2018-19 Preseason Boys State Rankings

Oct 21 2018 SandysSpiel  TopStory1  Boys  Team Rankings 

Provided by Sandy’s Spiel

2018-19 Preseason Boys State Rankings


1. Norcross
2. McEachern
3. Meadowcreek
4. Grayson
5. Discovery
6. Wheeler
7. Mountain View
8. Westlake
9. Lambert
10. Pebblebrook


1. Alexander
2. Dacula
3. Tri-Cities
4. Coffee
5. North Atlanta
6. Langston Hughes
7. Heritage-Conyers
8. Tucker
9. South Cobb
10. Sequoyah


1. Southwest DeKalb
2. Buford
3. Eagle’s Landing
4. Lithonia
5. Cedar Shoals
6. Fayette County
7. Columbia
8. Woodland-Stockbridge
9. Starr’s Mill
10. Carrollton

Class AAAA

1. Upson-Lee
2. St. Pius X
3. Sandy Creek
4. Westover
5. Woodward Academy
6. Baldwin
7. Carver-Columbus
8. Henry County
9. LaFayette
10. Americus-Sumter

Class AAA

1. GAC
2. Morgan County
3. Johnson-Savannah
4. Cedar Grove
5. Pace Academy
6. Dawson County
7. Liberty County
8. East Hall
9. Westside-Macon
10. Redan

Class AA

1. Therrell
2. Woodville-Tompkins
3. Washington County
4. Thomasville
5. Metter
6. Northeast-Macon
7. Swainsboro
8. Elbert County
9. Chattooga
10. Dublin

Class A-Private

1. St. Francis
2. Mt. Bethel
3. Greenforest
5. Holy Innocents’
6. Trinity Christian
7. Walker
8. North Cobb Christian
9. Whitefield Academy
10. Darlington

Class A-Public

1. Wilkinson County
2. Georgia Military College
3. Macon County
4. Drew Charter
5. Treutlen
6. Wilcox County
7. Lanier County
8. Calhoun County
9. Pelham
10. Greene County

Welcome to the 2018-19 Preseason State Rankings. More often than not in the evolving climate of high school basketball, state championship contenders are bred in the offseason by skill development, maturation and yes – transfers.

Class 7A

Class AAAAAAA has proven to be the steepest mountain to climb, even for the heaviest of favorites. This year, after two disappointing state title defeats in back-to-back seasons, No. 1 Norcross will open with the target on their back. A star-studded group has new faces and old. The All-State backcourt of Southern California-commit Kyle Sturdivant (17.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.9 apg) and five-star 6-foot-6 junior Brandon Boston (16.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.8 spg, 1.2 bpg) is hard to bet against. The Blue Devils are deep at guard with the additions of 6-foot-5 senior shooter Isaac Martin and 6-foot-3 sophomore Jaden Harris, who was named First Team All-Region 7-A last year at Stratford Academy. 6-foot-3 junior guard Caleb Murphy has grown his game over the summer and parlayed his play into offers from Kennesaw State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Tulane and East Tennessee State. 6-foot-3 Kevon Eskridge also enters his junior season as a lethal three-point shooter that can carry the Blue Devils from deep. In the frontcourt, 6-foot-9 senior Issa Muhammad has shown flashes of his potential, but consistency is still needed from the imposing big man. The late offseason addition of Xavier-commit 6-foot-8 Daniel Ramsey from Deerfield-Windsor pushes the Blue Devils to the top. Ramsey didn’t quite dominate like one would expect in the GISA but the toolsy forward did post 16.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and played against the best this summer with Team Thad. Norcross also gets the nod over No. 2 McEachern after hammering the Indians 75-55 in the Elite Eight. McEachern’s lack of shooting was exploited in the playoffs and ended another nationally ranked season short. It’s been a busy offseason for the Indians as 6-foot-10 shot blocker Babatunde Akingbola (Auburn) exhausted his eligibility and both Cal-commit Charles Smith IV and Devin Gordon dispersed to other Cobb County powers. McEachern quickly reloaded however by dipping into the Carolinas adding four-star 6-foot-6 forward Christian Brown and AOT point guard John Michael-Wright. Brown is a high energy high-flyer that averaged 22 points per game at Lower Richland, SC while battling injuries. Michael-Wright should fit in easily with his AOT teammates. Point guard Sharife Cooper set the EYBL on fire over the offseason with a Collin Sexton-like meteoric rise scoring the ball. The All-State junior will pair once again with All-State wing Isaac Okoro. The physical 6-foot-5 Auburn-commit can get to the rim at ease but his free throw shooting and outside touch must be improved for the Indians to win big games in February. Skilled 6-foot-9 stretch-four Jared Jones has committed to Northwestern. Senior Quinton McElroy and junior Alyn Breed will need to be ready when their number is called. After winning their first-ever state title by clamping down on Norcross, 56-43, No. 3 Meadowcreek has retooled for seconds. The Mustangs won it all last year with defense, using since graduated anchors 6-foot-9 Amari Kelly (Duquesne) and 6-foot-7 Cory Hightower (Presbyterian) to stop anything in the paint. This year’s version will be more guard oriented as the Mustangs plucked three more players from Stackhouse Elite to stay in title contention: 5-foot-11 Jalen Benjamin (UAB), 6-foot-4 Damian Dunn (Temple) and 6-foot-6 junior Jaimonnie Watkins. Dunn opens as a Preseason All-State pick along with 6-foot-5 wing Jamir Chaplin (USF). Dunn averaged 17.5 points, 6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals in Jerry Stackhouse’s hometown of Kinston, NC. Chaplin averaged 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals as a two-way standout. Sophomore point guard Kedrick Green was cool under pressure in big games last year and will have more help handling the ball. No. 4 Grayson has turned into one of the most consistent winners in Gwinnett County without the use of High Major stars. The Rams are coming off consecutive appearances in the Final Four, last season losing to eventual champion Meadowcreek 57-55. Coach Geoffrey Pierce has churned out a seemingly endless line of tough-nosed guards. This season it will be junior Deivon Smith and senior Reco Hallmon’s turn to lead. Smith, an electric 6-foot point guard, plays bigger than his size and is coming off a 7 point per game season. Hallmon, 6-foot-4, is best in transition and is Coach Pierce’s go-to perimeter defender. Four move-ins bolster the attack headed by 6-foot-1 senior Jevon Tatum from Tucker. Tatum was DeKalb County’s leading scorer at 18.3 points per game while collecting 1.9 steals. 6-foot-4 junior Josh Smith averaged 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks while earning First Team All-Region 5-A honors at Holy Innocents’. 6-foot-4 senior Xavier Ayres is back in Gwinnett County after starting at Discovery and playing at Greensboro Day, NC last season while 5-foot-10 sophomore Ashton Malone comes from Norcross and should help as an on-ball defender. Inside, the Rams have bruising double-double threats in 6-foot-6 forwards Taje Kelly and Ian Schieffelin, both sophomores. 6-foot-6 senior forward Kenyon Jackson has been one of the county’s top rebounders and shot blockers over the course of his career. It will be interesting to see if the Texas A&M wide receiver commit plays basketball this season. Heading into Year 4 of the program, No. 5 Discovery has seen talent and inconsistent success. The Titans fell to 11-15 last year after a school-best 17-9 campaign in Year 2. While depth may be a concern compared to other elite teams, the Titans should be able to deploy one of the more talented starting fives in the classification led by 6-foot-4 junior point guard Jaden Walker. The sharpshooter has earned offers from Georgia Tech, Howard, Middle Tennessee State and Mercer. 6-foot-4 senior Hasahnn Reynolds shined this offseason after moving in from Immokalee, FL where he averaged 17.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals. The playmaker has a knack for passing and can play on-ball or off. Continuing the trend of big guards, 6-foot-4 senior Ian Hardy is an athletic lefty and physical slasher while 6-foot-3 junior London Riley is a floor stretcher that just picked up an offer from North Carolina A&T. 6-foot-8 lengthy athlete Leslie Nkereuwem is a Longwood-commit that has slowly developed over the years. No. 6 Wheeler battled their way to the Elite Eight before falling at Newton, 87-81. Three D-I signees depart including McDonald’s All-American EJ Montgomery (Kentucky). The Wildcats got back to business and saw 6-foot-5 Charles Smith IV (Cal), 6-foot-7 Malachi Rhodes (Bucknell) and 6-foot-6 junior Sam Hines all transfer in from the Game Elite family. Rhodes was named Class A-Private First Team last season after averaging 14.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while Hines was a First Team All-Region 6B-A selection with averages of 12.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Pass-first 5-foot-9 senior point guard Roscoe Eastmond and 6-foot-7 widebody junior Darius Gaddy round out a strong core that should see its bigs do damage around the rim. No. 7 Mountain View set a school-record for wins, going 22-6 with a Sweet 16 berth. The legacy-leaving 2018 Class has graduated but Coach BJ Roy has Preseason All-State guard Nahiem Alleyne back to lead the charge. The playmaking 6-foot-3 southpaw can create his own shot and still get others involved. He averaged 13.5 points per game last year before tearing it up this offseason as the newfound No. 1 option. Alleyne will have new running mates in Cam Rowland and Elijah Wilson. Rowland, a 6-foot-1 shooter from North Gwinnett, averaged over 12 points per game as a junior. Wilson, a 6-foot-4 senior, is a proficient jump shooter with length defensively that played at Collins Hill. 6-foot-6 junior Sean-Pierre Akers-Kennedy comes from Lindbergh, MO. He is a strong presence in the paint that can rebound and knock down the 15-footer from the baseline. Senior point guard Jaws Razeq is a heady extension of the coach on the floor while 6-foot-5 Eric Jones is a late-blooming senior forward that came on strong over the summer after breaking his hand last season. Jones’ inside-out consistency could play an important role in determining how good the Bears can be. It’s hard to understand how No. 8 Westlake finished 15-14 and 4-6 in Region 2 with more than enough talent to excel, but the past is the past and the Lions turn the page on a disappointing season that still ended with a Sweet 16 appearance. The transfer bug bit the Lions as five players left the program highlighted by second-leading scorer Koby Isaac (9 ppg – Creekside) and 6-foot-10 star sophomore Franklyn Anselem (Lincoln Prep). All-State combo guard Chase Hunter (Clemson) will rally the troops after posting 15.6 points per game as a junior. Fellow seniors Quincy Olivari (7.6 ppg) and D’Antaye Page (5.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg) have blossomed this offseason. Olivari turned himself into a Rice-commit while Page, 6-foot-4, has proven to be a tough-shot maker with a knack for scoring. 6-foot-4 senior shooting guard Kaleb Wallace has enviable size and athleticism and should improve on his 5.3 point per game average. 6-foot-3 freshman point guard Dillon Hunter, younger brother of Chase, is expected to log big minutes from Day 1 after participating in Team USA Minicamp. Before playing a varsity game, the “reclassed” Hunter already holds offers from Florida State and Clemson. Seemingly a shoo-in to win 20+ games every season, No. 9 Lambert has done so over the past five years recording a 120-27 record. The Longhorns finished 22-6 with a tough loss against Meadowcreek 56-47 in the Sweet 16. The uber-important trio of Damon Stoudamire Jr., Jordan McIlwain and Austin Deckard has graduated but Preseason All-State point guard Mitch Ganote is back for his senior season. Tough as nails, the gritty maestro dazzles with the ball on a string and is a nightly threat to compile a triple-double after averaging 13 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals with four triple-doubles and the record for single-season assists and steals. Inside, 6-foot-8 junior Colin Granger is on the verge of cementing himself as a legitimate D-I recruit following a 10-point, 9-rebound per game season. 6-foot-6 junior Luke Champion is a three-point specialist from the corner while senior Cameron Nayebi is a defensive-minded glue-guy and Thomas Hickey provides versatility as a 6-foot-4 senior wing. Junior backcourt members Braxton Beaty and Will Baker should see increased roles along with 6-foot-6 junior center Kedric Barrett, a physical low-block scorer when engaged. 6-foot-2 freshman Chance Thacker has a bright future and could sneak in minutes Year 1 if needed. No. 10 Pebblebrook exceeded expectations and soared to a 26-3 mark before losing in the Elite Eight to Grayson, 73-66. 6-foot-5 senior wing Devin Gordon transfers in from McEachern with big-game experience and the ability to chip in in multiple ways. The Falcons will turn to homegrown talent this season led by senior Jalen Harper, a smooth 6-foot guard that can score off the bounce and has patiently waited his time to become a top option. The sophomore class of guard Danny Stubbs along with long 6-foot-6 wings Tyler Shirley, Jamall Clyce and Kaleb Washington have a chance to keep Pebblebrook playing at a Top 10 level.

