It didn’t take long for two of the top players in Class AAAAA to find a home. Nelson Phillips of Warner Robins and Kavonte Ivery of Stockbridge have already signed with Georgia State.
Phillips is a 6-5 shooting guard who averaged 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Demons a year ago. Phillips is a bona fide scorer who can pop the 3-pointers and drive to the basket with equal effectiveness. He was first-team all-state last year and helped Warner Robins reach the state quarterfinals.
Ivery is a 6-6 wing with a larger frame who averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Tigers, who went 16-9 last season. Ivery is sturdy enough to play inside. He is averaging 20 points and 9.1 rebounds through the first 11 games this season.
Three other top boys in Class AAAAA:
Alex Jones, Buford: The 5-10 senior may be the best point guard in the classification. He was first-team all-state selection last year in helping the Wolves win the state championship. He knows how to run the offense and keep the ball distributed to Buford’s legion of top players. He is equally deadly as a 3-point shorter or taking the ball to the hole. Jones had the start of his season slowed by a stress fracture. He has signed with Lipscomb.
Marcus Watson, Buford: The 6-5 junior may be the most talented player in AAAAA. Considered a shooting forward, he can be an inside presence and doesn’t mind mixing it up on the boards. Watson has a nice jump shot, can knock down the 3 when needed, and finishes strong at the rim. He can virtually pick his college; Georgia Tech and Georgia are among those who have made offers.
Kevin Paige, Miller Grove: The strong 6-7 senior is one of the best power forwards around. He’s big (230 pounds) and strong on the glass, averaging 9.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in one of the toughest leagues in the state. Paige protects the rim and redirects shots in the paint and has plenty of upside as a scorer, an area of his game that needs some refinement.
Five top girls to watch:
Tory Ozment, Buford: The senior can do everything and is surprisingly mobile for a 6-footer who had knee surgery a couple years ago. Ozment will likely be a wing in college, where she can take advantage of her stellar shooting skills. Because of the depth and team-oriented style emphasized by Buford – which won the state title last year – Ozment’s numbers aren’t likely to be gaudy. She’s already signed with Michigan State.
Taniyah Worth, Flowery Branch: Worth was first-team all-state last year when she averaged 18 points and eigth rebounds and helped the Falcons reach the state semifinals. She is an athletic player who likes to use her quickness and take the ball to the basket. The 6-1 guard has signed with Alabama.
Jessika Carter, Harris County: A 6-3 post, Carter has already signed with Mississippi State. She is strong inside, both scoring and on the boards, and likes to start the fast break with a good outlet pass. Harris is improving offensively and is a good finisher at the basket, but her main strengths are on defense, where she protects the basket and changes shots.
Deasia Merrill, Villa Rica: The 6-3 junior can do it all. She’s an excellent rebounder, plays well in transition and is a fine passer. She averaged 22.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists last season after averaging 25.4 points and 7.2 rebounds as a freshman. She has not yet made a college decision.
India Bellamy, Dutchtown: The addition of Bellamy has strengthened Dutchtown’s experienced roster. Bellamy transferred from Eagle’s Landing Christian, where she averaged 20 points and was first-team All-Henry County as a sophomore. The 6-1 junior is averaging 14.9 points and 11.5 rebounds for the Bulldogs.