Miller Grove’s Sharman White gives Joshua Jackmon (24) a pat on the back during the state playoffs. (Photo by Mark Brock)
The Wolverines counter with their big senior trio of guards Alterique Gilbert (20.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.8 apg, 4.3 spg) and Aaron Augustin (10.0 ppg, 8.1 apg, 4.0 spg) and power forward Raylon Richardson (9.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.1 bpg). The three led the Wolverines back to the Class 5A state championship for the third time in four seasons after missing out in 2015.
Gilbert is an UConn signee as well as a 2016 McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American and Georgia Class 5A First Team All-State player. He became the first DeKalb County player to join the 2,000 points (2,096), 500 rebounds (600), 500 assists (710), and 500 steals (550) club. Gilbert is the only boys’ McDonald’s All-American playing in the tournament.
Junior Naquante Hardy (10.0 ppg) and senior Colin Young (10.6 ppg) add more offense to the Wolverines’ attack.
Only six states have jumped on board with the idea of sending their affiliated schools to the Dick’s Nationals tournament, they are Arizona, Florida, Utah, Georgia, North Carolina independent, and South Carolina independent schools. Other teams allowed to participate include schools that are not associated with a state athletic association such as Oak Hill Academy (OH), Findlay Prep (NV), Montverde Academy (FL), and others.
The rest of the field includes No. 1 seed 25-1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL), the reigning three-time champion, No. 2 seed 41-1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA), No. 4 seed 31-1 St. Benedict’s Prep ( Newark, NJ), No. 5 seed 24-3 La Lumiere (LaPorte, IN), No. 7 seed 29-3 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, UT) and No. 8 seed 30-3 Providence Day (Charlotte, NC).
The opening round games all televised on ESPNU include St. Benedict’s vs. La Lumiere (12:00 pm), Oak Hill vs. Wasatch Academy (2:00 pm), Montverde vs. Providence Day (4:00 pm) and Miller Grove vs. Findlay Prep (6:00 pm).
The semifinal games are also at Christ the King and on ESPNU at 3:00 and 5:00 pm on April 1 with the championship game set for 12:00 pm at Madison Square Garden and televised by ESPN.
Teams in the tournament get the all-expenses paid trip to New York with a stay in the Westin Grand Central. They arrived in New York on Wednesday (March 30) and will also get sightseeing tours in the Big Apple.
“The opportunity to play more basketball together and all the educational opportunities for them in New York is a great reward for this group of players,” White said. “They get to see a different part of the country and see how different it is to where they grew up.”