Meridian Star

Sports

April 10, 2014

Six Wildcat basketball players sign LOI

MERIDIAN — Wednesday proved to be a special day for both the boy’s and girl’s basketball teams of Meridian High School, as the Wildcats saw six of their student-athletes sign National Letters of Intent.

    The boy’s squad featured two signees: Jontavius Thomas and J’Vaughnte Harris, who signed LOI to Hinds Community College and East Mississippi Community College, respectively.

    “It’s a bittersweet moment,” Meridian boy’s coach Randy Bolden said. “I’m happy to see the guys continue to further their education, as well as their days. But it’s tough seeing them leave because we try to create a family atmosphere here and those two guys are like my sons.

    “They’re both extraordinary guys. Those school are getting two guys with high character.”

    On the girl’s side, Amber Crowell, Kadaisha Brown and Tyquisha Naylor all signed with Hinds, while Krisitn Smith inked with Jones County Junior College.

The four signings from the girl’s squad now raises the total to six signings from the 2013-2014 team that advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament. Miracle Dubose and Kayla Gordon signed in November with Delta State and Jacksonville University, respectively.

    “This group not only excels athletically, but academically as well,” girls coach Patricia Wilson said. “For the past four years, we’ve been a scholar athlete team with the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

    “It’s just tremendous to watch them go on and continue their education and able to play more basketball.”

    Now that the recruiting period has come to an end, Harris reflected on the process.

    “Recruiting is nice,” he said. “You get to experience a lot of different things. You get to visit where you could potentially end up at and how things could go there.”

    Yet Crowell recalled her time spent at Meridian.

    “It means a lot,” Crowell said. “Over these four years I’ve pushed myself, and even though we didn’t win a state championship, we had great memories. We have a big family here and a great relationship with everyone.”

    For tight-knit friends like Brown and Naylor, electing to attend the same school was an important factor in their decision-making process.

    “The coach at Hinds (Micherlyn Smith) was interested in both of us,” Brown said. “So we just decided to go to Hinds at the last minute together.”

    Added Naylor, “We wanted to stick together.”

    While for Smith, the opportunity to experience a new beginning was instrumental in where she would be attending.

    “It’s going to be a great new experience,” Smith said.     “Being away from old teammates that I’m so used to will be hard, but I’ll be introduced to a new group of girls. I’m just really excited about that.”

    Yet for Thomas, his choice to attend Hinds came down to where he felt the most comfortable.

    “That’s where my heart was,” Thomas said. “But I’m going to miss all my teammates and coaches, and just being a Wildcat.”

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