It’s unusual—downright rare, really—for one high school to have four Division I basketball prospects.
More unusual, still, for three of those players to hold offers from a who’s-who of college programs: Kansas, UCLA, UConn, and just about every SEC and ACC school.
One high school in the Atlanta area—with an enrollment of 311, no less—has exactly that. Alpharetta-based St. Francis, with 2016 five-star Kobi Jordan-Simmons, Florida State commit Malik Beasley, Xavier commit Kaiser Gates, and 6-foot-10 prospect Josh Coleman, rolled to the Class A Private state title last season.
The Knights visit Pinecrest Academy on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. tip (girls at 6).
If memory serves, the only other Class A team in Georgia state history with as much star power: Southwest Atlanta Christian in 2004, with eventual NBA No. 1 overall pick Dwight Howard and Javaris Crittenton, who played at Georgia Tech for one season before being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round (19th overall) in 2007. (Crittenton has been in the Fulton County jail since January for violating his parole for a 2011 felony murder charge.)
Simmons, a 6-foot-5 junior averaging just under 20 points per game, played with USA Basketball’s U17 team and has Kansas and Kentucky as his top two schools, according to 247 Sports. Beasley is a four-star, 6-foot-4 guard who committed to FSU in early September; he’s averaging 25.7 points and 11.1 rebounds this season. Gates, a 6-foot-7 small forward (rated as four stars by 247 Sports) committed to Xavier over offers from FSU, Georgia, Missouri, and 10 other schools. If those three weren’t enough to handle, there’s Coleman, who holds offers from mid-majors Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic.
For Jay Lynch’s Pinecrest team, it’s likely the biggest test the Paladins will face all season in their new Region 6-A. Three Pinecrest players are averaging in double-figures through six games—sophomore Ryan McCarthy (15.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG) senior Nick Palmer (12.5) and sophomore Sean Flanigan (10.0).