#OTRHoopsReport: Georgia State Tournament Predictions – February 18, 2015
Will Jared Harper and the Falcons of Pebblebrook be atop of class AAAAAA? See all of our predictions here. Photo cred – Ty Freeman
It is that time of year for all of the top team’s in the state of Georgia to prove who is the best. Teams from all across the state have punched their ticket for a chance to be crowned a state champion. We breakdown each bracket’s favorites, sleepers and highlight many of the top players that fans should keep an eye on this post season.
Favorites: Pebblebrook and Wheeler
Sleeper: Douglas County
I will take the back court of Jared Harper and Ty Hudson most any day. Especially when it comes to the post season, teams rely upon the play-making abilities of guards to get the tough basket. Add in the rebounding and shot blocking abilities of Derek Ogbeide and coach George Washington has the state’s toughest inside-outside combo.
Pebblebrook is the most complete team in the state as they feature four Division-One caliber players in Ty Hudson, Jared Harper, Derek Ogbeide, and Trhae Mitchell. However, I believe that Wheeler will bring the championship back home to Marietta this year. The Wildcats have been impressisve on the national stage this year with wins over Wesleyan Christian Academy, Montverde Academy, and Paul VI. Jaylen Brown is one of the nation’s top players, he will have a chip on his shoulder this year after his team fell short to Tift County last year in the finals.
Favorite: Miller Grove
It is hard to bet against a 6-time state champion. Coach Sharman White has kept his team hungry all season long and they are executing at a high level. The combination of experience, talent and coaching ability makes the Wolverines the odds on favorites in the classification. Point guard Alterique Gilbert is one of the nation’s best in the class of 2016. Add in the recent production of senior forward Lamont West and all of the ingredients are there for the Miller Grove dynasty to continue.
McIntosh High School made history this year finishing the regular season perfect at 28-0. They are the one team that has a chance to knock off 6 time defending state champion Miller Grove. McIntosh can matches up well against any team as they are led by their core of juniors, Dishon Lowery, Will Washington, Chase Walter, Jordan Lyons, and senior guard Phillip Venson.
I am picking an upset in the Elite 8, Johnson of Gainesville over Jonesboro. Ty Cockfield has been one of the hottest players in the state of Georgia. I predict that his reign of dominance will continue all the way to Macon. He has help in the form of senior wing Roderick English, who can put up big numbers as well. That back court tandem could be just enough to carry coach Jeff Steele to a state championship.
Available Ty Cockfield has scored multiple 40 points games this season putting Johnson of Gainesville on the map at 28-0. I would love to see them finish the finish the perfect season off with a state championship but defending champion Jonesboro has too much talent, athleticism, and depth. Jonesboro is lead by one of the nation’s top sophomores MJ Walker. UT-Chattangooa signee Austin Donaldson and senior forward Tracy Hector provide the perfect balance for this high powered team.
Sleeper: East Hall
I am going to take the defending state champions in this classification, mainly behind the leadership of Mississippi State signee Tookie Brown. The experience and talent level should be too much for opponents at the AAA level. Also look for class of 2016 forward Jailyn Ingram to be a big part in this post season run. Although Laney has got the best of them so far this year, I predict that Brown and company can regain the form that earned them a championship last year.
When talking about top teams in the state of Georgia, most people mention Pebblebrook, Wheeler, St. Francis or Jonesboro. Laney is an under the radar team who has a record of 26-1 this year with wins over Morgan County, Pebblebrook, Norcross, and Buford on their resume. Their lone loss coming against St. Francis in the first game of the year. The Wildcats have plenty of scoring options in Zep Jasper, Jashawn Brooks, Christian Keeling, and Collin Young. Let’s also not forget that that Laney has beat Morgan County not once but twice.
Favorite: Pace Academy
Sleeper: Seminole County
I will take the coaching ability of coach Eddie Martin to win out in this bracket. The Spartans may not have a high major talent like they had last year with Isaiah Wilkins, who is a freshman at Virginia this year. However, they have a lot of pieces that could make for a deep playoff run. Look for the play of senior forward Eric Jamison to be the catalyst for this team. The Gardner-Webb signee is an athlete who can be a difference maker on the floor. The Spartans will need sophomore point guard Brian Coffey to grow up quickly as well if they hope to cut down the nets in Macon.
I’m calling for an upset in the final four with Seminole County advancing past Pace Academy. Semionle County is home of junior guard Jordan Harris, the Georgia commit has been outstanding this year averaging 27 points 11 rebounds and 7 assists per game this year as the Indians sport a record of 23-3. Add in the additional scoring threat of lead guard Anfernee King who is averaging just shy of 19 points per game giving the Indians enough fire power to bring home a State Championship to Donalsonville, Georgia.
Favorite: St. Francis and Greenforest
Sleeper: Athens Christian
I am going with the athletic lineup of Greenforest Christian Academy in upending the defending Class A champion of St. Francis this year. The key to overcoming the state’s top back court actually comes from controlling the paint. Greenforest has the size and athleticism on the inside to limit the Knights second chance opportunities. That same length could keep the St. Francis guards of Kobi Simmons and Malik Beasley shooting contested jumpers. Forwards Precious Ayah, Victor Enoch and Abayomi Iyiola all have the length to control the interior. While guards Justin Ravenel and John Ogwuche can provide the ball handling necessary.
I have to go with St. Francis to repeat again this year. Head Coach Drew Catlett features one of themost dynamic back courts in the state. Florida State signee Malik Beasley is one of the nation’s best scorers in the 2015 class. Joining him in the back court is one of the nation’s top gaurds in the class of 2016 Kobi Simmons. The front court for the Knights is equally talanted as it features two Division One players in Kaiser Gates and Josh Coleman.
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Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. He is also on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. He is 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
Shun Williams is the owner of On the Radar Hoops, Inc. The On the Radar Hoops Report is picked up by Division I and II colleges and universities across the country. He serves as the director of the On the Radar Hoops Fall Showcase, On the Radar Hoops Spring Showcase, On the Radar Hoops Invitational, Elite 32 Session I, Elite 32 Session II, Power 24, and Summer Slam Session I & II.
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