Class 6A

The state champion the past two seasons has come out of Region 5 in Class AAAAAA. The trend could continue this year as No. 1 Alexander starts atop the heap. The Cougars finished 16-12 with a Sweet 16 berth and see 6-foot-8 All-State senior center Brady Spence return after posting 10.1 points, 9 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game. Junior point guard Jaylon Brown averaged 9.7 points, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals as a sophomore while fellow 2020 backcourt member Austin Slate chipped in 4 points per game and hit timely shots. The Cougars ascend to the top spot thanks to two transfers in 6-foot-2 All-State combo guard Malik Battle and CJ Hawkins. Battle was a First Team All-Region 5 selection at Douglas County, averaging 15 points per game and hitting 41-of-103 threes. Hawkins, in from Maryland, is a physical 6-foot-5 swingman that brings toughness and athleticism. Hawkins will help Spence in a big way on the glass and give Coach Jason Slate a hardnosed slasher. No. 2 Dacula saw a coaching change early in the season but still underachieved with a 16-11 record and an 84-67 Sweet 16 exit against Tri-Cities. The Falcons struggled to string together consecutive stops on defense when needed but were able to overwhelm most opponents with their electric backcourt. The Preseason First Team All-State duo of guards Brenden Tucker (College of Charleston) and Mekhail Bethea leads the charge for Coach Byron Wilson. Tucker, a human highlight reel, averaged 18.1 points and 4.2 rebounds while Bethea, one of the smoothest point guards in the entire state, tossed in 14.6 points and 4.7 assists. 6-foot-6 junior Quincy Ademokoya showed flashes of why he holds offers from DePaul and Saint Louis, but struggled with consistency at times. He still managed to chip in 11.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1 block per game. Defense and depth around the Dacula big three will determine how far the Falcons go. The second team in from Region 5 is No. 3 Tri-Cities. The Bulldogs lose star guard Eli Lawrence (MTSU) to graduation, but benefit from transfers to help support Da’Marcus Johnson (15 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.5 spg) and Class 6A Freshman of the Year Peyton Daniels (8.5 ppg) who alone compose one of the top shooting backcourts in the state. Out of four new faces into Coach Omari Forts’ system, 6-foot-4 junior Demetrius Rives, 6-foot-6 senior Alex Bean and 6-foot-1 sophomore Davon Cottle are most impactful. Rives was named Clayton County Underclassman of the Year and All-Clayton County First Team after posting 15 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game at Drew. Bean is back at Tri-Cities after spending a year at The Heritage School while Cottle moves in from Westlake. Coach Forts still has 5-foot-11 senior Titus Hunter (7.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.6 spg) and 6-foot-5 sophomore Eli’sha King (4.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg) at his disposal. At Fulton County Media Day, Forts called Hunter the most underrated player in Region 5 due to his ability to guard multiple positions. Known for their toughness and athleticism, No. 4 Coffee represents South Georgia. The Trojans must replace the Jefferson twins in the backcourt along with bouncy forward Dalrone Donaldson, but Coach Pernell Smith has two All-State anchors in 6-foot-2 senior swingman Jayce Moore and 6-foot-7 Georgia Southern-commit Mackenzie McFatten. Moore, a fearless slasher, averaged a double-double at 19.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 3 steals and 1.1 blocks. McFatten, a multidimensional two-way player, contributed 11.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 2.3 blocks. The supporting cast highlighted by Jordan Moore, Yuserian Landers and Nic Clements will see increased roles. Clements, a 5-foot-8 senior, is a quick ball handler with an outside shot. No. 5 North Atlanta caught fire down the stretch last season, winning 10-straight games before losing to Heritage-Conyers in the Elite Eight 58-53. The Warriors finished 20-11 and carried much of that moment into the offseason, but the loss of top forward, 6-foot-5 Jaylen Bates (Ramsay, AL), is a bit of a setback. Life goes on however with All-State point guard Messiah Thompson ready to orchestrate the offense. The 5-foot-8 playmaker flourished in the offseason after averaging 16.6 points, 8.4 assists and 2.4 steals as a junior and parlayed his play into a Campbell commitment. Thompson has a veteran group around him with 6-foot-3 senior Andrew Robinson (10.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg), 6-foot-4 senior Josh Johnson (5.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and 6-foot-3 senior guard Sam Jennings. 5-foot-7 junior point guard Jarontez Garrett transfers in from Jamestown, VA and will provide the Warriors with another trustworthy ballhandler when teams try to keep the ball out of Thompson’s hands. Garrett can ease the scoring burden as well – he averaged 16 points per game as a sophomore. No. 6 Langston Hughes captured back-to-back state championships on the shoulders of Virginia Tech’s Landers Nolley. The state’s most prolific scorer will need to be replaced, but Coach Rory Welsh has just the guys to fit the bill. 6-foot-5 senior swingman Tyrel Morgan (12.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.6 spg) was a Second Team All-Region 5 pick last year while 6-foot-4 junior guard PJ Carter chipped in 6.7 points, 3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals. Carter could emerge as the Panthers’ top scoring option once all is said and done with his length and three-point prowess. The frontcourt consists of 6-foot-5 junior Josh Butts (4.7 ppg, 4 rpg, 1.4 bpg) and 6-foot-7 senior Papa Samba (3 ppg, 4.4 rpg). Freshman point guard Kobe Davis is a highly touted prospect that should help Langston Hughes. 6-foot-6 sophomore Justin Hall averaged 6.5 points, 4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks at Whitefield Academy before transferring in.  No. 7 Heritage-Conyers flew under the radar last season and exceeded expectations by a mile after losing their top three scorers but still managing to maneuver their way into the Final Four before getting hammered by Gainesville 102-86. Coach Vernon Denmark now has an experienced core in the backcourt that sees three of their top four scorers return for their senior seasons. 5-foot-11 guard Trelan Scott was an All-Region 3 selection after leading the Patriots with 14.5 points per game. 5-foot-9 Josh Guilford (11.3 ppg) and 6-foot-1 Ryan Clements (8.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.7 spg) round out the trio. 6-foot-3 senior Adrian Boykin will likely see an increased role after averaging 3.6 points. 5-foot-10 senior Jorden Wiggins moves back to Heritage after spending a season at Columbia while 5-foot-10 junior Christian Davis transfers from Newton. Scott Avery, 6-foot-5 225 pounds, brings size and physicality from Eastside for his final season. A proud and prestigious program, No. 8 Tucker hasn’t made it out of the first-round of the state playoffs since 2015 when current Auburn Tiger Bryce Brown led them to the Final Four. The Tigers finished 17-12 last year but lose DeKalb County leading scorer Jevon Tatum to Grayson. Coach James Hartry is expected to still have a senior-laden team this year led by All-State 6-foot-7 forward Nathaniel Ogbu, who picked up steam this offseason and earned offers from Florida A&M, USC Upstate, Sam Houston State and Stetson. Ogbu is joined by three-point specialist Nic Watson, who averaged 14.6 points and led DeKalb County in three-point shooting drilling 93-of-170 attempts (55%). 6-foot-5 junior wing Jermontae Hill transfers in from Grady where he earned Region 6-AAAAA Second Team honors after averaging 12.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, helping the Knights to a 5-20 record. Hill picked up offers from Florida State, Ole Miss, Missouri, Kansas State and Texas Tech over the spring and summer months. 6-foot-3 Derrick McLendon is expected to return to the hardwood. The 228-pound four-star defensive end is committed to Florida State and can help out inside and out. No. 9 South Cobb comes off an 18-9 season out of Region 6 where they earned the top seed heading into the state tournament. The Eagles fell 55-42 in the first-round to Tri-Cities. Coach Greg Moultrie has a guard-heavy rotation that relies on speed, effort and defense. First Team All-Region picks Demetrius Bowen (8.2 ppg) and Jaiden Diamond (7.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.1 spg) enter their senior seasons along with Markeith Browning (9.3 ppg), who should be fully healed from a finger injury and Raejon Jones, an electrifyingly quick 5-foot-9 guard. A lack of impactful size may hurt the Eagles down the road, but if they can play their style of ball and control tempo, South Cobb will be a headache to deal with. Sneaking into the Top 10 in the final spot is fellow Region 6er, No. 10 Sequoyah. Coach Allen Carden’s decision to go young and run off those without the same vision back in 2016 has paid off. The Chiefs have gone from 3-23 in his first year to 13-14 last season, a game away from a state playoff berth. With his nucleus now upperclassmen, the Chiefs have two seasons to break through a take ahold of the region. The 2020 junior class consists of 2016-17 Class 6A Freshman of the Year Donovan Shipp and 2017-18 Class 6A Most Improved Player Jackson Greco. Shipp, 5-foot-11, runs the offense averaging 14.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.8 steals. Greco, 6-foot-2, raised his scoring output from 4.2 points as a freshman to 19 points per game as a sophomore and has blossomed into one of the state’s most dangerous shooters, hitting 85-of-197 threes (43%). Football standout Myles McGee emerged as the Chiefs’ third option, the athletic 6-foot guard averaging 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals while breaking the 30-point barrier twice against Harrison. Another footballer, 5-foot-10 DJ King, is the lone senior that plays a key role. He averaged 8.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals, but his sneakily elite court vision (4.9 assists) is what makes him so valuable. 6-foot-4 sophomore Ayden Watson moves in from Holy Spirit Prep and if cleared to play, will bring much needed size and athleticism for Coach Carden to move around the floor. Much like South Cobb, the lack of a post presence could come back to haunt the Chiefs.

