100 Things To Know Before the 2021-22 Georgia Hoops Season
To borrow a line from Ray Cappo, we're back! The hoops season is upon us here in the Peach State. This is one of the epicenters of the high school basketball world, and we have a ton to be excited about this season.
My old head, JY used to do 64 things to know about Georgia hoops, but I’m a fresh face in town, and I need to up the stakes a bit. Essentially, I spent a few early mornings too wired off of coffee and decided to have a conversation with myself about Georgia hoops for you guys to enjoy. In this primer, you'll find championship and final four picks, top players, top matchups and so much more.
So, here are 100 things you need to know about the 2021-22 Georgia hoops season:
1. Will Milton repeat as AAAAAAA champs? If I had to put money on it, yes. AAAAAAA is loaded, but Milton is the top of the class. Bruce Thornton, Kanaan Carlyle, Chase Cormier, Seth Fitzgerald and Cam Walker make up the deepest backcourt in the state by far. All will be playing D1 ball at the next level, and they’ll be driving the ship for the Eagles this coming season. LT Overton will hold down the frontcourt with Jonathan Murray taking on a stretch four role. Milton’s blend of high-caliber talent and depth will not only have them in a state conversation but a National one as well.
2. Who has the best chance of dethroning Milton? I’ve wavered on the single team that I would pick other than Milton. There are plenty to choose from, but I’ll go with my original pick of Berkmar.
The Patriots came oh so close to beating the Eagles in the title game last season, and they return a senior core of players that led them to that point. Jameel Rideout, Jermahri Hill and Malique Ewin are all back from last year’s deep playoff run, and they look hungry to get back to that point to finish the job. Transfers Brycen Blaine and Antoine Hurns will help the Patriots in terms of added size and depth too.
What separates Berkmar from the rest of the contenders is their experience. They present a senior-heavy roster which is largely composed of guys who have been through this grind before.
3. Anyone else? Definitely. Norcross, Newton and Grayson are teams that I think are legit contenders for a state championship in AAAAAAA.
Each of these teams have rosters packed to the brim with D1-caliber players. Like I said earlier, the only reason I’d pick Berkmar over this crop is because of their experience.
If you wanted to argue that any of these three teams will win the classification, you wouldn’t hear an argument out of me. We’d be splitting hairs at that point.
4. Will Wheeler 3-Peat? Three in a row? That’s a tough task for anyone, but if anyone is going to win AAAAAA, I’d have to pick the Wildcats.
They only return one starter from last year’s senior-laden team. That one player, however, just happens to be one of the top prospects in the state in Isaiah Collier. Radford commit Kyle Burns and Juvon Gamory were significant contributors on last year’s team too. Gamory emerged late as a lethal shooter for the Wildcats, and I’d expect that to continue into this coming season.
Junior forward Arrinten Page had a nice spring and looks ready to step into a larger role for Wheeler. Transfers Jalani Reynolds and Klairus Amir will play major factors in the Wildcats going for their third straight state championship too.
5. Alright, Who is Likely to Stop the Wildcat Dynasty? Westlake is the team that I’d peg to win AAAAAA if Wheeler doesn’t. Westlake will be led by the talented duo of Jalal McKie and Gaddis Heath. They also brought in Mitchell Taylor to run the show. That trio alone can lead to a lot of wins for the Lions.
Other teams that I wouldn’t count out would be Kell, Centennial, Sequoyah and River Ridge.
6. Let’s keep the trend going. What about Eagles Landing repeating in AAAAA? Yes, I think they’ll repeat, but I don’t feel as staunchly about this one as I do the previous two. Eagles Landing is going to be really good again this season, and I think they have to be the favorites to repeat, but they have some really talented teams on their heels.
David Thomas is one of the best prospects in the state’s 2023 class, and AJ Barnes is poised to have another monster season for the Eagles. There isn’t a more talented duo in the classification than those two.
7. Who are the other contenders in AAAAA? Tri-Cities and St. Pius are two teams that I’m high on in AAAAA. I’m sure that’s a consensus opinion, but those teams are both really good. If Eagles Landing doesn’t win, it’s going to be one of those two who takes it.
