breaking news

Braves trade Matt Kemp to Dodgers in major salary swap

10 from Cobb County to watch in college basketball this year

Early projections for the 2018 NBA Draft have Collin Sexton being picked in the lottery.

But before he chases his pro dreams, the Pebblebrook High School graduate has a season ahead of him in college, playing for Avery Johnson’s Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

Sexton is one of many players from Cobb County who will be starring in college basketball this year. Others include Wheeler’s Darius Perry and Romello White, and North Cobb Christian’s Stephon Jelks.

The 2017-18 college basketball season tips off on Nov. 10. Between then and the Final Four in April, here’s 10 players from Cobb County to watch:

Robert Baker — Sophomore, Harvard (The Walker School)

The Harvard Crimson are the preseason favorites in the Ivy League and as a sophomore, Baker could help them get back to the NCAA tournament. The 6-foot-10 Woodstock native played in 22 games for Tommy Amaker last season, averaging 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds over 8.4 minutes per game. He had a solid outing against Penn on March 4 last season, tallying eight points, two rebounds and a block. At Harvard, he is teammates with Milton’s Chris Lewis.

Daniel Giddens — R-Sophomore, Alabama (Wheeler)

After taking a redshirt season due to his transfer from Ohio State, Giddens is eligible again and should give Alabama a strong player in the post. Giddens was a solid player at Wheeler, averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds per game, but then he took a prep year at Oak Hill Academy and became one the nation’s top 50 recruits. The 6-foot-11 forward picked Ohio State and played in 33 games as a freshman, helping the Buckeyes appear in the NIT.

READ: These former North Fulton stars will be playing D1 hoops this year

READ: Kennesaw State football stadium to open earlier, have metal detectors

Jared Harper — Sophomore, Auburn (Pebblebrook)

Harper started 30 games for Auburn as a freshman and was twice named SEC Freshman of the Week. The 5-foot-10 Mableton native posted per game averages of 11.4 points, 3.1 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals. His best game last season came against UConn, when he tallied 22 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Harper will be a key player for Auburn as the Tigers try to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003.

Stephon Jelks — Senior, Mercer (North Cobb Christian)

The 6-foot-6 Marietta native has been a fixture in Macon since he stepped on campus, appearing in 97 games through his first three seasons. As a senior, Jelks will look to build off a season where he was a starter and led the team in rebounds with 213, good for a per game clip of 7.3. He also shot 80 percent from the free throw line last season.

Derek Ogbeide — Junior, Georgia (Pebblebrook)

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Ogbeide — pronounced Aahg-BAY-DAY — made a name for himself at Pebblebrook, becoming a touted prospect and signing with the Bulldogs over Houston, Tulane, Memphis and Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound big man was a starter for the Dawgs last season, averaging 7.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block per game. His best outing came in an overtime loss to No. 8 Kentucky, where he posted 18 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks.

READ: Member of ‘86 Celtics to participate in free Cobb sports clinic for kids

READ: Morehouse, Clark football to air on ESPN3 as part of SIAC deal

Darius Perry — Freshman, Louisville (Wheeler)

ESPN named Perry the 54th best player in the country for the class of 2017, and the guard signed with Louisville over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Wake Forest and several other high-majors. At 6-foot-2, Perry averaged 20.2 points, 5.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 steals over his senior season at Wheeler High School.

Collin Sexton — Freshman, Alabama (Pebblebrook)

The 6-foot-3 guard was tabbed as the seventh best player in the class of 2017 by ESPN. He won a gold medal with the U-17 team at the FIBA World Championships in Spain, leading the team in scoring and assists. As a senior at Pebblebrook, Sexton averaged 32.6 points per game. He picked Alabama over Georgia Tech, Kansas and N.C. State, and now he’ll try to lead the Crimson Tide to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012.

Jordan Tucker — Freshman, Duke (Wheeler)

Tucker moved from New York to Atlanta over the summer of 2016, and Georgia Tech began recruiting him right away. But when it came to signing day, the 4-star prospect picked Coach K and the Blue Devils over the Yellow Jackets, Syracuse, Villanova, Maryland, Arizona and others. At 6-foot-7, Tucker was the 40th best prospect in 2017 according to ESPN, and helped Wheeler go 22-6 while he was there. According to his Duke bio, he is the nephew of the late Heavy D, an influential hip-hop artist.

READ: Cobb soccer complex closing for months during $2.2M transition to turf

READ: North Fulton native Kobi Simmons scores in NBA debut with Grizzlies

Jordan Usher — Freshman, Southern Cal (Wheeler)

Another Wheeler product, Usher opted to go the west coast instead of staying close to home for college ball. The 6-foot-7 Canton native chose the Trojans over Arizona State, Yale, Kennesaw State, Mississippi State and others. At Wheeler, he was a four-star prospect and ranked as the 98th best player in the country by ESPN. 

Romello White — R-Freshman, Arizona State (Wheeler)

Coming out of Wheeler, the 6-foot-9 White initially committed to Georgia Tech and told the AJC he “wanted to stay home” and play for a team he grew up watching. But White then asked for his release from his letter of intent to the Yellow Jackets, and wound up going west, signing with Arizona State. He was ruled ineligible to play last season after not meeting the NCAA’s academic requirements, but he should be good to go this season. At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, the Suwanee native was pegged as a top 100 recruit by ESPN and Scout.comSports Illustrated has predicted he will be one of the best young scorers in the country this year.

Like Cobb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

How key Georgia priorities fared in the final GOP tax plan
How key Georgia priorities fared in the final GOP tax plan

WASHINGTON — After weeks of tinkering, GOP leaders are out with their final tax bill. As far as we know, all 12 Georgia Republicans plan to back the once-in-a-generation overhaul, which is expected to come up for a vote in both chambers of Congress early next week. Check out our colleague Jamie Dupree’s ...
Fire stations in line for $300K in security improvements
Fire stations in line for $300K in security improvements

Firefighters in Forsyth County are likely feeling safer after several  personal vehicles were targeted in burglaries earlier this year. Commissioners voted this week to authorize $300,000 in security improvements at 13 stations, Division Chief Jason Shivers said. The action is obviously welcome by firefighters. “It’s become almost...
Iowa sisters reunited days before one dies in school bus fire
Iowa sisters reunited days before one dies in school bus fire

For the second time in her life, Paige Hough had to say goodbye to her sister. This time, it was permanent. Hough was separated from her sister 10 years ago when her family put 6-year-old Megan Klindt up for adoption. Days after the sisters reconnected this month, Megan was killed when an Iowa school bus caught fire after rolling into a ditch...
Pit bull pup debuts as police dog in Kansas
Pit bull pup debuts as police dog in Kansas

A police department in Kansas has employed the state’s first pit bull police dog, The Wichita Eagle reported. The Stafford Police Department added Kano, a 55-pound red nose pit bull that has one blue eye and one brown eye. The puppy was named after a character from the game “Mortal Kombat” because of his unique eye color and...
Texas man gets 52-year sentence for beheading wife
Texas man gets 52-year sentence for beheading wife

A Texas man was sentenced to 52 years in prison Friday in the decapitation death of his wife, the Waco Herald-Tribune reported. Davie Dauzat, 24, pleaded guilty to murder in Waco’s 54th State District Court. In August, a judge rejected a proposed plea agreement that would have given Dauzat a 50-year sentence for killing his wife, Natasha...
More Stories