Who’s in the Sweet 16? Here are the players from Georgia high schools who remain in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament

The first weekend of the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a four-day span that avid basketball fans look ahead for, for months in advance. It’s a time of upsets, buzzer beaters, half court heaves and leaving your mark on the tournament while creating your own story to be remembered by fans for years to come.

After the first four days of the tournament, 68 teams dwindled down to 16 as all four No. 1 and No. 2 seeds advanced to the Sweet 16 and the second weekend of the tournament.

While no teams from the state of Georgia made the men’s NCAA tournament this season, there are nine players from the state who are still competing in the postseason tournament and have moved onto the Sweet 16.

The Clemson Tigers headline this year’s tournament with five representatives from the state while Houston, UConn, Arizona and Iowa State each have one player from Georgia on the roster.

Here are the players from Georgia who are still dancing in the tournament:

Stephon Castle (UConn, Newton)

Castle is a former member of the Newton basketball team where he dominated the competition at the highest level of high school basketball in the state. Competing at Newton, Castle played in Class 7A with some of the other top talent in the state where he averaged 20 points, close to 10 rebounds, almost five assists, three steals and two blocks a game, filling up the stat sheet for the Rams. He helped lead the Rams to the quarterfinals of the Class 7A State Championships a season ago. Castle was a 5-Star recruit out of Newton across all major recruiting platforms and earned accolades such as MaxPreps All-American second team and also was named a McDonald’s All-American last season. In his first season playing for head coach Dan Hurley and the Huskies, he played over 800 minutes for UCONN, while shooting 47% from the field in his first season of collegiate basketball. In the Huskies two tournament games so far this season, Castle has scored 21 points in total, proving to be an asset for Coach Hurley and UCONN for years to come. The Huskies will travel to Boston where they will face San Diego State in a rematch of last year’s title game.

Luke Champion (Arizona, Lambert)

Champion has seen action in eight games for Arizona this season where he has played in no more than three minutes in one game. The Suwanee-native transferred to the Wildcats, coming over from Missouri Western State this season. Champion attended Lambert High School where he helped lead the Longhorns to numerous 20-win seasons during his high school tenure. For his play during his senior season, he was invited to the 2019 North Georgia All-Star Game where he competed against some of the top talent in the area.

Damian Dunn (Houston, Meadowcreek)

Dunn was born and raised in North Carolina in Kinston before moving to Georgia where he attended Meadowcreek High School and played basketball for the Mustangs. Dunn transferred to Houston from Temple where he was a decorated player in the American Athletic Conference. As a junior for the Owls, he averaged close to 15 points where he was named on the AAC third team for his efforts. In high school he averaged close to 13 points and seven rebounds while helping lead the Meadowcreek Mustangs to a 26-6 overall record, where they were defeated in the state championship game. He was named as an All-State Honorable Mention Dunn played one season of high school basketball in Georgia as averaged close to 18 points and six rebounds in his junior season playing high school basketball at Kinston High School in North Carolina. This season, in his first season playing for Kelvin Sampson and Houston, Dunn averages close to seven points a game while shooting close to 37% from the field and will see no.4-seed Duke in the Sweet 16.

RJ Godfrey (Clemson, North Gwinnett)

A Suwanee-native, Godfrey played his high school basketball at North Gwinnett High School where he was rated a 3-Star prospect according to multiple recruiting sites. In his last season of playing in high school, Godfrey averaged 16 points and nine rebounds while blocking three shots a game. His play had him ranked as a top-five player in the state for his recruiting class. As a sophomore this season, Godfrey is averaging close to six points off the bench for the Tigers. Off the bench, he is shooting close to 59%, providing a great offensive spark for Clemson in their second unit. Godfrey chose Clemson over UGA, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Texas Tech and Utah. He is the son of Randall Godfrey, an 11-year NFL veteran who played linebacker for five different professional teams.

