The Shot Clock with Josh Tec
I’m back in Georgia after being away for five days celebrating the holiday. I’m doing my best to shake off the post-holiday malaise and get back into the groove of my daily routine. Do you want to know what I’m truly thankful for? I didn’t gain as much weight as I thought I was going to this past week. I let my diet go by the wayside and ate like a deranged person for five days, so I was happy with the only modest gain I saw on the scale this morning. I hope everyone had a great holiday, and I hope everyone is ready to fully embrace the Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa seasons that are now upon us. I’m taking a head-first dive toward the holiday season like it’s a loose ball bouncing freely in the open court and my team needs the possession.
Admittedly, I got wrapped up in studying for final exams, Feast Week, and the general holiday magic that tends to derail any productivity that I try to plan ahead. Nevertheless, the Shot Clock doesn’t skip a beat. Real shot clocks malfunction all the time, but this one doesn’t. So, in order to get myself back into the swing of things, let's start the clock.
Where in the Peach is Josh Tec? After only following games virtually for nearly a week, I’m legitimately thrilled to get back in gyms this week. There’s nothing better than seeing the action unfold in person. Here’s what I currently have on my plate for the week:
Tuesday, Nov 30: Newton at Archer. Finally, I’m going to be seeing the Rams after their much-ballyhooed start to the season. Newton is undefeated with wins over Norcross, McEachern and Westlake. That resume is mighty impressive already, and a win on Tuesday night would further bolster the case for the Rams being the team to beat in the state.
Archer is off to a good start themselves. The Tigers are 4-1 and coming off of a win over a great Etowah team. If we can count on one thing, it’s that Archer is going to do their best to make this game a rock fight. This group thrives in scrappy, defensive-minded battles.
Wednesday, Dec 1: It doesn’t look like there are a ton of games on Wednesday, but Greenforest will be playing at W D Mohammed. I’m eager to get out and see both teams. Greenforest is coming off of a huge win over Berkmar, and the Eagles have also beaten McEachern already this season. There aren’t many teams who have played as rigorous of an in-state schedule as Greenforest thus far. W D Mohammed is 3-1 so far. This game will be their toughest to date. For the Caliphs, this is a great test to see where they stand.
Friday, Dec 3: I haven’t nailed down where I want to go on Friday yet. There are some great options. I’ll be out somewhere, but I haven’t determined where yet.
Saturday, Dec 4: Tournament of Champions Showcase at Wheeler. This is a loaded day of hoops. Look below for more.
Sunday, Dec 5: I’m throwing a curveball here. I’m going to see Carolina at Tech on Sunday. It’s a tradition that I have with a friend. She grew up in North Carolina in a UNC household, so every year we go see the Heels or Duke when they play at Tech.
If you have a game on Thursday, let me know, and I’ll go to it. It seems like the schedule is light that day, but I’m always looking to fill holes in my calendar.
TOC Showcase Preview: If you’re looking to get your fix of Georgia hoops on Saturday, there’s no better place to do so than at Wheeler for the Tournament of Champions Showcase. It’s a full day of basketball featuring some of the best teams in the state. Here’s how it breaks down:
Trinity Christian vs WD Mohammed, 9 am: Kicking off the day is a battle between A Private teams. Ernesto Almonte is a key player to watch for Trinity Christian and Bilal Abdur-Rahman drives the ship for WD Mohammed.
Southwest Dekalb vs North Atlanta, 10:30 am: As of now, both of these teams are undefeated. They both have a game between now and Saturday, but if we get a battle of undefeated teams, that will add some spice to the morning game.
Osborne vs Jonesboro, Noon: Osborne is much improved from last season. They’re 3-0 so far, but they have two tough region games against Pope and Kell before they play Jonesboro on Saturday. Zocko Littleton is one of the best guards in the state, and the Carrolls are two physical forwards who remind me of old Pitt players from the Jamie Dixon era.
Jonesboro is a team that I feel confident in expecting a turnaround from. They haven’t started off well, but they’re a team that should get on the right track soon. Yannis Woods is a fantastic player. Maybe the battle of the Cardinals on Saturday is what will get them going in the right direction.
Chattahoochee vs Salem, 1:30 pm: Chattahoochee is low-key a team that could be playing in Macon at the end of the season. I’m not sure that I’m all the way in on that idea, but there hasn’t been anyone in 6A—besides Wheeler—that I feel more confident about. The Cougars are 5-1and have looked great at points during their early games.
I haven’t seen Salem yet, and they haven’t played enough for me to have a feel for them. I’ll tell you what though, Chattahoochee is a good test for them. That game will tell me a lot about Salem.
St. Francis vs Kell (**Girls**), 3 pm: I’d have to call in Brianna Patton to preview this one. I don’t have my ear to the ground when it comes to the girls side of things as much. The Kell girls can put on a show when they’re firing on all cylinders though.
Cumberland Christian vs Kell, 4:30 pm: I can’t imagine that many teams in this event will have played as many games as Cumberland Christian by Saturday. The Patriots will have played 12 games by then. Jelani Hamilton has been stellar in this early portion of their schedule.
Kell’s schedule has been the inverse of Cumberland Christian’s. They’ve only played one game so far, but they do have two more prior to Saturday. This Longhorns squad is at its best in transition, so if they can get out and run they’ll have a good chance of winning one against a good, battle-tested Cumberland Christian team.
East Coweta vs Pace, 6 pm: East Coweta may be flying under the radar a bit. They have a lot of talent on their roster, and they’ve gone undefeated at the time of this preview. Delrecco Gillespie, Austen Colton and Sammy Moss combine for one formidable trio. They do face Carrolton and Langston Hughes prior to this game against Pace, but if they can win those, their game on Saturday will be their measuring-stick game.
Pace is off to a solid start this season. They’ve beaten McEachern and their only loss so far is to an uber-talented Norcross team. Josh Reed has been tremendous to start, Bryson Tiller, KJ Greene, and LJ Moore are all talented underclassmen who have been solid for the Knights so far too.
Pebblebrook vs Milton, 7:30 pm: Pebblebrook has looked great to start the season. The Falcons are flying high again. They face their toughest in-state test on Saturday in the form of the Milton Eagles who eliminated them from the state playoffs in the Final Four last season. There’s no doubt that Pebblebrook will look to avenge that loss.
For Milton, they’ll be returning to action after facing some off-court adversity. During their brief hiatus, Newton has made a push for the top spot in the state. If Milton can handle a tough Pebblebrook team, they’ll remind everyone why they were talked about as the best team in the state and one of the best in the country.
Wheeler vs McEachern, 9 pm: The Wildcats just wrapped up one of the most difficult slates of games in the country. I don’t think that’s an overstatement by any means either. Wheeler opened their season against Grayson, they went to Texas to play Duncanville, and they just played Montverde at Hoopsgiving. That’s daunting to say the least. Between now and Saturday, they’ll play two region games against Kennesaw Mountain and Allatoona.
McEachern hasn’t necessarily had it easy either. The Indians have played Greenforest, Pace, Shiloh and Newton which are among the state’s best.
These two powers will headline the day of hoops and continue their daunting early schedules.
If you see me passed out on the baseline at the end of the day, kick me to wake me up.