Tag Archives: GHSA

Alexander play date notes

Alexander

Hillgrove: 53-33 (W)
South Atlanta: 76-62 (W)
Southwest DeKalb: 49-42 (L)

Through their three games on Saturday, Alexander looked like a team ready to make a run in Class AAAAAA. If they are able to navigate Region 5, the Cougars could be in good shape to take a deep march in the state playoffs. Two key additions will make an immediate impact.

Malik Battle2019 6-3 SG Malik Battle was brilliant throughout the day. The transfer from Douglas County made it obvious why he was First Team All-Region and an All-State Honorable Mention selection last year. Battle was unstoppable at times, averaging 20.3 points over the three games while drilling eight threes. He is a silky-smooth shooter but is good at getting to the rim. Outside of his knack for scoring, it was his mean streak that stood out. Battle is talker on the floor and his mouth is what ignited the final match-up of the day with Southwest DeKalb into feeling like a state playoff game with the intensity and high level of play. Battle is a no-brainer No. 1 option for the Cougars and he played like a legitimate D-I prospect this weekend.

2019 6-5 SF CJ Hawkins will fit an important role with the Cougars this season. The transfer from Maryland provides a little bit of everything. His toughness on the glass will help out Brady Spence immensely. Hawkins was consistent on the day, averaging 8.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Hawkins knocked down three three-pointers and provided energy. He had the highlight of the day when he went hard to the hoop and threw down a one-handed hammer dunk on two 6-foot-6 Southwest DeKalb defenders. Hawkins is a dangerous player that will do what he’s asked, but if needed, can be the second scoring option and give 10-12 points a night.

South Atlanta

Alexander: 76-62 (L)

Only one starter from last season and five players suited up for Coach Michael Reddick, but that did not stop the proud program from competing. With no subs to turn to, the onus was on the five to make the most out of their opportunity.

Ja'Quavian Florence2020 6-3 SG Ja’Quavian Florence will return with a good chunk of experience to a South Atlanta team that loses two of their winningest players in recent years, Dondre Barnes and Jalen Stegall. Florence looks ready to take over the mantle as being the next tough guard in the Hornet backcourt. Florence had a nice flow to his game. He not only dropped in 23 points, hitting three threes, but he led the short-handed Hornets with his overall floor game, collecting 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Florence didn’t force the issue and played within himself even though the bulk of the offense had to run through him. Florence has a nice jump shot that works best when he plays off the ball. Having a large ball handling role in the offense on Saturday should help him down the stretch to round out his offensive game.

David Hollis2021 5-11 SG David Hollis stepped up in a major way, banging home five three-pointers en route to a team-high 25 points. The lefty is a tough player. His three-point shot is his best weapon but he still found chances to attack the hole. If he is able to grow some more, he will be better suited for his 2-guard position. He’s not quite ready to run an offense at the point guard position. If he can’t squeeze out any more inches, working on his ball-handling and ability to finish in the lane would be to area to improve on. Defensively, he has the athletic and strong frame to be able to frustrate weaker guards. Overall, it was a big step forward for the D-Favors Celtic.

Southwest DeKalb

Alexander: 49-42 (W)

The starting five of Southwest DeKalb is intimidating walking off the bus, going 6-1, 6-4, 6-6, 6-7, 6-7. The Panthers will need to get production out of 6-foot-7’s 2021 Rion White and transfer from Florida 2019 Jalen Pittman. If the two bigs can control the paint and do the dirty work, Southwest DeKalb will be a scary proposition with the big three already in place.

2020 6-1 PG KD Johnson to no surprise, was the difference maker in a trash talk, highlight filled Saturday finale with Alexander. Johnson applies pressure on defenses from the second he steps foot on the court. He is in attack mode for the entire game and wears down his opponents. After scoring eight points in the first half, Johnson finished with a game-high 25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He buried three three-pointers and picked up 10 points from the foul line. Locked up with Jaylon Brown, a steady 2020 PG prospect in his own right, Johnson showed Brown what a D-I guard right now looks like. Defensively, Johnson rarely ever gives up on plays and notched one of his trademark chase-down blocks that stirred the crowd. His physicality can really bug guards that aren’t used to his in-your-face defending. His fire was lit after Malik Battle started jawing with him and the Southwest DeKalb bench. Bad idea. A player like Johnson doesn’t need any extra motivation, especially in a summer league game.

