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Gwinnett County Media Day

Region 6-AAAAAAA

Collins Hill

2015-16 Record: 25-5

They said…

Head Coach Ty Baumgardner

On this year’s outlook:
“We lost a lot. Not just statistically. Also we lost just some toughness and some leadership, so I’m interested to see once practice gets going, how these guys step up in those roles. You know that leadership is huge on any team on any sport.”

On battling injuries last year and finally being healthy:
“Well we have a few nicks and bruises right now, but we’re hoping we are much healthier than we were last year. It seemed like every time we turned around someone was out with an ankle, shoulder or whatever. So if we can stay healthy that will be a plus, but if not, same model as last year: next guy step up.”

On recent Memphis-offeree junior Justin Lee:
“He’s 6-6, 6-7. He’s long, really skilled, beautiful shot and a ton of potential. What can we expect? As with him or anybody else – especially these two guys [Lee and Chris Parks] – they were kind of behind the scenes a little bit last year playing behind some guys but now they’re not. In terms of Justin specifically we need him to play well obviously, we need him to make shots, especially from deep because that will help stretch the defense.”

On senior Kenny Stanciel:
“We’ve got seven guys back. That got valuable experience last year and [region] championship experience, specifically that group of seniors: Kenny Stanciel, Max Clark, JD Ozoh, Ryan Jones, Des Howard. So that’s huge. They’ve been in the system with me now for three years. Our culture is the way I want it. They have some leadership abilities, Kenny especially because he was that sparkplug off the bench. He is an energy guy. And a lot of times energy guys are contagious and energy guys are leaders…Leadership doesn’t have to be one dude, it can be a group effort.

Juniors Justin Lee & Chris Parks

On having to step into a leadership role as upperclassmen:
Parks: “I don’t think there’s that much pressure on us to be a leader. I think that we know that we can lead. We’re upperclassmen now, we’ve seen it happen to us, so I think we can really take that role.”

Lee: “There’s a little pressure because we have to set an example for the younger age groups coming up, but just a little bit, not too much.”

On what you learned playing behind New Orleans-signee AJ Cheeseman:
Parks: “He taught me a lot about footwork and post moves and about feeling him on your back. He taught me a lot of stuff in the post and how to rebound and know where the ball is going to go.”

On what you learned playing behind leading scorer TeShaun Hightower:
Lee: “Mostly toughness. Both of them [Cheeseman] toughness. Because Cheese led us in taking charges last year, so both of them were pretty tough.”

On what people can expect from Collins Hill this year:
Parks: “We are going to be our biggest opponent. It’s all up to us.”


2015-16 Record: 11-14

They said…

Head Coach Cory Cason

On what changes from Year 1 to Year 2:
“I think we are a much more talented basketball team this year. Last year we were kind of pieced together with some guys that were maybe a little more athletes than necessarily skilled basketball players. I think we have more basketball skills and guys with a little higher basketball IQ. I think we also have some guys that play off each other a little bit better.”

On senior guard DJ Young:
“I think DJ really sets the tone for us first of all on the defensive end. I’ve told several college guys I think he’s one of the better on-ball defenders I’ve seen whether it be in high school or time I was in college. He’s really good on the ball guarding guys and that can really set the tone and tempo for a game.”

On senior forward Jaden Stanley:
“We expect him to be a leader on the floor for us. Really help space the floor for us; with his size and ability to shoot the ball it should really help stretch the floor. We are going to rely on him heavily for offensive punch and from a rebounding perspective.”

On junior center Kalu Ezikpe:
“He’s about 6-7, 215. Didn’t play a ton for us last year, just wasn’t quite ready. We put a lot of time into him in the summer individually working on skill. He had a really good summer with AC Georgia. We think he can be a major impact for us. There’s not a lot of true bigs in our region and he’s a guy that can really score on the block when he gets an opportunity to get the ball. I’ve told him, he could be the difference between us being an average team to being a really good team.”

Senior guard DJ Young

On Coach Cason’s growth heading into Year 2:
“This year especially, establishing roles amongst players he’s done a really good job at that. He’s definitely grown as a coach as we’ve grown as players. It’s even better because not only is he a great person to be around, he’s a great person to play for.”

Senior forward Jaden Stanley
On Coach Cason’s growth heading into Year 2:
“I’ve never been around a coach who keeps it in a friendship role with a coach to a player, but you know when to be serious with him. You feel comfortable with him and feel like you can tell him anything.”



