen Clifton

Newnan – Sr. G Khalil McCoy, Jr. G Nick Parks, Sr. PF Jannson Williams

East Coweta – Jr. C Elafayette Stone, Sr. F Kendall Alford

Campbell – Sr. G Laz Walker, Sr. G Mike Olmert, Sr. F Randy McClure

South Cobb – Sr. G Justin Holliday, Sr. G DorQuincy Jordan, Sr. F Mandell Whitley, So. G Trevin Wade

Region 4-AAAAAA

McEachern – Sr. G Darius Jones, Sr. G AJ Jones, Sr. F Bryce Smith, Fr. F Isaac Okoro

Hillgrove – Jr. G DeMeirre Black, Sr. G Brandon Williams

Osborne – Jr. F Ravion Thornton, Jr. G Kaylan Davis

Marietta – Sr. G KhayVonn Benson, Sr. F Cordarius Jackson

North Paulding – Sr. F Dylan Autenrieth, Jr. F Chad Terrell, Jr. G Ethan Reid

Harrison – Sr. F Austin York, Sr. G DJ Rowe, Jr. G Tate Coston

Kennesaw Mountain – Sr. G Marcel Ellis, Sr. C Brian Vonck

North Cobb – Sr. G Myles Lake, Sr. G DJ Render, Sr. G Ricky Shearman

Region 5-AAAAAA

Walton – Jr. G Junaye Colon, Sr. G Jeremiah Bivins, Sr. G Demetrius Richardson

Roswell – Sr. G Matt Gonda, Jr. G Xavier McKinney

Woodstock – Sr. G Marcus Foo, Jr. G Tyreke Johnson, So. G Dominic Hewitt

Etowah – Sr. G Ryan Grigsby, Sr. G Daniel Hogue

Cherokee – Sr. G Kash Jackson, Jr. F Phillip Cirillo

Wheeler – Sr. PF Romello White, Sr. G Cam Jordan, Jr. G Darius Perry, So. F Reikan Donaldson,  Sr. F Al-Wajid Aminu

Lassiter – Sr. G Diego Valer, So. G Christian Jackson

Milton – Sr. F Chris Lewis, Jr. F Alex O’Connell, Jr. G Kendrick Summerour, So. G Justin Brown, Sr. PF Kyrin Galloway

Pope – Sr. F Drew Miller, Sr. G Mitchell Hollis

Region 6-AAAAAA

North Forsyth – Sr. G Chad Bureau, Sr. G Nick Cunningham

Alpharetta – Jr. F Carlos Carriere, Jr. G David Swillum, Sr. G Keishon Kershaw

Chattahoochee – Sr. G Myles Drye, Jr. F Patrick Troman, Sr. G Ja’von Douglas

Northview – Sr. F Aly Fall, Sr. G Jeremiah Shields, Sr. F Garrett Stewart

Lambert – Sr. G Tanner Hall, Sr. F Ross Morkem, Sr. F Connor Mannion, Jr. G Andrew Melms

Centennial – Sr. F Adam Saeed, Sr. F Darrian Brown

Habersham Central – Sr. G Mason Kinsey, Jr. C Austin Frady

Johns Creek – Sr. G Mark Lancaster, Sr. F Ian Joseph

West Forsyth – Sr. F Kel Pruitt, Sr. F Jeremy Magee, Sr. G Cooper Evans

South Forsyth – Sr. G Chandler Strall, Jr. F Evan Cole

Region 7-AAAAAA

North Gwinnett – Jr. G Adam James, Sr. G Colby Leifson

Meadowcreek – Sr. F Shadiah Toppin, Sr. G Travontay Taylor, Jr. F Anyeuri Castillo

Peachtree Ridge – Sr. G Milz Tatum, Jr. F Connor Heyward, Sr. G Jeremiah Starks

Mountain View – Fr. F Brandon Green, So. G Spencer Rodgers, Sr. G Nick Hayes

Collins Hill – Sr. G Kai Lambert, So. PF Chris Parks, Sr. PF AJ Cheeseman, Sr. F Teshaun Hightower

Duluth – Jr. F Jalen Hodges, So. G Adam Flagler, Sr. C Obinna Ofodile, Sr. G Javis Diaz, Fr. C Alex Powell

