In part 2 of the "Pre Season Area Top Ten High School Teams" posts, I highlight teams 7, 6, and 5. This Friday and Saturday's ABR Live Tip Off Invitational (see full schedule here) marks the first weekend of high school hoops action where we will get to see most of the area's teams in action for the first time. Each night this week, I will share my thoughts about who the area's best ten teams will be. Let me know what you think in the comment section.
***See Part 1 of the rankings here***
#7 - Washington County
Coach Carlos Hope's teams always defend. And junior AJ Gray has two years of leadership behind him. An older Gray and his athletic and disciplined teammates should make the Golden Hawks better than they have been in the past few years. And they have already been darn good. It is difficult to place WACO properly in the top 10 because sub region rival Thomson is the only local team the Hawks routinely play. So I will not be surprised if the Sandersville faithful accuse me of "Augusta bias" in placing them in the second half of the rankings. Winning in the "dog pound" (do they still call The home gym in Thomson that?) would make a strong case for WACO's chances of advancing deep into the state playoffs. We may not see them often, but we certainly look forward to the two times when Coach Hope's team faces Thomson this season. Not to mention a possible deep post season run.
#6 - Augusta Christian
We dedicated no time to covering the Lions' 2012-2013 SCISA state tournament final four run. But we expect to change plans this season as one of Will Avery's favorite players, point guard Jordan Dingle (South Aiken transfer) has joined the Martinez based private school. Dingle is an explosive player who can get into the paint at will and finish with both hands. Guard Nick Fortenberry, a proven scorer, returns for his senior season. And 6'9" junior Calvin Taylor provides size inside. Following the Lions should be fun as they face proven South Carolina private school programs Cardinal Newman, Heathwood Hall, Ben Lippen, and Hammond. During region play, the Lions will face South Carolina's (possibly) best player, Seventh Woods of Hammond, at least twice.
#5 - North Augusta
Last year I dedicated much of my coverage of the Yellow Jackets to seniors TJ Shepard and Tavarus Hall. But after seeing Malik Dunbar, Christian Davis, and Chandler Harrison in many different settings throughout the off season, I believe this year's team will actually improve over last season's state tournament quarterfinal round team.
The junior Dunbar impresses everyone who watches him with the combination of his smooth stroke, his size (6'4"), and his athleticism. And Christian Davis' pure shooting and ability to create off the dribble will give North Augusta a new look on the perimeter. I think these pieces will fit together very nicely.