2015-16 Record: 16-10

They said… 

Head Coach Cabral Huff

On how to recreate his previous state championship success now at Duluth:
“What you try to do is create family. That family atmosphere, get them to buy into the program, get them to play for the next man next to them. Once we are able to do that, we will contend for a state championship.”

On Jalen Hodges, Adam Flagler and Lamont Smith:
“These guys want to win and they want to win very badly for each other, not just for themselves. You got three different kinds of leaders. Lamont leads by example, more vocal is Flagler and plays hard and Jalen likes to tear down the rim and get the crowd excited and everyone will follow him that way.”

On sophomore center Alex Powell:
“He’s really improved from last year. People will be surprised about his motor, how much he wants to play and how much he wants to win. A lot of people have questioned his strength but I think the time in the weight room this summer and preseason, they are going to see a different Alex Powell this year.”

Senior forward Jalen Hodges

On what he brings:
“Just more leadership. More vocal leadership on the court and off the court. Lead by example and do everything the right way.”

Junior guard Adam Flagler

On what changes now that he’s an upperclassman:
“Leadership and having to step up and guide these younger kids.”

Junior guard Lamont Smith

On how he’s fitting in:
“It’s a good fit. Just got to get guys to trust me more. Coming in in January, just thrown into the fire. Now I have a whole summer under my belt with them.”

On what’s different with Coach Huff:
“The level of work is different. Guys are asking to get in the gym instead of being told to get into the gym. We don’t ever want to go home. We just want to stay in the gym.”


Mill Creek

2015-16 Record: 14-15

They said…

Head Coach David Allen

On senior guard Matty Dobbs:
“He’s just one of those X-factor guys you gotta have. He does the dirty stuff.”

On senior forward Christian Mancillas being the unquestioned leader of the team:
“Yeah without a doubt and he understands that that’s his role. He’s taken it, ever since our postseason conference last year, he’s taken off with the things I’ve asked him to step up and do and he doesn’t need much guidance either. It’s natural.”

On the strength of the team:
“I think team chemistry and strong leadership that is bringing our young kids along at the right pace. We like to think we will be very hard to score on.”

On style of play:
“We are going to do a multitude of things. I think we are going to have some sets where we got a three-out two-in type look and then we got some situations where we can go four-out and our transition game will hopefully be strong for us.”

On incoming freshman guard Kendall Latney:
“We played him a lot this summer just to kind of see where he was and physically I think he’s got the body to handle – not many ninth graders can handle – a varsity situation. I think he’s got the body to possibly do that. Whether he can learn the system and grow into that role whenever he arrives at that point, we’ll see. But I do like him. I think he will be a really good player.”

Senior forward Christian Mancillas

On what he brings his senior season:
“Experience. I’ve been playing varsity four years. I feel like I know the game better than most kids my year because of the experience I’ve had. I can help younger kids, build them up and teach them things they need to know for in-game situations.”

Senior guard Matty Dobbs

On what he brings his senior season:
“Enthusiasm I’d say. Because last year, coming off the bench if we ever needed a pump up I’d be that guy.”


Mountain View

2015-16 Record: 13-13

They said…

Head Coach BJ Roy

On how you go from potential to actual success:
“We started out with a plan. It’s followed through and now we are at the point where we need to take that step. We’ve got to take the step to not just play close games and be competitive but to finish games and to step forward and to take care of things in our region on a night in and night out basis.”

On the optimism surrounding the season:
“This is the most excited I’ve been since coming here because I feel like we are playing with a varsity team against varsity opponents night in and night out where in the past we’ve really been playing young.”

On seeing the program grow:
“We challenge our seniors: do you want to be remembered here? Because every other senior class has not been remembered because they’ve done nothing. We look in our gym, there’s not a boys basketball board in our gym because there’s been nothing. We tell our seniors if you want to be remembered here, make a difference. Be the first one and we are really trying to sell out this year to make a difference.”

Junior guard Miles Long

On how playing together year round benefits:
“I think we have a better chemistry playing with each other year round. We work together. We know where each other are going to be on the court and it helps us score and play better defense.”

Senior center Uchenna Nwagbara

On how playing together year round benefits:
“Same thing. Chemistry. I’ve been playing with them for two years now summer, spring and then season time so we know where everybody is going to be on the court.”

