Westlake, the No. 3 boys team in Class AAAAAA, has its most talented group since its 2010 state runner-up team, if not longer, and victories over No. 6 Pebblebrook (76-70 last week) and then-No. 9 Douglas County (65-59 the week before) have put the Lions in first place in Region 3.
Jamie Lewis, a 6-3 sophomore guard averaging 13 points and seven assists, is the shortest of five Division I prospects in the starting lineup.
The others include 6-8 Chuma Okeke (20 points, 7 rebounds), 6-5 Danny Lewis (17 points), 6-5 Ronald Bell (9 points, 7 rebounds) and 6-10 Michael Durr (7 points, 4 blocks).
Four games ago, 6-5 guard Raquan Wilkins returned to the team and has averaged 11 points, three steals and three assists. Wilkins, Durr or Bell now comes off the bench, depending on the matchups and opponents.
Westlake had won two state titles (1999, 2002), finished second two other times (2006, 2010) and made seven final fours under coach Darron Rogers. But the team has not gotten past the second round since 2010, some of it bad luck with some good teams that stumbled.
On Tuesday, Rogers offered his quick assessments of some of his more highly recruited players off this season’s team -
Okeke – ‘’He’s a 6-8 guard who plays inside-out. He has the complete game. He dribbles like a point guard and can take you off dribble, or post you up with his back to basket. He can shoot the 3 and the mid-range shot. He’s making 80 percent of his free throws.’’ [Okeke is a transfer from Hughes. He’s the consensus No. 6 junior prospect in Georgia, No. 56 in the U.S.]
Daniel (Danny) Lewis – ‘’Danny is a sharp-shooter. He can really fill it up from the 3-point line. He also runs the point some times. He can create his own shot. You can run him off screens. He’s deadly from the arc.’’ [Lewis is the consensus No. 11 junior in Georgia.]
James (Jamie) Lewis – He’s really strong and athletic. His game is putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket. He can hit the mid-range shot and the floater.’’ [247Sports rates him the No. 2 sophomore prospect in Georgia, No. 5 point-guard prospect nationally.]
Durr – ‘’Excellent around the basket. He has almost five blocks a game. He’s a force in the paint. He’s our protector.’’ [He’s the consensus No. 10 junior in Georgia, the No. 89 in the U.S.]
Bell – ‘’Ron is just a freak of nature athletically. He’s leading the team in dunks. He’s a defensive stopper, him and Raquan. We put them on the top offensive players on opposing teams. [Westlake played Bell on Collin Sexton, and Wilkins on Jared Harper, in the recent victory over Pebblebrook, whose star guards average over 25 points per game.]
Wilkins – ‘’He’s that player who brings a lot of energy and defense and leadership. He’s the one guy who’s been with us for four years. He knows the system better than anybody.’’ [Wilkins is one of only three seniors on the team. He has seven offers, mostly mid-majors.]
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.