Local charter school that doesn’t even have a gym of its own wins city basketball title

ATLANTA — Michael Willis will never forget his job interview at Atlanta’s Centennial Academy Charter School for athletic director and basketball coach. 

“I’m not used to it. Coming from high school and coaching in college, I was like, this is the gym?” Willis said.

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No gym, in fact. The school has permission to use a half court setup at the nearby YMCA. Home games are played at a local high school. But that didn’t stop the team from winning the APS Middle School Basketball Championship.

“I was just happy to do it. I tried my hardest and gave all I had,” forward Adonis Wimbush said.


It’s Centennial’s first basketball title in their first year in the league. But this school is best known for academics.

“Our wait list right now is about 400 people trying to get in this school,” Principal Stephanie Hodges said.

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Principal Hodges also says Centennial has the highest population of homeless students in the city.  She says nothing stands in the way of excellence around here, and Coach Willis and his team proved it.  Having your very own gymnasium with bleachers may be overrated.

“We beat some of the top schools in APS to win it. These guys played hard, practiced hard, and got rewarded with the championship,” Coach Willis said.