Junior guard Spencer Rodgers

On how playing together year round benefits:
“It’s real tight-knit. We know where each other are going to be. We
can keep pushing each other to be better.”


North Gwinnett

2015-16 Record: 6-20

They said…

Head Coach Matt Garner

On his first year as head coach:
“I think we didn’t meet our expectations. You can call it a rebuilding year, but we expected to win more than six games.

On what changes in Year 2:
“More experience all around, starting with the coaching staff. We have five seniors this year compared to only having three last year. We’re a bigger, faster, stronger team this year. Better athletes. Our freshman and sophomore classes are pretty loaded with guard play so we’re excited about them in the future. But we have three returning starters, last year we had none so I think that’s going to go a long way.”

Sophomore guard Cameron Rowland

On what he brings his sophomore season:
“I can bring distribution of the ball. I can bring talking too, because last year we weren’t really talking on defense or on offense. As a team we can talk more and build chemistry on the court and off the court.”

Senior guard Ethan Smith

On how he plans to be a leader:
“I’m more of a lead by example type guy, he’s [Maffei] probably the voice of the team most of the time. I think we work as a pretty good team of leaders.”

On the growth of Coach Garner:
“He’s definitely a little more poised this year.”

Senior center Brandon Maffei

On being a leader:
“We were captains last year, so I feel coming into this year players will respect us and look up to us and we can get them on track so we can get some wins this year.”


Peachtree Ridge

2015-16 Record: 19-11

They said…

Head Coach Keith Arrington

On how to build off last year’s 19-win season:
“We are going to be a little bit bigger, still not huge. Overall our size is a little bit better. Kids are working hard, lifting, shooting and working on their overall skill level. We’re just going to continue to grind it and work every day. It’s just what we do.”

On the team’s style of play:
“We are still a perimeter team but we are going to get it to the basket a little more than we have in the past. That size is going to help us a little bit more. We are going to share the ball and be an unselfish team. I don’t think we depend on one guy to help us score. We don’t have that one guy that has to get 20 for us to win.”

Junior guard Devin Vassell

On becoming a leader as an upperclassman:
“Just stepping up, it’s going to be a big challenge. Coming up from my last season playing JV and Varsity, now I have to be a leader on the varsity now. I feel like I can handle it.”

Senior guard Kristian Collins

On leading as a senior:
“I think the biggest challenge is going to be for the guys that haven’t had any varsity experience yet. Just getting them used to how we practice and play.”


Region 7-AAAAAAA


2015-16 Record: 20-9 

They Said…

Head Coach Greg Phillips

On whether or not the team’s defense has improved enough from last year:
“Yes and no. Obviously with these three [Durham, Cooks, Estime] they know what we are trying to do defensively, but like they both said we got to get our younger kids to buy into it. It’s those younger kids that will really determine how far we go. Because I know what I’m going to get out of these three, it’s the younger kids, if they can buy into it, will take us a lot farther.

On the strength of the team:
“Guard play and I’ve got to get out of their way. Some years you have to coach a little bit more and some years you need to just get out of their way and let them do them. I’ll be a little more hands-on with the younger guys, letting them understand the role these three are going to play.”

On sophomore Ian Hardy:
“He’s got a chance to [play a lot]. He dressed up some varsity last year towards the end of the year and like all young kids he’s got to be consistent. But if he is consistent, he’s got a chance to play a big role with these guys.”

Indiana-commit senior Al Durham, NJIT-commit senior Zach Cooks & senior Jay Estime

On how to get over the hump and win a state title:
Durham: “Let this fire that us not winning region, state, let that fire take us all the way back to the regular season. Every rep counts. Go harder than you did last year. Just hold everyone accountable and lead; we just got to show up every day and play.”

Cooks: “Last year was tough. Sweet 16. Just learning from last year, what it took to get to the Sweet 16 and just build off that. Lead the young kids, just take the weight and lead. Do as much as we can, we know what it takes. I’ts just having everybody else with us come on the journey.”

Estime: “Last year was pretty rough. We made it to the region championship, lost by three, it was tough. I agree with Al though, holding people accountable. Every rep counts, it’s just the little stuff that will bring us over the top.”

