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Read today's newsletter for a story on why local HS coaches think so many top hoops recruits are leaving the state. Also, we break the news that Daniel Fowler of Allatoona has committed to Furman. Also check out the girls soccer rankings and a look ahead at this weekend in lacrosse.

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In This Issue
Girls Soccer Rankings
Score Atlanta Pub
Hoops Recruiting
Daniel Fowler Commits
Rankings Rundown
Lacrosse Notebook
Score Poll
Top Stories
How many basketball games did the Buccaneers win during Daniel Fowler's four seasons at Allatoona?
Today's answer can  
be found in the newsletter!


Wednesday's answer:

Berkmar is currently the only boys soccer defending state champion outside of the top 10.





1. Harrison

2. Grayson

3. Parkview

4. Peachtree Ridge

5. Brookwood

6. Lassiter

7. Collins Hill

8. South Forsyth

9. Walton

10. Centennial




1. Northgate

2. McIntosh

3. Starr's Mill

4. Pope

5. Heritage-Conyers

6. Flowery Branch

7. Gainesville

8. Loganville

9. Northview

10. Lakeside-DeKalb


Class AAAA


1. Marist

2. Veterans

3. Alexander

4. Columbus

5. Heritage-Catoosa

6. Grady

7. Chamblee

8. Spalding

9. Cairo

10. Carrollton


Class AAA


1. St. Pius X

2. Blessed Trinity

3. Woodward Academy

4. Dawson County

5. Pike County

6. Oconee County

7. Buford

8. Cartersville

9. Decatur

10. Chapel Hill


Class AA


1. Lovett

2. Greater Atlanta Christian

3. Westminster

4. Wesleyan

5. Calhoun

6. St. Vincent's

7. Armuchee

8. Jefferson

9. Vidalia

10. Dade County


Class A


1. First Presbyterian Day

2. Hebron Christian

3. Providence Christian

4. Fellowship Christian

5. Paideia

6. Calvary Day

7. Holy Innocents'

8. Pace Academy

9. Mt. Paran Christian

10. Walker



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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Check out this week's publication!


 Click the cover to read and download.

By Stephen Black
HS hoops coaches comment on why in-state college programs struggle to sign local talent



The Georgia Bulldogs had a successful basketball season compared to most years in their recent history. Georgia won 12 SEC games, one of the highest conference win totals in program history, and made a postseason tournament for just the fifth time since 2002, albeit the lightly-regarded NIT.


However, in games against the SEC's three NCAA Tournament teams - Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee - the Dawgs were 0-4 and dropped each game by

Photo by Ty Freeman

double-digits. What is Georgia missing that championship contenders have? The likely answer is talent and recruiting, two sources of frustration for Bulldogs fans who look around the Peach State and see some of the top prospects in the nation leaving for out-of-state college programs every year.


Like the Bulldogs, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Kennesaw State weren't invited to the NCAA Tournament while, in an article by Todd Holcomb, more than 20 players from Georgia high schools will be playing in the Big Dance. While four of them play for Macon's Mercer University, most will suit up for out-of-state programs.




The mass exodus of blue-chip basketball recruits begs the question: why do they leave the state while the in-state programs suffer in mediocrity?


"With Georgia being so phenomenal at football, a lot of kids don't see Georgia being a 'basketball school'," explained Miller Grove coach Sharman White, whose program is fresh off winning a state-record sixth consecutive state title. "But I don't think it's just a football thing, I think it's a recruiting thing. What do you have to offer the kids? From a standpoint of what the program can offer them, that'll convince them that they need to be here in their home state instead of leaving. Recruiting is the bottom line."


Tech and Georgia have won at times throughout their lengthy major college histories, but neither has been able to sustain it and neither has ever won a national championship. While so-called football schools like Florida, Ohio State and Michigan have taken home national titles, Tech and Georgia have fallen short. But it isn't due to a lack of talent nearby. It is largely because local players choose far away programs over the in-state schools.


