No. 22 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.)Head coach:
Sharman White2012-13 record:
30-3, Class AAAAA state champions, No. 19 final Xcellent 25 national rankingPlayers to watch: Gamaun Boykins
(5-11, Jr., G), Deven Dorsett
(6-5, Sr., G/F), Alterique Gilbert
(5-11, So., G), Josh Jackmon
(6-0, Fr., G), Keith Pinckney
(6-1, Sr., G, Tulane verbal commitment), Raylon Richardson
(6-5, So., G/F), Omar Venable
(6-7, Sr., F), James Walker
(6-5, Sr., F), Kendall Williams
(6-1, Jr., G)Breaking down the Wolverines
Instead of beginning full-throttle preparation for Miller Grove's run at six consecutive state titles, White is trying to lead his team and community through an unimaginable tragedy.
Promising Wolverine freshman Terrell Coleman collapsed and died following a game little more than a week ago. While the cause of death is undetermined at the moment, reports indicate he had been diagnosed with a heart condition.
Needless to say, national rankings and state titles aren't the center of attention in Lithonia at the moment.
"He was just a perfect fit for our program," White said of Coleman. "He was a tremendous kid, incredible player and an even better person. I don't say that lightly, he had relationships and took interest in everybody at school from the custodians, cafeteria workers, teachers, police officers – everybody. He had a great outlook on life and worked extremely hard."
In the early going, basketball has been part of the healing process for the Wolverines.
"Basketball has been a refuge for these guys," White said. "And I think once we get past the initial shock and begin to move forward, the focus will be about trying to do this (win a sixth state title in a row) for Terrell. There is extra incentive or motivation placed upon us because of his passing. These guys have not only rededicated themselves to work harder on the basketball, but the whole scope of life in general."
When Miller Grove does regroup, expect the winning tradition to continue. White returns eight players who saw extensive time a year ago, including a pair of lead guards in Pinckney and Gilbert.
"It's a tremendous luxury to have both of those guys back," White said.
Williams will also see time in the backcourt while Dorsett and Richardson will man the wings. Venable and Walker give Miller Grove a big, physical presence in the paint.Key dates
Nov. 23 – vs. Buford (Ga.)
at Jared Cook Classic
Dec. 7 – vs. Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)
at Nike Explosion
Dec. 14 – vs. St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.)
at Greater Atlanta Christian Showcase
Dec. 26-31 – Beach Ball Classic
Jan. 20 – vs. Roselle Catholic (N.J.)
at Flyin' to the Hoop