On how playing year round with the Southern Stampede helps:
Durham: “Basically we know each other like the back of our hand. We know what we want to do. What our next person wants to do. We know where to find each other, we know where we all are going to be. We know when he’s going to spot up, when he’s going to cut. We just all think alike now. We are all in sync. So that helps a lot when it comes to pulling weight, leading, so we are all on the same page.”

On leaving a legacy in their final season:
Durham: “It’s very important. It’s your last year, you don’t want to go out losing so basically the only option is to win. You got to leave it [the program] better than it was when you came in. We are trying to make this season memorable and leave a legacy here.”



2015-16 Record: 17-9

They said…

Head Coach Daniel Bowles

On how to build off last year’s 17-win season:
“You got to realize why we won and not just expect it. Just know that we won because we worked hard and bought into having a chip on our shoulder.”

On replacing point guard Micah Kinsey:
“It’ll be different the way we do things. Defensively, we will be a better team. He was a great individual defender and offensively we have to change some things. We just let these guys [Higginbotham, Smith, Parham] stand on the perimeter and let him create and find them for shots. They will have to work a little bit more to get stuff. You’re not going to replace him with just one guy.”

On senior forward Markus Smith:
“Markus is our X-factor. If Markus has a great year we are going to be pretty dang good. If he doesn’t, we are going to be in trouble.”

On replacing the size that transferred this offseason:
“We have some JV guys last year, a couple 6-5’s. We have some decent size but it kind of gives us the freedom to play a little bit faster. We are going to be a little bit more aggressive defensively, getting out and denying things.”


Central Gwinnett

2015-16 Record: 13-14

They said…

Head Coach Branden Mayweather

On the upcoming season:
“We are trying to build off last year getting into the state tournament. We’ve got some good pieces. Jalen Hillery is a heck of a player. He’s got to be ready night in and night out because everyone is going to be gunning for him. We definitely have a chance to be good, we really do.”

On losing JaQuan Morris back to Collins Hill:
“It would help [having him], but we didn’t have him all second semester last year. So we got used to kind of playing and working without him. I think we will be able to pick up the slack. I have some good young guards that I think could turn some heads.”

On players to watch this year:
“Jaylen Morgan from East Jackson. He’s super athletic, he’ll be one to watch. Got a good young guard named [junior] Bernard Kasanda. You walk in the room and he doesn’t impress you, but he does all the little things right. Got a good young freshman that can shoot it as well as any freshman in the state named Skylar Adams that will have a chance to carve out his own role.”



2015-16 Record: 26-4

They said…

Head Coach Jesse McMillan

On how to win their first state title since 2013:
“I think the biggest answer to that question will be sitting at this table right here. I know that that’s a goal they’ve [Hammonds, Thomas, Goldwire] had. All three of these guys have been with us for at least three years now and that’s something that they are reminded of every day. We have a sign in our locker room that says “Our expectations are not diminished” and it’s a picture of a state championship trophy. So we’re not going to shy away from that. We know it’s a big challenge this year but these are guys that have been working three and four years now for their senior year. I believe in them and I think we will be able to put them in a position to get some goals done.”

On getting the chance to play Greenforest again at Holiday Hoopsgiving:
“I feel from a coaching standpoint that we are a year older, a year wiser. These guys have been able to see some things on the AAU circuit that maybe has prepared them for some bigger, stronger teams. It’s an early season test that we’re excited about and win or lose, it’s going to be an opportunity for us to see where we are, two or three games into the season.”

On playing in a brand new region:
“It’s completely different. Now we are in a region that these guys have never played these teams before. When I first started coaching, they were in our region. Teams like Central Gwinnett, Parkview, Brookwood and Berkmar, so it’ll be fun in that regard because it’s going to be some gyms they’ve never been to before. I’m excited; this whole season is going to be new.

Senior power forward Lance Thomas

On losing to Westlake in the Sweet 16 and using it as motivation:
“Definitely. We are playing with a chip on our shoulder.”

On what junior JoJo Toppin brings to the mix:
“His energy just overall. His dancing, just smiling, joking. And on the court he just brings so much energy and plays so hard.”

Senior guard Jordan Goldwire

On losing to Westlake in the Sweet 16 and using it as motivation:
“I definitely think everyone has worked a lot harder. Because we know this is our last year, last chance to get a ring.”

On what junior JoJo Toppin brings to the mix:
“I definitely think he’s going to surprise a lot of people. Not necessarily people don’t really know him, but I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people with his athletic ability. He’s a real good player.”