Class 5A

Transfers have changed the landscape of Class AAAAA. After getting bit bad by the transfer bug last season losing four key players, No. 1 Southwest DeKalb has brought in five new faces this year, highlighted by the late summer moves of Maurice Harvey and Terrence Edwards from Region 5 rival Miller Grove. The Wolverines’ two best players turn in the Purple and White for Blue and Yellow, making the path to a region championship that much easier for Coach Eugene Brown. Harvey, a 6-foot-3 All-State senior point guard, was Region Player of the Year after posting 14.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Edwards, a 6-foot-5 junior wing, pitched in 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. The two join All-State 6-foot-1 junior KD Johnson, who exploded last year to hang 17 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.5 steals per night and has finally garnered national attention for his play. Johnson carried the Panthers to an 18-12 finish but blew a big double-digit lead in the Sweet 16 and lost to Hiram in overtime 42-41.  Fellow 2020 running mate Eugene Brown III has sprouted up to 6-foot-5 and hit 49-of-154 threes (32%) en route to averaging 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds. Inside, Coach Brown has a plethora of big bodies to throw at opponents anchored by skilled 6-foot-6 forward James Glisson III (12.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.4 bpg). 6-foot-6 sophomore quarterback Rion White, 6-foot-6 senior from Keystone Prep, FL Jalon Pittman, 6-foot-5 junior Dajon Dancil from Clarkston and 6-foot-8 junior Mohamad Diallo from Arabia Mountain will all vie for playing time. No. 2 Buford entered last season as a heavy favorite to repeat as state champs, but instead the 24-5 Wolves were stunned in the Sweet 16 by Miller Grove, 79-75. Coach Eddie Martin returns seniors 6-foot-6 All-State forward Marcus Watson and 5-foot-8 All-State point guard Donell Nixon II. Watson led Gwinnett County in scoring at 22.4 points per game while snatching 6.7 rebounds a night. Nixon averaged 14.3 points, 3 assists and 2.2 steals. The Wolves added All-State 6-foot-6 senior swingman Eric Coleman Jr. (High Point) from King’s Ridge Christian, who can help score at all three levels and pick up the slack on the glass. Seniors Ashton Young, Karston Miller, Bobby Miller and 6-foot-4 Brandon Green will rotate in the backcourt. 6-foot-7 senior Tommy Kamarad should serve as a valuable stretch-four when called upon. No. 3 Eagle’s Landing has had a great influx of talent over the past three seasons compiling a 66-19 record, but the Eagles don’t have much to show for when it comes to the postseason, failing to reach the Elite Eight – last year’s 22-7 team losing to eventual state champion Warner Robins in the second-round 99-82. Coach Elliott Montgomery’s team will be led by four-year varsity veteran, 6-foot-4 wing Christopher Hood, a smooth scorer on the perimeter. Elloie twins Rashad and Randon are back for their senior seasons, Rashad, 6-foot, earning All-Henry County Third Team recognition after averaging 10 points and 6 assists. Junior Keith Lamar is a 6-foot-5 wing that should play an increased role, as well as expected to be eligible 6-foot-9 245-pound senior center Josh Nwafor, a raw space eater that rebounds. Junior 6-foot-3 210-pound wing Kirshon Thrash is a bowling ball that moves in from Mundy’s Mill. He will be a valuable stat sheet stuffer for the Eagles. No. 4 Lithonia improved from 13-17 to 23-7, winning the Region 5 championship and taking state champion Warner Robins to the brink in the Elite Eight, falling 67-64. Preseason All-State guard Eric Gaines enters his junior season as an electric spindly highlight maker. Senior guard Brison Rockcliffe brings veteran experience. 6-foot-7 senior forward Justin Myles is a big-time rim protector, averaging 6.2 rebounds and a DeKalb County-best 2.9 blocks per game. 5-foot-10 senior guard N’Kyzie Hawkins reportedly has moved in from Arabia Mountain where he averaged 13.4 points per game. No. 5 Cedar Shoals underwent growing pains, sinking to 10-18 after playing for the state title in 2016-17. Coach L’Dreco Thomas still scheduled tough and took some lumps along the way, but managed to score a signature 65-64 regular season win over Buford and earned a state playoff berth. Only three seniors graduate, albeit important veterans. The 2020 core enters their junior season led by Preseason All-State guard 6-foot-1 Tyler Johnson, a high energy playmaker that sticks his nose in every play and racks up the stats. 6-foot-6 forward Quincy Canty is a double-double man with a knockdown 15-footer. He picked up his first offer from UAB in late July. 6-foot shooter Demetrius Glenn is a sniper from deep. Senior Quintyis Dillard has heard his name called over the years and will be asked to produce once again as a 6-foot-1 backcourt member. No. 6 Fayette County is set to return its top eight players from last year’s 16-13 team that lost to Stockbridge in the first-round. The Tigers have three-point marksmen in 6-foot-2 senior Ricky Knight (15.2 ppg) and 6-foot-1 junior Jekobe Coleman (11.4 ppg). Knight hit 86-of-255 threes (34%) while Coleman sank 79-of-245 (32%). Senior Josh Dupree is an athletic 6-foot-2 guard that averaged 11.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals. 6-foot-3 Terrell Bradley chipped in 8.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior while Fayette County Freshman of the Year 6-foot-3 Will Richard averaged 4.7 points a night. Dr. Phil McCrary has had a bumpy return to the sidelines at No. 7 Columbia. The Eagles have gone 40-17 since his return, but haven’t been able to reach their potential, losing in the Sweet 16 in 2017 and getting eliminated in the first-round last season by Maynard Jackson after a 19-9 campaign. Columbia has been hemorrhaging talent the past two seasons, this time losing star 6-foot-8 forward Josh Taylor to Greensboro Day, NC, RJ Noord to Greenforest and Jorden Wiggins to Heritage-Conyers. Left is 6-foot-2 junior Devin Longstreet, 6-foot-7 bruising junior post D’Kwon Harris and 6-foot-4 sophomore point guard Liron Thomas, who earned an offer from Marist this summer. No. 8 Starr’s Mill elected to let go of Coach Brandon Hutchins after the program’s best two seasons in school history including last year’s 22-8 record with an Elite Eight appearance and dipped into the college ranks to nab Charlemagne Gibbons from Florida Atlantic, formerly a state championship winning head coach at Morgan County. Gibbons sees All-State 6-foot-5 junior forward Jamaine Mann follow him to Starr’s Mill after posting 10.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.5 blocks per game at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy. Mann joins All-Region 3 Second Team selection 6-foot-2 senior Julian Lynch (12.2 ppg, 5 rpg) and Navy-commit 6-foot-7 senior power forward Nate Allison (10.4 ppg 7.3 rpg, 1.2 bpg) who has struggled to stay healthy. Expect the Panthers to play fast under Coach Gibbons. No. 9 Woodland-Stockbridge navigated their way to an 18-9 season and a state playoff berth. The Wolfpack finished 13-3 in the deeply competitive Region 4 but slipped to the fourth-seed and lost at Starr’s Mill 43-41. Leading scorer 6-foot-1 Curtis Perdue is back for his senior season after averaging 13.4 points. 5-foot-9 junior Diallo Wilburg chipped in 9.1 points per game while 5-foot-9 senior Dwayne Chester averaged 6.9 points, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals. With mountain of a man Shakeel Shaw graduated, 6-foot-8 Rahim Whitehead will have to pick up the slack his senior season after averaging 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds. Second-leading scorer Jalen Mason, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, put up 10 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game, but may focus on football and skip basketball this season. No. 10 Carrollton returns everyone but Robert Simmons and 6-foot-7 Tim Green, who elected to graduate early – a novel concept – and begin his collegiate career at Dalton State. Coach Tim Criswell is back on the sidelines after a scary biking incident kept him in the hospital. Criswell returns to a strong group that finished 15-11 out of Region 7. Juniors Marcellious Lockett and Melvin Edwards are the driving force for the Trojans. Lockett, 6-foot-4, was First Team All-Region and opens the 2019 season as a Preseason All-State pick. The talented scorer can fill it up from all over the floor. Edwards, 6-foot-6, is a combo forward that can knockdown the three-pointer but also plays above the rim and helps out rebounding and protecting the paint. Discovering a consistent third option will be crucial for Carrollton.

