High School Sports

Area basketball teams have some top talent

Nelson Phillips (10) drives to the basket for Warner Robins against Ware County in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAAA basketball playoffs.
Nelson Phillips (10) drives to the basket for Warner Robins against Ware County in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAAA basketball playoffs. Clay Teague

The Warner Robins Demons are off to a quick 6-0 start on the basketball court despite being without three key players who are a little busy trying to win a state football championship.

Head coach Jamaal Garman has used their absence to build even a stronger team.

“I think being without those guys actually helps us because it makes us play some people in different positions and they have to work a little harder,” said Garman, whose team is coming off of a trip to the GHSA 5A Elite Eight a year ago. “Those football guys won’t be in real basketball shape until after Christmas because to get in true basketball shape, we have to get them into games. But once we get everyone back, we should be pretty good.”

According to Garman, the presence of 10 seniors makes things interesting at practice.

“Oh our practices are way tougher than our games because everyone is working hard to get playing time,” Garman said. “I think the games are the easiest part. I can only imagine what things will be like when the football guys get back out here.”

Warner Robins is led by senior Nelson Phillips, a Georgia State commit, who averages 21 points a game, Jacolbey Owens, who averages 19 points a game, and Champ Dawson, who gives the Demons a quality ball handler who can score, rebound and pass. They will add inside players Jam’l Dillard, Jayden Norman, and Bobby Kelly to the mix when football season ends.

Garman is clear what it will take to consider this year a successful season.

“We are not looking that far into the future, but honestly this team expects to make a deep playoff run,” Garman said. “These 10 seniors have worked very hard to get to this point, and we feel like we have a very strong team.”

The area is loaded with basketball talent this year which could have many teams make the state playoffs. Some of the top players include:

Khavon Moore: The Westside senior is the most highly recruited player in the area, and he is currently averaging 24 points a game to go with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Moore did not sign in the early signing period and coaches from all over the country continue to visit Macon to watch him play.

Greg Holloway: The Westside post player is scoring 15 points a game and grabbing 10 rebounds for the Seminoles, who have played a brutal schedule so far and have started off at 0-3.

Cam Holden: Mary Persons is off to a 4-1 start and Holden has been excellent, averaging 30 points a game to go with 12 rebounds per game.

Jake Smith: Perry is off to a 4-2 start behind Smith , who is scoring almost 16 points per game and has hit 27 3-pointers this year.

Brice Paster: The Peach County senior is off to a quick start and is averaging 18 points a game to go with 6 rebounds.

Maurice Gordon: FPD is looking to do big things on the basketball court this season and Gordon is the leader of a strong group. He is currently averaging 11 points a game for the 1-1 Vikings.

Kylan Hill: Central is off to a quick 3-0 start and Hill has scored 11 points a game to go with 9 rebounds.

Darius Dunn and Ty’Ree Gilbert: Northeast is on the upswing and may have its best team in years. They sit at 4-2 this season and get 18 points a game from Dunn and 17 points a game from Gilbert.

Jordan Stephens and JaMarco Hughes: Coach Ron Christian has Rutland off to a 3-0 start with Stephens and Hughes both averaging 15 points a game.

Jaden Harris and Devin Butts: Harris is only a freshman and already has a Georgia Tech offer on the table and is averaging 18 points a game in the early going while Butts is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds a game.