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From Experiment To Powerhouse
Putting Best of the Best from the local ranks together on college level hardwood
Contact: Don Foley
Date: October 28, 2009
It’s what area colleges who compete on a regional level athletically have wondered for years. Instead of a roster full of players from across the country, what happens if you just make the meat of your line-up full of the top prep stars of this area and put them on the collegiate level, together.
Georgia Northwestern will find out how well that works in a couple of weeks.
Will the best of the preps bring a bigger following, a more talented team? All questions that we will finally get the answers to when the 2009-2010 season of Georgia Northwestern Mustang Basketball tips-off on November 7 in West Georgia for a scrimmage event. “They are some of the best basketball players the high school ranks offered last season,” said Mustangs’ Head Men’s Basketball Coach, David Stephenson. “However, many are simply just all-around true athletes.”
At a practice last week, the Mustangs took a water break to shoot as a team from behind the three-point line. One three sank, then the next, then the next, and so on, and so on. You get the idea. All ten uniformed Mustangs sank their three point attempts in succession. “These student-athletes are extremely determined.”
Now, you’d think if you have four All-Region starters from 2008 on one squad that would be impressive enough, right? Then, you’d think having the hot hand that threw down the game winner of the year’s Georgia-Tennessee All-Star game would be great weapon to have in your arsenal, right? Well, the Mustang Corral is full of the area’s top student-athletes. Names you’ve read about day in and day out over the past four years.
When the Mustangs begin their schedule of 20 dates of basketball action on November 7, they will definitely do it with speed. Freshman guard, Vance Loveless was a regional track champion last year, as well as a roundballer. Loveless runs the 100-yard dash in under 11 seconds. “He’s also a triple-jump champ, a 200-meter champ, and was an anchor on Ringgold High School’s relay teams,” said Stephenson. Loveless also starred on the Tiger Basketball roster.
What one media outlet described as the lead-off hitter for the All-North Georgia baseball team this past season is also a record holder on the hardwood. Armuchee’s Kyle Wilson will be a first-year Mustang at Georgia Northwestern. Wilson received All-North Georgia honors for basketball. He set his school’s all-time scoring record, single-game scoring record, and single-season scoring record. Armuchee has fielded a basketball team for more than a century.
Chattooga County’s inside-outside combination of Nic Perry and Perie Finley will also lace them up for the Mustangs in 2009. Perry and Finley were both All-North Georgia honorees as well for their contribution to the Indian program last year which advanced beyond the Sweet 16 in the Georgia High School State Playoffs last season.
Dade County’s Jesse Moore knows all about pressure basketball. He was the center for the Cinderella Wolverine team from Trenton this past season. “We all saw the headlines for Dade last year,” said Stephenson. “Jesse’s had his share of big games already.”
From the hardwood to the gridiron, guard David White made a name for himself in Whitfield County. White was a kick returner and defensive back for the most successful high school football program in the region. Dalton High School recently solidified its claim to a 50th consecutive winning football season. White was a huge cog in that wheel over the past four years. Like the others, White had a standout career on his prep basketball team at Dalton.
Returning from last year’s Mustang Squad are Georgia Northwestern’s leading scorer, Bilal Weems (St. Benedict’s, New Jersey), center, Zach Davis (Providence Day, Savannah, GA), and point guard, Isaiah Tibbs (Southeast Whitfield H.S.).
The Georgia Northwestern Mustangs are only in their third season of collegiate participation. However, Men’s Head Basketball Coach David Stephenson has come up with a roster and a high-powered chemistry that will surely catch the attention of area prep basketball fans. “Our first year we made headlines being undefeated, last year we made press with games against much larger collegiate programs, and this year, it’s the unique make-up of this group of men. Each one bringing something unique to the table.” said Stephenson.
Providence Day’s (Savannah, GA) John Koneman, a cousin of Mustang center, Zach Davis, has also made the move to North Georgia and found a spot in the Mustang Corral. “Any one of these players has the heart and confidence to make a difference in any game,” said Stephenson. “Many of these players are in great shape right now. We’ll make sure they are in game shape, though. We are truly blessed to have student-athletes of this caliber. Players who have the full support of their families, friends, and fans to make it through college first, then succeed on the court.”
Georgia Northwestern’s first home game will be November 14 at the RAC (Rossville Athletic Complex) vs. West Georgia. For more information, you can email the GNTC Mustang Basketball Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.