James Glisson III2019 6-6 PF James Glisson III can sometimes get lost in the shuffle with the high-flying escapades of KD Johnson and the sharpshooting of 2020 6-4 SG Eugene Brown III, but Glisson is uber-important to the success of the Panthers. A big body, Glisson still has the skills to play minutes on the wing, even though I feel he is at his best with his back to the basket. Glisson had 9 points (1 three), 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. He will have games this year where he will carry the Panthers with his offensive rebounding and inside scoring. I view Glisson as one of the top 2019 power forwards in the state.

Cherokee Summer Shootout notes

Chattahoochee 52, Roswell 43

2021 5-9 PG AJ White came out guns a blazin’, drilling three threes in the first half to give the Cougars an early lead that they would never relinquish. White’s shot was on point, finishing with 16 points going 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-3 from deep. It’s easy to see why White is regarded as one of the smoothest guards in the 2021 class.

2019 6-6 PF Grant Van Beveren posted 12 points (5-10 FG) and 9 rebounds. Outside of his standard productive play in the paint, never trying to do too much, Van Beveren shined as a vocal leader for his young team, encouraging and coaching on the floor and on the bench. With schools like Brown already showing interest, Van Beveren should see his recruitment steadily heat up over the course of his senior season.

First Team All-Region 4-AAAAAAA selection 2019 5-foot-10 PG Miles Herron really struggled for Roswell. He went 0-of-5 from the field and scored all 6 of his points from the line in a two-for-one setting. While his offense was off, Herron brought with him an aggressive on-ball defense. Herron moved his feet very well and used his physical frame to funnel ball handlers. He fought over top of screens and did a good job of not giving up on plays.

Class 7A Freshman of the Year Update

2021 6-4 CG Taihland Owens (Cherokee) put up 14 points in a lopsided loss against Mt. Bethel. Owens looks the part of a blossoming D-I guard. He has the height and physical frame, he can shoot the ball fairly well (hit two threes) and he can get to the basket. As Owens continues to refine his game and mature, don’t be surprised to hear his name as Cherokee County’s next D-I product.

Mt. Bethel Christian

The Eagles, two-time defending GICAA state champs, will have something to say about the GHSA Class A-Private state title next year. With a solid foundation of a three-man core, the Eagles should immediately become a contender in A-Private.

Mt. Bethel is anchored inside by 2020 6-8 PF Jordan Meka, who has the wingspan and bounce to end up being Georgia’s best rim protector in the state. Meka had a slow start in Game 1 against Walton, turning the ball over four times in the first half and failing to score, but in the second half and in Game 2, Meka showed why he is a High Major recruit. In a 52-46 win over Walton, Meka scored all 10 of his points in the second half (5-8 FG). He collected 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks. In a Game 2 blowout of Cherokee, Meka impacted the game from the opening tip, finishing with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks.

Meka runs the floor with grace and can put the ball on the deck in spurts when attacking the basket. He had great energy on defense and contested every shot in the paint. On offense, he showed a smooth lefty hook on the baseline to score over a smaller defender. Meka has all the tools to become bona fide star in the GHSA.

The second-head of the non-stop front court is 2019 6-5 SF Stanley Eze. Eze oozes potential. He completely dominated in both games thanks to has constant attack of the offensive glass. Eze plays extremely hard and has a motor that doesn’t quit. He gets off the ground quick with his second leap. Against Walton he had 21 points (9-12 FG; 1-1 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 2 blocks. In the nightcap, Eze went for 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block. The relentless forward is always looking to get to the rim where he can finish with either hand. His athleticism and activity along with Meka can make the Mt. Bethel interior one of the most exciting offensive/defensive tandems in the state.