"I just think that some of those players feel that they may have a better chance of maybe playing at the next level (the NBA) or getting a little more appreciation at some of the out-of-state schools," said David Boyd, who coached Berkmar and Milton to two state championships each. "But I don't agree with that. I believe that Georgia and Georgia Tech can be very good at basketball. If you look at Florida, which has been very successful traditionally at football, they've done a great job in basketball. So I do think it can be done."




While programs like Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina can generally pick and choose recruits from all over the country, other programs not known for their basketball pedigrees have come into the Peach State and taken players that were coveted by both Tech and Georgia.


Virginia, which just won its first ACC Tournament championship since 1976, used metro Atlanta products Malcolm Brogdon (GAC) and Evan Nolte (Milton) to help snag a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance. The Cavaliers have also signed current GAC Spartan Isaiah Wilkins, who happens to be ex-Georgia Bulldog Dominique Wilkins' stepson. Marquette, a good, but not great program located in cold and distant Milwaukee, signed Aquinas' Ahmed Hill, arguably the top player in the Peach State's 2014 class. 


Effingham County's JaKeenan Gant signed with Missouri, a school

Photo by Ty Freeman

hundreds of miles away that has never made a Final Four and which Georgia beat twice this past season.


"When kids make that kind of move and they have 15-20 offers, it's strictly a relationship thing," said Walton coach Joe Goydish. "It's a relationship and a 'how quick can I play' thing."


While relationships are important in recruiting, other factors also play a part in it.


"I'd like to think it's always an academic decision," said Boyd. "Or what the major is going to be but, to be honest, I do think that most high school players are going to base their decisions on how they feel about the head coach, their relationship, style of play, facilities, those kinds of things are kind of at the top of the list and tradition is also up there."


Coach Markus Hood of Allatoona suggested a more questionable way certain colleges sign players, one that may violate NCAA rules.


"It may be some kind of AAU connection that helps funnel kids to those places," he said. "I don't know if there's anything financial or if there's some type of AAU connection where maybe some AAU programs are getting kickbacks."


While in-state programs seem to be striking out on many top Georgia prospects, each coach acknowledged that it wasn't for lack of trying.


"I don't think they're not recruiting these kids," said Goydish of the in-state

Photo by Ty Freeman

programs' recruiting efforts. "I'm sure they'd love to get (Wheeler's) Jaylen Brown or one of those guys, but I just don't know if those kids feel that connection."


Despite missing on some recent big-time recruits, all four local college programs are stacked with in-state kids. Metro Atlanta products like Charles Mann and Donte' Williams played huge roles at Georgia this year while Tech was led by Daniel Miller of Loganville and Marques Georges-Hunt of College Park.




Georgia State and Kennesaw State each confront a different set of challenges than do the SEC and ACC representatives from the state. While the Panthers have made the Big Dance and even won a tournament game in 2001, Kennesaw State is relatively new to Division I athletics and has floundered in the Atlantic Sun. However, Goydish thinks each program could win if each approached recruiting with an emphasis on local players.


"Georgia State's going to be good," Goydish said. "They're going to succeed more so on the level they did this year with transfers. I think Kennesaw State can be a good basketball program with the talent here in Georgia with the secondary guys, the guys that were going to the mid-major programs."


Georgia State dominated its return season in the Sun Belt Conference (GSU was a member of the conference previously from 1976-1981) with a 17-1 conference record on the backs of transfers. Kennesaw State, however, suffered another atrocious season with a 6-25 record overall.


While Mercer will be the lone in-state program to play in the men's NCAA Tournament this season, college programs in the state of Georgia have bright futures - if they can begin signing the top players from the Peach State.


By Stephen Black
Allatoona hoops star commits to Furman



Daniel Fowler of Allatoona High School committed to Furman University Wednesday night, according to the senior combo guard and Bucs head coach Markus Hood.

Photo by Ty Freeman

The four-year starter helped the young Allatoona program win 96 games in his career. The Bucs made the state playoffs in each of his four seasons.