8. Alright, curveball, who’s Mr. Georgia Basketball? It probably has to be Bruce Thornton, right? The Ohio State commit is the consensus top prospect in the state, and he’s playing on the state’s best team–at least in terms of the preseason.
9. Other Contenders? Man, this is Georgia basketball we’re talking about. Do you think I’m seriously going to list all of the guys who can contend for this award? There are a lot. If we look up and see someone like Malique Ewin or Kaleb Banks with the award, I won’t be surprised.
10. Fair enough. Okay, How ‘bout this, who’s going to be the best junior? Oh man, this is really tough. That 2023 class is ridiculous. I’ll go with Wheeler’s Isaiah Collier for now, but London Johnson, Kanaan Carlyle, Stephon Castle and Jakai Newton are all on my shortlist of candidates.
11. While we’re here, hit me with the best sophomore. The best sophomore? Hmmm, I’ll say this, I’ll be making some trips to see Jayden Williams at Brookwood. The 6-foot-9, versatile big man looks to be one of the elite 2024 prospects.
12. Freshman to know? Pace’s Bryson Tiller and Holy Innocents’ Caleb Wilson are two 6-foot-7 freshmen who figure to be up next when it comes to high-level Georgia prospects.
13. Back to Macon talk. Who do you have taking AAAA? I’ll go with Fayette County because there isn’t a better player in the classification than Kaleb Banks. The Indiana commit is a talent that nobody else has, and I think it’s enough to pencil them in as the class of AAAA.
14. What about AAA? Geez, this is really hard. I’ve been going back-and-forth between a few teams. I’m actually going to pick Sandy Creek. They don’t have the level of talent they had last season, but they still have a good bit of it. This could be one of those weird situations where the team that was supposed to win one year just shows up a year late.
I don’t feel great about this pick because I like some other teams in this classification. We’ll get to that later, but for now, I’ll pick the Patriots.
15. … and AA? This has to be Pace. I feel more confident about this than any other pick. They have the talent and one of the best coaches in the state, so this feels like a no-brainer.
16. Let’s get back to the Macon conversation in a little bit. What’s the most must-see game of the season? That’s a good question. Right now, I’ll say this, Berkmar vs Norcross and Berkmar vs Milton on back-to-back days in December is as good as it gets.
17. Thanks for reminding me. What tournament or showcase do I have to go to? It has to be Holiday Hoopsgiving at Shiloh. That field is loaded. Unfortunately, I’ll have to watch from afar because I’ll be out of town visiting family for Thanksgiving. For a normal person, visiting family on a holiday is a pleasant experience. Clearly, I’m here talking to myself about basketball, so I’m not a normal person. My family is cool, but I’d rather be in the gym. Believe me, I’ll be at my computer watching and rewatching these games.
18. It’s pretty stupid that you’re telling me to go to an event that you won’t even be at. Give me the one you’ll actually be at, so I can tell you that you suck in person. I love the Tournament of Champions and the Champions Classic that are both held at Wheeler over the span of four consecutive days. I’ll be there from start to finish each day. They might as well let me set up a hammock for the week, so I can just spend the night there.
19. Cool. I’m going to be there, and I’m going to hit you with a pie when you walk in the door. Let’s talk about the best region. I know that’s a tall ask, but what region will be the most interesting to follow? 7-7A is the region that immediately comes to mind. Berkmar, Norcross, Archer and Meadowcreek all have teams that I’ really interested in, and watching any combination of those schools battle it out will be really fun.
I have Berkmar winning the region as of now. Norcross is a close, close second. Like, really close second.
20. So does that mean Gwinnett County is where it’s at this year? Yeah, no doubt. Last year, I’d say Cobb was the best, Gwinnett County is the clear top dog this season.
