The field of the Buford Showcase Saturday at Buford High School features several ranked teams, major-college signees and a small bit of intrigue.
The six-game event, which tips off at noon, features two nationaly ranked clubs in the 3 p.m. slot, when McEachern, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAAA, and No. 10 nationally by MaxPreps, takes on Porter Gaud (7-0) from Charleston, S.C. Porter Gaud is MaxPreps’ No. 1-ranked team in South Carolina and No. 16 nationally behind a pair of Division I signees. Forward Aaron Nesmith has signed with Vanderbilt and center Jake Lanford has signed with Yale. The two of them pose a challenge for McEachern (4-0) and its foursome of Isaac Okoro, Sharife Cooper, Babatunde Akingbola and Brandon Suggs.
Georgia’s other nationally ranked team, No. 21 Peachtree Ridge, faces Shiloh in the first game. Peachtree Ridge’s Devin Vassell, a Florida State commitment, is averaging 25 points and 7 rebounds for the Lions, who are 7-0.
Norcross, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAAA by Score Atlanta, and UGA signee Joseph Toppin face off with 10-3 Hoover (Ala.).
Host Buford, ranked No. 1 in AAAAA, and Georgia Southern signee David Viti meet Charlotte private school United Faith Christian Academy.
The Buford girls, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA, play the final game against Norcross, ranked No. 4 in AAAAAAA.
One game features two out-of-state teams. Hamilton Heights (7-2) makes its second trip to Georgia. The Hawks, who face York Prep from South Carolina, played in the Holiday HoopsGiving at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School Thanksgiving weekend.
Going for 40: Defending AAAA state champ Upson-Lee seeks its 40th straight win when it visits West Laurens Friday night in a Region 2-AAAA game. The Knights’ Tye Fagan is averaging 28.2 points and 4.3 assists.
Blistering pace: Sonoraville’s Wil Walraven is leading the state’s boys players in scoring according to MaxPreps. Walraven, a senior, is averaging 33.3 points through three games, including a 43-point outburst in the Phoenix’ season opener against Model.
Glass expert: Mt. Zion-Jonesboro Sophomore Khalela Hayes is the state’s top rebounder according to MaxPreps, collecting 16.7 boards per game to go along with 17.8 points per game through the Bulldogs’ first seven games.
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