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SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012

The 30s The



A look at Middle Georgia’s all-time greats

Tree Rollins, Crisp County, basketball Bio: A true 7-footer, Rollins starred at Clemson from Go to 1973-1977. He averaged 13.3 for more points and 11.9 photos of rebounds during the players his four-year who were college career. chosen, He was the first as well as player in any Jonathan sport to have his Heeter’s jersey retired at podcast. Clemson. The Atlanta Hawks selected Rollins in the first round of the 1977 NBA draft. Rollins played 11 of his 18 NBA seasons with the Hawks. Rollins made the NBA All-Defensive Team in 1983-84. He finished in the top three in blocks in each of his first six NBA seasons. Rollins is still eighth in NBA history in career blocks after retiring third all-time. He is the Hawks’ franchise leader in blocks with 978 more than than the next closest player. Rollins played for four teams in his final seven NBA seasons, retiring with the Orlando Magic in 1995. Rollins coached both NBDL and WNBA teams following his retirement.


Why we picked him: Like few of the entrants in the Numbers Game, Rollins kept his same jersey number at every level. He wore No. 30 for 22 of his 24 seasons of basketball beginning in high school, with the lone exception coming in his two years with the Houston Rockets beginning in 1991. It also doesn’t hurt that a majority of his NBA career was spent with the hometown Hawks. He is among the franchise leaders in blocks (first), games played (second), field-goal percentage (third), offensive rebounds (third) and defensive rebounds (second).

and earned two letters at Connecticut, where he played in 70 games and averaged 5.7 points.

along with a Mr. Basketball award and All-America honors. Others to consider LaToya Davis, Mary Persons, basketball: Davis was a twotime Class AA Player of the Year and USA Today honorable mention All-America pick at Mary Persons. She scored 3,426 career points, averaging 26.5 points and 20 rebounds per game for her prep career. Davis lettered four seasons while playing for legendary head coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee.

April Johnson, Jones County, basketball: Johnson was The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia Player of the Year in 2002. The all-state selection ended her prep career as Jones County’s all-time leading scorer. She played at Georgia Tech before suffering career ending knee injuries after her sophomore season.

Lee Martin, Perry, basketball Bio: While teaming with Dwayne Powell, Martin helped lead Perry to an undefeated state championship in 1962. Martin averaged 20 points per game for the champion Panthers, who won their sixth title under head coach Eric Staples. Martin scored 41 points in a memorable win over Lanier at the Macon City Auditorium during his senior season. Martin then dominated in a postseason all-star game, scoring 26 points and dishing out 19 assists. He attended Georgia following his prep career, eventually morphing into a starter as a senior. Martin averaged 7.6 points as a senior playing alongside fellow Middle Georgian Jerry Waller in 196566. Why we picked him: There are so many greats to pick from during the Eric Staples era, including Billy and Dwayne Powell and even future United

Darrell Lockhart, R.E. Lee, basketball: Lockhart was a Parade All-American after averaging 30 points and 15 rebounds as a senior. He made the All-SEC third team in 1983 at Auburn. Lockhart spent a short time with the San Antonio Spurs after he left Auburn. The Spurs selected him in the second round of the 1983 NBA draft. Telegraph File Photo

Tree Rollins was a standout at Crisp County before a strong career at Clemson. He was drafted in the first round by Atlanta in 1977 and played 11 of his 18 NBA seasons with the Hawks. States Senator Sam Nunn. But Martin was, without question, one of the best to play for Staples. Others to consider Doug Fincher, FPD, football: Fincher finished his prep career with 424 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles along with all-state teams in 1988 and 1989. Andy Summers, Lanier, football: Summers made an all-state team for the Poets

Others to consider Latavia Coleman, Southwest, basketball: The all-state pick averaged 17 points as a senior. She played four years at Florida State, where she led the Seminoles in scoring all four seasons. She left school fifth all-time in scoring and a two-time All-ACC second team pick. She was drafted in the third round of the 2000 WNBA Draft by the Houston Comets. Coleman was later named an ACC Legend and now coaches at Howard. Monquencio Hardnett, Central, basketball: Hardnett left Central

Ben Zambiasi played on three state title teams at Mount de Sales before going on to wear No. 44 and playing linebacker at Georgia.

University of Georgia

in 1969. Summers played at Florida, coming up with a pair of fumbles to help the Gators beat LSU in 1974.

Kenny Walker, Crawford County, basketball Bio: Walker led Crawford County — where he wore both Nos. 32 and 33 depending on home and away games — to consecutive state championships beginning in 1981. He averaged 25 points and 13 rebounds as a junior and 29 points and 18 rebounds as a senior. Walker went on to a stellar career at Kentucky after playing in the McDonald’s All-American Game and being named Mr. Basketball as a senior. He averaged 22.9 points and 22 points his final two seasons in Lexington. Walker was the AP SEC Player of the Year both of those seasons, and he was a consensus firstteam All-American in 1986. The New York Knicks selected Walker with the fifth overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. Walker played seven seasons in the NBA, gaining most of his pro fame from winning the 1989 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Walker’s jersey is retired at Kentucky. Why we picked him: If you list the five best high school basketball players in Middle Georgia history, you’d be hard pressed to not include Walker. No Middle Georgia basketball player can claim two SEC Player of the Year distinctions to go

Todd Mickler, Tattnall Square, football: Mickler led Tattnall to a GISA championship and undefeated season in 1988. He accumulated 370 yards in the championship game win over FPD. Hank Williams, Warner Robins, football: Williams and the next player at No. 32 might have a tussle over who is the second best back in school history behind James Brooks. Williams’ case: two all-state teams, an undefeated season, a mythical national title, a Warner Robins-Northside rushing record with 232 yards in a 21-14 win in 1981 and 1,546 rushing yards in 1981. Williams signed with Jacksonville State. Jimmy Womack, Warner Robins, football: Womack rushed for 1,467 as the Demons’ second option in 1976, helping to lead Warner Robins to the state championship and mythical national title. Womack started three seasons at Georgia, including as the fullback for Herschel Walker during the Bulldogs’ 1980 national championship run.

Ben Zambiasi, Mount de Sales, football Bio: Zambiasi played on all three of the Cavaliers’ GHSA state championship teams from 1970-73. Zambiasi rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns as a senior in the 1973 championship game. Zambiasi went on to stardom at Georgia, where he was named to All-SEC teams as a linebacker in both 1976 and 1977. Zambiasi SEE


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