Locals shine at next level

By Doug Gorman

For former Jonesboro basketball player Toney Douglas the transition from high school superstar to freshman sensation has come quickly.

In just his first season of college basketball, Douglas, who was a two-time Southern Crescent Player of the Year and Clayton County's all-time leading scorer, has become the Auburn Tigers' biggest scoring threat.

Douglas, who recently returned to Jonesboro High School to see his high school jersey retired, leads the Southeastern Conference in scoring with a 19.8 average.

Douglas and his Auburn teammates have posted a 9-7 record, but are 0-3 in the SEC as of Wednesday afternoon .

Despite the team's slow start in league play, Douglas has made things exciting. In a game against Florida, he drained a 26-foot jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Auburn lost the contest 84-78, but Douglas finished with 32 points.

In another SEC loss to Ole Miss, Douglas scored 22.

Several other Division I college basketball players who played at high schools in the Southern Crescent are also having stellar careers.

Anthony Rice (Memphis University): The former North Clayton High School standout is now a senior at Memphis University and one of the Tigers' most accurate shooters. Rice will graduate as the team's all-time career 3-point shooter. Heading into Wednesday's game against South Florida, Rice had drained 189 treys.

He is also closing in on 1,000 career points. As of Wednesday, Rice has scored 959 points.

He broke his nose against Marquette in a game last week, but still scored 20 points despite missing most of the second half.

Rice returned to play the team's next game against Texas Christian. He was also scheduled to play Wednesday night.

Karl Hollingsworth (Stetson): The former Southern Crescent Player of the Year and a one-time Clayton County career scoring leader until Douglas broke it last season, Hollingsworth is averaging 11.3 points a game for Stetson University.

The former Mt. Zion High School standout is playing a key role for the team after transferring from Tulane University.

Hollingsworth is averaging 11.3 points per game in almost 29 minutes per contest. Stetson is 6-9 overall and 4-4 in the Atlantic Sun.

In Hollingsworth's last outing, he scored 10 points as Stetson beat Lipscomb 71-66.

Chris McFarland (Appalachian State): Former Riverdale standout Chris McFarland is winding down what has been a stellar career at Appalachian State University.

So far this season, McFarland is the team's second leading scorer with a 12.2 average.

McFarland has led the team in scoring five times this season, including a 26 point performance against Tennessee Tech. He also scored 17 points in a loss at South Carolina.

In his most recent game, he scored eight points in a Southern Conference win against Elon.

Terrence Woodyard (Western Carolina): The former member of the Mt. Zion Bulldogs is now in his senior season with the Catamounts.

Woodyard has played 15 games, starting seven. He is averaging 5.0 points per game.

Josh Barker (Savannah State): The former Lovejoy player is averaging 10.0 points per game. Savannah State is still looking for its first win.


Kirby Copeland (Virginia Tech): The former Morrow basketball player is now in her sophomore season at Virginia Tech. Copeland is averaging 8.7 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.

She is also one of the leaders on her team in minutes played with 18.6 per contest.

Jesscia Williams (Georgia Tech): The former Riverdale basketball player is now one of the captains for the Lady Yellow Jackets. She has started all 15 games and is averaging 5.0 points per game.

Dominique Philpots (Tulane): Like Williams, Philpots played her high school basketball at Riverdale High School. The freshman has played in all 17 of her team's games, including getting two starts. She is averaging 3.3 points per game.