Austin Donaldson, left, and his Jonesboro teammate Deantre Mack will play for the South squad in the fourth annual GACA Junior All-Star game today in Savannah. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
GACA All-Star Basketball Showcase
When, where: Saturday, Armstrong Atlantic University in Savannah
Schedule: Girls junior game, 11 a.m.; girls senior game, 1 p.m.; boys junior game, 3 p.m.; boys senior game, 5 p.m.
Local talent: DeAntre Mack, Jonesboro; Michaelle Smith, Jonesboro; Lakiah Sims, Drew.
SAVANNAH — Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman is convinced Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a better season for him and his Cardinals basketball team.
Days before helping lead Jonesboro to its first basketball state title, Maehlman was named the Region 4-AAAA Athletic Director of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Directors Association.
Today, the coach and two of his players will be in Savannah for the annual Georgia Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Showcase junior game.
Maehlman picked junior guard Deantre Mack for the game, and later added Austin Donaldson after another player for another team backed out. The game will tip-off at 3 p.m. at Armstrong Atlantic University.
“It is like a storybook year for us,” Maehlman said. “To be recognized as the AD of the year is pretty cool.”
Mack and Donaldson teamed in the backcourt to lead the Cardinals to a win over Columbia in the Class AAAA title game earlier this month in Macon.
“To me, it is really exciting for these players and our program,” Maehlman said. “People know they played for a state title. It is a huge honor for these players to be involved in the game with me. They serve it because they worked their tails off for this recognition.”
Maehlman also chose North Clayton coach Martisse Troup as his top assistant for the game. He also picked Ola coach Curt Miller to be an assistant.
“Coach Troup is a good friend, and I wanted him to share in this opportunity with me,” Maehlman said. “I have so much respect for him. When I was selected to coach in this game, he is the first person that came to mind.”
Mack and Donaldson said they are excited about the game. The North squad is coached by Miller Grove coach Sharman White, who led the Wolverines to an unprecedented six straight state titles.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase my talent,” Donaldson said. “It is an honor to play in this game. You are surrounded by some good players, and the competition is going to be fierce. Dee Mack and myself have a lot of good chemistry. I look forward to playing with him.”
Also represented the county in the all-star showcase will be Drew senior LaKiah Sims, who will play for the senior South squad. This past season, Sims was named the Region 4-AAAAA Player of the Year, and led the Titans to the semifinals of the state tournament.
The girl’s South squad will be coached by Forest Park coach Steven Cole, who helped the Panthers to the Class AAAAA semifinals.
“This game will give me an opportunity to play against some of the best players in the state,” Mack said. “I’m ready for the game.”
On the Henry County side, Luella’s standout pair of TeMarcus Blanton and Doral Moore will also participate. Blanton, the South Carolina signee, will play in the senior game, while highly touted 7-foot junior Moore will compete in the junior game.
“Those two players have been staples of our program over the last couple of years,” Luella coach Jamond Sims said. “I’m proud of their acheivements and the way they’re going to end this season.”