Norcross – Jr. F Rayshaun Hammonds, Jr. F Lance Thomas, So. G Dalvin White, Fr. G Kyle Sturdivant, Sr. G Chris Curlett

Mill Creek – Sr. G Miles Riley, Sr. G Charles Botchway, Jr. F Christian Mancillas

Region 8-AAAAAA

Dacula – Sr. F Kevon Tucker, Sr. G Derek St. Hilaire, Sr. G Demari Edwards

Central Gwinnett – Sr. G Adnan Antonio, Sr. G Azaviar Kufour

Berkmar – Jr. G Al Durham, Jr. G Zach Cooks, Jr. G Jay Estime, Sr. C Robert Hill

Archer – Fr. G Brenden Tucker, Sr. G Darrion Taylor, Sr. C Rhiann Mann

Brookwood – Sr. G Sean Agnant,  Jr. G Bubba Parham, Sr. G Micah Kinsey, Jr. G Trae Higginbotham

South Gwinnett – Sr. F Xavier Johnson, Jr. G D’ontay Torrence

Shiloh – Sr. F Josh Okogie, Sr. G Malik Chandler, Sr. G Darnell Rogers, Jr. G Greg James, Sr. G Khalil Richard, Jr. PF Thurman Massenburg

Grayson – Sr. G Austin Dukes, Sr. G Alphonso Willis, Sr. F Trevian Sconiers

Parkview – Sr. F Nasir Walker, Jr. G Aaron Rowe, So. G Cameron Chavers

What To Expect From Kennesaw State Basketball

Well the simple answer to what to expect from Kennesaw State basketball this year is: I don’t know.

The men and women’s programs have made waves since the end of last season and mostly for the wrong reasons, but that is a can of worms that has been opened and hopefully shut by now. The bright side of things has to lie with the men’s team landing former National Coach of the Year, Al Skinner, to lead to downtrodden program.

Yonel Brown is expected to carry the load
Yonel Brown

Kennesaw State’s roster – coaching staff as well — has been a revolving door since Tony Ingle left the school. This year will be no different with a new staff in place and five newcomers joining just six players from last year’s team. Official practice began last Friday and back is senior point guard Yonel Brown who exploded onto the scene after two pedestrian years. Brown finished third in the A-Sun and led the Owls in scoring with 15.2 points per game. Six-foot-seven forward Nigel Pruitt also blossomed into a reliable player and returns for his senior year as well after scoring 12.2 points a night, good for second-best on the team.

Nigel Pruitt
Nigel Pruitt

New Faces

Metro Atlanta hasn’t exactly been pounded for recruiting yet, but Skinner did land a potential gem in Tracy Hector. The 6-foot-4, 212-pound swingman won back-to-back state championships at Jonesboro High School. As a senior, Hector averaged over 12 points and six rebounds a game, but he made a name for himself with his tenacious defense.

Tracy Hector
Tracy Hector

He is a strong athlete that can lock down ball handlers with his ‘in-your-face’ defense while offensively; he attacks the bucket and goes after every loose ball.

Kyle Clarke is another new addition to the backcourt, standing 6-foot-5 as a combo guard. Clarke hails from Florida and has shown a knack for getting into the lane on offense.

Skinner went overseas to land Josh Burnett, another guard that can play forward, from Hawaii. Kosta Jankovic and Aubrey Williams round out the new faces on the roster while Quinnipiac transfer Kendrick Ray is finally eligible to play after having to sit out a season.

Better Times On The Horizon?

So with a new coaching staff and turned over roster, can we expect KSU to take the next step in becoming a respectable program and not just another cupcake on everyone’s schedule? We will know right away. After a home tilt with Middle Georgia, Kennesaw hits the road to play Alabama, LSU and Arizona State. West Virginia, Louisville and Indiana all loom on the schedule as well. The Owls will definitely take some lumps, but coach Skinner needs to see what kind of mettle his team has when facing adversity to be able to find out if his group improves from game to game or if they take beatings and not learn anything from them like they haven’t in the past.

The one positive for KSU is that the A-Sun continues to get weaker and weaker each season with the top programs getting plucked by bigger conferences seemingly every year. This time it is Northern Kentucky, who has only been a D-1 program for three seasons going on four now, that was added to the Horizon League. Meanwhile, Kennesaw State has sat and stewed in the A-Sun since 2005-06 and has yet to make it out of the annual cellar.

