Josh Linder of Veterans High in Warner Robins has developed into one of the top prospects in Class AAAAA. In fact, the forward has already signed with Georgia State.
The 6-foot-8 senior averages 22.9 points, 10 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game for the Warhawks. Last season he averaged 13.7 points and 12.4 rebounds for a team that went 3-23 and was named to the All-Middle Georgia team. He averaged 11 points as a sophomore.
Linder received offers from Kansas State, UAB, Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, Little Rock and South Alabama before settling on Georgia State.
He was ranked No. 26 in Georgia by Hoopseen.com. Linder was ranked No. 45 in the nation by Future150.com, as well as No. 14 in the country at his position and No. 3 in Georgia.
When Georgia State signed Linder and Kane Williams of South Forsyth, Panthers coach Ron Hunter said, “Josh and Kane are two very talented young men who we look forward to working with as they make a major impact at Georgia State.”
Here’s a look at four other top boys from Class AAAAA:
Tyshaun Crawford, Griffin: A big 7-footer with plenty of upside. He averaged 9.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and three blocks as a junior. Crawford is said to have good hands and creates a big presence on the inside. He has signed with Georgia Southern.
Philandrous Fleming, Cedar Shoals: The versatile 6-2 senior is projected as a shooting guard or small forward in college. He helped the Jaguars reach the state semifinals in 2016. He has signed with Charleston Southern.
Brian Thomas, Kell: The 6-8, 240-pound center is currently out with a small fracture in his right foot, but should return before the end of January. Thomas averaged 8.6 points before his injury. He has signed with Florida Gulf Coast.
Nelson Phillips, Warner Robins: The 65 junior shooting guard from Warner Robins made big strides in the summer. He looked good at the Sharone Wright Skills 100 Camp and is receiving interest from mid-major schools.
Five top girls players to watch:
Jada Walton, Southwest DeKalb: A regular since her freshman season, the 5-10 guard has averaged 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds for her career. She averaged 12.4 for the Panthers a year ago when the team went to the state final. She has been an All-Metro choice the last two seasons and has signed to play at Texas A&M.
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said, “Jada is an off-the-charts athletic guard that will flourish in our defensive and offensive systems. Offensive she can create well off the bounce and can play all guard positions. She has the personality and the style of play that will excite Aggie fans.”
Alexis Poole, Stockbridge: The 6-1 forward averaged 15.8 points and 9.0 rebounds as a junior last year after sitting out her sophomore season. She was averaging 24.3 points and 14 rebounds through the early portion of the schedule. She has signed with Kennesaw State.
Tory Ozment, Buford: A 6-foot junior who is a big-game player. She knows how to handle the ball and score under physical conditions. She has a great attitude to go with it. Ozment averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 assists as a sophomore after missing all of freshman year with an injury.
Taniyah Worth, Flowery Branch: A 6-1 junior guard who can do a little bit of everything and does it all well. She is averaging 18.1 points and 10 rebounds for the Falcons.
Deasia Merrill, Villa Rica: The 6-3 sophomore forward has picked up where she left off from her amazing freshman year, when she averaged 25.4 points, 13 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 4.6 steals and 1.8 blocks. She has already been offered by Georgia Tech.