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PAGLIA: Locals will soon join the madness

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Former North Clayton standout Marcus Hunt is being counted on to help rebuild the Georgia Tech basketball team into a NCAA tournament participant.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Former North Clayton standout Marcus Hunt is being counted on to help rebuild the Georgia Tech basketball team into a NCAA tournament participant.

Are you ready to root for the local guys?

Hold a second. Or maybe a year.

Next season, when Virginia Commonwealth dances into the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as a media darling again — if VCU dances into the tournament — it’ll have a 6-foot-9 shot-blocker straight out of Lovejoy High School.

In a couple seasons, when Georgia Tech rises again to a contender in the ACC — if Georgia Tech rises again — it’ll have a 6-foot-6 baller from the courts of North Clayton High School.

And around that time, some March Madness team — or maybe a few — will have either a 6-foot-4 combo guard, or a 6-foot-8 old-school big man, or maybe a 6-foot-8 swingman hailing from Eagle’s Landing High School.

When that happens, go get your dancing shoes, Southern Crescent. You’ll be on the big stage.

And it will happen. Justin Tuoyo (Lovejoy), Marcus Hunt (North Clayton), and Eric Wortham, Desmond Ringer and Jordan Session of Eagle’s Landing have showed the talent, or potential, to play in March. Tuoyo signed with VCU. Hunt signed with Georgia Tech. Juniors Wortham and Ringer, and sophomore Session, will sign with somebody in the coming years.

What a treat it will be for Southern Crescent basketball fans. Imagine tuning into an early East Regional game to watch Hunt drop 16 points on a 10-seed, then see Tuoyo protect the paint as VCU pulls off another wonderful March upset.

Or flip over to a Midwest Regional game where Ringer catches the ball down low. Then you catch Session taking a pass and finishing on the fastbreak in the South Region.

Session dunks. Crowd erupts. And the camera pans to let you embrace a moment made possible by the Southern Crescent.

This will feel special, because it will be special.

Toney Douglas was the last Southern Crescent boys basketball player to hit the dance floor. As a senior at Florida State, the Jonesboro grad led the Seminoles in 2008 to their first tournament appearance in 11 years. It was short, but memorable. Florida State lost in overtime to Wisconsin on a last-second shot in the round of 64. Douglas scored 26.

At this point, it’s necessary to mention two Riverdale alumni — Judson Dilliard at Tennessee Tech, and Rashan Hassan at Savannah State — who made postseason tournaments. Tennessee Tech lost to Georgia State in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). Savannah State fell to Tennessee in the first round of the NIT.

They’ve gotten us closer, given us a quick taste of how to move again on the dance floor.

Here’s to hoping the next batch of Southern Crescent stars keep us glued to March’s unique brand of madness.

Brian Paglia covers sports for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at bpaglia@news-daily.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/BrianPaglia.