21. Since you brought it up, how’s Cobb County lookin’ this year? It will be solid, but it looks like it’s going to take a major step backward this year. I’d attribute that to the amount of senior talent that graduated last year. It doesn’t help that Scoot Henderson is playing professionally now either. Wheeler and Pebblebrook will be must-see teams, but as of now, those are the only ones that I feel certain about. Kell, Hillgrove and McEachern should all be really good. I’d just like to see more of each before I place them up in the top tier of the county.
22. Back to Macon, we left that conversation off at AA, so who’s winning A Public? I have to go with Drew Charter for now. I love their senior stable of guards. I don’t know that anyone in the classification will be able to match their backcourt production.
JaKobe Strozier and Ja’Quez Thornton are two of the best in the state. Both are poised to have huge senior seasons.
23. What about A Private? You could make an argument for so many of these schools, and I wouldn’t bat an eye. I’m having a hard time picking this one because there are so many reasonable options.
For now, I’ll go with Greenforest because they have like 100 7-footers. Nobody else can match their size and frontcourt depth. They also have a high-level guard in Jalen Forest who’ll be able to get the bigs involved or take on the primary scoring role.
24. We’ve been through all of the champions. We’re going to get to some Final Four picks later, but tell me about a break-out senior candidate. Wow, this could be the toughest one you’ve asked me yet. I’m going to go with Eamonn Kenah from St. Pius. He’s a great player that’s teetering on the verge of having a blow-up in terms of recruitment. He’s got good positional size, he’s a great leader and teammate, he comes from teams who strongly emphasize defense, he’s a good, multi-level scorer, and he genuinely leaves it all on the floor every game.
25. Let’s do the same thing for juniors. Who’s going to burst onto radars? I’ll say Norcross’ Samarion Bond or Pebblebrook’s Jaiun Simon. They’ve both skyrocketed in my mental rankings after each time I saw them this offseason. Now that they’ll both be stepping into larger roles on their respective teams, I would assume that they’ll continue to surge as prospects.
26. In the same vein, which seniors should we follow outside of the general Atlanta area? Aidan Hadaway and D’ante Bass are two of the best players outside of the Atlanta area, so I’d make sure to check in on LaFayette and Windsor-Forest to see those guys this season.
27. I’m sure you know I’m going to ask you the same thing but about juniors and the like, so go ahead and tell me about the best junior outside of metro Atlanta. I’d say either Tahj Johnson at Hart County or Eren Banks down at Putnam County. Both guys are highly regarded in the state’s ridiculously deep 2023 class, and both guys are poised some noise with their respective teams this season.
28. Now, do the best Sohphore outside of the city. I’m going to give you a few because some of the best of the best aren’t playing for GHSA teams.
If you are looking for a GHSA guy, Stratford Academy’s Khalil Greene is right at the top of the list. He’ll be a contender for Player of the Year in 1-1A Private.
William Jobe down at Frederica Academy will be a guy to follow. At a versatile, mobile 6-foot-9, he’s among the guys with the highest upside in the 2024 class.
One more, Elijah Crawford over at Augusta Christian is another name to keep tabs on throughout the season.
29. Do you have a freshman to watch outside of Atlanta? Not right now. I honestly don’t have a good enough grasp on the class to give you a genuine assessment yet. If anyone stands out during the season, you know I’ll tell ya ‘bout it.
30. Which non-playoff team from last year do you see making it this year in AAAAAAA? Hillgrove for sure. Coach Moultrie made the move from South Cobb to Hillgrove, and I think he’ll have them in the playoffs in his first season at the helm. Rob Dix and Jeremiah Wilkinson are two transfers who will help lead the Hawks this season. This should be an exciting team to watch for those in the Cobb County area.
31. What about in AAAAAA? Habersham-Central, Dacula, Osborne and Allatoona are all teams to watch here. I could see all of them in the playoffs when the time comes.
32. Since you’ve brought up transfers a few times during this conversation, who’s going to be the most impactful transfer this season? Daniel Pounds at Newton. The Rams have so many high-level, D1 guards. What they needed was more in the frontcourt, and Pounds provides that. He’s the piece that takes this team to another level.