Senior small forward Rayshaun Hammonds

On losing to Westlake in the Sweet 16 and using it as motivation:
“That’s basically all we talk about ever since we lost that game. We got to beat any team that’s in our way. We got to win state. It doesn’t matter if people are doubting us or anything like that. We’ve got to win state.”

On what junior JoJo Toppin brings to the mix:
“When he came into the program, coming from another school, he didn’t really know what was going on. We basically took him under our wing and showed him what to do and what not to do and how to become an older and more wiser player. Kind of like how to get ready for college. Take everything serious that you do, don’t take anything like a joke.”



2015-16 Record: 10-16

They said… 

Head Coach Nick Gast

On how to transition from a team with potential to becoming a contender:
“That’s the question for us right now.  I think what we did this summer and this fall, we’ve been really working at it and we’ve had some success, which is good but none of that matters until the season starts. That’s the big thing we’ve been talking about all year. Can we turn the potential and some of the hype maybe into actual wins on the court and success.”

On the strength of the team:
“Our biggest strength this year is going to be our depth. We’ve got 10 to 11 guys in our rotation that I expect to give good minutes this year. I’m hoping that we will be able to continue to throw waves at other teams as one group gets tired the next goes in. I also think we are going to be a very good shooting team this year.”

On incoming freshman forward Toneari Lane:
“He’s got great size, great athleticism. He’s very physical and knows how to play around the goal.”

Junior guard Cam Chavers

On having to lead as a junior:
“It’s a little bit of a burden. It’s a good thing.”

On Ahmir Langlais:
“He’s a big part of our success. He helps us out a lot rebounding and getting points in the paint.”

Junior guard Justin Spencer

On being a leader:
“This year I feel like I need to work on it a little bit more. This year I’m going to be more vocal and bring more energy to help us win.”

Sophomore forward Ahmir Langlais

On if there’s any pressure to produce and win games:
“There’s some pressure but we’re still looking good. I’m looking forward to the season. I’m here to play my role and follow these older ones and help us succeed as much as we can.”

On being able to go against older players who are physically stronger for a full season:
“I love a good challenge. I love playing people that are bigger than me, it makes me go harder. I just try to use my advantages over them.”


Region 8-AAAAAAA


2015-16 Record: 10-17

They said…

Assistant Coach Nate Hamilton

On senior forward Garrick Collins:
“Garrick’s a senior. He’s the toughest kid I’ve ever met and he’s a super hardworking kid. Incredible motor, high skilled and high IQ.”

On sophomore point guard Brenden Tucker:
“Brenden is a 6-2 point guard that can jump out of the gym. He can do a lot of things. We work hard with him. We pick him up twice a week to workout. He’s got a lot of upside. He’s going to carry us.”

On the strength of the team:
“Guard play and effort. Technique and discipline. We don’t have five-stars like some of these other guys but we have some heart.”

Sophomore guard Brenden Tucker

On how to stay focused and keep improving:
“Come in the gym, stay humble and don’t worry about what other people say because you still got to work for what you got. I’m trying to get to the next level and working hard will get me to that next level.”

Senior forward Garrick Collins
On what he brings:
“My one goal by the end of this season is to make sure his [Tucker’s] leadership skills are where mine is. I want them to end up getting the ‘ship next year. This kid has the talent to lead them there. Me, all I know is being a leader. I’ve always been my own person. I see that in him.”



2015-16 Record: 22-8

They said…

Head Coach Geoffrey Pierce

On replacing Alphonso Willis and Austin Dukes:
“Collectively. Everybody that’s playing the year is going to be serving a new role. Everyone is going to have to come together and support each other because that was four years apiece of varsity experience. You’re not going to replace two players like that overnight with single individuals.”

On playing in a difficult region:
“You just have to focus on each game as they come. Before and after each game I tell them don’t get too high, don’t get too low. Don’t let one win or loss define your season because it’s a 25-game regular season. If you get too high beating someone in November and December then you come out and mess around after the break and go on a five game losing streak. You just have to go out and be even-keel.”

Sophomore guard Justin Fleming

On replacing Alphonso Willis and Austin Dukes:
“Yeah I’m ready. It’s some big shoes to fill. It’s just a bigger opportunity for me.”

