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Ashley Brown: Keep an eye on these Columbia County basketball players

Posted: December 6, 2017 - 1:30am

The 2017-18 basketball season is underway and it appears Columbia County no longer takes a back seat to the surrounding counties.

Lakeside has already posted wins over ARC, Josey and Statesboro. Greenbrier has knocked off Laney and Josey. And Evans has a win over Josey, as well. The county also boasts several players who that are among any list of the top talent in the CSRA. Here is a look at the top 10 players in the county and a few other players you may want to check out this season:

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Top 10 Players to Watch

(In alphabetical order)

1. Tyshun Briscoe (6′0″ Soph., Lakeside) Briscoe can score, averaging more than 14 ppg so far this season and is shooting 52 percent from 3-point range. He should get plenty of open looks as teams try to key on junior star Kalen Williams.

2. Cameron Cabarrus (6′1″ Jr., Evans) Cabarrus can shoot from the outside but may be at his best slashing and getting to the hole. Uses his long arms to get his hands on a lot of passes on defense too.

3. Austin Canaday (6′1″ Sr., Greenbrier) Canaday is one of the area's most underrated players. A tremendous competitor who can stroke it from the outside. Averaged 14.2 points per game last season.

4. Dylan Cardwell (5′10″ Soph., Evans) All this kid needs is continued hard work and a little toughness and he could be a special talent for Evans. He is already getting attention from some SEC and ACC programs and he is only scratching the surface on how good he could be. Also, an excellent student.

5. Richard Crawford (6′8″ Jr., Greenbrier) Has started at point guard since his freshman season. Crawford is a workaholic who is constantly trying to get better. He has a great feel for the game and has an improved jumper. Averaged 14 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds per game last year as a sophomore.

6. Nate Dunlop (6′6″ Jr., Augusta Christian) Prolific scorer. Averaged 19 ppg as a freshman, 25.8 per game as a sophomore, and is averaging 29 points per contest so far this season. He has worked on his body since last year and is becoming a more well-rounded player under head coach Charles Welch. Is in the discussion for the CSRA's Best Player.

7. Tucker Gilbert (6′5″ Jr., Lakeside) Gilbert is arguably the most improved player in the county. It's early but he is posting 14 points and more than 12 rebounds per contest for the Panthers.

8. Eric Graham (5′11″ Sr., Grovetown) Graham came on strong late last season, averaging 22 points per contest in region play. He has tremendous range on his jumper.

9. Ryan Jolly (6′1″ Sr., Augusta Prep) Has committed to Navy. Averaged 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game last year. Very smooth operator. Was 1st Team All-County, All-Region and All-State last year.

10. Kalen Williams (6′2″ Jr., Lakeside) Has been the talk of the area early on this season. He poured in 30 first-half points en route to 42 points versus Josey and is averaging more than 29 points per game. He's shooting better than 50 percent from 3-point range and nearly 70 percent from the field. Dynamic player that will challenge for County and Area Player of the Year this season.

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Other Players to Watch

Augusta Christian: Derek Payne (6′0″ Jr.)

Evans: Christian Chambers (5′11″, Soph.)

Greenbrier: Justin Stevens (6′3″, Jr., Forward), Chevez Trask (6′5″ Soph.), *Brandon Harris (6′4″ Jr.) would have made the list, but suffered a season-ending leg injury

Grovetown: Manny Bryson (5′9″ Sr., Guard)

Harlem: Jerrod Harris (6′5″ Sr., Forward), Dreko Harris (6′0″ Sr.)

Lakeside: Brad Hilley (6′4″ Sr.)

 

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