Traveling Team: Atlanta Celtics

Last year, the Atlanta Celtics boasted the greatest frontline in the history of traveling team basketball. This year's squad won't be anywhere near that powerful but don't sleep on the Celts.

The 2003 version of the Atlanta Celtics is as close to once in a lifetime squad as you'll ever see. Two kids are going to the league right from high school off the team and a third will be a high draft pick one day. Frankly, the Dwight Howard-Randolph Morris-Josh Smith frontline was the best of its generation. Asking for a repeat in talent would be getting greedy.

"Without a doubt there's a little let down in talent," coach Wallace Prather said. "It wouldn't be fair to try to compare a team to the squad we had last year. But, we've got some talented kids and as we move toward the showdown in the summer we'll be better than average."

Much better than average. For instance, Brandon Rush is in the fold. The 6-7 skywalker is legit and his athleticism goes on display this month for all to see. Rush is known more for his aerial antics than his scoring package so we'll see if that changes in the coming months.

"Without a doubt, we'll be working on his shooting touch and trying to increase his percentage but I can't say he'll have to score more because with this team scoring won't be an issue," Prather said. "We'll just have to stop other people."

Prather says to watch out for Sharaud Curry, an up and coming point guard who is likely to be a featured player on the roster. He also likes unknown Uriah Hethington. "He's left-handed, a very good rebounder and has a nice offensive touch 18-feet and in. I don't think he's started to reach his potential."

Regardless of who emerges this spring and summer, Rush will be the headliner of the traveling show. It's his final year on the circuit and there's work to be done. He's on a short list of contenders for top spot in the Class of 2005.

"I think Brandon is going to be without a doubt, a standout piece. He's top five on everyone's list. If the chips fall right he could be the No. 1 player [in the class].

Atlanta Celtics Black (Atlanta, Ga.)

Affiliation adidas

Head Coach Karl McCray

Assistant Coach Wallace Prather, Cory Smith

Top Prospect SF Brandon Rush

Projected Starters SG Javaris Crittendon (6-5, SOPH), PF Uriah Hethington (6-9, JR), PF Joey Cameron (6-9, JR), SF Brandon Rush (6-7, JR), PG Sharaud Curry (5-11, JR)

Others PF Tracy Smith (6-7, JR), SG Shamaine Dukes (6-2, JR), SF Lance Cannon (6-4, JR), F Billy Smith (6-6, JR), SF Thomas Wright (6-5, JR), SG Mamadou Marega (6-4, JR)

Famous Alum Dion Glover

Next Tournament Kingwood Classic (April 23-25)

Atlanta Celtics Gold Roster G Ronald Aguilar (6-2, JR), F Durrell Baker (6-6, JR), F Darlus Bates (6-6, JR), G Charles Belton (6-4, JR), PG DeAndre Bray (5-7, JR), F DeAndrea Bryant (6-5, JR), PG Mychael Harris (5-10, JR), PG Justin Holland (6-1, JR), G Brody Langston (6-3, JR), F Charles Little (6-5, JR), C Jonathan Mondaldove (6-11, JR), G Andre Morgan (6-4, JR), G Densio Quinn (6-4, JR), G Justin Shelf (6-3, JR), G Kristopher Thomas (6-2, JR)


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