Fowler, who averaged just under 17 points this season, will play all three guard positions in Furman's motion offense. Hood thinks his former star may even start his freshman year in Greenville.


"I think he's going to back up some at the one and probably play the 2 and the 3," said Hood. "I won't be surprised if you find him starting as a freshman just because his game has continued to grow."


Fowler chose Furman over offers from Jacksonville, Southern Miss and high interest from the College of Charleston. The list of reasons why the Acworth native chose the Paladins is a long one.


"I believe he loved the coaching staff," said Hood. "That was a big part of his decision-making process. He loved the campus and he really enjoyed the players when he got to meet them. He really is big on the prestige of Furman's academics."


According to Fowler, the biggest reason he chose the Greenville private school was the relationship he built with Furman head coach Niko Medved.


"The coaches really showed a lot of interest in me," said the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder. "(Medved) has been pursuing me a while now and showed me that the school wants me more than just showing interest."


Fowler will bring great court vision, good passing skills, three-point shooting accuracy and leadership to the Paladins. He will sign with the Paladins on April 16, the first day of basketball's regular signing period.


Grayson beats Parkview, Harrison grabs No. 1


Defending Class AAAAAA-champion Parkview has been bounced out of the top ranking

Photo by Sonny Kennedy

after losing to Grayson last week. It was Grayson's first-ever win in the head-to-head series and the Rams used it to reach the No. 2 ranking behind Harrison.


The other five No. 1 spots remained unchanged: Northgate in Class AAAAA, Marist in Class AAAA, St. Pius in Class AAA, Lovett in Class AA and First Presbyterian Day in Class A are still looking good. Marist played up in classification last week and defeated Pope, which is ranked fourth in Class AAAAA.


A battle between the No. 2 teams in Class AAA and Class AA took place last Friday, with Greater Atlanta Christian getting the best of former region foe Blessed Trinity 2-0. Both squads held their places in the rankings behind Lovett and St. Pius, respectively.





AJO4LAX Festival highlights weekend action


Pope High School will host the 8th Annual AJO4LAX Festival on Saturday. The five-game, all-day boys lacrosse festival will have some of the best teams in the state square off and it will all be for a great cause. The event will benefit the

Click photo to visit

Andrew Oswald Memorial Fund. Andrew Oswald was a lacrosse standout for Pope that was killed in a car accident in 2005. 


Since then, Oswald's memorial fund has awarded a $1000 scholarship to an Atlanta-area boy or girl lacrosse player for the past five seasons. The organization has dedicated its mission to help promote Teen Safe Driving initiatives through fund raising efforts tied to the promotion of youth and high school lacrosse in Georgia.


The AJO4LAX Festival will be $7 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 12. Pope will host Blessed Trinity in Game 1 at 10 a.m. and immediately following will be a matchup between Northview and Decatur. Heated rivals Walton and Lassiter take the field at 3 p.m and Lovett and Lambert are set for Game 4. The final game is tentatively set for 6 p.m. and will matchup both defending state champs with Centennial (5-0) and Westminster (7-1). 





Dear Coach,

We wanted to provide an update regarding the 2014 Atlanta Falcons Coaches Clinic hosted by Head Coach Mike Smith. Due to the NFL Draft which is now in May and required commitments, the next Coaches Clinic will be held in March 2015. Please save the date for the Atlanta Falcons Salute to High School Football reception for Georgia high school football head coaches on Saturday, December 13 at the Georgia Dome. 


Please save the date for the Atlanta Falcons Salute to High School Football reception for Georgia high school football head coaches on Saturday, December 13 at the Georgia Dome. 


For other Atlanta Falcons youth and prep football program information, please visit or on twitter @AFPlayFootball


Thanks so much for your support of the Atlanta Falcons. 


All inquiries should be directed to David Quiroga, Youth and Prep Football Coordinator at 770-965-4310 or



Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Department 

DIRECT PHONE: 770-965-4310  





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