February 16, 2012
There's no doubting the girls basketball talent in Gwinnett's junior class. Norcross' Diamond DeShields, North Gwinnett's Lexie Brown and Buford's Kaela Davis head up a group that will be remembered as perhaps the finest class to ever pass through here.
But the group just behind them has some talent, too.
I saw two of the more promising sophomores, Duluth's Katie Powell and Peachtree Ridge's Stephanie Amichia, when their teams played Wednesday night in the Region 7-AAAAA tournament (Duluth won 56-40). While it was my first time watching Powell this season, I had seen Amichia a few times before and both impressed me with their efforts.
The 6-foot-3 Powell looks like she's improved from a strong freshman season, when she averaged 11.8 points and 7.3 rebounds to earn all-region honors. She moves pretty well and has a sweet shot, hitting 4 of 5 shots from 3-point range in her 18-point effort Wednesday night. She also grabbed 14 rebounds.
Amichia isn't as tall at 6-foot, but she's just as imposing. She had eight rebounds in the first quarter alone and then sat a total of 16 minutes with foul trouble (and still finished with eight points and 14 rebounds). The Peachtree Ridge sophomore is an athletic force around the basket who pretty much grabs whatever she wants off the glass. She plays a lot like former Norcross star Tiffany Clarke, who is excelling now for Vanderbilt's women's team.
Another sophomore star was on display in Wednesday's other 7-AAAAA girls game. Mill Creek's Jasmine Carter had 14 points and eight rebounds, showing the offensive talent and athleticism that's already made her one of the county's best players. When she leaps for a shot or rebound, she seems to hang in the air longer than most around her.
Hardy to GAC
Kudos to Greater Atlanta Christian for the recent hire of Tim Hardy as its new head football coach.
Hardy spent the past three seasons laying the foundation at Mountain View, and everyone involved with the young program raves about him, both as a football coach and as a person. He should have the tools to win games immediately at GAC, but he also has the personality that will mesh well in the Spartans' community.
Hardy's the kind of guy who will be heavily involved at GAC, which will endear him to the faithful there. He'll say hello to folks. He'll be at other sporting events. His wife and children will be there, too.
All in all, a great hire for the Spartans. I see him staying there for a long time.
Great news for Curran
It wasn't a free-agent signing that made many NFL headlines, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' recent deal with Brookwood grad Rennie Curran was big news around Gwinnett County.
Curran is still one of the most well-liked guys to pass through his high school. He picks up friends wherever he goes, so the vast Bulldog Nation was just as excited to see a former Georgia player get back in the league. So were the people up in Tennessee, where he was a Titans linebacker for the 2010 season.
Though he spent the 2011 season away from football, Curran stayed in great shape and rested his body from a year of contact. He seems hungrier than ever to succeed, so I expect him to not only make the Tampa Bay roster, but also be a key player later this year.