SBLive’s Top 25 in Georgia high school boys basketball: Defending 7A champ Milton starts at the top

The boys basketball season is underway in Georgia, with a number of holiday events going on this week.

The rankings cover all classifications.

Pictured above is Kanaan Carlyle (photo by Zach Shugan), five-star point guard for Milton.

SBLIVE’S GEORGIA TOP 25

1. Milton (1-0)

SBLive’s No. 3 team in the nation is coming off a 28-3 season, and the Eagles are the reigning 7A state champions. Their opening week was overshadowed by the arrest of two players on murder charges

2. Berkmar (0-0)

Berkmar lost to Milton last year in the 7A championship game, ended the season with a 25-6 record and returns two top 20 seniors.

3. Wheeler (1-0)

The reigning 6A champs had a record of 27-5. Isaiah Collier, the top recruit in the 2023 class, is returning for his junior season with the Wildcats.

4. Newton (2-0)

Newton had a record of 14-9 last season, and the first season since 2012 that ended with fewer than 20 wins. The Rams played more underclassmen than normal but now come into this season with more experience. Newton dominates the 2023 Georgia recruiting class with three four-star players — Jakai Newton, Stephon Castle and Marquavious Brown. 

5. Pebblebrook (3-0)

Last season was one for the books for Pebblebrook, making it to the semifinals and giving Milton a hard-fought battle before falling by seven points. The Falcons lost four three-star forwards to D-1 programs and will need some new faces to step in and fill some big shoes. 

6. Eagle’s Landing (0-0)

The Golden Eagles are coming off their seventh straight season of 21-plus wins and their first state championship under head coach Elliot Montgomery. Eagles Landing’s top two players, AJ Barnes and David Thomas, are back for their senior seasons. 

7. Sandy Creek (1-0)

The Patriots are coming off their most wins in school history (28), and they had the No.1 player in the state last year in Jabari Smith. Under head coach Jon-Michael Nickerson, Sandy Creek has never been under 20 wins, and the Patriots will have something to prove after falling short in the championship game last season.

8. Kell (0-0)

For most teams a record of 22-7 would be cause for celebration, but for Kell it is a normality. The Longhorns are used to 20-plu- win seasons, but they often come with deep playoff runs that come to a disappointing end. They are hoping that after the loss of five-star recruit Scoota Henderson, they won’t have any drop-off.

9. Pace Academy (2-0)

Pace Academy comes into the 21-22 season as the reigning 2A champions. The Knights are coming off their best record in school history at 28-2, their only losses coming in their opener to Sandy Creek and to Oak Hill in the Geico Nationals.

10. Westlake (1-1)

In a shortened season, the Lions went 16-4 and ended as 6A-Region 4 champions. Head coach Darron Rodgers has the team going in the right direction and looks to get back to the 20-plus-win seasons from a few years ago. 

11. Grayson (2-1)

Grayson had a disappointing second-round exit last season after going 22-4 and 8-0 in its region. The Rams are poised to become region champs again and look forward to a longer playoff run this time around. 

12. McEachern (1-2)

The Indians have seen numerous highly touted prospects come through their doors and into the NBA, and now they turn to new head coach Tremayne Anchrum Sr. Jimma James, the No.7-ranked player in the state in the 2023 class, could be the one to lead them in continuation of their winning ways. 

13. St. Pius X Catholic (1-1)

St. Pius is coming off its ninth consecutive season season of over 22 wins. The Golden Lions have a formula and have benefited tremendously from it. They went 14-0 in region play last season and are poised for another first-place finish. 

14. Baldwin (1-0)

Baldwin had its best season to date last year, going undefeated for the first time at 17-0 and winning its first state title. Baldwin comes into this season as the hunted. 

15. Cross Creek (2-0)

Head coach Lawrence Kelly is in his fifth season with Cross Creek, and he has the program where he wants it. The Razorbacks have a record of 49-9 in their last two seasons, and they just added a state title to their resume. The reigning 3A champions are looking to duplicate last year’s success. 

16. North Gwinnett (3-1)

Matt Garner is coming off his sixth season as the Bulldogs head coach, and he led them to a 21-8 record and an 8-0 region record. That is Garner’s best and the Bulldogs’ best since 2013. All eyes will be on 6-foot-7 Clemson commit RJ Godfrey, who helped lead the Bulldogs to the third round last season.

17. Centennial (5-0)

Centennial’s title chances are looking as good as ever. The Knights are coming off their most wins in a season (24) since 2005. They will be seeking redemption after their season came to an end as they lost in the semifinals to Wheeler.

18. Tri-Cities (1-0)

Tri-Cities has won 20-plus games in their last four seasons under head coach Omari Forts. The Bulldogs held an impressive 14-0 region record last season and look to be the region favorites once again. 

19. Evans (0-1)

Coming of a spectacular season with a record of 21-3, the Knights have three seasons in a row of 20-plus wins and are hoping to expand on that success into the playoffs. 

20. Norcross (2-1)

Norcross is coming off its ninth straight season of 20-plus wins, all with Jesse McMillian at the helm. This year McMillian has two top recruits in three-star forward Jerry Deng and four-star London Johnson, so their expectations far exceed 20-win seasons. 

21. Chattahoochee (5-1)

The Cougars have been a force since head coach Chris Short has taken the reins. With a record of 70-14 over their last three seasons, Chattahoochee is a force to be reckoned with. 

22. Shiloh (2-0)

Shiloh ended last season with a 20-7 record, and 11-1 in their region. The Generals lost their leading scorer from last season, but Trevon Payton and Nazir Griffin will get opportunities to increase their production. 

23. Dutchtown (3-2)

It’s tough being in the same region as Eagle’s Landing, but the Bulldogs have always managed to hold their own. Two years removed from a state title, Dutchtown is still primed and will battle Eagle’s Landing for the top region spot.

24. Lanier (1-1)

Lanier is in a tough region with Shiloh and Buford, but managed to come out 8-3 and 19-7 last season. 

25. McDonough (2-0)

McDonough is returning most of its key players from last year’s team that went 18-10 and 10-2 in its region. With that added experience, the Warhawks come into this season looking to make a deep playoff push. 

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