“Don’t Sleep On…..” – Teams Flying Low in 7A
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.
The regular cast of characters in 7A are again stacked too and may very well steamroll the competition toward February and March playoff face-offs, but things as said are so interesting as the realignment added a few really good teams to the 7A fray as well.
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
Lowndes (23-3 last year, lost to eventual champion Norcross in Sweet 16)
It’s not an outrageous argument to make a case the 7A classification in Georgia could be among the best and deepest in the entire country this year, as national scout Samad Hines had six GA teams in his preseason public school Top 25, and five of them were from 7A (Grovetown the other). Not so crazy either is noting a 23-win team from a year ago could well make noise again, guys to watch for the Vikings include monster breakout 2025 guard Samuel Shoptaw, who was a killer on the Fall Showcase scene including our Fall Breakout Camp, and each time out he wowed with his maturity from either guard spot as a facilitator and rising scoring talent. Senior Forward Marcus Black was among the better athletes I saw this past travel season playing with CP25, he can be a game-changer all across the stat sheet, while 6-9 senior Landon New is a name that OTR scouts also identified as one to watch.
2023 6’9” F Landon New is another prospect flying under the radar. Reads the floor well and uses his body to finish around the basket. Showed he can hit from outside and moves well around the basket. Finished with 11 points and multiple boards. pic.twitter.com/gHP0L1716b
— Jennifer Brazelton (@JenBrazeIton) June 18, 2022
North Gwinnett (26-4 last year, lost to eventual champion Norcross in Elite 8)
Saying goodbye to such an impactful senior class led by Clemson-signee RJ Godfrey could leave some programs grasping at straws with a bushel of new or unknown names, but what returns for superb Coach Matt Garner actually provides a ton of intrigue in Suwanee. The 2023 class of forwards Blake Seitz and Julian Walker, spunky PG and recent Piedmont-signee Lane Vance, wing Everett Leifson and top footballers soon-to-join Ethan Washington and Grant Godfrey will provide plenty of basketball acumen, leadership and pure athletic ability. Seitz and Walker were travel season standouts for BCB, and with them is a full core who will put up points and guard the heck out of you as Bulldog teams always do. Junior guard Caleb Jones-Dicks joins the rotation from FL, and he showed off some interesting possibilities as a scorer back in June slotted in with this group.
2023 6’6” W Blake Seitz (@blakeseitz21) found his rhythm in the second half. Got going after knocking down two 3’s and picked up his intensity on the attack. When Seitz is assertive, he’s a tough player to stop. pic.twitter.com/Triqohx6MK
— Jennifer Brazelton (@JenBrazeIton) June 25, 2022
Denmark (15-13 last year, lost to Mountain View in 1st Round)
The Danes had high hopes heading into last year as well, thinking newcomers Nordin Kapic, Chad Molloy and Keinan McFarlande would join some key returnees in what was going to be a playoff-contending and balanced lineup inside and out. An eligibility battle ended with 2022 Kapic transferring out and Molloy and McFarlande staying on as juniors on the JV. The latter two key pieces are back and raring to go, with Molloy a lightning-quick lead guard with superb instincts and a tough drive game, and McFarlande a burgeoning big man talent at 6-8 who has taken some huge strides in the low block over the last 365 days. Senior sharpshooter Stefan Davidov has been a varsity rotation staple for the last 2 years and was among the top performers from the recent SH Report Fall Jamboree starring for Danes after a very productive travel campaign with the Atlanta Timberwolves. Junior Joseph Brown is a name to get to know as he will give them some energetic hybrid forward play at 6-4, while 2024 transfer Josh Langefels comes over from Kell and can play point or wing and is a terrific athlete with some shake and wiggle off the bounce in either role.
Fellow 2023s Keinan McFarlande and Chad Molloy are back in blue for @DenmarkHS_Bball after missing last season, but this is Stefan Davidov's team now, the 6-4 sharpshooter is peeling off screens and using the dribble nicely to create for himself and others#GBCALive pic.twitter.com/WgoqdecCPQ
— Keith Agran (@BracketSage) June 19, 2022
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BracketSage.