Preseason boys basketball rankings

The Grayson Rams debut at No. 1 in Class 7A after last year’s final four run and loss to eventual state champion Wheeler (67-55). The Rams return nearly all of last year’s lineup and bolstered the roster with more starpower that will team up with 6-foot-8 junior Amir Taylor, senior Ahmad Clark in addition to Western Carolina-commit CJ Hyland and Appalachian State-commit Anthony Alston. McEachern debuts at No. 2 and will be headlined by five-star 6-foot-10 All-American Ace Bailey—who averaged 22 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks last season before his team fell to state champion Wheeler 49-71 in the Elite 8.

The Class 6A poll is led by defending state champion Alexander—who returns Class 6A Player of the Year Braedan Lue after he posted 16.4 ppg and 7.8 rebounds. No. 2 Woodward Academy suffered an early playoff exit to No. 3 Riverwood last year, but returns its top four leading scorers. Jonesboro and St. Pius round out a loaded top 5 of state title contenders.

In Class 5A, defending state champion Kell remains No. 1 and state-runner-up Eagles Landing opens the year at No. 2. Pace Academy looks like the team to beat in Class 4A after cruising to last year’s title out of a loaded Region 5 and defending state champion Sandy Creek is back at No. 1 in Class 3A with Region 5 rivals Douglass and Cedar Grove also debuting in the top 5. Columbia (2A), Mount Vernon (Class A Division I and Portal (Class A Division II) are also preseason No. 1.  Columbia is coming off a 30-2 season that ended in the semifinals and are bolstered by a pair of transfers.

Mount Vernon features 6-foot-10 forward Dennis Scott after he averaged 13.1 ppg and nine rebounds per game last season and Portal gets the nod after a 28-2 season that ended to Wilkinson County—which Portal swept in the regular season. Joseph Thomas returns to lead the Panthers after pouring in a team-high 16.1 ppg last season.

Class 7A

1. McEachern

2. Grayson

3. Wheeler

4. Norcross

5. Berkmar

6. Newton

7. Milton

8. Carrollton

9. Walton

10. Osborne

Class 6A

1. Alexander

2. Woodward Academy

3. Riverwood

4. Jonesboro

5. St. Pius

6. Shiloh

7. Lanier

8. Hughes

9. South Paulding

10. Lakeside-Evans

Class 5A

1. Kell

2. Eagle’s Landing

3. Dutchtown

4. Hiram

5. Chapel Hill

6. Tri-Cities

7. Mays

8. Maynard-Jackson

9. Warner Robins

10. Winder-Barrow

Class 4A

1. Pace Academy

2. Holy Innocents’

3. McDonough

4. North Oconee

5. Madison County

6. Fayette County

7. Walnut Grove

8. Westover

9. Seckinger

10. Central-Carroll

Class 3A

1. Sandy Creek

2. Douglass

3. Johnson-Savannah

4. Cross Creek

5. Cedar Grove

6. Long County

7. Dougherty

8. Calvary Day

9. Monroe Area

10. Hebron Christian

Class 2A

1. Columbia

2. Westside-Augusta

3. Thomson

4. Spencer

5. Dodge County

6. Butler

7. North Cobb Christian

8. Southwest-Macon

9. Putnam County

10. Model

Class A-Division I

1. Mt. Vernon

2. Darlington

3. King’s Ridge

4. Mt. Pisgah

5. Temple

6. Paideia

7. St. Francis

8. Woodville-Thompkins

9.  Swainsboro

10. Savannah

Class A-Division II

1. Portal

2. Christian Heritage

3. Greenforest Christian

4. Charlton County

5. Wilkinson County

6. Macon County

7. Clinch County

8. Mitchell County

9. Manchester

10. Hancock Christian

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