Friday, January 12, 2018

3:00 PM United Faith (11-8) vs. Buford (14-2)

United Faith and Buford were originally scheduled for the BCB December Showcase but, thanks to the generosity of Coach Josh Coley and his team’s willingness to travel, they return on MLK Day looking to go 2-0 at the event.  The Falcons are looking to improve on their state runner-up finish last season in North Carolina and are led by a group of seniors: guard Jaylen Sims (UNCW Commit), guard Rafael Jenkins, forward KC Hanston and center Nate Springs (Ohio Commit).  Coach Coley also relies on juniors Jason Thompson and Sam Wolfe, and with a Buford team finding their stride, the Falcons will need all hands on deck Monday.

Ever since the return of senior PG Alex Jones, the Buford Wolves have been rolling.  With the Lipscomb commit at the helm, life has become easier for Georgia Southern commit David Viti,  sharp-shooter Donnell Nixon and arguably the most talented player on Buford’s team, junior wing/forward Marcus Watson.  Led by the legendary Head Coach Eddie Martin, Buford has once again found themselves as the state championship favorite in 5A and will look to continue their run of good play on Monday against United Faith.   

1:30 PM Langston Hughes (13-3) vs. Grayson (12-3)

Langston Hughes returns to the BCB MLK Showcase and they will look to continue their winning ways at the event.  Monday will mark the third game in four days for Coach Rory Welsh and his Panthers, which includes a Friday night region test at #4 Tri-Cities (6A) and Monday’s clash against #8 Grayson (7A).  The Panthers are led by the talented Virginia Tech commit, Landers Nolley, senior wing/forward Tyler Smith and junior guard Tyrel Morgan.  Coach Welsh is known for having his team ready to compete and this weekend will be a great test before they seek to defend their 6A State Championship come March.

Coach Geoffery Pierce and his team have played one of the toughest schedules in the state this season and Monday will continue that trend.  The Rams are led by the senior guard combo of Travii Anderson (Charleston Southern commit) and Nick Edwards, and have gotten key contributions from multiple players this season, including junior forward Kenyon Jackson.  Grayson has their own state title aspirations after losing in the 7A Final Four last season and with a win over Langston Hughes on MLK Day, the Rams will enter the back of the schedule battle proven.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

6:00 PM United Faith Christian Acacemy (NC) 5-3 vs. Buford HS (GA) 3-2

6:00 PM   United Faith Christian Academy (NC) 5-3 vs. Buford HS (GA) 3-2

Coach Josh Coley and his United Faith team return to Georgia and look to knock off another opponent on their home floor, as they defeated Peachtree Ridge HS at the BCB MLK Showcase last season.  The Falcons look to improve on their state runner-up finish last season and Coach Coley is excited that he gets to return a team led by a group of seniors:  Guard Jaylen Sims (UNCW Commit), Guard Rafael Jenkins, Forward KC Hanston and Center Nate Springs (Ohio Commit).  Once you add Junior wings Jason Thompson and Sam Wolfe to the mix, United Faith has an opportunity to silence the Buford crowd.

This is an exciting week for the Buford Wolves as there have been positive signs which could see team-leader and Lipscomb commit Alex Jones return to the floor.  With Jones down, the Wolves have been led by Georgia Southern commit David Viti and the junior combo of guard Donnell Nixon and the talented, athletic forward Marcus Watson.  Coming off their 5A State Championship in 2017  legendary Head Coach Eddie Martin’s eighth title overall, the Wolves are again the favorite this year. Their slow start to the new season, in part speaks to the value of floor general, Alex Jones but make no mistake, they will be heard from come March.  

The boys nightcap features another pair of championship level programs with their eyes on a win Saturday but more importantly, preparing themselves for their state title aspirations.

Monday, December 4, 2017

4:30 PM Hoover HS (AL) 9-1 vs. Norcross HS (GA) 6-1

4:30 PM  Hoover HS (AL) 9-1 vs. Norcross HS (GA) 6-1

Hoover High School found their fame thanks to a good football program but Coach Charles Burkett and his Buccaneers are making their own history on the hardwood.  Over the last three years, they have been widely regarded as one of Alabama’s best teams including a state title win in 2015.  This season Hoover is considered one of the favorites and will lean on the savvy senior guard Marion Humphrey and his sharp-shooting backcourt running mate Jamari Blackmon. Both players are receiving Division I recruiting interest and are undecided.  The addition of 6’11” Clemson commit Trey Jemison (2018) will provide the inside presence to the experienced backcourt that most high school coaches envy. Those factors along with an experienced bench have Coach Burkett and his team excited for the season, chasing more than just a state title.

In the state of Georgia, you would be hard-pressed to find a more consistent and successful program than Coach Jesse McMillan’s Norcross Blue Devils.  Since 2006, Norcross has won 5 State Championships and competed in the Final Four or beyond three additional years. Coach McMillan returns backcourt teammates Dalvin White (2018) and Kyle Sturdivant (2019) both of which are experienced from last year’s state runner-up team. They are joined by the young, talented wing Brandon Boston (2020).  The versatile UGA commit Joseph Toppin (2018) and 2019 forward Issa Muhammad give the Blue Devils a nice inside-outside mix.  Despite losing big men Lance Thomas (Louisville) and Rashaun Hammonds (UGA), this looks to be a case of “next man up” and not rebuild mode for a talented Norcross team.