Class 4A

Class AAAA belongs to No. 1 Upson-Lee until some one comes and takes it away from them. Winners of back-to-back state championships and 63-straight games, the Runnin’ Knights race on without two-time Class 4A Player of the Year Tye Fagan (UGA) and key starters Cameron Traylor and JaCorey Smith. Preseason All-State First Team selections seniors Zyrice Scott and Travon Walker anchor Coach Darrell Lockhart’s veteran group. Scott, 6-foot-1, averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 assists and 2.5 steals as a junior and will be asked to carry more of the scoring load this season. Walker, 6-foot-5, is the state’s best rebounder and the ultimate difference maker for the Knights inside, posting 12.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks a night. 6-foot-2 senior guard Jarrett Adderton averaged 4.2 points but came up huge in the state championship when the Knights needed it most, collecting 16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Respected arch-nemesis, No. 2 St. Pius X opens right behind the Knights, exactly where they’ve finished the past two seasons as State Runner-Up. The Golden Lions must replace the heart and soul of the team, three-point marksman Everett Lane. All-State senior point guard Matt Gonzalo is one of the most experienced ball handlers in the state and the engine that makes Coach Aaron Parr’s team go, both offensively and defensively. Brother Brian Gonzalo along with 6-foot-3 energy man Zach Ranson, 6-foot-4 wing Patrick Snipes, 6-foot Niko Broadway and late boomer 6-foot-4 wing Riley Costas all enter their senior seasons. Costas picked up steam late during the Live Period and looks ready to fit in and be the prototypical do-everything-needed-to-win type player for the Golden Lions. Freshman guard Chase Cormier is a potential X-Factor. Expect Cormier to fill the void left behind by Lane as an elite three-point shooter. No. 3 Sandy Creek was as close as it gets to dethroning Upson-Lee in the Final Four, losing 52-51 after missing at the buzzer. The Patriots held a 37-30 lead at the half and went back-and-forth in the second half before Tye Fagan split a pair of free throws with 30.3 second left to win the game. One of the top players in the classification, 6-foot-8 swingman TJ Bickerstaff (Drexel) enters his final season. The All-State guard/forward averaged 15.5 points, 9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals. He will be the de facto No. 1 option for Coach Jon-Michael Nickerson after the graduation of Jarred Godfrey (IPFW). 6-foot-4 senior guard Julian Alexander averaged 8.2 points and played extremely well over the summer before injuring himself late. If healthy, Alexander can provide a big scoring lift on the perimeter. 6-foot-9 sophomore Jabari Smith is a lanky stretch-four with a good skill set and offers from Georgia, Arkansas-Little Rock, Georgia Tech and UAB while 6-foot-5 sophomore DeShon Proctor is a sturdy rebounder and physical presence on the low block. Senior point guard Kendric Miller follows in the footsteps of older brother Kam and should provide energy and aggressiveness for the Patriots. 6-foot-2 junior guard Keith Williams III moves in from Newnan where he averaged 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. No. 4 Westover has been trying to bust down the door and announce themselves as a title contender out of Albany for the past two seasons, but the Patriots haven’t been able to escape the second-round. Last year Westover went 22-7 and won the Region 1 championship but struggled to beat a 15-11 Perry team 63-58 and then unraveled against 15-9 Burke County, 73-71, outscored 32-17 in the fourth quarter. With leading scorer and assist man Kris Gardner graduated, it’s now or never for a veteran group led by Preseason All-State Second Team guard Jordan “Snow” Brown. The 6-foot shooter averaged 15.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.5 steals as a junior while drilling 78-of-211 threes (37%). Mike Isler, a 6-foot-4 senior, plays extremely hard as a slashing combo forward. He averaged 10 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2 steals and 1.9 blocks. 6-foot-8 sophomore Isaac Abidde didn’t make much of an impact his freshman season, averaging 2.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1 block, but holds an offer from Mississippi State. 6-foot-2 senior AJ Jackson transfers in from Father Lopez, FL. An athletic freak of nature, Jackson is the state’s bounciest guard and best dunker. He netted 13.2 points per game as a junior and will bring highlights to a well-balanced Westover team. No. 5 Woodward Academy finished 20-9, winning the Region 4 championship and earning a Sweet 16 berth where they lost to Carver-Columbus 58-53. Five-star All-State 7-foot center Walker Kessler headlines an important junior class. Kessler, the Region 4 Player of the Year, carried the War Eagles by hanging 17.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game while knocking down 38-of-87 threes (44%). 6-foot-5 Jacorrei Turner (9.8 ppg) brings athleticism while 5-foot-10 Michael Whitmore (5.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4 apg, 2.6 spg) is relied upon heavily to organize the offense. 6-foot-8 senior Kevin Powell has never quite developed but is still a quality high school player that chips in 4.8 points and 5.6 rebounds. 6-foot-3 senior DJ Gibson and 6-foot-4 junior Will Demorest figure to help out in the backcourt. No. 6 Baldwin went 24-7 and battled their way to the Final Four where they were eliminated by St. Pius in a classic 66-61 thriller. The loss of Brenden Robertson (14 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Region 3 Player of the Year Rodney Walker (10 ppg, 7.2 rpg) will be difficult to deal with, but Coach Buck Harris has an All-State guard in Donte Justice. The athletic 5-foot-10 senior poured in 13.4 points per game and collected 2 steals a night on defense. 5-foot-9 senior point guard Torez Hicks (8.5 ppg, 3.7 apg) is a scrappy defender and floor general. 6-foot-7 senior Justin Webb will be the X-Factor again for the Braves. Webb has teased over the first three years of his career as a potential breakout player but the long swingman has never found consistency. He showed flashes of his potential with Team Georgia Magic this offseason and now the onus is squarely on his shoulders to improve upon his 4.3-point and 2.3-rebound per game average from last season. No. 7 Carver-Columbus led by All-State scoring dynamo 5-foot-10 senior AJ Watts, clawed their way to the Elite Eight before running into St. Pius and losing 77-65. Only four players graduate from last year’s 22-win team but one is Xai Jacobs, an All-Region 1 Honorable Mention selection. Devin Flowers, a 5-foot-9 senior, was a Third Team All-Region pick and will be Watts’ main running mate. Expected to take a major drop off after losing D-1 guards Damion Rosser (New Orleans) and Javon Greene (George Mason), Coach BJ Thomas came in from Monticello and did an exceptional job as No. 8 Henry County posted an 18-11 record with a state playoff appearance. With a previously inexperienced group a year older, the Warhawks could be a sleeper to make a deep run at state. 5-foot-9 senior Josh Steele returns as the team’s leading scorer after netting 12.2 points per game, hitting 67-of-143 threes (46%). 5-foot-10 senior Wisdom Uboh ignites the offense averaging 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals. 6-foot-3 senior Semaj Rice (5.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg) is a versatile glue-guy willing to chip in in different ways. Juniors Jeqhuan Carter and Lay Davis are game-changers after seeing limited minutes as underclassmen. Carter, 6-foot-4, is a physical presence on the block with a nose for the ball. He’s a strong rebounder that can score around the rim. Davis, 6-foot-7, is a long shot-blocker that moves well. Offensively, he does a good job sealing and once he gets used to the physicality of the varsity level, can become a very important piece for Coach Thomas. No. 9 LaFayette broke school records last year and made the rest of the state a believer after a 25-3 season with an Elite Eight berth. The Ramblers ran into the Upson-Lee buzz saw, but have a bulk of their core cast back outside of All-State forward Jon Morgan. All-State point guard Alex Kelehear is the centerpiece for the Ramblers. The 5-foot-11 senior was Region 6 Player of the Year after posting 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Coach Hank Peppers’ supporting cast consists of 5-foot-11 center Dee Southern, combo guard Tyrese Marsh, shooting guard Vyshonn Daniel and 6-foot-2 three-point specialist Andrew Pendergrass, all seniors. The Ramblers’ inability to challenge themselves during the non-region schedule may put a glass ceiling on their ranking. No. 10 Americus-Sumter pieced together a 25-4 season but lost in the Region 1 championship to Westover 67-57 and fell in the Sweet 16 to Baldwin 60-59. The graduation of Eric Hall Jr. (15.6 ppg, 5.3 apg) is a huge loss but Coach Michael Hoffpauir does return reigning Class 4A Most Improved Player 6-foot-7 senior Joshua Lusane. The inside-out forward is skilled in the paint and on the perimeter. He tacked on 15.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. 6-foot-1 junior Traveon Brown (9.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3 apg, 1.9 spg) must fill the void left by Hall while the Panthers still need role players to step up to recreate last year’s success.

