Class AA blog: Players to watch

As the basketball season heats up, here’s a list — in no particular order — of some of the top basketball players to watch in Class AA. This list is far from complete and other players will emerge to earn statewide recognition, so feel free to leave your picks in the comments section.

Boys

Ja’Queze Kirby

School: Jeff Davis

Class: 2020

Position: Small forward

Notes: Kirby returns to Jeff Davis for his senior season after being named the top player in AA last season by the AJC. He averaged 23 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Kirby stands at 6-foot-6, 195 pounds and is a consensus three-star among recruiting services. He holds 14 offers but has already signed his letter of intent to play at Murray State. He has guided the Yellow Jackets, ranked No. 4, to a 9-4 record, 3-1 in Region 2. The Jackets went 16-10 last season, failing to qualify for the state playoffs.

Robbie Armbrester

School: Therrell

Class: 2021

Position: Small Forward

Notes: Last season as a sophomore, Armbrester helped guide the Panthers to their first state title in a program history that dates back to 1960. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Armbrester is rated by Rivals as a three-star recruit and holds offers from Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Troy and UAB. He’s a big reason why the Panthers are currently ranked No. 1 with an 11-4 record, 7-0 in Region 6. Armbrester was the only sophomore named to the AJC’s 2019 Class AA all-state first team.

Ja’Quavian Florence

School: South Atlanta

Class: 2020

Position: Shooting guard

Notes: Florence was an AJC all-state first team selection last season, helping the Hornets to a 25-6 finish and a trip to the quarterfinals. He has the unranked Hornets off to a 6-5 start thus far, including a 4-3 record in Region 6. Florence, who stands at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, holds offers from Mississippi State, Missouri State and Virginia Commonwealth.

Other notables: Carl Cleveland, Banks County; Ra’Sean Frederick, Therrell; Jaylin Sellers, Spencer; John Whitehead, Glenn Hills

Girls

Makayla Timpson

School: Early County

Class: 2021

Position: Forward-center

Notes: Timpson was the lone sophomore named to the 2019 AJC all-state first team, guiding the Lady Bobcats to a 27-5 record and a trip to the state championship with averages of 19.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.8 blocks and 2.3 steals. She has the Lady Bobcats in position for another run at the state title, as they’re currently ranked No. 1 with an 8-3 record. Timpson is averaging 23.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.6 blocks and 3.6 steals. At 6-foot-3, she is one of the country’s top recruits, rated as a four-star by ESPN with dozens of Division I offers.

Olanna Rawls

School: Bryan County

Class: 2020

Position: Guard

Notes: Rawls was an AJC all-state first team selection last season as a junior, guiding the Lady Redskins to a 26-3 record and a trip to the second round of the state playoffs, averaging 26.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 steals and three assists. This season, the 5-foot-8 Rawls has the Lady Redskins off to an 11-3 record, including 5-1 in Region 2 with averages of 23.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 steals and 3.6 assists. In November, Rawls signed her letter of intent to play for Columbus State.

Mercedes Coleman

School: Gordon Central

Class: 2021

Position: Guard

Notes: Last year as a sophomore, Coleman earned AJC all-state second team honors, helping the Lady Warriors to a 13-11 record and trip to the state playoffs.  She also eclipsed the 1,000 career points mark in January. This season, Coleman, who stands at 5-foot-7, has the Lady Warriors off to an 8-3 record this season, including 4-1 in Region 7.

Other notables: Keyarah Barry, Rockmart; Miracle Parker, Washington County; Jashanti Simmons, Putnam County

Follow the AJC’s Class AA coverage on Twitter.

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