Coach Jon-Michael Nickerson said Rudy Winters and Elijah Robinson are drawing the interest, and he hopes the spotlight being put on them will transfer to other members Eagles and more of them will take their basketball game to the next level, too.
“We have a big senior class,” Nickerson said, “and potentially we have a few kids who I believe could go to the next level — junior college, NAIA, Division 2 and Division I.”
The coach said Winters piqued the interest of several Division I colleges and Robinson has drawn the attention of Division II schools.
He said he believes Winters will have a chance to go to an upper division college if he keeps applying himself.
“He [Winters] is only going to get better [at basketball] as long as he stays hungry,” Nickerson said.
He said the two participated in a Georgia showcase in late September and that helped both “get on the radar” of colleges seeking players.
“They did station work and basic skills and split into teams that played four games,” he said. “It was a great way to showcase their abilities.”
He said other campers “had some big time talent” with dozens receiving interest from SEC and ACC colleges.
Nickerson said Winters more than held his own. “In my opinion, he was one of the five best players.”
He is expecting a big contribution from Winters to the Eagles. “He is a combo guard — he plays point, shoots and plays at the No. 3 spot. He dishes the ball well and is aggressive on the dribble, too. He can do a little bit of everything.”
Winters said the enjoyed competing at the camp. “It was fun and there was a lot of competition.”
He said is interested in obtaining a college education and hopes to use his basketball skills to do that.
“I don’t have anywhere in particular I want to go,” he said. “As long as I can get a scholarship I’ll be happy.”
Winters said he hopes to further his basketball game in college where he can go overseas to play. “If that doesn’t work out, I’d like to be a physical therapist, majoring in sports medicine.”
Nickerson said Winters has the potential to go to the next level but must continue to develop as a player.
“He’s had the ability,” he said. “He’s been working on the mentality, his energy. I knew it would come out and it showed [at the showcase]. He can only get better. By no means has he arrived.”
He said Winters, who played JV for the Eagles last year, surprised many at the showcase. “What I keep hearing is he’s known as the best-kept secret in Georgia. He’s slowly getting into everyone’s ear.”
The coach said Winters now needs to focus on his game at Excel. “With him helping to lead, it could be a big year for us. We’ve got a good thing going and it’s all from the kids’ effort.
“They put the blood, sweat and pain into it. I get to sit there and tell them why they have to do it. So all the credit goes to all those guys.”