Chase for the Chip: Georgia Stars
With the busy July period set to begin, will the Stars shine come month's end?
Team Name: Georgia Stars
Location: Norcross, GA
Current 17U Rank: 8
Key Wins: The Georgia Stars have exploded onto the scene and are having a great season thus far, going 4-1 at both EYBL Dallas and EYBL Los Angeles. In addition, the Stars have established themselves as the best team in the state of Georgia after winning both match-ups against their in-state rivals, the Atlanta Celtics.
Key Losses: The Stars suffered a couple of tough losses at EYBL Boo Williams to some top-tier teams in BABC and the Mac Irvin Fire. Moreover, the Stars have fallen to CIA Bounce and the All-Iowa Attack over the course of the season. Keep in mind that all four of the aforementioned losses were to teams currently ranked in the Five-Star Top 25.
Standing in the way: Up next for the Georgia Stars, like most other Nike-affiliated teams, is Peach Jam. Expect the Stars to have a great showing at the tournament as they look to ride the wave of their three studs in Alex Poythress, Tony Parker, and Montay Brandon.
Coach’s Take: “It feels great. The Atlanta Celtics are a great team and we have to give them a lot of credit for their success, but it feels great to beat our rivals. Our players have really enjoyed the accolade because they felt that we had been overlooked by most people in the beginning of the season.” –Coach William Steele on being the highest ranked team in Georgia
“I would have to say that our greatest asset is our team-first mentality. We have a ton of talented guys that can go out on any given day and score 30-plus points, but they’ve realized that in order to succeed at this level they need to play together. Our guys have really swallowed their pride, checked their egos at the door, and have come to play. As for areas of improvement, we definitely need to work on being more aggressive and active with our rebounding. If we can work on our rebounding, I think we’ll be a very tough team to match-up with.” –Coach William Steele on strengths and weaknesses
“We currently have four players at the Nike Camp, including Montay Brandon, Alex Poythress, Tony Parker, and Marcus Hunt. With so many guys unavailable to practice, we’ve been working hard with our other players during our two-a-day practices to brush up our skills and tune up our play before Peach Jam.” –Coach William Steele on rest of season
“As I said before, we have a great group of guys who have good heads on their shoulders. They realize the importance of team play and they all display different types of leadership on the court. Kenny Gaines is our hustle guy. There is not a single loose ball without Kenny somewhere near it. Marcus Hunt is our mental leader. He helps keep the guys focused on our objectives, he’s determined, and always has a positive attitude. Finally, Alex Poythress brings intensity to the table. He’s not afraid of anybody and helps the other guys build up their confidence in a similar manner.” –Coach William Steele on leadership
What the players are saying: "We've had a great spring and hopefully we can carry that into July. It's great playing with each of my teammates. I feel like we've learned a lot this spring and I'm sure it will help us out in July and I believe we will win Peach Jam again if we play to our fullest potential and play hard defense.
If we all play hard, I believe there isn't another team in Peach Jam that can beat us. It will be hard to win it again, but I believe in us." -Jaron Blossomgame
Team History: Currently celebrating their 24-year anniversary, the Georgia Stars program has produced some serious talent, including Al Farouq Aminu, Louis Williams, Jodie Meeks, William Avery, and Kwame Brown. Soon enough, we may be seeing Alex Poythress added to this list of NBA players past and present.