33. We’ve spent all of our time talking about GHSA basketball, who’s a non-GHSA player for us to follow? Kam Craft at The Skill Factory. He’s one of the best prospects in the country. The Xavier commit is a consensus top-100 guy nationally, and he’s going to spend his last season before college in the Peach State. He immediately became the best shooter in Georgia when he got here.
34. One more non-GHSA question, are you going to any Overtime Elite games? I imagine that I’ll make my way over there at some point, but I’ll be honest, it’s not a priority for me. I do want to see some of the guys they have, but if I’m not at a high school game in the state, I’d rather be at a college game which is my first love. The facility looks beautiful. It looks like a spaceship or like something out of Tron.
35. Okay cool, back to GHSA. Let’s talk about some individual matchups. Which players are you most excited to see go head-to-head? I have to go with Jameel Rideout vs Bruce Thornton on December 11 when Berkmar and Milton play. Those are two of the best guards in the state and maybe the two best senior guards.
36. What about some big guy battles? Chauncey Wiggins vs Daniel Pounds will be fun when Grayson and Newton play. Both guys are mobile and versatile, so we’ll be getting them matched up all over the floor, not just in the paint.
37. This is fun. Let’s do some superlatives. Who’s your Defensive Player of the Year? Jameel Rideout or Christian Drummer. Ironically enough, we’ll get to see that battle in region 7-7A when Archer and Berkmar play. Both guys are hounds on the ball. When you play either of them, don’t expect to have your best game.
38. What about the best shooter? I brought this up earlier, but Kam Craft is the best shooter in the state now. Because he’s a fresh face, I’ll pick some other options.
Thomas Allard at North Gwinnett and Dylan Wolle at Sequoyah are elite shooters. Both of those guys will be torching nets all season long.
39. What region games are you most excited to see? Kell and Wheeler developed a pretty intense rivalry last season, so I’m excited to see them go head-to-head again.
Any combination of Berkmar, Archer, Norcross and Meadowcreek should be interesting.
Grayson vs Newton will be good.
I also think that any combination of Centennial, River Ridge and Sequoyah will be really good games.
40. Give me some more. Maybe some deeper cuts. I don’t know if this is a deep cut, but the Evans and Grovetown battles should be really good.
Also, region 8-6A has a ton of really interesting matchups that I’ll be interested in.
41. If I want to travel out of state to see some Georgia teams, where do I go? City of Palms down in Fort Meyers will have Milton and Berkmar. That’s on December 17-22, and it’s one of the elite events of the year.
Pebblebrook, Meadowcreek, Shiloh, North Gwinnett, Grayson and Greenforest will all be playing teams from Alabama in the Braggin’ Rights event in Huntsville, AL on December 11.
42. Will you be traveling? Yeah, I’m going to make some trips outside of metro Atlanta to see some teams, but I haven’t set anything in stone yet. I’ll also try to follow some of our teams to out-of-state events. I just have to sit down and plan all of that out.
43. I hope you’ve been thinking of some Final Four picks because you have to tell me your AAAAAAA Final Four or else. Okay, chill out. Let me preface this by saying that I have no idea what the brackets will look like, so I’m just going with highly educated guesses. I’ll do my best to make my case.
Berkmar - I already talked about them at the top, but yeah, I think they have to be in a preseason Final Four.
Milton - I already talked about them too. You saw me say that I’d expect them to win it all.
Pebblebrook - The Falcons will have a strong team again. They’ll bring that high-pressure defense that will exhaust teams in a hurry. The quartet of Kendall Campbell, Jaiun Simon, Kami Young and Andre Young is better than most, and I have faith that the Falcons will be making a deep run in the playoffs with that talented group on the floor.
Newton - This might be the most purely talented team in the state. Most of their talented core is comprised of junior guards, so I was a bit apprehensive of them as a Final Four team because of their lack of frontcourt depth. The addition of Daniel Pounds helps out a lot, and I think he can be the difference that pushes the Rams to the next level.
Norcross, Grayson, North Gwinnett and Etowah are my next four favorites to make it.