The point man of the attack is 2019 6-3 PG Coleman Boyd. Boyd and the Eagles like to get out and run, which is where Boyd is most dangerous. With his big frame, Boyd chooses either to take it all the way to the basket or float lobs to Meka or Eze. Offensively, Boyd didn’t have his best night shooting the ball. Against Walton he had 13 points (2-6 FG; 1-5 3PT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. He scored 7 points and had 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocks against Cherokee. A few times on the night Boyd attacked the basket hard but ended up forcing the issue and taking a tough shot. When in control, Boyd can distribute the ball well and create open looks for his teammates.

Mt. Bethel’s big three should be able to compete with anybody in Class A-Private. They have some quality role players who will have to hit shots in big games. Their Region 6-A battles with St. Francis could end up becoming one of the state’s best new rivalries.

sportalSlam I notes

17U Georgia Man Up

2019 5-10 PG Josh Guilford (Heritage-Conyers) shined in Georgia Man Up’s 67-64 championship victory over Team Affect. He was tricky, using his experience to coax three fouls on three-point attempts. He finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Guilford has a good feel for the game and has momentum coming off of Heritage’s Final Four run in Class AAAAAA. He was the team’s third-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game and will bring with him some veteran savvy his senior season.

Khobe Comer

2019 6-2 SG Khobe Comer (Stockbridge) caught my eye with his pretty shooting stroke and nice size. He was a role player for the Tigers last season but should move up in the rotation. He was a crucial floor spacer for Georgia Man Up and hit three timely three-pointers down the stretch in the championship, hitting four for the game and finishing with 15 points and MVP honors.

2019 5-foot-10 PG Trillis Brown (Stockbridge) averaged 7.3 points during the high school season. He was a playmaker this weekend at sportalSlam I. He came in off the bench to affect the game in ways that don’t always show up on the scoresheet. He netted 6 points, but it was his defensive pressure and decision making with the ball that shined. He had two nice assists and knows how to set up his teammates.

17U Team Affect

Tabais Long

2018 6-5 SF Tabais Long (Salem) is a player that has long interested me. With such size, at first glance you would think the Scotland Prep bound swingman is more akin to playing the role of bruiser on the block, but instead it’s his mixture of skill and physicality that sets him apart. Long can handle the ball like a guard, but punish you on downhill assaults like LeBron James, using his body to absorb contact and finish at the rim. He posted 32 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block in a blowout win and showed all the tools that makes him a prospect to keep tabs on. In the championship game, he struggled with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists, airballing two three-pointers. Over his senior season, Long averaged 11.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals while hitting 45% of his three-point attempts (25-of-55). He has the physical tools to be a productive college player.

Jalen Horton

2019 5-10 PG Jalen Horton (Rockdale County) showed some flashes of being able to carry the load offensively for the Bulldogs next season. After averaging 5 points and 3.6 assists, Horton will be asked to play a much more substantial role in the offense with Sayvon Traylor graduating his 21.9 points per game. Horton is a spark plug guard that likes to break his man down off the dribble. He has to be careful not to over dribble too much. The only time he might force the issue is when he tries to get into the paint. He didn’t take too many bad outside shots this weekend and moved the ball around. He had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in a 35-point win. In a championship loss, he finished with 6 points, 4 assists and 3 steals.

2018 6-5 SF Tehjuan Powell (Salem) is a rugged slasher that finishes with authority at the rim. He led the Seminoles in scoring his senior season at 13.3 points to go with his 5.2 rebounds per game. Everything was towards the basket. He reminded me of Central-Talbotton’s ZyTavian Hill, a physical specimen that imposes his will. Powell had 12 points and 4 rebounds in a rout and posted 16 points and 5 boards in the championship. He must develop an outside shot to keep defenses honest and round out his offensive game. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and isn’t afraid to talk during games.

