North Georgia High School Showcase Article November 16th 2018
One campus, two gyms, 16 games, and one long day of nonstop basketball.
True hoopheads couldn’t ask for much more than what they’re getting from the North Georgia High School Showcase, when 32 of the best high school teams from around the area descend on Dahlonega. Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, the University of North Georgia will be the host site of the most high school hoops talent you’ll find this side of Macon in March.
Of the 20 boys teams that will be competing, 17 reached the playoffs last season and five made the Final Four.
On the girls side, the field is no less stacked, featuring 11 playoff teams from last spring, including five teams that reached the quarterfinals and two Final Four teams.
No wonder college coaches, scouts and multiple media outlets are making plans to be in attendance.
That’s part of the reason why the event organizers, Adrian Penland and Mario Mays, decided to put this event together.
A former standout at West Hall High School, a four-time All-Conference selection in college and a three-time All-Star during his seven year professional career playing abroad, Penland is one of the best-known names in hoops circles in North Georgia.
Since returning to the area he’s founded Adrian Penland Basketball, North Georgia Elite LLC, North Georgia Report Basketball Scouting Services and Achieving Dreams Foundation, a Non-Profit Organization. He also works as a lead trainer for Peach State Basketball where he trains some of the best collegiate prospects in the nation.
Mays has coached high school basketball for 18 years, including nine years at Lakeview Academy, and nine years at Wheeler. During this career, he’s helped his teams win the 2008 and 2015 Georgia state titles and was state runner-up in 2014. He has also coached two athletes who have gone on to professional careers (MLB’s Dexter Fowler and Jaylen Brown, the third pick in the 2016 NBA draft), three McDonald’s All-Americans, and more than 50 D-I athletes. He was also named the Region 5-AAAAA Assistant Coach of the Year for 2009, 2011, and 2012.
The North Georgia High School Showcase is Penland and Mays’ newest project, and aside from providing teams with top competition and fans with hours of entertainment, it’s also a chance for college recruiters to see a ton of talent on just one trip. Three of the state’s top 40 seniors and two of the top 25 juniors, per HoopSeen.com boys rankings, will be on hand, including a pair of prospects from Morgan County (Alec Woodward and Tyrin Lawrence).
The Bulldogs’ matchup with Gainesville provides of the most intriguing games of the day on the boys side. Morgan County finished 29-2 and reached the Class AAA Final Four before falling to eventual champs, GAC last season. Meanwhile, Gainesville made a run to the Class 6A finals, but must replace six seniors from that team in their first season under new coach Chuck Graham.
The Bulldogs and Red Elephants will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Convocation Center, UNG’s new basketball facility, which seats 3,600.
Games will be split between the Convocation Center and Memorial Hall, the school’s historic basketball venue.
One game in Memorial Hall to keep an eye on is the Mill Creek girls vs. Model. A tradition-rich program in Class AA, Model has won at least 25 games in four straight seasons. Meanwhile, Mill Creek is the largest school in the state, and the Lady Hawks have just one losing season in 13 years. That game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall, one of the top girls players in the state will take the court as Clemson commit Kaylee Sticker leads Dawson County against a Banks County team coming off a 25-6 campaign and a trip to the quarterfinals.
9:30AM Lumpkin county VS Chestatee (Girls)
11:00AM Lumpkin county VS Chestatee (Boys)
12:30PM Dawson County VS Clarke Central (Boys)
2:00PM Rabun County VS North Forsyth (Girls)
3:30PM East Hall VS Duluth (Boys)
5:00PM Lambert VS Newton (Boys)
6:30PM Gainesville VS Morgan (Boys)
8:00PM Grayson VS Mill Creek (Boys)
9:30AM Jefferson VS Brookwood (Boys)
11:00AM Jefferson VS East Hall (Girls)
12:30AM White County VS Lakeview (Boys)
2:00PM White County VS North Gwinnett (Girls)
3:30PM Mill Creek VS Model (Girls)
5:00PM Banks County VS Collins Hill (Boys)
6:30PM Dawson County VS Banks County (Girls)
8:00PM Lanier VS Cedar Shoals (Boys)