All-Decade Teams: Georgia Edition
Welcome to On the Radar’s All-Decade collection. This week, we will take a trip down memory lane on the last ten years in Peach State hoops and the players that gave rise to Georgia’s hoop scene. There have been a multitude of great players who left blazes of glory, but only the crème de la crème secure a spot on OTR’s All-Decade Teams, voted on by our staff of writers. Today, we introduce the First Team. Next week, we will unveil the Second Team.
South Atlanta High School, 2009
During his senior campaign at South Atlanta, Derrick Favors poured in 28 points, thirteen rebounds, and five blocks per game en route to leading the Hornets to a GHSA AA State Championship. The 6-foot-10 forward went on to be named Naismith Prep Player of the Year, Mr. Georgia Basketball, Mr. USA Basketball, and McDonald’s All-American MVP and was widely viewed as the best high school player in America.
Post high school, Favors starred at Georgia Tech where he averaged 12 points and eight rebounds and was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team. After an impressive first season, pro experts considered him a top-5 draft prospect prompting the Atlanta native to forfeit his collegiate eligibility to enter the 2010 NBA Draft. Favors was picked third overall by the New Jersey Nets and is currently in his tenth season in the National Basketball Association.
No Peach State big-man put their stamp on high school basketball in Georgia like Favors during this ten year span.
Greenville High School, 2011
Caldwell-Pope logged 31 points and eight rebounds per contest during his senior season and was a consensus top-25 national prospect. During his prep career, he led Greenville to GHSA Final Four and Sweet Sixteen appearances before going on to participate in the McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic games.
Caldwell-Pope spent two seasons at the University of Georgia where he was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2012 and earned First Team All SEC & SEC Player of the Year Honors in 2013. The Detroit Pistons rolled the dice picking Caldwell-Pope eighth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. He is in his seventh season and currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The production and buzz surrounding Caldwell-Pope in high school definitely warrants him a spot on this list.
Wheeler High School, 2015
It doesn’t seem like that long ago when Brown calmly sank two free throws with seconds remaining to lift Wheeler to a GHSA AAAAAA State Championship. As a senior, he contributed 28 points and twelve rebounds per game and was the No.1 rated player in the state. At the conclusion of his high school career, he was named USA Today Player of the Year, Mr. Georgia Basketball, Gatorade Georgia Player of the Year, GHSA 6A Player of the Year, McDonald’s All-American, Parade All-American, and won a FIBA U18 gold medal.
Brown immediately translated his dominating play to the collegiate level bringing home Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. It only took one season at Cal to convince pro scouts he was ready for the league. Boston took the one-and-done standout with the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft where he is currently entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Celtics.
In the last ten years, Georgia hasn’t seen many prospects as accomplished as Brown.
Pebblebrook High School, 2017
Collin Sexton’s impact on the basketball culture in Metro-Atlanta will live on forever. He is arguably the most entertaining and fierce competitor the state has ever saw. Fans traveled near and far to get a glimpse of the budding star and he gave them their money’s worth each time out. The legend of the “Young Bull” was born on the night of November 25, 2016 when Sexton made national waves at the Holiday Hoopsgiving Tournament going head-to-head with fellow prodigy Trevon Duval in one of the most historic prep matchups ever. During his senior season at Pebblebrook he averaged 23 points, seven rebounds, and three assists per contest. He later captured the FIBA U17 World Cup MVP and McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Championship.
Sexton eventually signed with Alabama and would once again make national headlines exactly one year later [November 25, 2017] for his 40-point performance while playing 3-on-5 during a large portion of the second half versus Minnesota due to team foul trouble. The 6-foot-3 dynamo made the SEC All-Freshman Team and was one-and-out at Alabama. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Sexton eighth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft where he is currently in the second year of his rookie contract.
We think it’s safe to say that no other Georgia prospect over the past decade wooed crowds quite like the Young Bull!
Holy Spirit Prep, 2019
There are some heavy hitters gracing our First Team, but “Ant Man” is perhaps the most gifted of the bunch. He was blessed with a superior skillset and natural ability to play the game that sets him apart. Edwards guided Holy Spirit to a GISA State Championship as a junior followed by a stellar senior campaign where he threw in 26 points, nine rebounds, and three assists a night. He ultimately earned GISA Player of the Year honors, was selected First Team All-USA Today, and chosen to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.
Many believe Edwards took a gamble choosing the University of Georgia over blueblood programs like Kentucky and North Carolina, but his talent will shine bright no matter the destination. Look for the 6-foot-5 wing to take the same path as other fellow first teamers and declare for the  NBA Draft after one collegiate season.
The jury is still out, but don’t be surprised if “Ant Man” ends up being the most storied prospect from this era.
Kowacie Reeves of @HypesouthMedia is a contributor to On the Radar Hoops.