“Don’t Sleep On…..” – Teams Flying Low in 6A

ATLANTA, GA – I take just a little bit of pride in calling the Grovetown Warriors last year as the future 6A champions, that bold but not altogether ridiculous (at least to me) assertion that they were really good.

A full room of ATL scouts and media at the Hawks-Naismith Holiday Classic scoffed, siding more with traditional powers as their predictions, but Coach Darren Douglas and his supremely talented Warriors group took home the prize, and by the way, are nearly all back for another run again in 6A.

Outside of the defending champs, there’s quite a bit of intrigue in 6A as realignment once again moved some teams out and others in.

Here rather than wait for another face-to-face with my scouting compadres, I’m going to place some bold thoughts directly onto the internet, in the form of teams that it would be unwise to sleep on for potential deep runs.

By: Keith Agran

6A

Woodward Academy (15-12 last year, lost to Warner Robins in 5A First Round)

Too good a program to be down for long are the War Eagles, even with a move up to 6A, and a sleeper nomination here is built predominantly on the backs of two of the state’s best 2025 prospects, forward Deke Cooper and guard Zachary Foster. Both had moments of domination during highly noticeable travel seasons, and then followed those performances up with some equally eye-opening work on the Fall Showcase scene. Both have games well ahead of their years, and together with productive junior guard Brandon Peters and 6-7 senior center Archer Snell give this team some balance and efficiency from multiple spots.

Lanier (14-11 last year, did not qualify in 6A)

We’re into year 3 with the highly thought of 2024 class now juniors, and while CJ Hyland has moved on to Grayson and that loss will surely be felt, sometimes a roster change of that magnitude isn’t all bad. Opportunities arise for others, current players expand their games and roles, and for the Longhorns especially with 2023 returnees Osmar Garcia and Landon Suarez on board still, the potentially seismic Hyland transfer feels a little less urgent. The two returning 2024’s that have been so highly regarded for 2 years now, forward Jayce Nathaniel and guard Boogie Morgan, have both continued their strides and appear set for serious star turns of their own as juniors.¬†Coach Branden Mayweather always finds complementary pieces that augment any existing star power, so this is an intriguing team to watch closely because if the chemistry department clicks there’s special talent on hand.

Habersham Central (15-14 last year, lost to Kell in 1st Round)

This roster fascinates because on the surface the loss of a pair of impactful 2022’s like Malachi Dooley and Mekhi Mawdesley would seem a large hill to climb one year later. The quality of the returning talent however immediately helps offset those losses, particularly the last 6 months senior guard Bryce Pittman has placed on the ATL-Metro scene. The 6-3 CG has played the kind of versatile and productive basketball that the rest of the Raiders can get behind and feed off of, and sometimes that can feed a deep run. Senior wing Cole Gary looked really confident in June and is a terrific athlete, and junior PG Brannon Gaines holds down the fort with his sound play and has an edge to his game which inspires others and frustrates opponents. An X-factor on this roster could end up being sophomore forward Josiah McCurry, a young post presence who has begun to find his way as a scorer and put some wow moments on the board both during travel ball and last June.

Keith Agran has lived in Georgia since 2011 and joined OTR as a National Evaluator in 2021. He previously scouted for Prep Hoops dating back to 2019 and has both a championship-coaching background on the HS-level and daily newspaper writing experience, both from New Jersey. You can reach him at keithagran1@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.