In honor of this year’s NCAA Tournament, we compiled a list of the college hoopers who played the best basketball out of Atlanta this season.
As of late, there have been discussions on what is considered Atlanta ever since rapper Omeretta The Great dropped her popular hit song ‘Sorry NOT Sorry’ where she states all the areas that she considers not Atlanta.
Don’t worry, though. This list will include everyone’s Atlanta.
So, let’s dive in.
KD Johnson – Guard–Atlanta:
Johnson was rated a four-star prospect in high school and was ranked no. 97 by 24/7 sports back in 2020.
Johnson played his high school basketball at Southwest Dekalb for three seasons. He would play his final year at the Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA, where he averaged 26 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals per game.
In his junior year, he was named Georgia’s Class 5A Player of the Year in 2019.
In his freshman year of college, he played at Georgia, where he averaged 14 points, two steals, and shot 44% from three on six attempts.
After his spectacular freshman season, Johnson would shockingly transfer to Auburn and average 12 points.
Johnson would help the Tigers become one of the best teams in the nation this year, as they secured a second seed in the NCAA Tournament.
In the two tournament games, Johnson averaged 11 points for the Tigers.
Expect the Atlanta native to take a giant leap in his game next year for Bruce Pearl’s Tigers.
Eric Gaines – Guard–Lithonia:
Born in New Jersey, Gaines would become a basketball star in the Dekalb area.
Gaines was ranked as the number 102 prospect by 24/7 sports for the class of 2020.
Gaines would average 19 points, four assists and three steals per game during his senior year at Lithonia High.
Also, in his senior year, he would become Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-Metro Dekalb County Player of the Year and Georgia Coaches Association 5A North Player of the Year.
In his freshman year at LSU, he averaged three points per game in 13 minutes while shooting 22% from the field, but tripled that his sophomore year, averaging nine points while shooting 39% from the field.
This season, Gaines was also the SEC leader in steals per game with 2.1.
Gaines is currently the ninth LSU Tiger to enter the transfer portal after the firing of head coach Will Wade due to NCAA violation allegations.
Wherever Gaines ends up, he will bring a spark to their team and contribute immediately.
Adam Flagler – Guard–Duluth:
Seeing a player from Duluth is a shocker for some, but it’s in Gwinnett County, so we’ll count it.
Flager earned first-team 6-7A All-region and All-County out of Duluth during his junior and senior years in high school. He also became Duluth High School’s all-time leading scorer.
Flagler played his freshman year at Presbyterian, where he averaged 16 points and was named Big South Rookie of the year in 2018-2019.
Shortly after the season, Flager would then transfer to Baylor.
After his redshirt season, Flager played a big part in Baylor’s 2020-21 championship run.
He averaged nine points off the bench and scored 13 points in the championship against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Flager would average 14 points and three assists in a full-time starting role for the Bears while shooting 44% from the field and 39% from three.
This year, Flager averaged 12 points in the NCAA Tournament and scored 27 against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Matthew Cleveland – Guard– Alpharetta:
Cleveland was named the 2022 ACC Sixth man of the year in his freshman year after averaging 12 points and five rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the field.
Cleveland was ranked 30th in the nation by ESPN and second in the state of Georgia.
At Pace Academy in 2021, Cleveland averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals per game.
Cleveland has a chance to become the next big thing out of Florida State, just like other notable Seminole players such as Jonathan Isaac and Terrance Mann.
Darius Perry – Guard– Marietta:
Perry is a guard out of Marietta by way of Joseph Wheeler High school.
In high school, Perry was ranked 52 nationally by ESPN and averaged 20 points, five assists and four rebounds his senior year.
Perry would then go on to play his first three years of college at Louisville but eventually transferred to UCF.
At UCF, he averaged 13 points, four rebounds, four-assist and two steals for the Golden Knights.
Alex O’Connell – Guard– Roswell:
O’Connell was a former 2017 four-star recruit out of Milton High School.
O’Connell was named Atlanta/North Fulton Player of the Year in his senior year at Milton for basketball.
After high school, O’Connell took his talents to Duke. He was part of one of Duke’s best recruiting classes, featuring Trevon Duval, Gary Trent Jr, Marvin Bagley III and former Atlanta high school basketball standout Wendell Carter Jr.
After three years at Duke, where he averaged four points in 13 minutes, O’Connell transferred to Creighton in 2020.
This year he was an essential piece for the Bluejays averaging 12 points and helping them advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where he averaged 16 points and shot 45% from the field.
Atlanta has lots of talent in the college ranks, and a lot of them are waiting for the opportunity to display their talents for the rest of the country to see.