NJIT joins the conference, coming off its best record in school history since joining D-1 the same year as KSU, winning 21 games in 2014.

Under coach Skinner, Kennesaw should at least be a competitive team. Losses to conference foes by 36 points should be a thing of the past by now. When watching the Owls play these power conference teams early in the season, losses to annual juggernauts Indiana and Louisville are acceptable. But if KSU lays an egg against an average power conference team like Alabama like they did against Syracuse (89-42), Cal (93-59) and Illinois (93-45) last year, then there is reason to be concerned.

Is there reason to be optimistic this year? Yes there is, but if the team can’t stay competitive with the big schools early on (L by < 30), don’t expect much come conference play.

The Great Debate: Georgia vs. Alabama

Tyler Andrews (@TylerAndrews92)
Kyle Sandy (@KyleSandy355)


UGA Run vs. Bama D

A: I think we can both agree that the game will be won and lost in the trenches with the front sevens of each team trying to stop the opposing team’s running game. Nick Chubb is great and all, but has he faced a defense like Alabama’s? The answer is no. Sorry, but the Tide is a little better than Vanderbilt, who is the best team the Dawgs have played all season…seriously.

Alabama might not have the vaunted defense it once had, but it is still pretty darn good. Through four games this year the Crimson Tide has allowed just 56.8 yards per game on the ground – that’s a miniscule 2.0 yards per carry! Alabama hasn’t given up over 120 yards per game on the ground over a season since Nick Saban’s first year in 2007.

The best defense UGA faced last year was that of the lowly Florida Gators. As a team the Bulldogs rushed for 141 yards on 32 carries; that’s not going to cut it against Alabama. And do I need to remind Georgia fans of how that game turned out? Florida won 38-20 and gashed the pups’ defense for 418 yards with two slightly above average running backs. What is Derrick Henry and a healthy Kenyan Drake going to do?

G: When you think of SEC football you think of ground and pound offenses and hard-nosed defenses. This matchup displays power against power. Georgia has Nick Chubb who has managed to run for 100 yards in 12 straight games. He can beat you in physicality, speed, and even as a receiver. And don’t forget about the change of pace back in Sony Michel who may be Georgia’s most dangerous player on offense. Together they have combined for 822 rushing yards, 185 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in four games. The physicality of Georgia’s offensive line coupled with their two-headed monster in the backfield is something that cannot be stopped. A defense can only hope it can be maintained, especially when this isn’t one of Saban’s of old. And never forget about Keith Marshall.

 

Bama Run vs. UGA D

A: That “devastating” Bulldog defense people in Athens are trying to sell you on doesn’t even measure up to Bama. The Tide have played two ranked teams in current No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 3 Ole Miss. In those games the Badgers rushed for 40 yards on 21 carries while the Rebels gained 92 on 32 totes.

Georgia allowed 174 yards on 39 carries to South Carolina and even Vandy eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Henry rushed for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. In his last healthy season in 2013, Drake gained 694 yards on 7.5 yards per carry. So far this season the duo has combined for 637 yards and nine scores. Last year UGA allowed 166.8 yards per game on the ground and heading into Saturday they have given up twice as much as Alabama has with 107.3. Good luck wrapping up the 6-foot-3, 242-pound Henry. By the way, last time these two teams met, in the 2012 SEC Championship, the Tide rolled for 350 yards rushing.

G: The days of Georgia having an underperforming defense are no longer thanks to the leadership of second-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Last year the team showed glimpses of greatness and this year has been all about sustaining that greatness. The Dawgs have given up only three rushing touchdowns all season and runners are averaging only 3.1 yards/attempt against a team that has had the opportunity to play a ton of second and third-string players in their blowout wins. On the opposing side, Alabama’s Derrick Henry is a great back. Henry is averaging 6.3 yards/carry and has eight rushing touchdowns. But, when Alabama faces a good defense like Georgia and they are in a third-and-long situation with a below-average quarterback, their running game cannot bail them out. I look for Georgia’s defense to set the tone early against the run and force Alabama to beat them through the air, which is something I don’t believe the Tide can do. I also expect a breakout game from middle linebacker Jake Ganus.

