ALBANY — Chris Cameron still hears the stories.
And anybody who was around Southwest Georgia in the early 1990s to watch Cameron and the never-again-seen prep basketball talent loves to tell the stories.
“They will say, ‘Remember back when the Civic Center was packed with 6,000 fans for a Tuesday night game?’ ” said Cameron, who graduated from Dougherty in 1993 and is now the Albany State men’s basketball coach. “Or they will still debate who the best dunker was back then.”
Tonight, the stories and memories of Southwest Georgia’s prep basketball heydays will overtake the Darton gymnasium during the Southwest Georgia High School Boys & Girls All-Star games.
During today’s festivities — which include GISA and GHSA boys and girls All-Star games, starting at 2 p.m. — The Herald’s original “Super 6” basketball team of Cameron, Dougherty’s Pertha Robinson, Albany High’s Melvin Drake, Westover’s Antonio Smith, Westover’s Dontonio Wingfield and Albany High’s Michael Spruell will be recognized.
It’s the first time the six — who all signed Division I scholarships and eventually played at some level professionally — have gotten back together since they graduated from high school in the early 90s.
When they gather tonight to be honored, Smith is sure some of those old stories and memories will start to come back to life.
“For them to call us the ‘Super 6’ just seemed right,” Smith said. “We had already been traveling together all summer and had gone all over the country together. It will be nice to touch on the old times.”
Wingfield, who attended the University of Cincinnati, was the only one of the six to make it to the NBA when he was drafted by Portland in 1994. Robinson went on to star at Georgia; Cameron took his talents to Tulane; Drake played at Virginia Commonwealth; Smith played at Louisiana Tech; and Spruell signed at Auburn.
“That was a group that put Albany on the map nationally,” said Albany High coach Archie Chatmon, who coached Drake and Spruell more than 20 years ago. “We have always had great basketball, but that was the group that made the rest of the country take notice.”
Cameron and Smith agreed that receiving recognition will inspire the young stars playing in today’s games.
“It will be good for a lot of the younger kids to understand that basketball success at a high level can be achieved from right here in this area,” Cameron said. “Sometimes kids think that you have to be in other areas to get the looks, but we were all raised right here in the same areas they are being raised in, and a lot of us were raised in the same circumstances they are being raised in.”
The “Super 6” has been continued every season since that inaugural team in 1990-91, but no group has left a mark quite like the first six.
“If you want to restore the tradition that has been set then you want to have the kids that are playing now to know what it was like and have something to strive for,” Cameron said. “We want them to put the city back to where we tried to take it.”