44. Now do AAAAAA.
Wheeler - I’ve already talked about Wheeler near the top.
Westlake - I also talked about Westlake near the top.
River Ridge - River Ridge has the two best bigs in the classification. Braden Pierce is in the upper echelon of bigs in the state, and Jared Russo is a really great running mate for Pierce. River Ridge narrowly beat the great Kell team led by Scoot Henderson last season in the first round of the playoffs, so I expect them to build upon that and make a deep run this season.
Sequoyah - Sequoyah is one of the most dangerous shooting teams out there. They have an experienced roster with several guys who can absolutely light it up. I can tell you that I wouldn’t be thrilled if my team got matched up with them in a bracket.
Kell, Centennial and Grovetown are my next three favorites. I couldn’t find a fourth that I definitively felt better about than others, so I’m sticking with three here.
Tri-Cities - There’s no team in the 5A with backcourt depth like Tri-Cities. Simeon Cottle, Kory Mincy, and Lidon Pate are all capable of taking a game over. In a single-elimination tournament, great guard play can carry you pretty far, and the Bulldogs have plenty of it. Okay, so apparently Eltramon Smith is playing with Vertical Academy now, so that doesn’t help Tri-Cities, but they’ll still be awesome. They’re still my pick.
Eagles Landing - I talked about the Eagles some at the top, but I’ll remind you that they bring back the two best players from a team that won the state title last season. I’ll just go into the season assuming that they’ll be in a similar position come March.
St. Pius X - This team plays ridiculously hard, and their chemistry seems to be off the charts. When you play St. Pius, expect a war. Their intensity and high-level defense give me faith that they’ll be in the Final Four, and that they could win it all. Eamonn Kenah and Spencer Elliott will be featured on a lot of postseason lists. I can tell you that now.
Calhoun - Dylan Faulkner and Peyton Law make for a great combo who’ll take Calhoun far in the playoffs.
Fayette County - They made the championship game last season, and Kaleb Banks is back. They’re winning it all.
Baldwin - Baldwin won it all last year, and they have some key guys from that team coming back. I don’t think they’ll win it all again, but they should still have a nice run through the bracket.
Cedar Shoals - The Jaguars made it to the Elite Eight last season, and with Kashik Brown and Elijah Curry returning as senior leaders, I have faith in them taking the next step.
Mays - I’m going to use a bet on talent here. Saulamon Evans is a great player, and I think he’ll lead Mays to some high heights.
Sandy Creek - The Patriots are talented again. They don’t have a generational talent like Jabari Smith, but they have a lot of great pieces. I have them taking the title home.
Windsor Forest - Windsor Forest was in the Final Four last season, and their best player, D’ante Bass, is back, so why should I expect them to not make another run?
LaFayette - I’m 100% betting on Aidan Hadaway here. He’s one of the best players in the state. With him around, LaFayette has a shot to make a lot of noise.
Hart County - Tahj Johnson and JC Curry. Do I need to say more? Curry is going to be one of the best scorers in the state, and Johnson is a high-upside, versatile weapon that not many teams have. They could win it all.
Pace - Do I need to sell you on Pace? Come on. Let’s keep it movin’.
Columbia - Columbia has Mason Lockhart down in the post and Daquavious Harrison out on the perimeter. That combo is going to be a handful in the playoffs. I’ve seen Harrison put on some ridiculous shooting performances, and Lockhart is one of the best forwards in the state. This was an easy pick.
Lovett - Christian Anderson is a great young guard who’ll lead the charge for Lovett. They lost a significant amount of production from last season, but this is a team that I just have faith in. Kyle Walters is a guy that I’m not as familiar with, but I’ve heard good things about him, so I’m interested in seeing what he doest for Lovett this season.
Putnam County - I’m always going to lean towards talent, and Eren Banks is one of the top guys in the class. They lost to Thomasville in the first round last season, but I think Putnam is ready to advance this year.
49. A Public.
Drew Charter - This is the most talented roster by far, so I think they might run through the playoffs.