Class 3A

With nearly everyone back from their eighth state championship winning team, Class AAA will see No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian open with the target on their back. The Spartans proved their mettle, holding off Pace Academy in the second-round 57-54 and outlasting Morgan County in a classic Final Four showdown 73-71, hitting 13 threes to eliminate the Bulldogs before blowing past Jenkins in the second half for a 67-53 state championship victory. Ultimate floor general 6-foot-2 All-State senior point guard Hunter McIntosh (20 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.5 spg – 4.57 GPA) has ice water in his veins when the game is on the line. Preseason All-State selection 6-foot-4 Belmont-commit Ben Sheppard took his game to the next level, posting 13.7 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. 5-foot-11 senior Roy Dixon is the third head of Coach David Eaton’s balanced attack averaging 11.3 points, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals. 6-foot-4 280-pound future Michigan defensive end Chris Hinton (7.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg) is a punishing force on the low block with great hands and nimble feet. The trio of 6-foot-8 senior center Shawn Ohuabunwa, 6-foot-4 junior Cole Perusek and 6-foot junior Clifton Baskerville highlight some of Coach Eaton’s most important role players. 6-foot-1 sophomore LaMarr Randolph transfers in from Arabia Mountain to provide the Spartans with another floor spacer while 6-foot-5 senior Payton Aiken, from West Forsyth, is a steady forward. No. 2 Morgan County was the heavy favorite to win state all of last season, but in the blink of an eye, GAC tilted the balance of power. Coach Jamond Sims graduates his top frontcourt options from his 29-2 team but replaces them with 6-foot-8 senior Nolan Causwell, a raw big that can help in spurts, and 6-foot-6 physical specimen Malik Crawford, a talented player that has seen inconsistency plague his career. Both won’t be asked to do too much as the All-State tandem of 6-foot-4 Tyrin Lawrence and 6-foot-3 Alec Woodard (Austin Peay) is back for another crack at a state title. 5-foot-9 scrapper Stevin Greene rounds out a senior-laden core that has elite big game experience. No. 3 Johnson-Savannah finished 26-3 in ever-colorful Utaff Gordon’s final season, losing at GAC 75-61 in the Elite Eight. The Atomsmashers were set to return just three players from last year’s team but Rico Campbell slid over to Head Coach and a swarm of transfers poured into Sunset Boulevard. All-State scoring guard 6-foot-1 Shamar Jones (19.4 ppg) is back for his senior season along with 6-foot-2 sophomore Emondre Bowles (10.4 ppg), the lone holdover from the incredible Bowles bloodline. Arguably the best college prospects in the Savannah area from surrounding Region 3 rivals Beach, Jenkins and Islands all move-in with the additions of 6-foot-6 four-star junior wing Brandon Harris, 6-foot-8 senior Lamont Sams and 6-foot-7 sophomore Jalen DeLoach. With a new head coach and shot-hungry players used to being the top options on their teams, managing shot attempts and other surrounding factors will make the Atomsmasher season one of the most interesting storylines in the state to track. No. 4 Cedar Grove fell to Jenkins in the Elite Eight 72-65 and loses a huge senior class highlighted by breakout star Jamari Dean (Georgia Southwestern State). Back in the fold for Coach Miguel Patrick is wily veteran 6-foot-2 point guard Devon Barnes, a four-year starter. 6-foot-5 senior wing Kanaris Cummings started to put it together over the summer and will be a major contributor his senior year as a high-motor multi-positional athlete that’s relentless attacking the glass and willing to defend. Bruising 6-foot-6 245-pound three-star defensive end Tworn Seals enters his senior season while raw 6-foot-8 Chris Carter is now a junior and has shown signs of being able to handle more responsibilities in 2018-19. Challenging Cedar Grove in Region 5 will be No. 5 Pace Academy. Sharman White is back on the sidelines and will try to build around Preseason All-State 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Cole Middleton and 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Madison Durr, a transfer from St. Francis. 5-foot-11 senior point guard Myles Todd is ready to step out of the shadows cast by the post-oriented play from the likes of Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago Bulls) and Isaiah Kelly (Yale), and played exceptionally well at the lead guard position over the offseason with the Ballin’ Blazers. Sophomore guard Josh Mininberg logged major minutes as a freshman and should continue to get better as he matures both physically and with his skill set. Unforeseen circumstances have led to Coach Chad Pittman welcoming a suddenly stacked roster in north Georgia at No. 6 Dawson County. Improving from 14-14 to 19-10 in Year 2 with a 64-52 loss in the Sweet 16 at Cedar Grove, the Tigers have momentum and newfound firepower. The closing of former GICAA power, Dawson Christian Academy, has led to the Eagles’ top players migrating to Tiger Country headed by 6-foot-5 Preseason All-State wing Luke Chism along with 6-foot 215-pound positionless bowling ball senior Ahmad Kamara and 6-foot-5 junior forward Eli Burruss. Dawson County also picked up 6-foot-1 junior point guard Jasper Gibson, an All-Region 8-AAAA pick at Jefferson where he averaged 18.7 points per game before his dad accepted an Assistant Principal/Athletic Director role in Dawsonville this spring. 6-foot junior Campbell Reed is still in Coach Pittman’s backcourt after earning All-Region 7 Honorable Mention accolades. Four-star Will Richardson (Oregon) left No. 7 Liberty County in the dust last year leaving for Oak Hill Academy, but the Panthers still managed a state playoff berth with a 12-13 record. Coach Julian Stokes is expected to return his top seven players led by the senior backcourt of 6-foot-2 Jaden Young (16.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.7 spg), 6-foot-1 Arieus Taylor (13.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg) and 6-foot Keannon Taylor (12.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.2 spg). Juniors 5-foot-10 Albert Dock (6.6 ppg) and 6-foot-4 LaDarrius Mack (6.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg) provide diversity to the offense. The improvement of 6-foot-6 senior Donte Oliphant gives Coach Stokes an athletic rim protector along with 6-foot-5 junior post David Thomas. Longtime Head Coach Joe Dix stepped aside and left for Collins Hill, paving the way for Coach Seth Thompson to inherit a deep and talented group at No. 8 East Hall. The Vikings posted a 17-12 record finishing 11-2 in Region 7 play with a sparkling 88-74 win over eventual state champion GAC early in the season. East Hall fell to Hart County in the opening round of the state playoffs 65-50 and will be in a season-long dogfight in a region that places three Top 10 teams to open the year. The Vikings return All-Region picks 6-foot-6 Jay Rucker and shooter Luke Holtzclaw for their senior seasons. Honorable Mention senior guard Kylan Curry is back alongside blossoming sophomore point guard Imre Earls. 5-foot-8 junior TJ Campbell provides steady play on the perimeter. Junior bigs Malachi Vance and Walter Dixon stand 6-foot-5 and can battle in the paint. No. 9 Westside-Macon snaked their way to a Final Four appearance without Khavon Moore (Texas Tech) and narrowly lost to Jenkins 52-49. The Seminoles must replace Moore (22.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.6 apg, 2.2 spg, 1.8 bpg) and Gregory Holloway (18.5 ppg, 11.9 rpg – Mississippi Valley State). Sophomores Javian Mosley (8.3 ppg) and 6-foot-5 shooting guard Kowacie Reeves Jr. (5.8 ppg) saw invaluable experience as youngsters. Reeves, an elite three-point shooter that continues to sprout up, cashed in on a Florida offer this offseason and will need to prove he warrants the High Major attention now that teams will game plan for him over the next three seasons. 6-foot-1 senior Desmon Foston (6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.2 spg) will help tutor his young backcourt members as one of the most experienced players in the program. No. 10 Redan is the third team from Region 5 to crack the poll. The Raiders finished 14-14 overall and 7-7 in region with a 45-41 win over Calhoun in Round 1 of state before getting eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Hart County 62-39. 5-foot-10 sophomore guard JaVen Smith is a Preseason All-State pick after lighting the state on fire as a freshman pouring in 18.2 points per game – second-best in DeKalb County – and 3.2 assists while drilling 74-of-170 threes (44%). Coach Greg Wood has even more options in 6-foot-1 senior Siah Gray (14.1 ppg, 2.6 apg), 5-foot-11 senior Jordan Whitening (4 apg), 6-foot-5 junior Linard Cole (1.4 bpg) and 5-foot-11 senior Jordan Davis (49-of-125 threes [39%]).