The matchup pits teams from the highest classification in their respective states against one another, both of which have realistic state championship aspirations.

12:00 PM Shiloh HS (GA) 3-3 vs. Peachtree Ridge (GA) 6-0

12:00 PM  Shiloh HS (3-3) vs. Peachtree Ridge HS (6-0)

The opening matchup of the showcase brings together two annual State Tournament teams from the highest classification in Georgia.  

Coach Kim Rivers and his Generals are once again poised for another great season and they come into the event battle tested through six games.  Coach Rivers and the Generals are led by talented 2019 Guard/Wing Elias King.  The 6’7” high-major prospect is working to find his way after one season at Huntington Prep but looks poised and his ability to score in numerous ways make him a tough matchup.  Along with King, Shiloh also bolsters a young lefty wing in Toneari Lane (2020) and an improving inside presence with 6’6” Senior Forward Shamari McLeod.  

Their opponent, also from Gwinnett County, Peachtree Ridge is undefeated.  Coach Keith Arrington and his program have been a consistent winner each year and this season should be no different.  The Lions are led by smooth lefty guard Devin Vassell, who is committed to Coach Leonard Hamilton of Florida State, who has found recent success in recruiting the peach state.  Along with Vassell, Coach Arrington leans heavily on his experienced leaders.  Senior guard Tamir Harrison-Chester (2018), forwards Izu Onyekachi (2018) and BJ Knight (2019) will continue to improve as the season progresses.

Look for this game to be a tough, competitive battle between two teams known for their defensive prowess and aggressive play.

1:30 PM York Prep (SC) 5-3 vs. Hamilton Heights (TN) 6-2

1:30 PM   York Prep (SC) 5-3 vs. Hamilton Heights (TN) 6-2

The 1:30 PM matchup provides some early afternoon excitement as two of the best independent programs in the Southeast square off.

Hamilton Heights and Coach Zac Ferrell are excited about the 2017-2018 season.  After losing nine Division 1 players over the last two years, Ferrell’s Hawks have reloaded with a group led by the 6’4” G Kevaughn Ellis (2018) who has numerous SEC offers, mid-major prospect 6’ 11” C Jason Jitiboh (2019) and the 7’1” Cleveland State commit, Uros Plavsic.  With three other players averaging double digits in points; Jordan Rawls (Guard 2019), Wheza Panzo (Guard 2019) and Tre Edwards (Guard 2019), the Hawks are poised for another great season and look to rebound after a tough early-season loss to Oak Hill.

York Prep returns to a BCB Event for the second year in a row after an impressive win in the 2017 MLK event.  The Patriots, like the Hawks, have a nice blend of talent and bolster their own impressive list of prospects. Backcourt teammates, Jaron Williams (committed to Longwood) and Vince Cole (Guard 2018, Multiple D-1 offers), return for their senior seasons and are joined by newcomer Deuce Dean (Guard 2019), which provides Coach Hamrick with depth and versatility at the guard spots. Transfer Forward Dericko Williams (2019) and established 4-Star Forward DJ Burns (2019) make York Prep tough to guard inside and out.  

3:00 PM Porter Guad (SC) 6-0 vs. McEachern (GA) 3-0

3:00 PM  Porter Gaud (SC) 6-0 vs. McEachern HS (GA) 3-0

The reigning two-time 3A South Carolina State Champ, Porter Gaud, comes to the Buford City Arena to test themselves against one of the younger and more talented teams in the state of Georgia and the country in McEachern.

Coach John Pearson’s Cyclones are on the verge of entering the “dynasty” conversation in the South Carolina hoops world and now look to conquer one of Georgia’s top teams.  Porter Gaud is led by the senior Vandy commit, Aaron Nesmith (Guard) and 4-Star Wing Josiah James (2019).  Both Nesmith and James are experienced returners that have the ability to control the game at both ends of floor.  Once you add the inside presence of Center Jake Lanford (2018) and Senior Guard Jake Nutley (2018), Porter Gaud is poised for another state title run and a chance to declare themselves one of the best in the Southeast.  

Expectations are high this season for Coach Mike Thompson and this matchup will be no different.  The Indians are one of Georgia’s and the country’s most talented young teams with only two seniors on the roster.  Their deep run to the Final Four in Georgia’s highest classification last season make McEachern an early season favorite in 2018. Guard Sharife Cooper (2020), wing Isaac Okoro (2019), forwards Jared Jones (2019) and Babatunde Akingbola (2019) are all considered high level prospects but numerous other Indians are contributors which makes this team so dangerous.

The established state champ from South Carolina, Porter Gaud, looks to bolster their own legacy and will need a great effort to take down a loaded McEachern squad.  This has the potential to be the game of the day.