Jelani Hamilton (Iowa State, Wheeler)

Hamilton is a graduate of Wheeler High School where he was rated a 3-Star recruit by 247Sports. While attending Wheeler, Hamilton was a member of the Wildcats team who won its third state championship in four years while scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the game. Hamilton was born into the Cyclones family as both of his parents attended Iowa State. While the Marietta-native is a part of the Cyclones men’s basketball program, his brother, Amere is a team manager for the basketball team.

Chase Hunter (Clemson, Westlake)

Hunter has been a part of the Clemson Tigers men’s basketball program for five years and has played a total of over 130 games in purple and orange. Year by year, Hunter has earned more minutes on the court proving to be a leader for this year’s Tigers team as they have advanced in the NCAA tournament. Over his career for Clemson, Hunter is shooting 41% from the field and has averaged nine points throughout his career. The last two seasons for the Tigers, Hunter has started every game for the program, asserting himself as one of the top scorers on the team. This season, Hunter is averaging close to 13 points while holding shooting splits of 42/33/85 on the season. Coming out of Westlake High School, Hunter was a top-100 recruit in the nation according to 247Sports in the 2019 recruiting class, and was the fourth-highest rated player in the state of Georgia. In high school, he averaged close to 16 points and two steals a game. Hunter chose to become a Clemson Tiger after holding offers from college basketball programs such as UGA, Virginia, Oklahoma and Michigan State.

Dillon Hunter (Clemson, Westlake)

Hunter is siblings with his teammate, Chase Hunter as they are both from Atlanta. The sophomore guard is the younger of the Hunter brothers. Coming out of high school, Hunter held numerous offers from prestigious basketball schools such as Kentucky, Baylor and Auburn and was rated no. 64 in the ESPN 100. Hunter’s role is increasing for the Tigers but he has only made four starts in two years in the program, seeing action in 67 games. This season, Hunter is averaging two points off the bench for Clemson as they look to continue their Sweet 16 run against Arizona on Thursday.

Ian Scheiffelin (Clemson, Grayson)

The 6’8, near 240-pound forward from Loganville has made a massive impact on this year’s Clemson men’s basketball team. Alongside PJ Hall, Scheiffelin and Hall create a dynamic and dangerous frontcourt that teams around the country are not used to dealing with on a game-by-game basis. This season the forward is close to averaging a double-double as he averages close to 10 points and nine rebounds a game, impacting the game in any way he can. Having been in the Clemson men’s basketball program for three years, Scheiffelin shoots 52% from the field and hits 41% of his threes, creating a problem for opposing defenses. Coming into Clemson, the Loganville-native was a 3-Star prospect according to 247Sports while attending Grayson High School. He averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds in his final year of high school basketball as he helped lead the Rams to being ranked 10th nationally and the top public school in the nation. Having offers from Virginia Tech and Dayton, Scheiffelin signed with Clemson and has been a huge part of Clemson’s Sweet 16 run as they head for a collision course with Arizona on Thursday.

Chauncey Wiggins (Clemson, North Gwinnett)

In his second year in the program, Wiggins has started 18 of 34 games for Clemson this season as the Tigers head to play Arizona in the Sweet 16. He is averaging close to six points on the season and is shooting 44% from the field and extending his range to the three-point line as he is shooting 34% from beyond-the-arc this season. After not getting too many minutes his freshman season, Wiggins has impacted the Clemson lineup adding his 6 ’11 frame to add to the Tigers already-talented frontcourt. In high school, Wiggins was rated as a 3-Star forward according to major recruiting sites out of Grayson High School. Wiggins and Clemson forward Ian Scheiffelin were teammates while playing for Grayson in high school, building their chemistry early on before their college days. Wiggins was the fourth-highest rated player in the state of Georgia in the 2022 class and was rated a top-150 player according to 247Sports. In his final high school season, Wiggins averaged 12 points and closer to seven rebounds while receiving offers from NC State, UGA, Maryland and USF before committing to Clemson.


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