Small-town Georgia, and the Middle Georgia area in particular, has produced some outstanding high school basketball teams and players throughout the years.
Most of the schools have football teams today, but there was a time when basketball was the only game in town.
I know I am probably going to open up a can of worms by naming an all-time team from a few different Middle Georgia towns in several articles this season.
We’ll start out choosing the topt five players from Roberta and Crawford County, one of those locations where football didn’t exist until the late 1970s and basketball was king.
There is little doubt that Kenny “Sky” Walker is the finest basketball player to ever come out of Roberta and Crawford County. I don’t think I would get an argument from anyone on his selection.
Walker led Crawford County to Class AA championships in 1981 and 1982 while being named Georgia state player of the year his senior season. He was both a Parade and McDonald’s All-American in 1982.
During his Crawford County career, he scored 1,938 points, and went on to be a four-time All-SEC selection and two-time All-American at Kentucky. He was a first-round pick in the 1986 NBA draft by the New York Knicks and spent five seasons with that team. He also played professionally with the Washington Bullets and internationally in Spain, Italy and Japan.
John Matthews still holds the all-time scoring record for Crawford County more than 50 years after he played for the Eagles. He had 2,840 points during his high school career, which ran from 1956-60.
He made the Class C all-state team all four years and led Crawford County to the state title game against Edison in 1959, where they lost in overtime 60-59.
During the state tournament that season, he set the Georgia high school record of 175 points in four games (43.75 ppg). I believe John was the first Crawford County basketball player to receive a major-college scholarship when he signed with Georgia.
Jack Scott played at Crawford County Training School prior to integration and was a three-year starter after playing on its state GIAA championship team as a freshman.
He had a breakout game as a sophomore against Ellaville with 37 points, and averaged 34 points a game a senior.
I saw first-hand what kind of player he was at Mercer. He scored 1,122 points during his four-year career with the Bears. He had style and was very much a showman who went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters for one season.
Chuck Hawkins, the son of then-Crawford County head coach J.B. Hawkins, led the Eagles to their first state championship, in 1969.
In winning four games to take the crown, Chuck had 30 points in the first game against St. Pius X, 17 against defending state champ Whigham, 32 against Warren County and 37 in the title game against Pike County in a 66-61 win.
He finished his career with 2,153 points and was named to the 1969 Class C All-State team. Hawkins played freshman basketball at Georgia, but gave it up to concentrate on his studies and is a cardiologist in Macon.
Rounding out the Crawford County “Super 5” is Wilson Duggar, a teammate of Walker’s who was the 1981 AA state player of the year. He finished his four-year high school career with 2,139 points. As a senior, he shot 59% from the field and 77% from the free throw line while averaging 24 points a game. He also averaged 9 assists and 3 steals per outing.
Crawford County went 97-14 during his four-year high school career, after which he played collegiately at West Georgia College and North Georgia.
I know the questions will come about leaving out Melvin “Blue” Gibson, Charles “Duck” Graddick or Gentle Ranes. Well, I only had five spots.
All five of the Crawford County players listed have had their jersey numbers retired.
Contact Bobby Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org.