Senior forward Joey Chavez

On having confidence his senior season:
“I think I’m ready. A lot of times last year I felt like I let Coach Pierce down because he put me in and I wouldn’t be ready. But this year I’m really looking forward to being ready whenever my number is called and to give whatever the team needs to win.”

On how to be ready when his number is called:
“I got experience last year so I know what to expect. I’m going to practice harder and be more consistent. I think I’ve grown since last year with my attitude.”

Senior power forward Kyle Butts:

On his role:
“I’m going to do whatever I need to do to help my teammates and please Coach Pierce. That’s really my main thing.”


South Gwinnett

2015-16 Record: 5-20

They said… 

Head Coach Ty Anderson

On how to bring South Gwinnett back to statewide prominence:
“I think it depends on the kids that we got. I can tell you this, we want to win a state championship. We start every year wanting to win a state championship. I don’t care if it’s my first year, fifth year or 50th year, the year we start not trying to win a state championship, they need to fire me. I know we got the guys that want to compete and get better. We’ve got the pieces. I’m excited, I think we have a special year in store for us.”

On describing his coaching style:
“Passion for sure. Passion for getting better, passion for winning. That includes everybody we’ve got on our team. Our entire team goes out there trying to beat somebody. It’s a collaborative effort, style we need to play, what we are comfortable doing, I’m always open to hear what my players have to say.”

On what his program’s identity is:
“Each team every year has their own identity and they may not even know what it is going into a year, but it forms. Each individual team is a living, breathing thing of its own. The biggest thing that we stress right now is we are going to be in shape. We’re going to play hard man-to-man defense every game, because those are the teams I grew up watching my granddad coach.”

On how his first year is coming along:
“I love it so far. I love it. My granddad is a Hall of Fame coach, I got two cousins that are coaching in college right now, I came from coaching in college. Coaching is very much in my blood. The best thing for me so far is just the people we have around us. The people have made it an excellent transition so far.”

Senior forward Brycen Lee

On how he would describe Coach Anderson’ coaching style:
“I feel like when you do something wrong he will yell at you, of course but he’s not just going to yell at you for no reason. He’s just trying to help you. He’s the type of coach if you do good, he’s going to tell you. He makes you feel good to play for him. We are going to feed off his energy and play harder.”


Region 8-AAAAAA


2015-16 Record: 19-7

They said… 

Head Coach Dr. Russell Triaga

On the strength the team:
“I actually think we will be more balanced this year than we have in the past in a sense that we have a couple of guys, ones a sophomore, the other is a junior who we think can score some around the basket. But these guys [Bethea, Goodson, Bishop] are different kinds of guards that they can get to the rim, they can play in the mid-range, it’s not like we are spreading out on the three-point line and seeing how many three-point shots we can take.”

On junior post Shayne Buckingham:
“We went down to Florida and he played really, really well down there. I think Shayne has just caught up to his body. He’s able to do so much more in a small area. He would get confused and his footwork would struggle a bit but he was really impressive throughout the summer time. I really think Shayne can take a big step forward, not only offensively but he’s had time to learn from other guys and he’s now that anchor in the middle of the defense for us.”

On the upcoming season:
“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the group. I say it to everybody who comes through here that team chemistry and these nine guys have the best – and I’m not saying that in a derogatory term of guys who just graduated – it’s some of the best team chemistry and unity I’ve been able to coach in the last 10-12 years….It’s my fifth year here. If we find a way to get to 23 wins, that’s 100 wins in my five years. Not a lot of Gwinnett County schools have won 100 games in five years.”

On being one of only two Gwinnett County schools in a six team region:
“I think it sucks to be honest with you. It’s not so much who; I just don’t like a six-team region. I like the long region, I like the 14-16 region games, because I think over the course of that many games the better teams generally separate themselves from the teams that aren’t as strong. With 10 region games, you play all your region games in a matter of four weeks.”

On sophomore Mekhail Bethea:
“This kid right here is as good as anybody I’ve ever coached. To be completely honest with you, he’s beyond where the three who just left were when they were sophomores. [Dacula all-time leading scorer Kevon Tucker, Derek St. Hilaire, Demari Edwards]

Sophomore Mekhail Bethea

On his expectations entering his sophomore season:
“I’m just going to try to be a playmaker. I’ve been working on my hops so I’m going to try to get the crowd involved with some dunks this year. Just get everybody involved, score, just anything to win because I hate to lose. I love to win. I’m passionate about winning.”

