As basketball season takes over the high school sports landscape, here’s a look at the boys in Class A.
Just a reminder: As is the case with football in Class A, the top 24 teams advancing to the state playoffs after the regular season and region tournaments is determined by a power ranting system. Teams earn points based on wins (five points per win), losses (zero points) and wins by opponents who defeated them (1/3 of a point for each win). Point totals are divided by the number of games played (including invitational tournaments and region tournaments) to determine the rating. Games against teams outside of Georgia and against teams playing a non-region schedule do not count toward power rating points. The first Georgia High School Association/MaxPreps power rating rankings will be posted Jan. 16, 2018.
Teams to watch
Central-Talbotton (11-0) and St. Francis (8-1) are atop the Atlanta Journal Constitution/Score Atlanta Top 10. Located in Talbot County in west-central Georgia, one county over from the Alabama line, Central-Talbotton has advanced to the public state playoffs the past two seasons but has not gotten past the second round. The Eagles are led this season by two of the state’s best senior players – guard JaQuavious Smith and forward ZyTavian Hill. St. Francis won back-to-back state private titles in 2014 and 2015, was the state runner up in 2016 and advanced to the semifinals last season. The Knights are led by sophomore guards Dwon Odom and Chase Ellis. A couple of “football schools” are also making noise on the hardwood in the early goings. Manchester finished the regular season in football undefeated and won the Region 4 championship. The Blue Devils are undefeated (6-0) thus far in basketball and ranked No. 7, with a win over No. 3 Calhoun County (53-49). Manchester is led by senior guard Jah’Nile Hill. On the private side, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy just completed one of the most dominating football season in state history, averaging 50 points per game en route to an undefeated season and the school’s third consecutive state title. On the court this season, ELCA is 9-2 after a one-point loss (51-50) to Class AAAAA No. 5 Southwest DeKalb, Wednesday afternoon in the Tournament of Champions Holiday Classic at Wheeler. The Chargers are led by two of the state’s best young front court players – junior Malachi Rhodes (15 points, 10 rebounds per game) and sophomore Jamaine Mann (10 points, 10 rebounds per game).
Father-son duo leads W.D. Mohammed
The Caliphs are once again a threat to make a deep run in March. They are 6-2 and ranked No. 8 in the private poll under head coach Farad Abdur-Rahman, who holds the distinction of leading a girls team and a boys team at the same school to No. 1 rankings during his tenure. He was the school’s girls’ head coach from 2004-2010, then took over the boys’ program from 2010-2014. He returned last year to coach his son, Ahmad Abdur-Rahman, who was the only freshman selected to the all-Region 5 team. This season, the sophomore, who has never made less than an “A” academically, leads the team scoring 16 points per game. Abdur-Rahman hopes to coach both of his sons two years from now when Ahmad is a senior. His brother, Bilal Abdur-Rahman, 13, currently is considered one of the state’s top seventh graders.
Players to watch
Daniel Parrish, Sr., G, Aquinas; Tre Gomillion, Sr., G, Aquinas; Clayton Jenkins Jr., Sr., G, Macon County; Tylan Grable, Sr., F, Wilkinson County; Christian Koneman, Sr., G/F, Christian Heritage; Christian McLean, Sr., G, Wesleyan; Rashun Williams, Calhoun County, Jr., F; Laqueveus Nelson, Jr., G, Quitman County.
Comings and goings
Here’s a look at some key players who left and others who are on the floor for new teams this season:
Moving On: Clarence Jackson, Sr., F (Wilkinson County to Dublin); Corey Myart, Jr., G (Mount Vernon Presbyterian to Duluth); Koby Isaac, Jr., G (Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy to Westlake); Jelani Shakir, Sr., G (Aquinas to Grovetown); Jalen Jackson, So., G (Lincoln County to Cedar Shoals).
Moving In: Josh Smith, So., G (Rockdale County to Holy Innocents’); Daniel Parrish, Sr., G (South Aiken, SC to Aquinas); Micah Smith, So., G (Whitefield Academy to Wesleyan); Zy Wright, So., G (Lincoln County to Aquinas); Chris Williams, So., F (Grovetown to Aquinas); Trevon Reddish, Jr., G (Carrollton to ELCA); Austin Gusaeff, So., F (Dacula to Hebron Christian); Christian Jackson, Sr., G (Fulton Leadership Academy to Greenforest); Sam Chavers, Sr., G (Parkview to Greenforest); KJ Jones, Jr. G (Luella to ELCA); Kaleb Jenkins, So., G (Shiloh to Greenforest); Jaylyn Clark, Sr., G (Woodland-Stockbridge to Greenforest)