Social Circle - If Drew Charter is the most talented team, I’d put Social Circle in second place. Tyhrell Branch and KJ Reid will help lead the charge to another Final Four.
Dublin - Zion Davis is back for the Fighting Irish, and I think he’s getting ready to help lead them back to the Final Four after making it last season.
Chattaoochee County - Chattacoochee County made it to the Final Four last season, and they return a lot of pieces from that team. This is a no-brainer for me.
50. A Private.
Greenforest - Forest is putting it lightly. Nobody in the state has the trees to match Greenforest, and Jalen Forest is one heck of a guard. They’re my favorite to win the whole thing.
Galloway - Look, any team with a guard as good as Anthony Arrington is capable of making a deep run in a tournament. He’s truly a special player who should help lead the Scots to a lot of wins.
Stratford Academy - I love the backcourt they have down there. Khalil Green and Isaiah Josey could be one of the best backcourts outside of the metro Atlanta area. I have to assume that they’ll be in the Elite Eight at least, but I’m taking it a step forward and putting them in the Final Four.
Providence Christian - The senior duo of Chance Thacker and Tony Carpio is as good as it gets in the classification. I’ve seen those guys more than I saw most players throughout the spring and summer, so I’ve seen just how good they can be when on the floor together. If they end up winning it all, I won’t be surprised.
51. I’m betting on these, so you better be right. Are there any other teams that you're intrigued by that you haven’t mentioned?
I think I’m good. Did I shout out Mt. Pisgah? I like that team, and they should make some noise in their region and tournament. They have a really fun backcourt that can score in bunches. They’re a team that I could also see slotting into a Final Four spot in A Private. Malachi Winter and Micah Tucker are two guys to watch in the classification.
52. Alright, let’s do more player accolades. How about we talk about the best player in some of the major counties and cities in the area. The best player in Augusta is? Allow me to use this space to show some love to a few guys.
Elijah Crawford is probably the best overall prospect in the area, but the Augusta area has a lot of guys that I like a lot.
Frankquon Sherman and Malik Ferguson are a tremendous duo of juniors over at Grovetown.
Evans also has a pair of seniors that I love. Devin Story and Brasen James will be leading the Knights this season, and I expect them to both go out on great final seasons.
53. There are some really good hoopers in Cherokee County. Who’s the best? Oh lord, can I give you a couple of names again? Sorry to cop-out, but there are a lot of guys I like up there.
Brandon Rechsteiner over at Etowah is the best junior in the county.
Braden Pierce at River Ridge and Dylan Wolle at Sequoyah are the best seniors.
54. I know you spent last year covering Cobb County. Tell me about the best player from there. It’s Isaiah Collier. He’s one of the best players in the state and even the country.
55. How about Coweta County? Hmmm, Delrecco Gillespie. I have some high hopes for East Coweta, and he’s one of the main reasons why.
56. Dekalb County? I’d say Mason Lockhart over at Columbia.
57. Best player from Douglas County? Noah Melson at Alexander is one of my favorite players in his class, so I’m going with him.
58. What about Fulton County? Junior: Kanaan Carlyle. Senior: Bruce Thornton.
Both are at Milton.
59. Gwinnett County? Any of these big guys are worthy of the crown:
RJ Godfrey at North Gwinnett
Malique Ewin at Berkmar
Chauncey Wiggins at Grayson
I’ll say that Jameel Rideout should be mentioned as one of the most valuable players in the county.
London Johnson is also a guy that deserves a mention here.
60. Let’s shout out the Southside. Who’s the best player from Henry County? It’s David Thomas over at Eagles Landing.
61. Paulding County? Oooo, this is a fun one. Sebastian Tidor is a guy that I’ll be following closely out of Paulding County.
62. Your old roommate is from Macon, right? Who’s their best player?
I’ll say Khalil Green at Stratford Academy. He’s a superb prospect.
Travion Solomon is also a guy who’ll have my attention from down that way.
Shout out to my young gun, Justin Little.
