8 from Atlanta to watch in college basketball this year

4:02 p.m Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 Intown Atlanta
(AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
Deaundrae Ballard (right, No. 24) was the 65th best prospect in the country last year. The Southwest Atlanta Christian product will try to help Florida get back to the NCAA tournament.

There’s several stars in college basketball that claim Atlanta as their home, but many of them attended schools in Cobb, Gwinnett or DeKalb counties, or at least outside of the city’s perimeter.

Still, the schools intown will have plenty to brag about when the 2017-18 college basketball season tips off.

Wendell Carter and Noah Dickerson are a pair of players that could lead teams from Power 5 conferences deep into March.

A 6-foot-6 shooting guard, Ballard was ranked as the 65th best player in the nation by ESPN last year and touted by most scouts as a four-star prospect. He picked the Gators over SMU, but also had interest from Georgia, Alabama, Harvard and Stanford. Ballard averaged 23 points and eight rebounds per game in high school, scoring more than 2,500 points in his career at Southwest Atlanta Christian.

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Carter was one of the most highly rated recruits in the country last year. ESPN dubbed him the best player in Georgia and the fifth best player in the country, giving him a five-star ranking, and was named as the Morgan Wooten Boys Basketball Player of the Year, an award previously won by Shane Battier, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love and Lonzo Ball. At 6-foot-10 and 260 pounds, Carter will likely start at power forward for the Blue Devils. He was a McDonald’s All-American, played in the Jordan Brand Classic, and was the AJC Player of the Year. Carter has basketball in his blood, as his mom played at Ole Miss and his father played professionally in the Dominican Republic. He picked Duke over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Harvard and several other high major programs.

After earning All-Region honors at Woodward, Chester left Atlanta for Burlington, North Carolina, signing on with the Elon Phoenix. Elon finished 18-14 last year, but Chester did not play any minutes for the team. He’ll look for a bigger role as a sophomore.

In his sophomore season, Dickerson played alongside No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Markelle Fultz and averaged 12.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game through 27 starts. After a change at head coach for the Huskies this offseason, Dickerson considered transferring to Louisiana Tech or Florida, but ultimately elected to stay in Seattle. Dickerson transferred twice in high school, spending time at Lovett and North Atlanta high schools before finishing out at Montverde Academy in Florida. As a recruit, he had 16 offers, and verbally committed to Florida and Georgetown before signing with the Huskies. In a game against UCLA last year, the 6-foot-8 forward tallied 23 points, 15 rebounds and a steal.

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Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com
After transferring in from Troy, Christian Harrison could provide the Bulldogs with some scoring off the bench.

Harrison earned a scholarship to play basketball at Troy out of high school, but transferred to UGA after spending two seasons with the Trojans, one of which he received medical redshirt for. Harrison sat out last year, but will be eligible to contribute to the Bulldogs this season. The 6-foot-4 guard has already impressed his coaches and teammates with his dunking abilities. Harrison played in 22 games for Troy as a freshman and scored in eight of those.

A 6-foot-6 guard, Kamisky was rated as a two-star prospect coming out of Pace Academy, and picked the Quakers over offers and interest from New Orleans, UMBC, Columbia, Princeton and Duke. He played in just four games for Penn as a freshman, but his high school highlight tape showed his ability to drive, slash, dunk and shoot from behind the arc.

A two-star prospect coming out of high school, Owen walked on to the team at Rice and played in a handful of games as a freshman. In a game against Delaware State, Owen knocked down a three-pointer for his first collegiate points. Owen’s father Glen played basketball at UGA from 1989 to 1991. At 6-foot-5, Owen was the Defensive MVP and averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game as a high school senior.

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Toomer contributed to Bucknell right away as a rookie, playing in every game and scoring in 23 of them. The 6-foot-3 guard helped the Bison win the Patriot League, tallying nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and three points in the title game. He also saw playing time in Bucknell’s NCAA tournament loss to West Virginia. Toomer was ranked as a two-star prospect coming out of Grady, and picked the Bison over Wofford, New Hampshire, Furman, Jacksonville and Kennesaw State. Toomer shot 35 percent from behind the arc last season, and had his highest scoring game against Army, notching 11 points.

Jules Erving — Freshman, California (Holy Inncocents)

Danny Lewis — Freshman, Central Florida (Westlake)

Chuma Okeke — Freshman, Auburn (Westlake)

Darryl Stewart Jr. — R-Junior, New Hampshire (Holy Innocents)

Raquan Wilkins — Sophomore, East Carolina (Westlake)

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There are a few guys in college basketball this year who claim Atlanta as their hometown, but played their high school ball somewhere else.

Ross Young is a 6-foot-7 forward for Mount St. Mary’s, but he played his high school hoops in Washington D.C. at the Sidwell Friends School. Shawntrez Davis, who shot 47 percent from three-point range for Bethune Cookman last season, claims Atlanta as his hometown, but prepped at the Sound Doctrine Christian Acadmey in LaGrange. Damon Wilson calls Atlanta his hometown, but played his high school ball at Our Savior New American in New York. Wilson started his college career at Pittsburgh, but has returned to Atlanta and is now playing for Georgia State.

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Millsap talks with Channel 2 Action News about his time in Atlanta and life with the Denver Nuggets.
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