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2023-2024 Season Preview: Wheeler Wildcats



Head Coach: Larry Thompson

Region: 5-AAAAAAA

Last Season: 27-7, AAAAAAA State Champions

Key Players: Josh Hill, Ricky McKenzie, Kota Suttle, Julian Ormond, Jake Taylor, Lamarrion Lewis, Amare James

Key Games: Nov. 11 vs. Dutchtown, Nov. 18 vs. Newton, Five for the Fight, Dec. 2 vs. Alexander, Dec. 27 vs. Berkmar, Jan. 12 vs. Osborne, Jan. 16 vs. Walton, Jan. 20 vs. Norcross, Jan. 30 vs. Osborne, Feb. 2 vs. Walton


Season Preview:


The Wheeler Wildcats are the defending state champions in Georgia’s highest classification and will be a factor again this season, albeit with a very different looking team and a lot of key returners stepping into bigger roles.


Isaiah Collier and Arrinten Page have left for the west coast and USC and Jelani Hamilton is now in Ames at Iowa State, but returning are some very notable guys who looked more than capable of stepping up back in June.


Kennesaw State commit Ricky McKenzie had some big moments down the stretch last season and will be relied upon as a scoring guard for the Wildcats, and he has the ability to fill it up from the perimeter. Joining him in the Wildcats backcourt is sophomore PG Kota Suttle, who plays well beyond his years and is one of the best lead guards in the Peach regardless of class. Fellow sophomore guard La Lewis could have a breakout sophomore season for the Wildcats as well, and Jake Taylor comes in from Excel Christian to add another good playmaker to the mix.


The wings will be occupied by senior Julian Ormond, who will stretch the floor with his ability to make shots and provide a tough, versatile presence on both ends. Sophomore Amare James will also bring a lot of athleticism and a do-it-all type of presence.


Senior big man Josh Hill will anchor the middle for the Wildcats, one of the state’s most unique players at a long, mobile, and active 6-foot-10. He will be a big presence on both ends with his ability to finish above the rim offensively and protect the rim on the other end.

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