There is no question that basketball takes a back seat in baseball-crazy Columbia County. And with the recent success of the Evans High School football team, that sport has a higher billing, too.
But we have had some basketball players and teams of note in recent years. Greenbrier's girls had a tremendous run for most of this decade, while on the boys' side Augusta Christian has a state title under its belt and Evans has averaged 20 wins per season since 2005.
Individually, Eric Marshall (Greenbrier), Matt Scott (Lakeside) and James Seegars (Augusta Christian) have been among the premier players in the state during their careers.
As for the girls, Michelle Swiec's (Greenbrier) high school career was as impressive as any player to ever play in the county, while Elizabeth Alewine (Augusta Christian) provided plenty of scoring punch during the last few years for the Lady Lions.
None of those players put up the numbers and garnered the accolades that this year's Boys County Player of the Year candidate did in 2008-09.
Augusta Prep standout Jim Hull averaged a county record 34 points per game. Hull led Georgia in scoring at any classification. For his efforts, he was named the GISA State Player of the Year.
Despite his incredible accomplishments, there will be some who will dispute his selection. They will cite the Cavaliers' competition level and claim there are others who could post those type of numbers against GISA schools.
I can understand their skepticism. The level of play in the GISA is lower than the GHSA -- absolutely no doubt about it. However, Hull deserves to be this year's player of the year.
Tony Davis of Evans also garnered consideration. He was a beast on the boards for the Knights, and is as tough as they come. Harlem's Cedric Boatner is extremely talented and is in the Player of the Year mix as well.
But in the end, it is impossible to ignore the numbers. If the competition was that poor, then why has no other player averaged 35 points per game for the Cavaliers in the past? Or why has no other GISA player posted three straight seasons of 25 points per game?
Hull posted mind-boggling numbers and got better each year. He improved as a 3-point shooter each year, and coupled that improved long-range ability with his terrific mid-range game to make him the premier scorer in the state.
Would he average 35 points per game playing in Region 3-AAAA? No. But I am not so sure anyone else in the county would post 35 points per game in the GISA, either.
While Davis, Boatner, and Greenbrier point guard Bryan Andrews are all terrific players, Hull is my personal choice for this year's County Player of the Year.
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