Senior Gary Bishop

On his plans for his final season:
“We are going as far as we can in state. Like he [Triaga] was saying, trying to get him to 100 wins.”

Senior Justin Goodson

On his plans for his final season:
“Winning is the main thing. Play hard each and every day.”


2015-16 Record: 9-17

They said… 

Head Coach Jeremy Huckaby

On their style of play:
“We are going to be up and down. We’re going to have to be up and down and we’re going to have to be better than we were last year defensively. Our skillset is pretty good, but can our toughness match our skillset. We said it a lot last year. Our toughness has to let our skillset take over.”

On how to turn Lanier into more of a basketball school:
“I think Adrian said it. We need to play with a chip on our shoulder. We work our butts off. We come in and have had workouts at 6 A.M. in the morning. We work out in the afternoon. We got to take that work ethic and it’s got to translate to the floor and I think this is the year we do that.”

Junior guard Adrian Martin

On how to continue growing as a player:
“Come in with that chip on my shoulder that I have each and every year. I feel like now this year, I got to lead and now I’m an upperclassman, everyone is looking at what I am going to do for this team. Can we go to the state tournament, can we make a run. I’m trying to work hard every day to get to that goal.”

On junior point guard Christian Pasley:

“He’s going to run the show and show everybody what he can do.
He’s going to be our catalyst. Everything we do goes through him.”

Junior point guard Christian Pasley

On how chemistry with Adrian Martin helps:
“Chemistry is definitely there. I know how he plays, I know where he is on the court so for me, it’s just to find him. He’s a great shooter. I need to make sure he gets in his spots to be successful and for me to get other guys involved.”


Region 8-AAAAA


2015-16 Record: 16-12

They said…

Head Coach Eddie Martin

On how to build chemistry with new pieces:
“It’s about accountability. You’ve got to define roles and we’ve done that through the past. You can’t just do it one time and kind of forget about it. We’ve got to come back and do it again and again and again. I think if we define roles and everybody understands what their role is to help us be successful and we buy into that role, then everything comes together.”

On how to build Buford:
“It’s all about a process. You can’t skip steps in the process. You can’t become a good defensive team until everybody knows how to guard the ball, how they have to play help-side, that type of thing. I felt like last year, with a very inexperienced team, I felt like we got off to a rough start. We had some tough games to begin with but by the end of the year we were playing pretty well. So a lot of these kids being back helps that process along and you add some new faces in there. We feed off what the girls have done and what football has done, volleyball has done. You’ve got to feed off that. You can’t be jealous about that type of stuff you’ve got to feed off it. And to see that, helps raise these guys’ expectations too. These people are doing it, why can’t we? We can, we’ve just go about the process of getting it done.”

Senior center Sahil Patel

On what his job is:
“Making sure all our teammates are together. Last year everyone was inexperienced for the most part. Only Brandon Iverson and Will [Springer] had true varsity experience, so I think my job is to make sure everyone is doing what they need to do and everyone comes together with the new parts we have.”

On the excitement surrounding his final year:
“I’m definitely excited. I’d love to stick around for a couple more years and see how it all plays out because we have a bunch of young kids who are going to grow as players. It will be exciting to watch the next couple of years.”


Region 7-AAA

Greater Atlanta Christian

2015-16 Record: 17-11

They said…

Head Coach David Eaton

On maintaining a focus on the state playoffs while in region play:
“I think the schedule. We are going to play teams like St. Pius, Buford and we are going to a tournament in Charleston where there’s always some D.C. Catholic schools and Berkmar is going to be there. So I think playing teams like that are the type of teams we will really see in the state playoffs. And just the way we work out. It’s not really who we play, it’s about getting the most out of ourselves all the time.”

Senior forward Charlie O’Briant

On entering Year 2 under Coach Eaton:
“Last year was all new. We didn’t know his offensive stuff. This year we’re coming back for our second year so a lot of us returners know it and we are trying to teach the younger guys and their picking it up pretty quick.”

On dealing with adversity in Year 1:
“It was tough because it changed the whole style of how we played and how we approached what we did. This year I’m definitely excited. I think we are going to have a very tight team.”

Sophomore point guard Hunter McIntosh

On entering Year 2 under Coach Eaton:
“He’s more comfortable with everyone. He knows everyone in the program. Last year he was still meeting people and meeting new faces. Now it feels like he’s been here for the longest and now we have a new group coming up so this is all we know. I like the foundation that he’s set.”