2018 6-5 PF Jalen Reynolds (Salem) was a space eater inside. He used his wide frame well and showed some back-to-the-basket post moves. He has a strong drop step that freed him up consistently throughout the weekend. One he got his shoulders past the defender, he was strong enough to keep any would-be shot blockers from affecting him. His best game came in the championship with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

2020 5-11 CG Jeremiah Venson (Salem) rose his stock at sportalSlam. The lefty played sparingly this season, averaging 2.9 points per game, but that should change next year. Venson is a microwave from deep, that can get hot in a hurry. He is composed with the ball and can catch defenders off balance. Once his three-point shot is established, Venson can attack the paint and finish in traffic. He had 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals against the Georgia Livin’ Legends and followed up with 14 points on 4 threes in the title game.

16U Georgia Grizzlies

Kedric Barrett

2020 6-6 C Kedric Barrett (Lambert) was so impressive throughout sportalSlam, capping his excellence with MVP honors after wrecking the Smyrna Stars for 25 points and 15 rebounds. Barrett is a big boy and uses his size to his advantage. He is a throw back post that knows how to score around the rim. He loves to turn over his left shoulder to get to his baby hook which he kissed off the glass consistently. The Grizzlies high-lowed teams to death this weekend, using duck-ins to get Barrett free. He has a nice touch that can extend to 15-feet and was money from the line, going 9-of-10 in the championship. Barrett can sometimes incite altercations with his play inside, but when he is locked in and doesn’t get involved with any head games, Barrett is a solid foundation player. Currently, he is stuck behind fellow sophomore 6-foot-8 Colin Granger on the Lambert depth chart.

Franklin Bailey

2020 5-11 SG Franklin Bailey (Chattahoochee) was money from deep. Bailey overall may have been the Grizzlies’ most consistent scorer. He drilled 13 threes in the three games I watched, posting 20, 20 and 11 points. Bailey can’t be left open from deep or he will burn you. He can get his shot off the bounce when needed, but he’s at his best when he keeps his dribble to a minimum. He can be a plug-and-play three-point specialist in a pinch for a young Chattahoochee team.

2020 6-6 F Javani Brown (Johns Creek) has outstanding bloodlines, the son of former 15-year NBA veteran PJ Brown and coaching maestro Dee Brown. Javani is long and lean and has his best ball ahead of him. He can knock down the three, hitting six in a three-game span. He came on strong in the championship game, sinking three deep balls en route to 12 points. Right now he is a bit of a tweener at forward. I’d like to see him work on his post up game to really make him a three-level threat.

16U Smyrna Stars

Sean Rutledge

2020 6-5 PF Sean Rutledge (East Paulding) is a workhorse post with ball skills that will play a big role in new coach JW Cantrell’s offense. I fell in love with Rutledge’s toughness and agility. He is a big bruiser inside but he can ignite his own fast breaks with the dribble. He handles the ball well but is definitely at his best when anchored on the block. He is a bully on the boards with soft hands. He had 11 points and 13 rebounds in the title game. Rutledge has an up-and-under along with some ball fakes in his post arsenal. He plays the angles well and understands how to use his shoulders to score in defenders’ chests. Playing in a more traditional offense will suit his style of play well.

2020 6-2 PG Jordan Jefferson (Hiram) has length at the lead guard position. He possesses a nice three-point stroke as well, hitting four threes on his way to 14 points in the championship game. To no surprise, Jefferson uses his long arms to help out on the boards, corralling 5 rebounds and earning 3 steals. Jefferson could be a useful rotational piece his junior season.

16U Dynasty Elite

2020 6-5 SF Sterling Johnson (King’s Ridge) is a well-built swingman with a dangerous outside shot. He can slash effectively and makes him a threat to score from all three levels. Johnson has the makings of becoming a breakout candidate his junior season considering that Eric Coleman Jr. has transferred to Buford. It should be Johnson’s team at King’s Ridge. It will be interesting to see how new head coach Bob Martin uses Johnson in his offense.

Chase McKey

2020 6-6 F Chase McKey (Mt. Pisgah) is a long forward that is transferring from Johns Creek. He will need to get stronger, but McKey can score inside and out. He can knock down the three-point shot while also using a soft touch around the rim. He should be a quality piece at Mt. Pisah and provide help on both ends of the floor.