63. The best player in Northeast Georgia is? This is a great time to show Nate Brafford some love up at Rabun Gap. He’s going to have a great season up there in the beautiful North Georgia mountains.
64. Savannah is a nice place. Who’s the best hooper from down there? It’s D’ante Bass for sure. He’s a freak athlete. Windsor Forest will be really good this season largely due to his production.
Let me also use this time to shout out Brayden Baker over at Richmond Hill. He’s an under-the-radar senior guard who’ll have a big season down in the Savannah area.
65. Okay south of Macon is a big area, so give me some more guys to keep an eye on down there. William Jobe is the main guy who has my eye down there. I’m sure more will hit my radar, but I’m not as familiar with the super south players.
66. That’s good stuff. I loved that. You might not be as dumb as you look. Let’s run through the same areas, but let’s talk teams this time. Start with the Augusta area. I’d say Grovetown is the best overall team, but Evans isn’t too far behind. Grovetown’s success will be driven by their great junior guards, and Evans’ senior duo will be leading the charge for them. Read more about them above.
67. Cherokee County. I talked about River Ridge and Sequoyah a little bit earlier, and I think those will be two of the best three teams, so I’ll use this space to talk about Etowah, who I have high hopes for.
Etowah might be a year away from being a great team, but they have some solid junior pieces in Brandon Rechsteiner and Mason Etter, who are among the more talented prospects in the 2023 class. Regardless, they should be mentioned among the best teams in Cherokee County.
68. Cobb County. I highlighted the top teams here earlier, but Wheeler and Pebblebrook look to be the upper crust of the county.
69. Coweta County. I think East Coweta will have a nice season. Delrecco Gillespie, Sammy Moss, and Austen Colton are a nice trio that’ll put up a lot of points.
70. Dekalb County. You know what, I’m going to say Columbia here. I like Mason Lockhart and Daquavious Harrison as a duo a lot. I talked myself into that one earlier, so I’m sticking with them.
71. Douglas County. I’m going to have to go with Alexander here. Noah Melson is just so good. He gives them an extra element that the other schools in the county don’t have.
72. Fulton County. ……Milton.
73. Gwinnett County. I’m going Berkmar, but if you want to say Norcross, Grayson or North Gwinnett, I won’t be mad at you. I like all of those schools a lot too.
74. Henry County. It’s got to be Eagles Landing.
75. Paulding County. I think North Paulding looks pretty good this season. I think I’ll go with them, but I really love Sebastian Tidor over at East Paulding, so I’m a little torn here.
76. Macon. Yeah, it’s Stratford Academy read more about them in my A Private Final Four discussion.
77. Northeast Georgia. I have to say Rabun Gap actually. Nate Brafford is a great senior forward prospect, and they have some European big men who should be impressive. They’ll probably be more of a team that my guy Justin Byerly follows because they play in a North Carolina league, but if you want to go up there and cheer on a Georgia squad against North Carolina teams, Rabun Gap will be a fun one to watch.
78. Savannah. You know I’m pretty sold on Windsor Forest and D’ante Bass, so I’ll have to stick with them, but Richmond Hill had a nice playoff run last season, and they should be geared up to run it back this year.
79. Shout out other teams from areas that we might have not talked about. Obviously, I’m interested in Frederica Academy in large part due to William Jobe. I’ll be following LaFayette over in Northwest Georgia too.
80. Now that we’ve talked about state champs, Final Four picks, top players, and the top teams per general area, how about we deep dive into some specific region picks? 2-7A is interesting, so start there for me, and we can move from there. Pebblebrook is my pick here. McEachern is a big unknown to me. East Coweta will be pretty good, but the Falcons will take it at the end of the day.
81. What about 3-7A? I know you’ve been interested in that region. I am interested in this region. I’d say that a few of these teams could win it, but I’m going with Hillgrove. I think the revamp will take them far right off the rip.
82. 4-7A has some high-level teams. Pick that one for me. That’s Newton for me. I really, really like Grayson, but this Newton squad is really talented and deep.
