#OTRHoopsReport: 10 High School Teams to Watch in Georgia – October 27, 2015
Class of 2017 forward Rayshaun Hammonds of Norcross High School is ready to emerge as one of the state’s top prospects this high school season. Photo cred – Ty Freeman / Gwinnett County Media Day
High School basketball officially kicked off yesterday in the state of Georgia. Excitement and anticipation in the Peach State is at a high level as players and coaches alike are ready to show what they got this year. As usual Georgia boasts of dozens of high major prospects and several #McDonaldsWatch candidates, which always makes the season interesting to track. So with the first games just weeks away, here are ten teams that area a MUST watch this season for fans and college coaches.
(Teams listed in alphabetical order)
Douglas County (Douglasvile, Ga.) – Class AAAAAA
Coach Hollis Bethea’s teams have been the radar as one Metro-Atlanta’s best in the past few years. Despite losing FAMU signee point guard K’Ja Johnson to graduation, the Tigers return North Carolina commit Brandon Robinson to lead this year’s team. Robinson will be in the early conversation of #ATLTipOffClub Metro-Player of the Year conversation. Bethea’s roster is full of experienced seniors which including 6-6 wing forward DeVarion Davis who had a great showing at the #OTRFallShowcase. Also look for 6-2 guard Kalen Clifton to have an expanded role this season.
Greenforest Academy (Decatur, Ga.) – Class A Private
The Eagles have been knocking on the door of becoming a state champion for the past two years. Can this be the year that they are able to turn the corner? The amount of size that coach Larry Thompson has on his roster would be intimidating for some college programs. Six foot eleven junior center Ikey Obiagu earned a reputation as one of the nation’s premier shot blockers regardless of class this summer with the Georgia Stars. The 5-star prospect is currently ranked No. 10 in the BrandonClayScouting.com Elite 100. Add in 6-8 forward Victor Enoch and 6-9 forward Bebe Iyiola and the Eagles are tough across the frontline. Keep an eye out for Justin Forrest to make a name for himself as one of the city’s better combo guards.
Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro, Ga.) – Class AAAA
Coach Daniel Maehlman has made it a habit to keep his Cardinals with making deep tourney runs lately. Coming off a state championship last season, there appears to be no slowing down this year. A big part of that will be attributed to class of 2017 wing MJ Walker who is an ELITE 25 prospect nationally. While Walker’s talent is worth the price of admission, it is Maehlman’s ability to get his players to play hard on a nightly basis that make them a contender this year.
Miller Grove High School (Lithonia, Ga.) – Class AAAAA
The streak ended last year at six. Sharman White’s Wolverines were stopped in their tracks in last year’s post season. However, expect a reemergence from Miller Grove as they have regrouped and boast of two of the state’s top senior point guards in UConn commit Alterique Gilbert and Aaron Augustin. Gilbert emerged as a #McDonaldsWatch prospect after a great campaign with CP3 on the EYBL circuit. Augustin recently de-committed from ETSU and could easily become one of the nation’s most pursued floor generals. Keep an eye on senior Aidan Saunders who emerged a sleeper prospect after the #OTRFallShowcase in September.
Norcross High School (Norcross, Ga.) – Class AAAAAA
Coach Jessee McMilan’s program is a perennial favorite to make a run in the GHSA state tournament. This year is not different as the Blue Devils boast of two the top 2017 forwards in the state with Rayshaun Hammonds and Lance Thomas. Both are being recruited heavily from programs from across the nation. However, do not overlook the guard power at Norcross with the likes of junior Jordan Goldwire, sophomore Dalvin White and freshman Kyle Sturdivant.
Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.) – Class AA
Wendell Carter emerged as the top power forward in the class of 2017 prospect nationally this summer. This alone will make the Knights a must-watch team this year. However, add in 4-star 2018 Isaiah Kelly to the mix and Pace Academy becomes one of the best teams in the city regardless of classification.
Pebblebrook High School (Mableton, Ga.) – Class AAAAAA
Pebblebrook was within seconds of upsetting Wheeler last year in Macon, before Jaylen Brown sealed the win with free throws. Look for coach George Washington’s group to fight to make another deep run in the state tournament this year. The loss of Ty Hudson (Clemson) and Derek Ogbeide (Georgia) will be huge holes to fill. However, the Falcons do return Auburn commit Jared Harper as a floor general and play-maker. Add in the addition of 4-star junior guard Colin Sexton and recent North Carolina transfer JJ Smith and this Pebblebrook group could boast of one of the best back courts in the state.
St. Francis High School (Alpharetta, Ga.) – Class A Private
The reigning Class A Private champions may have lost Florida State signee Malik Beasley from last year, but coach Drew Catlett returns #NaismithWatch Kobi Simmons to the roster. The senior guard is still open in his recruitment and an early candidate to be mentioned in the #ATLTipOffClub Player of the Year conversation. Add in senior transfer point guard Anthony Showell and the Knights should have enough fire power to make another run at a state championship.
Wheeler High School (Marietta, Ga.) – Class AAAAAA
Coach Doug Lipscomb took home another state championship last year behind the late game heroics of McDonald’s All-American Jaylen Brown. While the Wildcats may not have a player the caliber of Brown this year, they do have a roster that is every bit as talented as last year. Look for 4-star junior guard Darius Perry to make a big jump this year in his production. Also the addition of Georgia Tech commit, Romello White, will give Lipscomb’s roster a much need front court presence. Two names that could emerge as hot names on the recruiting trail are senior guard Cameron Jordan and sophomore guard Reikan Donaldson.
Westlake High School (Atlanta, Ga.) – Class AAAAAA
The Lions have a loaded roster headlined by 6-7 forward Chuma Okeke who transferred in this season. The 4-star combo forward is a model of versatility and one of the most recruited prospects in the city. Sophomore guard Jamie Lewis is one of the best young prospects in the state and should make an impact early. Also keep an eye on 6-4 guard Daniel Lewis as one of the city’s top guard scorers. While 6-10 center Michael Durr will hold down the lane.
College Coaches can get the full report by clicking here!
Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. Hemingway serves on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. He is also the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @JLHemingwayPSB
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