15U D-Favors Celtics

Marcus Samuel

2021 5-11 CG Marcus Samuel (Langston Hughes) is physically cable to handle the rigors of the varsity level. He already has one state championship ring as a role player off the bench for the Panthers. Samuel is a bowling ball powerful guard that put defenders to sleep once he got his shoulders by them. He turns the corner, he has a variety of nifty finishes at the rim. He piled in 23 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in a blow out win. Samuel knows how to get two feet in the paint. The next part of his game that needs to develop is a three-point shot.

2021 5-9 PG KJ Webb (Langston Hughes) is a lengthy playmaker that gets after it on both sides. He can disrupt offenses with his on-ball defense which leads to opportunities on offense. He stuffed the stat sheet with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 steals. Webb is a tough guard that should be a valuable piece at the varsity level in due time.

14U Cherokee Legacy

DJ Potts-Heard

2022 5-10 SG DJ Potts-Heard is a floor spacer and a varsity ready three-point shooter. He nailed 5 threes in his 25-point outburst to open sportalSlam. When his feet are set, Potts-Heard can carry a team from deep. He has some nice moves when getting to the basket as well. He is wired to score at this stage of his career. Once he develops more of a floor game as a playmaker, Potts-Heard could really become a big-time player. Either way, he is a sought-after freshman that will need to decide whether to play in Cherokee County or to venture out to private school. Depending on which route he chooses, he could make an impact as a rotational player right away.

2022 6-0 F Robbie Roper (Woodstock) provides energy as a garbage guy. He can do a little bit of everything out on the floor and has a good IQ that often puts him in a position to succeed. He sparked the Legacy in their opening game, springing the eventual champions to life with 6 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals.

2022 6-1 F Ezra Milton (Cherokee) is a physically mature forward that can knock down the three and use his athleticism to score inside. Milton is a banger that has skill offensively. He is another quality player that will be a part of Cherokee’s youth movement.

14U Georgia Grizzlies

2022 5-10 G Maestro Shadburn was aggressive getting to the basket all week. He is a true downhill slasher that does all his work around the rim. He can finish with both hands. Shadburn is a bundle of energy. He posted 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals against the Cherokee Legacy. Developing an outside shot will be the next step in his offensive development.

14U Team MTXE

Grant Rowe

2022 5-7 SG Grant Rowe (St. Pius X) is a money shooter. Rowe has the clutch gene, drilling a deep two off a head fake as time expired to advance onto the championship game. He may be little, but Rowe has a good feel for the game and can get red-hot from deep.

2022 5-10 G Cam Wingo (St. Pius X) was non-stop effort this weekend for Team MTXE. He embodies what being a future Golden Lion is all about: Mental toughness, Extra effort. Wingo is built like a football player and plays like it on the court with a controlled aggression. He is a leader on the floor and will do whatever it takes to win. He reminds me of 2019 6-3 F Zach Ranson, a Wake Forest football-commit, who played an integral part in St. Pius making back-to-back state championship appearances.

REPORT: Seven-time state champion Sharman White set to return to GHSA

According to 247Sports’ Ben Moore, after two seasons on the bench as an assistant coach at Georgia State, seven-time state champion Sharman White returns to GHSA basketball at Pace Academy.

White compiled a 264-47 record at Miller Grove, while adding multiple Coach of the Year accolades to his resume. He was named 2014 USA Today All-USA Coach of the Year after guiding Miller Grove to six-straight state championships. White concluded his stint at Miller Grove by beating Allatoona for the Class AAAAA State Championship in 2016, winning 50-48. White took his underdog Wolverines to the DICK’S National Tournament where they upset Findlay Prep 67-65 before falling to Oak Hill Academy 47-46.

Since White’s departure, Miller Grove has gone 43-17 with a 2017 Final Four appearance and a 67-64 loss in the Class AAAAA State Championship to Warner Robins this season. White is expected to join the Athletic Department at 2016 & 2017 state champion Pace Academy. The Knights won consecutive state titles under Coach Demetrius Smith, led by future NBA Lottery pick, Wendell Carter Jr. This past season, the Knights finished 17-12 with a 57-54 loss in the Sweet 16 at eventual state champ Greater Atlanta Christian.