On paper, the Georgia Stars entered 2018 with one of the best rosters on the circuit. Unfortunately, they weren't able to 'click' in enough time and a Peach Jam bid passed them by. They'll be taking a different approach to this season, rostering 12 players with the majority of them being underrated juniors looking to make a name for themselves. The Stars will have enough size and athleticism to compete in Division D, but in order to win close games, they'll need to develop a consistent and reliable rotation as well as a few go-to scorers.
The Stars have a number of players whose production will be crucial to their season-long success. Junior Marcus Fitzgerald (247 No. 175) is the highest-ranked recruit in the rotation, and the 6-foot-1 Brentwood Academy (TN) product is widely-regarded as Tennessee's best point guard in the 2020 class. Fitzgerald is quick and shifty, and while he's more than capable of getting you a bucket, Fitzerald's bread-and-butter is getting his teammates involved.
Bretner Mutombo is the only under underclassmen on the roster, and the 6-foot-10 sophomore holds early offers from Florida Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, and Clemson. Mutombo (247 No. 55) will be on cleanup duty on the offensive boards and will need to be a difference-maker at the rim.
Quentin Hodge (6-foot-5) and Nahiem Alleyne (6-foot-3) should also play big roles in the Stars rotation, and both sleepers figure to see an uptick in their recruitment. Alleyne, a 2019 Mountain View (GA) graduate who will be attending a post-grad, is a strong guard that can score at all three levels and is capable of defending multiple positions. He plays hard and smart, and he should make for a productive glue-guy. Hodge is a high-flying athlete with a developing offensive skill-set and good range on his jumper. Like Fitzgerald, Hodge is an out-of-state recruit, starring for Lakewood (SC) during the 2018-19 high school season. Hodge enters the EYBL with plenty of college interest and currently holds mid-major offers from College of Charleston, Mercer, Murray State, and Hofstra, among others. It's puzzling how Hodge is still under-the-radar on the national level. That should change in a few weeks.
Fitzgerald, Alleyne, and Hodge will be joined in the backcourt by four junior guards. 6-foot-6 swingman Lamar Oden Jr plays more like a guard, and his size and physical style-of-play make him a matchup problem for opposing defenses. He provides length and athleticism in the backcourt, as does 6-foot-4 Link Year Prep-bound AJ McGinnis. Oden and McGinnis will be contributors off the bench, and they will be fighting for minutes with MiKale Stephens (6-foot-2) and Ja'Quavian Florence. Stephens, who will also be attending a post-grad school, returns after briefly running in last year's circuit. Florence is a 6-foot-3 spark-plug scorer who is capable of putting up buckets in bunches. Stephens are Florence both have Division I talent and both will have an opportunity to leave their mark on the rotation.
Mutombo is joined by four frontcourt players - two of which played sparingly for the Stars a season ago. The two returners are 6-foot- 9 juniors Jordan Meka and Xavier Valley. Meka gives the Stars an avid rim-protector with elite athleticism and natural rebounding ability. Meka is a proven winner, evidenced by his back-to-back state titles at the high school level with Mt. Bethel Christian (GA). Valley shares a lot of the same traits as Meka, and the 15 point-per-game scorer at North Clayton (GA) high school will look to be a primary contributor off of the Stars' bench.
Juniors Tyrese Powers (6-foot-8) and Tyrus Baynham (6-foot-5) round out the competition for valuable frontcourt minutes. Powers is a good shot-blocker and proven finisher around the rim, and the Fitzerald (GA) product is coming off 2018-19 high school averages of 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Bayhnam ran last season with the Bluff City Legends, playing sparingly in a reserve role. Baynham is back for year two and will be looking to carve a role for himself after a strong 2018-19 high school season with Athens Prep.
Honestly, it's tough to tell how successful this team is going to be. They have plenty of height, length, and athleticism, so their primary goal will be developing the correct roles for each player. Fitzgerald should surprise national pundits, while Alleyne, Hodge, Meka, and Mutombo have major opportunities to lift their individual stock on the national level. The grassroots basketball world will find out very quickly if the Stars are viable contenders, as they are faced with a tremendously difficult schedule in and outside of their division.