High school basketball | chick-fil-a classic

A look at the Chick-fil-A tourney basketball teams

ainelson@thestate.comDecember 19, 2013 


    Top players in the Chick-fil-A Classic that starts Thursday at Richland Northeast High:

    TEMARCUS BLANTON: Senior, Luella, Ga.

    The 6-4 shooting guard and USC signee has a three-star rating and is ranked 41st nationally at the position.

    JAKEENAN GANT: Senior, Effingham County

    Missouri signee is a 6-6 power forward ranked 13th in the nation at the position and 50th overall in the ESPN 100.

    DJ RUSSELL: Freshman, Arlington Country Day

    The 6-5 small forward committed to Miami before his first high school season.

    BRANDONE FRANCIS: Senior, Arlington Country Day

    Shooting guard is ranked eighth in the nation at the position and 27th in the ESPN 100. The 6-5, four-star prospect signed with Florida.

    SHELTON MITCHELL: Senior, Oak Hill Academy

    The 6-5 point guard from North Carolina signed with Wake Forest.

    ANTHONY JOHNSON: Senior, South Pointe

    Named one of the state’s top five seniors by SCBCA, the 6-3 guard, who also plays football, has not selected a college.

    CALEB MARTIN: Senior, Oak Hill Academy

    A four-star prospect, the 6-7 small forward is ranked 59th in the ESPN 100 and 16th at the position nationally. He signed with N.C. State.

    AHMED HILL: Senior, Aquinas Hill

    Marquette signee is the nation’s 12th ranked shooting guard and ranked 51st overall in the ESPN 100.

    MARCUS STROMAN: Senior, Keenan

    The 6-2 point guard and USC signee is a three-star prospect ranked 35th at the position nationally, and No. 2 overall in S.C. by ESPN.

    THON MAKER: Sophomore, Carlisle

    The nation’s No. 1-ranked sophomore is a 7-foot, 200-pound forward/center. He has offers from Arizona, Virginia, Miami and Georgetown.

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    Akilah Imani Nelson

Here is a look at the Chick-fil-A Classic teams:

Oak Hill Academy (Va.)

Oak Hill finished 33-5 last year and has four Division 1 signees — Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, Shelton Mitchill and BJ Stith — amid a big roster. Oak Hill earned the No. 4 preseason national ranking from MaxPreps.

Arlington Country Day (Fla.)

Division 1 signees Brandone Francis, Donte Buford, Nate Mason and DJ Russell are a formidable lineup for the Apaches. The Apaches, who finished 30-4 last season, started this season at No. 13 in the USA Today preseason poll.

Carlisle (Va.)

Carlisle debuted at No. 25 in the MaxPreps preseason rankings after finishing last season 23-2. The squad is led by 7-footer Thon Maker, the center who was a freshman All-American last season.

Wesleyan Christian Academy (N.C.)

The NCISAA 3A state champions finished 23-5 in the 2012-13 season. Led by North Carolina signee Theo Pinson, JaQuel Richmond, and 6-7 senior Donovan Gilmore, the Trojans were ranked preseason No. 22 by USA Today. The Trojans are playing without injured Harry Giles, who is rated the nation’s No. 2 sophomore by ESPN.

St. Frances Academy (Md.)

Six-foot-7 senior Dwayne Morgan, who has committed to UNLV, leads the Panthers, who finished 34-8 last year. This year, the Panthers started the season ranked No. 3 in Maryland.

Archbishop Carroll (Pa.)

After finishing 23-7 last season, the Patriots were preseason East Region No. 18 in the Student Sports Fab 50 rankings. Archbishop Carroll is led a trio of juniors — 6-9 forward Ernest Aflakpui, 6-7 forward Derrick Jones, and 6-0 Nick Jones at guard.

Blanche Ely (Fla.)

Blanche Ely won Florida’s FHSAA Class 8A title and finished 28-2 last season. Senior Lance Tejada II, a 6-foot guard signed with East Carolina, leads the Tigers.

Luella High (Ga.)

The Lions, 16-11 last year, feature South Carolina signee TeMarcus Blanton at guard. Junior 6-11 center Doral Moore holds down the post.

Morgan County (Ga.),

Senior CJ Turman, a 6-8 forward and Tennessee signee, leads the Bulldogs, who finished 24-6 last season. Tookie Brown, a 5-11 junior, runs the floor at guard.

Aquinas High (Ga.)

Ahmed Hill, a 6-5 senior guard and Marquette signee, leads the Fighting Irish. Aquinas was 23-7 last season, and is off to a 6-2 start this year.


Led by future Gamecock Marcus Stroman at guard, the Raiders are S.C.’s preseason No. 2 Class 2A squad. Keenan finished 22-6 last season, and is 3-2 this season. Senior Sam Harmon, with underclassmen Antwan Holmes and Tariq Simmons, combine for a 38-point average.

Lower Richland

Coach Willie Thomas’ young Diamond Hornets are coming off a 16-11 season that saw Lower Richland reach the third round of the Class 3A tournament. Lower Richland is 3-0.

Spring Valley

With junior guard PJ Dozier out injured, the Vikings are led by sophomore forward Jordan Bruner.

South Pointe

Anthony Johnson, recognized as one of the state’s top seniors by the S.C. Basketball Coaches Association, leads the Stallions, who are 2-2. South Pointe finished 21-2 last season, reaching the third round of the Class 4A tournament.

Richland Northeast

The Cavaliers are led by first-year coach and Richland Northeast alumnus Aaron Lucas. Richland Northeast, 16-9 last year, is off to a 1-5 start.


The Auctioneers began the season with the SCBCA’s No. 7 Class 2A preseason ranking. They are led by senior guard/forward Alex Brown and freshman Jalek Felton. The Auctioneers are 4-1.

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