Class 2A

One of the best kept secrets in the state of Georgia resides in Class AA in Atlanta. Tucked away right under our noses, No. 1 Therrell has pumped out talent but not wins until last year. The Panthers have been pilfered by the transfer market like none other in Class AA over the past three years losing consensus five-star No. 1 player in Georgia, Anthony Edwards (Holy Spirit Prep), 6-foot-9 Kennedy Willis (St. Pius X/Middle Georgia Prep) and most recently All-State scoring guard Deandre Brown (Holy Spirit Prep), but Therrell keeps ticking. Brown’s 18.3 points per game will need to be replaced but the Panthers, who entered the state playoffs ranked No. 1, are a year older and look poised to take a deep run after a 20-8 campaign and Elite Eight exit. Preseason All-State selection Roman Son, a 5-foot-10 junior, is a true point guard that is cat quick when getting to the basket. He averaged 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.9 steals. Relentless 6-foot-4 sophomore power forward Robbie Armbrester earned a Preseason All-State nod as well after being named Class 2A Freshman of the Year following averages of 11.4 points and 10.6 rebounds. 6-foot-5 junior Cameron Fortson is another physical presence under the basket, the 215-pound big man collecting 10.8 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a night. 6-foot-5 junior wing Ra’Sean Frederick (9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 spg) is a potential X-Factor with All-State level talent. The powerful lefty can score at all three levels and could push the Panthers over the top. Up from an Elite Eight trip in Class A-Public, No. 2 Woodville-Tompkins is a burgeoning power under Coach Lenny Williams down on the coast of Savannah. The Wolverines improved from 16-11 to 25-4 and are now firmly entrenched in the state title hunt in just Year 5 of the program and Williams’ second season as head man. 6-foot-5 senior Preston Crisp is an All-State double-double threat and the Wolverines’ leading scorer at 17.1 points per game. Woodville-Tompkins in fact returns their top four leading scorers with tough-nosed senior point guard Charleston Willingham, Region 3-A East Player of the Year, back to orchestrate the offense averaging 13.3 points. 6-foot-6 junior small forward Benard Pelote (10.8 ppg) has yet to scratch the surface of his potential while senior Deante Green (9.9 ppg) and freshman Alfred Coaxum help stabilize the backcourt. No. 3 Washington County had ups and downs during their 18-9 season which ended in the second-round against state runner-up Vidalia 52-46 after beating Dublin for the Region 3 championship. A deep balanced scoring attack graduates options one (Curtis Brown – 10.5 ppg) and six (Connor Frazier – 5.4 ppg) but has nearly every other key cog back in place. 6-foot senior Jamarius Dixon (9.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg), thick 6-foot-4 senior Jawan Dukes (9.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1 bpg), 6-foot junior Jarden Maze (6.1 ppg) and 5-foot-9 senior Lazerionta Taylor (5.8 ppg) have all taken turns leading the Golden Hawks in scoring. Long-armed 6-foot-7 senior center Keith Foster (5 ppg, 5 rpg) is a quality option in the paint. After falling short of their goals in back-to-back seasons, No. 4 Thomasville exercised the demons and throttled a scared Vidalia team in the state championship 66-31. The Bulldogs got stronger as the tournament went on and helped send off McDonald’s All-American Reggie Perry to Mississippi State with a title. Preseason All-State pick Vonterius Woolbright is a big guard that will have to carry the load his senior season. Seniors Quindarius Thomas and 6-foot-9 Titus Wright will be focal points of Coach Benjamin Tillman’s offense. No. 5 Metter pieced together a 20-11, 7-7 season out of a brutal Region 2 that saw Swainsboro go undefeated in region play in the regular season, Jeff Davis capture the region championship and Vidalia sneak their way into the AA title game – and don’t forget that Woodville-Tompkins now replaces Benedictine for 2018-19. The Tigers clawed their way into the Sweet 16 but got dumped by Laney 65-55. Metter graduates third-leading scorer Markeevious Byrd, but brings back the rest of its offense. 6-foot-3 senior Keondre Williams (13.5 ppg, 8 rpg) was a Second Team All-Region 2 selection while 6-foot junior Immanuel Hackett (11.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg) was Coach William Altman’s second option. 6-foot-1 junior Lane Young (9.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and 6-foot-1 sophomore Ean Royal (6.8 ppg) round out the core. No. 6 Northeast-Macon has improved every season since All-State combo guard Darius Dunn stepped foot on campus, going from 3-24 to 6-21 to 18-11 last season with a state playoff appearance – the first since 2015. Coach Kevin Grooms will turn to his high-octane backcourt for one last time with Dunn (15.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3 apg, 2.5 spg) and Ty’ree Gilbert (13.6 ppg) entering their senior seasons. 6-foot-2 junior Cameron Cherry (10 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.9 spg) will be asked to take his game to the next level along with senior Kendall Green (4.9 ppg). After getting run out of the gym in the 2016-17 state championship, No. 7 Swainsboro returned nearly their entire roster and looked poised to have another shot at a state title following a perfect 14-0 finish in Region 2, but the Tigers stumbled to the finish line losing their final four games of the season including dropping all the way to the No. 4 seed which set up a first-round matchup on the road with eventual state champion Thomasville. Swainsboro gave the Bulldogs their toughest test of the tournament but ultimately fell 56-50, finishing with a 20-7 record. All-State scoring machine Jaylan McKinney (South Georgia Tech), First Team All-Region guard Trevino Jones and double-double man Eddie Roberts have graduated. The spotlight will now be on 6-foot-3 senior wing Jamil Watkins, a Second Team All-Region pick, and physical sophomore twins Cedric and Fredrick Seabrough, a pair of 6-foot-4 forwards. The Tigers will have to claw their way to another state playoff berth in a top-heavy region. No. 8 Elbert County exploded onto the scene last season, improving from 14-15 to 23-5 with a Sweet 16 appearance in Year 2 under Coach Don Hurlburt. Limited in size, the Blue Devils swept Region 8 power Banks County in the regular season before losing to the Leopards in the region championship. All-State do-everything forward AJ James is the X-Factor for the Devils. Standing around 6-foot-3 on a good day, James is able to play every position on the floor and is a double-double machine. Senior guard Ty Hill returns after an All-Region season along with energy man Jamison Syphore, another experienced senior that plays bigger than his size. Football star Metrius Fleming is expected to return for his senior season after an injury knocked him out last year. Elbert County’s toughness and quickness proved it can carry outside of the region, taking Therrell down to the wire in the second-round losing 67-63. In one of the rare cases that winning a region title was a bad thing, No. 9 Chattooga captured another Region 7 championship and in favor was rewarded with a date with lethal Region 8 four-seed Monticello. In an ugly defensive slugfest, the Indians were eliminated at home 49-44. Coach Jared Groce, who’s gone 72-11 over the past three seasons with a 42-4 mark in region play, returns all of his key contributors from last year’s 23-4 squad led by 5-foot-6 star senior Jundraius “Nuk Nuk” Adams. The playmaking guard bombs from deep and sneaks into the paint to drop passes off to open teammates. Seniors Malachi Mack and Devin Price provide athleticism for an undersized team whose tallest player stands 6-foot-3. Senior Clayton Johnson is a streaky three-point shooter while junior Jamarious Mosteller is one of many duel-sport athletes that shines on the football field. Senior wing Glenn Walker flirted with LaFayette in the offseason and will provide Coach Groce with another tough-nosed defender and outside scorer if eligible. Unlike other dominant small schools in north Georgia, the Indians have decided to load up the schedule and test themselves playing the likes of No. 2 Woodville-Tompkins at the SportalShowcase, Class 6A’s No. 10 Sequoyah and Alpharetta at the War Lodge Invitational along with up-and-coming GICAA standout The King’s Academy. A Sweet 16 loss to Thomasville ended a great season for No. 10 Dublin. All-State fixtures Kam Pauldo (Columbus State) and Clarence Jackson (Middle Georgia Prep) must be replaced by Coach Paul Williams. Second Team All-Region 3 pick Steven Linton is back for his senior season, a powerful 6-foot-5 212-pound center that moves opponents out of the way. 6-foot-4 junior guard Quay King has the potential to be the next big thing out of Dublin.