On dealing with adversity in Year 1:
“It was partially a distraction but I feel like it kind of rallied our team. I think we learned from that and we grew from it.”

On being thrown into the fire as a freshman:
“From Day 1 it was more coming off the bench, more of a role player type. It did help. I always felt like I could do it [play varsity] but I didn’t have the opportunity. Just playing in that game [against HIES] gave me the confidence  this is where I belong, this is where I can stay.”


Region 5-A


2015-16 Record: 15-11

They said…

Head Coach Adam Griffin

On if there is pressure sliding over to head coach:
“I think responsibility wise, it’s the general ones. I don’t think it’s anymore pressure specifically when I played for Coach [Ryan] Hodges, so I’ve known him for 20 years. He came to me and said he was thinking about doing this [moving from head coach to assistant]. I don’t feel it’s anymore pressure packed and I’m fortunate enough to say that I have a very good group of kids, which makes that transition really easy when you feel like you don’t need to change big cultural things.”

On what he takes away from his 20 years of knowing Coach Hodges:
“I think he’s very good about being very detail oriented. He changes how you look at a scouting report, preparation stuff. Certainly in the first couple of years that was my big learning curve working for him, was how he likes to go about preparation and if it’s not broke you don’t fix it.”

On senior Sean McDonough:
“I think he’s as good as any shooter in the county. He’s coming off of a medical procedure last year that limited him to most of the season just coming out of it. He wasn’t really supposed to play last year so he was playing on than a full couple of wheels. I think we will really get a chance to see what he can do. He’s a workman-like senior whether it be in the weight room, in the classroom or in the gym, he’s a great leader by example. I think teams are always going to need to know where he is.”

On junior Christian McLean:
“Christian’s our leading scorer that led us as a sophomore. He went from freshman, who by mid-season was full-time varsity and getting a ton of playing time to within a year being our leading scorer.

On the strength of the team:
“I think No. 1 for us is our team speed. We are very fast and we can really run. We have a lot of kids that are having very good football seasons, in fact the entire receiver core is our starting backcourt and starting center. So we can run and we can really shoot the basketball. I think we will probably pressure more than we have the last couple of years because our personal allows us to do that. I think we will surprise some people early in the year.”


Region 8-A

Hebron Christian

2015-16 Record: 20-9

They said…

Head Coach Derrick Heberling

On expectations heading into Year 1:
“We are reloading. A lot of good talent over at Hebron so we’re defining roles and learning how we can contribute. It’s going to be a fun year. We have a lot of young and inexperienced talent but we gained a lot of experience through the summer and through our fall league.”

On senior guard Wesley Warbington:
“He’s our point guard. He’s going to be one of our biggest leaders. He’s a great kid. He understands the game of basketball.”

On senior forward John Stewart:
“John is silent, he doesn’t say a whole lot but you don’t see him coming. He’s a ballplayer. He can flat out go.”

On their style of play this year:
“We are going to try and play fast. Surprisingly we are very athletic over at Hebron so we are going to try and push the tempo. We are about 10-deep on our varsity.”

On seeing his old school Central Gwinnett at Media Day:
“It is [a little strange], but it’s good though. I miss those guys. They are great kids; Branden [Mayweather] does a great job. I’ve learned so much from him but it’s exciting.”

Senior guard Wesley Warbington

On how to win the region:
“We are a different team this year. We have a different style of play. We ran a 1-3-1 last year. We are going to bring a lot of different stuff that Lakeview [Academy] hasn’t seen from Hebron.”


 Providence Christian

2015-16 Record: 7-19

They said…

Head Coach Chris Clark

On the season outlook:
“We’ve got a lot of young kids. We’ve graduated four starters from last year. We’re kind of inexperienced at the varsity level but we are going to work very hard. We have a lot of kids that are willing to put in that extra work. We are going to try to change up our style and play a little bit faster than a lot of teams in our region.”

On playing in a region without a statewide powerhouse:
“That’s the good thing because last year I felt like we were really competitive in all our region games. Lakeview Academy won our region last year and without one of our starters, we were winning in the fourth quarter but just kind of didn’t have enough energy to finish the game off. If we’re playing that well against the best team in our region, I feel confident to compete and beat any team in our region.”