March Madness is here.
While there is only one team from Georgia in the NCAA tournament, there are many squads in the 68-team field that carry natives from the Peach State on their rosters.
Metro Atlanta is deep with basketball talent and a hotbed for recruiting. From Gwinnett County, there are seven players who are looking to make an impact.
Here they are:
Justice Bartley, Virginia, Junior – Buford
The 6-foot-5 guard attended Buford High School before going on to Montrose Christian School in Maryland. He came to Virginia as a walk-on, but was given a scholarship earlier this season. He played in 10 games for the Cavaliers this season, tallying six points and four rebounds. His godfather is former Georgia Tech star Kenny Anderson.
Jordan Goldwire, Duke, Freshman – Norcross
A three-star recruit in high school, the 6-foot-2 guard signed with Duke over offers from UNLV, Eastern Kentucky and other mid-majors. He's played in 13 games this year and notched 16 points, eight steals, 20 assists and nine rebounds. His cousin is the next player on this list.
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Devin Mitchell, Georgia State, Junior – Collins Hill
Before transferring to Georgia State, Mitchell played one season at Alabama. He's become a valuable player for Ron Hunter's squad, starting all 34 games and leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage with a .451 mark. The 6-foot-4 Suwanee native averages 12.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per-game. Mitchell scored 38 points in one game this year, a blowout victory for the Panthers over Little Rock.
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D'Marcus Simonds, Georgia State, Sophomore – Buford (then transferred to Gainesville)
A versatile 6-foot-3 scorer, Simonds was named the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Year this season. He averaged 5.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 21.1 points per-game — which led the Sun Belt and was 24th in the country. Simonds had three outings this season where he scored 30 points or more.
For more on the dynamic guard, read this story on myAJC from Steve Hummer.
Idris Taqqee, St. Bonaventure, Senior – (From Snellville, but attended Cushing Academy)
The second-youngest of six children, Taqqee's family moved to Snellville from Los Angeles when he was two years old. He still calls Snellville home, but attended prep school at Cushing Academy in Massachusetts. A 6-foot-4 guard, Taqqee was the only player to start all 32 games for the Bonnies this season. He averaged 5.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per-game.
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Isaiah Wilkins, Virginia, Senior – Greater Atlanta Christian
Virginia is the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament and Wilkins has been a big part of their success. A versatile 6-foot-7 defender who can guard multiple positions, the Lilburn native was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, receiving 42 of 57 votes. Wilkins averaged 5.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks per-game this season.
For more on the exceptional defender, read this story on myAJC from Jeff Schultz.
Isaiah Williams, Georgia State, Senior – Buford
A 6-foot-2 guard, Williams is in his third season with the Panthers after transferring in from Samford. He saw action in every game this season, playing an average of 19.8 minutes per contest. Williams saved his best game for the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament, tallying 21 points, two rebounds and an assist against rival Georgia Southern.
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Credit: Channel 2 Action News
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