 

QB Comparison

A: With Alabama loading the box on defense, Greyson Lambert will be forced to beat the Tide. The bullets haven’t started flying against Lambert yet and he has never seen a defense quite like Alabama. He started 0-for-7 against Vanderbilt and was yanked for Brice Ramsey. The South Carolina game was an aberration, an outlier, a fluke. I have a sneaky suspicious the real Greyson Lambert who was a turnover machine at Virginia will rear his ugly head in this big game. Jake Coker has proven he can be competent against good competition, going 15-of-21 against Wisconsin for 213 yards and a touchdown. He threw for three touchdowns and ran in a score against Ole Miss, but was marred by two interceptions. The rumor on campus however was that Coker was running a 102 degree fever all day.

G: Both UGA and Alabama entered the season with quarterback questions. Since Week 2, the schools have gone in completely different directions. Alabama switched starting quarterbacks before their game against Ole Miss and it turned out to haunt them. Georgia questioned whether Greyson Lambert could lead them after two below-average performances. His 24-of-25, 330-yard performance against South Carolina erased that doubt. Not only would I give the edge to the quarterback that is hot right now in Lambert, but I also give the edge to the team that has their guy and not a circus with two cowboys.

 

History

A: They say history repeats itself. If that’s true, it’s not a good sign for Georgia. We all remember the SEC Championship and of course, how can we forget the “Blackout” gimmick UGA used in 2008? That one really worked well between the bushes. The Dawgs entered the half down 31-0 and limped to a 41-30 loss. Overall, Bama has taken the series 37-24-3. Since 1960, the Crimson Tide has gone 14-7 against UGA. Oh and by the way, Alabama has 15 National Championships to Georgia’s one.

G: Since 2008, the last time these two played in the regular season, their stories have been vastly different. Alabama has won three national titles and three SEC titles. Georgia has lost twice in the SEC title game and had a 6-7 season. The last time these two played in the 2012 SEC title game, Georgia came within four yards of winning and going to the National Championship. When they were blown out at home in 2008 in the blackout game it was much of the same misery felt by all Dawgs fans. But, that’s why I am confident in their task this weekend. Georgia is due for a big win. Georgia is due for a good performance against Alabama. A good team like Georgia who always recruits well and is always hovering in the top ten is due to finally breakthrough and play up to their potential against a big-time opponent.

 

Coaching Comparison

A: When it comes to the sidelines, I’ll take Nick Saban, his four national championships, Lane Kiffin and Kirby Smart over Mark Richt’s goose egg in the cabinet, Brian Schottenheimer and Jeremy Pruitt. Just look at Richt’s debacle against Georgia Tech. He inexplicably pooch kicked with 18 seconds left up three. Then he left fans aghast with his decision to call a timeout with 4 seconds left and the play clock at 3 seconds when Georgia Tech was lining up for the tying kick. Instead of a 58-yarder, Harrison Butker attempted a 53-yarder and the rest is history.

G: It’s hard to say a coach that has won four titles is not as good as one that has yet to win one or even play for one as a head coach, but I am going to say that anyway. In his 15th season, Richt has already compiled 140 wins, a .745 winning percentage and nine 10-win seasons. He won a national title as offensive coordinator at Florida State. But, most importantly he is the ultimate players coach. His good deeds, devotion to faith, and loyalty to his players has to pay off some day. I see him as a Bowden or an Osborne who just takes longer to win that first title. Richt has proven that he is great and nobody can take that away from him.

Home Field Advantage?

 A: In terms of hitting the road against UGA, there isn’t much to worry about. Since ’07, Bama has nine wins on the road against ranked teams. Included in that is wins at Death Valley (LSU) three times, Sanford Stadium (UGA), Ole Miss, Arkansas, Beaver Stadium (Penn State), The Swamp (Florida) and Kyle Field (Texas A&M).

G: The wounds of 2008 are still fresh in the minds and hearts of UGA. Nobody in recent memory has done what Alabama did to the Dawgs on their home field. Not only is redemption on the minds of the UGA faithful, but their 35-year title drought is too. UGA is 74-15 at home under Richt and I would bet on that even facing a team like Alabama.

Prediction

A: 31-21
G: 38-28

*UPDATE*

Alabama won 38-10.
UGA QB’s combined to go 11-of-31 for 106 yards and 3 INTs.
Jake Coker: 11-of-16, 190 yards and 1 TD.
Derrick Henry: 26 carries 148 yards 1 TD (Long of 30).
Nick Chubb: 20 carries 146 yards 1 TD (Long of 83).

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