83. Is Milton winning 5-7A? Yeah. You know I like Etowah, but this is Milton’s region this year.
84. Do you have a feel for 6-7A? Not really. I would have said Denmark, but I’m not sure if their international transfers are eligible to play. If they are, then I’ll pick Denmark. If not, then I don’t have a great feel for it.
85. You already talked about 7-7A, so let’s move on to 8-7A. This should be North Gwinnett. I love this North Gwinnett team. Thomas Allard and RJ Godfrey make for as scary of a duo as there is, but they’re deeper than just those two. If 7A wasn’t so stacked this year, I’d have North Gwinnett as a championship favorite.
86. Hit me with some AAAAAA. 8-6A, go. This might be an under-the-radar region. It’s pretty deep, and I could see a number of teams winning it. I’m going with Habersham Central though. I absolutely love Mekhi Mawdesley and Malachi Dooley. Both guys are deceivingly athletic, and Mawdesley can shoot the cover off the ball.
87. 7-6A. Damn, this is a tough one. River Ridge, Sequoyah or Centennial. Ummm, I’ll go with Sequoyah because of their shooting. I’m not married to that pick though. I like them a lot, but this is a really good region.
88. 6-6A is one you know well from your Cobb County time last season. I think I know what you’re going to say, but hit me with it anyway. Wheeler. Kell winning wouldn’t be a big shock, but it’s Wheeler’s region to lose at this point. Look for Allatoona and Osborne to be potential breakout teams here though. Those teams could be state playoff teams.
89. I’m interested in 3-6A. That looks like it could be a battle. Who do you have there? This is definitely going to be a fun one to follow. I’ll be going to the Augusta area for those battles between Evans and Grovetown. Those are the best two teams, so flip a coin and use that to determine the winner. I’m going to pick Grovetown because of how high I am on that junior backcourt.
90. Any other 6A picks?
2-6A - Richmond Hill
4-6A - Westlake
5-6A - Alexander
91. Since 100 is a nice arbitrary number, let’s jump around with region picks until we get there. Give me some region winners that you feel strongly about from here on out. I know you like some AAAAA teams. Yeah, Tri-Cities is going to win 3-5A. I feel very good about that one.
92. Okay, so then what about 4-5A? That one’s going to Eagles Landing.
93. Any other 5A? I can’t call some of these yet, so I’m cherry-picking.
5-5A - St. Pius X
7-5A - Blessed Trinity or Calhoun. Let’s stick with Calhoun.
8-5A - Walnut Grove
94. 4A region picks? Again, I need to see some of these teams before I can make a call, so I’m going with what I know.
5-4A - Fayette County
6-4A - Mays
95. 3A? Repeat previous disclaimers.
3-3A - Windsor Forest
5-3A - Sandy Creek
6-3A - LaFayette
8-3A - Hart County
96. 2A? You know the deal already.
4-2A - Putnam County
6-2A - Pace
97. A Private?
2-A Private - Greenforest
5-A Private - Providence Christian
6-A Private - Mt. Pisgah
7-A Private - Christian Heritage
98. A Public?
4-A Public - Dublin
5-A Public - Chattahoochee County
6-A Public - Drew Charter
8-A Public - Social Circle
99. Okay we’re at the last two. What are some scrimmages you’ll be at? I’m still planning that out. I will be at GAC at Meadowcreek on November 9 and Kell at River Ridge on November 10. The rest of my schedule is open as of now, but it will fill up fast when I carve out time to sit down and really look over the scrimmage landscape.
100. What’s the first game of the actual season that you’ll be at? Let me check my planner. It looks like River Ridge at Etowah is the first game that I’ll be at as of now. That game is on November 16. If anyone has a game before that, hit me with it, and I’ll be there.
AND OOOOOOOOOOOONE (*flexes muscles while yelling*). One last thing, you know that shameless self-promotion had to be involved somewhere, so follow me on Twitter for updates throughout the season. I’ll be at as many games as I can from start to finish. @_joshtec is where you can find me and all of my stories and musings.