Class A-Private

Last year in Class A-Private, it was a revolving door of contenders and pretenders with extreme parity outside of the top three or four teams in the state. The classification gets much stronger with the addition of a two-time defending GICAA state champion and a 28-win GISA program, but with new faces entering the fray, No. 1 St. Francis still gets the top spot. The Knights were the classification’s most consistent team from opening tip to final buzzer, but a bad third quarter sank St. Francis in the title game 65-60. So close to capturing the program’s third state championship and first since 2015, instead two key cogs in the nucleus decided to jump ship in 6-foot-6 junior Sam Hines (12.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg – Wheeler) and 6-foot-3 sophomore Madison Durr (Pace Academy). The Knights are in good hands however with Coach Drew Catlett and All-State 6-foot-1 Xavier-commit junior point guard Dwon Odom (15.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 7.9 apg, 2 spg). 6-foot-3 running mate Chase Ellis is back for his junior season after compiling 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a night. 6-foot-1 senior CJ Riley is a lights-out lefty shooter that chipped in 11.8 points per game, drilling 47-of-123 threes (38%). 6-foot-3 senior Sean Paradise (4.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.1 spg) is an ageless veteran that helps out as a premier glue-guy. Sophomores 6-foot-5 Jusaun Holt and 6-foot-6 Kai Simmons will see massively increased roles this season, Holt flourishing over the summer as a high-energy inside-out threat. 6-foot freshman Jordan Brown will see big minutes replacing Durr. Brown is a smooth scorer that can hit the three and create his own shot when getting to the bucket. 6-foot-1 freshman Seth Hubbard projects to be another floor spacing three-point shooter. New to the GHSA is No. 2 Mt. Bethel Christian, who won back-to-back GICAA titles and will now be in Region 6B with St. Francis. 6-foot-8 junior pogo stick Jordan Meka is a developing big man who is still best at blocking shots, but knows how to finish with a bang around the rim. 6-foot-3 senior point guard Coleman Boyd is a good-looking prospect that organizes the offense and understands how to get teammates open. While Meka and Boyd get much of the attention, 6-foot-5 senior forward Stanley Eze is the most important piece. A non-stop relentless athlete, Eze pounds the offensive glass all 32 minutes and brings great effort on both sides of the ball. Primarily a slasher and garbage man on offense, Eze can keep defenses honest from the mid-range. 5-foot-8 sophomore point guard Jayce Harrison transfers in from Fellowship Christian where he averaged 14.9 points, 2 assists and 2.2 steals. For another season, No. 3 Greenforest will field nearly an entirely new roster, pounding the transfer market hard again. A disappointing 16-12 finish last season saw the Eagles improve by leaps and bounds before ultimately losing to Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy for the third time in four tries in the Elite Eight, 69-61. Greenforest adds 6-foot-6 All-State junior guard Lamar Oden (20.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg) from Southwest Atlanta Christian along with 6-foot-10 Christian Fussell (Holy Spirit Prep) and 6-foot-2 sophomore RJ Noord (Columbia). Junior 6-foot guard Dylan Pritchett (7.1 ppg) is expected to still be in the picture but blossoming 6-foot-8 senior center Ibrahima Jarjou has left for Holy Spirt Prep. Addition by subtraction is the reoccurring theme for No. 4 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy. The Chargers rolled to the Final Four with a 27-4 record, but a lack of outside shooting and poor free throw shooting haunted them in a 47-41 loss. The All-State frontcourt of 6-foot-7 Malachi Rhodes (14.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg – Wheeler/Bucknell) and 6-foot-5 Jamaine Mann (10.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg – Starr’s Mill) bailed this offseason but Coach Derrick Mason has hungry new rim runners in 6-foot-5 senior Felix Uadiale and 6-foot-7 junior Izzy Momodu. The late-blooming hard-working Uadiale is a bundle of energy on both ends of the floor, catching alley oops and swatting away shots. Momodu, new from England, will be a project to keep an eye on. With the frontcourt working itself out, make no doubt that ELCA will be more guard oriented led by College of Charleston-commit 6-foot-4 guard Trevon Reddish (9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 2.2 spg). Reddish blew up over the summer as a stat sheet stuffer and will now have the offense run through he and 6-foot-4 senior shooting guard Mekhi Cameron (9.9 ppg). 6-foot-4 senior KJ Jones (9 ppg) is an immensely important shooter that hit 41-of-102 attempts from three (40%) last season. 6-foot-2 senior Kamari Smith and much improved 6-foot-6 versatile junior swingman Jordan Smalls round out a long ELCA lineup. No. 5 Holy Innocents’ had a great season with a young core, making it all the way to the Final Four before running into the St. Francis buzz saw 83-54. All-State sophomore Garrison Powell shined, winning Class A-Private Freshman of the Year pouring in 15.5 points per game. His top option Josh Smith (13.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) has left for Grayson however. Incoming sophomore 6-foot-4 Chance Moore moves in from Chamblee. The smooth scorer earned D-I offers over the summer and should form one of the best 2021 backcourts in the entire state of Georgia with Powell. 6-foot-3 senior Alex Hyatt (11 ppg) is a nice piece that helps the offense click. Finding a true pass-first point guard will be important after graduating big-shot maker Matt Meadows (11.6 ppg). Up from a Final Four trip in the GISA, No. 6 Trinity Christian will look to improve upon a 28-7 finish, this time against much stiffer competition. The Lions graduate a handful of key pieces but their results against GHSA competition were wildly impressive, going 9-1 with wins over Woodward Academy (67-54), Holy Innocents’ (73-65) and Class 3A State Champion GAC (62-57). The junior trio of 6-foot-5 inside-out threat Brady Burnett, 6-foot-4 Maclean Hoekwater and 6-foot-7 Dominican National Team member Giancarlo Bastianoni will power the Lions in Region 5, joining the likes of Greenforest, ELCA and Holy Innocents’. Reigning Region 6B Coach of the Year Bryce Brickhouse returns all but one key contributor for No. 7 Walker. The Wolverines improved from 11-14 to 19-9 and spent time in the Top 10 after a 10-4 mark in region play. A junior class led by All-Region Second Team selections 6-foot-4 Chandler Baker (13.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and 6-foot-6 Burke Chebuhar (13.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg) pace the Walker attack with Honorable Mention selection 5-foot-5 Omar Cooper (10.9 ppg, 4.2 apg) running the offense. No. 8 North Cobb Christian enters 2018-19 coming off an Elite Eight trip and 23-6 record. A lot graduates and shifty guard Myson Lowe transfers to Whitefield Academy, but senior Justin Day, junior Josiah Scott and 6-foot-9 junior Caleb Crumly are expected back. Scott is an electric playmaker that should see the offense run through him while Crumly is a low block presence that can hit the open jumper. No. 9 Whitefield Academy struggled as a young and inexperienced team in Coach Courtney Brooks’ first year on the job, finishing 10-17 with a first-round state playoff loss at Stratford Academy. 6-foot-6 junior Drew Thomas has left for Campbell, but the Wolfpack add 5-foot-8 junior guard Myson Lowe from North Cobb Christian as a No. 1 option on the perimeter. Lowe slides into a deep 2020 class headed by 6-foot-4 AJ Hopkins (9.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg), 5-foot-8 Devonte Watson (9.2 ppg) and 6-foot-1 Rees Pickell (6.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.2 spg). 5-foot-10 senior Julian Munoz was a Team Captain and chipped in 5.5 points. No. 10 Darlington looks poised to improve upon a 14-11 season that ended in the Sweet 16 with a 65-62 loss at North Cobb Christian. All-State 6-foot-6 senior forward JD Hull (17.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg) has recovered from a concussion that left him sidelined for months. 6-foot-3 seniors Barrick Wade (9.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Andrew Land (8.8 ppg, 4 rpg) are three-point marksmen, Wade hitting 44-of-136 (32%) and Land nailing 58-of-160 (36%). The senior-heavy group sees 6-foot Eli Brooks mobilize the offense, averaging 4.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1.7 steals as a junior. Freshman Wit Szymanski, 6-foot-2, moves in from Poland where he was a member of the National Team.

