Friday, November 10, 2017

High school boys preseason top 10 and the AugBball Games of the Day for the first week of HS play

Kevin Williamson (Aiken) left and Daniel Parrish (Aquinas) right

In this post are the following:
1) Preseason top 10 teams with a special focus on the top two teams, #2 Aquinas and #1 Aiken
2) My current schedule for week 1 HS hoops Game of the Day AugBball coverage

AugBball Preseason Top 10 Teams:

#10 Midland Valley (Last season 7-17)
#9 Richmond (23-6, GHSA class AAAA region 3 runner up)
#8 Lakeside (21-5, class AAAAAA region 3 champion)
#7 Butler (18-10, class AA region 4 runner up)
#6 Glenn Hills (16-10)
#5 Laney (25-6, class AA region 4 champion, state playoff quarterfinals)
#4 Baldwin (18-9, class AAAA 3 champion)
#3 North Augusta (20-6, SCHSL class AAAA, region 4 runner up)

#2 Aquinas

Last season:
GHSA class A region 7 champion
Reached quarterfinal in state playoffs in GHSA class A private

The two teams at the top of my preseason top 10, Aiken and Aquinas, have two common traits. Both teams return their best players from undefeated region championship teams that reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. And both teams have very tall players at almost every position. I count maybe 8 players 6'3-6'4" and above in the two starting lineups. Both teams are legitimate state title contenders.

Aquinas will open before Aiken when the Fighting Irish play Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, NY) and Eagles Landing Christian Academy 14 hours apart in the highly regarded Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament November 24 and 25. The tournament made the USA Today High School Sports list of the top 15 tournaments in the country this season:

Eagles Landing is one of class A private's top 4 teams, as is Aquinas. So coach Darren Douglas's team will be able to measure itself immediately after the season tips off. The addition of Daniel Parrish, a 6'4" senior wing who transferred from South Aiken, will give Aquinas the length to challenge even last season's almost unbelievable 36 points allowed per game mark, which was good for first in the state.

Coach Douglas talked to me at a recent practice about the Holiday Hoopsgiving tournament, the addition of Parrish, and more:

#1 Aiken

Last season:
SCHSL class AAAA region 4 champion
Reached quarterfinal in state playoffs in SCHSL class AAAA

Aiken will not officially get started until the Hornets visit Silver Bluff on November 29. But I saw coach Darris Jackson's squad in a recent scrimmage against Lakeside, and the Hornets looked extremely sharp, and imposing, and experienced.

As you can see, Aiken's deep roster is huge, and productive, at almost every position:

Nazae Baltimore - 6'6" junior - 8 ppg, 7 rpg
Antonio Bussey - 6'7" senior
Kevin Williamson - 6'4" senior - 10 ppg, 4 rpg - All Region
Calvin Mathis - 6'4" senior - 7 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 apg
Jordan Lytes - 6'1" senior - 10 ppg, 4 apg - All Region
Maison Hall - 6'1" junior - 5 ppg, 3 rpg
George Williams - 6'2" junior - team leader in 3s made and 3 pt%

AugBball Game of the Day coverage of the first week of HS hoops

Grovetown at Butler (girls and boys)

Saturday, 11-11
AugBball Bonus Coverage

Butler's Drez McBride (16 ppg, 5 rpg) and Keith Littles (10 ppg, 3 rpg) immediately stepped into leadership roles during the first game of last season, a win over Lakeside. 

The senior duo will try to get the Bulldogs off to a good start on the road against a talented bunch at Grovetown. The Warriors are led by senior sharp shooter Eric Graham, who also started last season with a strong offensive showing in a game I featured:

Midland Valley at Aquinas (preseason scrimmage)

Saturday, 11-14
AugBball Game of the Day

Scrimmage or not, I won't miss it when two of the area's best meet in a sort of rare cross border heavy weight matchup. Aquinas's Tre Gomillion, last season's Augusta Chronicle Player of the Year, his teammate Daniel Parrish, and Midland Valley's Anthoney Ray all seem to me like they will be college players next season.

6'4" senior wing Anthoney Ray (Midland Valley) averaged 16 ppg last season.

Augusta Christian vs Lakeside at Greenbrier

Friday, 11-17
AugBball Game of the Day

This Wolfpack Challenge contest, which follows a Greenbrier-Josey which will likely become part of a double-header AugBball Game of the Day, features two of the area's best junior... point guards. That's right. As AC coach Charles Welch tells us in the interview below, the 6'6" 210 pound junior Nate Dunlop, who scored 28 ppg last season, will bring the ball up the court this season. (I like this move a lot.) Dunlop will face highly touted Lakeside lead guard Kalen Williams (16 ppg), also a junior, in this one.

In addition to Friday's Greenbrier-Josey game and Saturday's Greenbrier-Augusta Christian game, I'll try to add more games to the first week's coverage schedule, especially those including Baldwin, Laney, and Evans in this tip off tournament at Evans Friday and Saturday:

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