With only one starter gone from last year’s Class AAAA state championship team, Miller Grove has its sights set on a third straight state title.
The Wolverines have garnered national attention the past two years and are ranked in the top 20 nationally in two polls—Max Preps (16th) and Prep Nation (18th).
“Our strength will be our experience and leadership, and our depth is very good,” Wolverines’ coach Sharman White said. “They’ve got a savvy about the game itself and that ties in with experience.”
The Wolverines return every starter from last season except Donte Williams, who is on scholarship at the University of Georgia. Junior center Tony Parker, who averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds, and senior forward Henry Brooks, who averaged 10 points and nine rebounds, lead a deep team. Parker is one of the most heavily recruited players in the nation, with offers already from Auburn, Clemson, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia and Georgia Tech, among others.
The Wolverines will be playing in an improved and expanded Region 6-AAAA. Six of the 12 teams in the region made the state playoffs a year ago.
“We want the region to be tough, we don’t shy away from it,” White said.
Miller Grove was one of 11 teams from DeKalb County to make the playoffs last season. The others were Marist, Lakeside, Chamblee, Redan, M.L. King, Stephenson, Druid Hills, Columbia, Decatur and Paideia.
Chamblee, Lakeside and Marist all made the playoffs out of Region 6-AAAA last year and region newcomer Redan made the AAAAA field a year ago.
Tucker, Southwest DeKalb and Dunwoody also should compete for a playoff berth in the subdivided region.
Southwest’s William Goodwin joins Parker as one of the top underclassmen in the area. Goodwin led the county in rebounding (11.1 per game) and blocked shots (5.8 per game) and had a 16.8 point scoring average.
Lakeside’s Al Key will lead the Vikings after an 18-8 record and playoff berth a year ago. Key, a senior, averaged 15.9 points and seven rebounds last season. He also was among the county leaders in assists and steals.
Miller Grove also will get plenty of non-region competition. The Wolverines open the season Nov. 20 against Rockdale County (a AAAA state playoff team last year) play Class AAAAA state champion Milton on Dec. 4 and AAA champion Columbia on Dec. 10. The Wolverines also will travel to top-rated tournaments in South Carolina and Ohio.
Columbia is coming off its third state title since 2006 with senior Chris Daniels and junior Jarmal Reid leading the way. Daniels has committed to Georgia Southern and Reid has several offers including Georgia, Marquette, Oklahoma, Wake Forest and Clemson. Reid averaged 6.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore. Also, Tahj Shamsid-Deen returns at point guard after leading the county with 8.1 assists per game as a freshman.
In Class AAAAA, Thomas Dumans returns at M.L King after averaging 14.8 points and 4.6 assists per game.
In Class AA, Decatur begins a new era after the retirement of longtime head coach Carter Wilson, who also serves as the school’s athletic director. Charlie Copp takes over a program that has had four straight winning seasons and played in the state tournament last season.