Class A-Public

Ten-time state champion and winner of three-straight and five of the last six titles since Class A-Public split from A-Private, No. 1 Wilkinson County, will begin the year as the assumed favorite. Until someone proves they can beat the Warriors when elimination is on the line, its hard to pick against the Blue Storm. Wilkinson County graduates important pieces like Devin Jones and 6-foot-6 Tylan Grable, but All-State senior guard Jalen Lamar is back after dumping in 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting in Wilco’s 71-68 win over Montgomery County in the state championship. Region 7-West Honorable Mention selection 6-foot-2 Jacob Crockett is expected back for his junior season along with 6-foot-2 Christian Lamar. Senior Raequan Smith comes back with experience in the backcourt as well. Rumors swirled around the Lamars transferring to Jones County, but last reported it seems they have decided to stay in Irwinton. There have also been reports that Dr. Aaron Geter has stepped down as coach to be replaced by assistant Xavier Whipple. No. 2 Georgia Military College enters the season with momentum, coming off a 24-4 season, a Sweet 16 appearance and two summer camp titles. The Bulldogs improved from 12-10 and excelled in Region 7, going 16-2 with a late season 53-43 win over the defending Class A-Private state champions before falling to Wilkinson County in the region championship 58-54 and losing at Woodville-Tompkins 62-51 in the second-round. All-State 6-foot-1 senior Malik Foston (20.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 2.4 spg) has been a talented scorer since his freshman season. Fellow senior, 5-foot-11 Jalen Milner, is Robin to Foston’s Batman, pitching in 15.9 points and 4.1 rebounds a night. Coach James Lunsford will have to find scoring outside of his dynamic backcourt duo as options three through five graduate. If a third scoring option doesn’t materialize, repeating last year’s success may be difficult. No. 3 Macon County powered their way to a 20-6 overall record and 15-1 mark in a deep Region 4 but saw their season cut short in the Elite Eight by region rival Central-Talbotton 72-61 after beating the Hawks 53-46 earlier in the year. Fearless All-State southpaw Clayton Jenkins (17.6 ppg) must be replaced on offense. 5-foot-11 junior Lakeviyon Walker is a tough-nosed football standout that brings his gridiron mentality to the hardwood, playing bigger than his size to average 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals. Walker, much like Jenkins, is a lethal deep-ball threat, hitting a team-best 52-of-146 threes (36%). 6-foot-4 senior Makevion Bonner (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.2 spg) is an improving forward that has started to get more aggressive on the wing. Graduated starters 6-foot-3 Trey Brown and 5-foot-10 Jamaal Rice II are big pieces that need to have their 20.8 points, 12.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists combined replaced. Rising 6-foot-3 junior Shamari Gaines showed flashes of his scoring prowess over the summer and could be in-line for a major uptick in production after netting just 3.8 points per game. Still a young program, Coach James Williams improved No. 4 Drew Charter from 11-12 to 16-13 in his first year and led the program to their first-ever state tournament win, heading down to Homerville to eliminate Clinch County 66-60 before falling in the Sweet 16 to Wilkinson County 74-53. A rare Class A-Public school in Atlanta, the Eagles play arguably the toughest schedule in the classification having to deal with Region 5 private schools such as ELCA, Holy Innocents’, Greenforest, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, Wesleyan and WD Mohammed, all who spent time ranked in the Class A-Private Top 10 last season. Drew Charter more than held their own, posting a 9-6 region record with wins over Greenforest and Wesleyan before dropping in the region semifinals to ELCA 70-56. Things won’t get easier as Trinity Christian enters the GHSA, giving Region 5 five teams in the preseason polls. The Eagles will be battle-tested and have loaded up the non-region schedule as well. While they might not finish with a sexy win-loss record like other public schools, the Eagles are a serious threat come February. Only three players graduate from a now senior-laden lineup. 6-foot-4 Preseason First Team All-State guard Marcus Foster enters his final season after earning interest from multiple Mid-Major schools this offseason. He is joined by versatile inside-out wing 6-foot-4 senior Asher McGee, who can slash to the rim and hit the outside shot. 6-foot-5 junior Solomon Adams has good tools and can play multiple positions in Coach Williams’ frontcourt. Seniors 5-foot-9 Jacquez Denny and 6-foot-3 Jaydin Beasley are reliable options. Following a dominant run in Region 3, No. 5 Treutlen lost its grip and finished 19-9 after a 27-1 season. The Vikings were blown out at home by Fulton Leadership Academy in the opening round of state, 65-48. With Woodville-Tompkins moving to Class 2A and state runner-up Montgomery County graduating its star power, Treutlen has to be considered the favorite to take back over. The Vikes graduate just three players and have Preseason All-State 6-foot-6 senior forward Arkavias Lovett returning along with Region 3-West First Team pick junior Kamron Jordan and Second Team selections senior Tafarjae Jordan and junior guard KaSabian Mitchell. Coach Tyree Coney should be able to rack up the points and the wins with Treutlen’s fast-paced style of play. No. 6 Wilcox County posted a 21-8 record out of Region 2, but got upset in the state playoffs by 12-14 Randolph-Clay, 64-63. The Patriots are expected to bring back their top four scorers, part of a talented 2020 class. 6-foot workhorse forward Desmond Tisdol, a star running back, is a double-double threat inside for the Patriots. 6-foot Cameron Patterson, Jordan Brown and Keyshawn Howard round out an athletic core that plays multiple sports. No. 7 Lanier County exploded from 14-13 to 25-4 in Year 2 under Coach Ty Randolph. The Bulldogs won the Region 2 championship, beating Wilcox County 69-59 but ultimately falling in the Elite Eight to Montgomery County 81-74. Lanier County graduates its top two scorers in Jay Foster (13.3 ppg) and Ny’Jel Bacon (12.3 ppg) but bring back seniors 6-foot-2 James Green (11.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg), 6-foot-5 Tyquan Baker (11.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2 spg, 1.6 bpg) and 6-foot-8 junior Amaree McGriff (6.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.2 bpg). Finding reliable guard play to pair with a long frontcourt will be crucial to the Bulldogs’ success. No. 8 Calhoun County is the last team not named Wilkinson County to win a Class-A Public state championship, coming in 2015. It’s hard to believe that the Cougars only won one with two-time Player of the Year 6-foot-6 Rashun Williams (USF). Since Williams stepped foot in Edison, Calhoun County compiled a 104-17 record, going 56-5 over his final two seasons. After falling 66-53 in the 2017 state title game to Wilkinson County, the Cougs were upended by Montgomery County in the Final Four 80-78. Williams departs with a four-man 2018 class. Senior guards 6-foot Roney Moore and 6-foot-1 Juwaun Wiley have major experience. 6-foot sophomore Tykevious Curry has a high ceiling and should be in position to do damage over the next three seasons while 6-foot junior Jahmad Wiley has been a reliable scorer. No. 9 Pelham finished 23-6 and lost in the Sweet 16 at Manchester, 57-47. Leading scorer Dewaun Jones (12.4 ppg) has graduated but the rest of the offense is back for Coach John Hamilton. 6-foot-4 senior forward Ke’Monterius Byrd is a raw rugged athlete that averaged 11.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks. Juniors Kendrick Patterson (8.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Darrell Starlings (6.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 2.1 spg) balance the offense. Patterson is a 6-foot-4 215-pound quarterback while Starlings, 6-foot-1, runs the point. Its easy to lose No. 10 Greene County in the shuffle in Region 7, but the Tigers recorded their best season (15-10, 11-7) since finishing 23-6 in 2014-15. Coach Gregory Freeman takes over the program after a stint at Class 6A Creekside. He will inherit All-State junior point guard 5-foot-7 DJ Wright, a scoring dynamo that is in the debate for best player in the classification. Wright can fill up the box score but for the Tigers to make the state playoffs for the first time since 2016, they will need to find a supporting cast to help lift the burden off Wright’s more-than capable shoulders.