Long known as the county for spring sports, Columbia County has slowly started to make a name for itself in boys hoops.
Long known as the county for spring sports, Columbia County has slowly started to make a name for itself in boys hoops. In past years, Columbia County produced an abundance of talent and plenty of state titles in baseball and golf, but in basketball the county had always lagged behind its neighbors in Richmond County. Well, over the last few years that has started to change and in 2019-20, Columbia County teams proved to be up for any challenge from the always talent-laden county to the south. A lot has to do with the great group of coaches in the county. Kevin Kenny and Jeff Williams were joined by Darren Douglass and Demetrius Howard this season to make a great quartet of coaches in 2-AAAAAA. Evans finished 22-7 and advanced to the State Elite 8, while Grovetown won 21 games and finished 9-1 in region play. Also, on a given night, Lakeside and Greenbrier were capable of beating just about anyone in the area.
Here is a look at our 2019-20 Boys All County Basketball Team
Zy Wright (Senior, Grovetown)
Wright transferred in from Aquinas and immediately put his name in the running for County Player of the Year. He was sensational all season, averaging 20.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He had 14 games of 20 or more points and earned First Team All-Region honors. He has committed to play at USC-Salkehatchie next season.
Christian Chambers (Senior, Evans)
The silky-smooth lefty had a monster senior season. He led the county in scoring at 22.3 points per contest and late in the year seemed to play his best in the Knights’ biggest games. He was the Region 2-AAAAAA Player of the Year and earned First Team All-State from two publications. He has committed to play at Columbus State University next season.
Ty Briscoe (Senior, Lakeside)
Briscoe is a bucket waiting to happen. He averaged 17.2 points per outing for the Panthers, including a season high 30 points versus state runner-up Cross Creek. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds per game and nailed down First Team All-Region honors.
Josh Mincey (Jr. 5’11” Evans)
The epitome of a true point guard, Mincey led the Knights in minutes played and was the floor general for his squad. He averaged 10.7 points, 4.1 assists and 2.8 steals per game. He also had a knack for hitting the big shot in key situations all season. He is getting plenty of looks from colleges and should have some offers before Evans tips off the 2020-2021 season.
Zach Bell (Junior, Grovetown)
Thanks to his amazing leaping ability, Bell got plenty of attention this year. He definitely has plenty of bounce and can get the crowd and his teammates going at any minutes with a thunderous dunk, but he is more than just a leaper. He averaged 12.5 points per game and was super-consistent. He scored in double figures in Grovetown’s first 15 games and scored eight or more points in 23 of 24 contests on the season and earned First Team All-Region selection.
Brasen James (Sophomore, Evans)
James got better and better as the season went on. Late in the year he just kept making plays in big spots for Evans. He is a great athlete and does everything pretty well, but his best attribute is he seems to always be around the ball, and he can get the ball in the basket. He averaged nearly 11 points and six rebounds per game and was named First Team All-Region.
Andrew Black (Sophomore, Greenbrier)
Black came out of nowhere to arguably become the best shooter in the CSRA. He won the Three-Point Shootout at the 100 Black Men of Augusta holiday Tournament, but more importantly he became a prolific scorer for the Pack this year. He picked up All-Region honors after averaging 13.4 points per game including 34 points (10 three pointers) versus Burke Co. and 33 points (eight three pointers) versus Heritage-Conyers. Not bad for a 10th grader that was expected to get spot duty off the bench this season. He also missed five games due to an ankle injury.
Elijah Crawford (Eighth grade, Augusta Christian)
That is not a misprint. Crawford, who is also an outstanding football player is only an eighth grader, but he managed to earn All-Region Honors for the Lions this season. Playing with kids three and four years his senior, Crawford established himself as ACS’s best player, averaging 19 points and six rebounds per contest.
Rashad King (Junior, Evans)
Highly underrated performer that is an outstanding all-around player. He can truly do everything – he can score, rebound, pass, plays outstanding defense, is a tremendous athlete and is unselfish. He averaged 9.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season and would have been a star on most other teams in the area. I predict a big senior season from King.
Elise Ehuie (Senior, Lakeside)
Similar to Andrew Black at Greenbrier, Ehuie sort of came out of nowhere to be a standout performer this season. He edges out Rashad King, in my opinion, as the most underrated player in the area. He averaged 11.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
Julius Brown (Junior, Grovetown)
Ran the offense at Grovetown to perfection. He averaged 10.5 points and 4.7 assists per game, but like Josh Mincey at Evans, it is hard to calculate his worth to the team simply with numbers. Brown was the Warriors’ Floor General, and they missed him sorely when he missed the post season.
Khaleel Pratt (Eighth Grade, Augusta Prep)
Khyree Reese (Senior, Lakeside)
Daniel Simpson (Senior, Evans)
Jayden Stephens (Senior, Evans)
Davin Driskell (Sophomore, Greenbrier)
Cyrus Wilder (Junior, Greenbrier)
Jay Miller (Senior, Harlem)
Chase Wheeless (Senior, Harlem)
Patric Prince (Sophomore, Harlem)
“Eric Marshall Award” (Columbia County Player of the Year)
A lot was expected of Chambers this season and he came through with flying colors. He paced the county in scoring at 22.3 points per game and also chipped in 6.4 boards per contest. He posted multiple 30-point games in the post-season and helped guide the Knights to a 22-7 mark, a Region 2-AAAAAA tournament title and a berth in the Elite 8 of the State Tournament. After the season the awards started flying in. He was named 1st Team All-Region and garnered All-State Honors by 4 separate publications, picking up First Team nods by two of the four. He had multiple scholarship offers and selected Columbus State University.
“Danny Black Award” (Columbia County Coach of the Year)
Before recognizing this year’s coach of the year, I wanted to share some information regarding this award. Starting this season, the Boys Basketball coach of the Year for Columbia County will be named in honor of the late Danny Black. Coach Black (or “Pop” as he was known to many) was a perfect example of what a coach should be. He loved the game and he loved his players. He was tough on his players, pushed them hard, and expected 100% effort on the court and 100% good character off it. He had long stints as the Head Coach at Evans and Greenbrier. I had the good fortune of playing for Coach Black at Evans and am honored to have known his family for more than 30 years. He was an exceptional athlete in his playing days, an excellent coach, and an even better human being.
This year’s Danny Black Coach of the Year
Kevin Kenny of Evans
While this decision was extremely tough (Darren Douglass did an amazing job of changing the culture at Grovetown and flipping them from a 3-win team to a 21-win squad) in the end I gave the edge to Kenny. He guided Evans to the school’s first Elite 8 appearance and a 22-7 record. He also led the kids to the 2-AAAAAA Region Tournament Crown. It seems fitting that Coach
Kenny win the award. He played for Coach black at Hephzibah high School and now coaches at the school where Coach black had his longest run.