Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kannapolis athlete picks Heels

Kannapolis A.L. Brown athlete Damien Washington wasn't fazed by the turmoil surrounding the University of North Carolina football program and has given a commitment to the Tar Heels.

Washington plays slot receiver and running back for A.L. Brown and is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds. First-year A.L. Brown coach Mike Newsome said Washington obviously is aware of the changes and uncertainty at North Carolina after coach Butch Davis' firing July 27, but was ready to commit quickly after receiving a scholarship offer.

Newsome said Washington has always wanted to play at North Carolina. He is the first player to known to have given a new commitment (as opposed to re-affirming an existing commitment) to the Tar Heels and interim coach Everett Withers since Davis was fired.

"Kids are resilient," Newsome said. "They don’t always look at the probation stuff and all that. That’s where the kid wanted to go."

Although Washington didn't have any other Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offers, Newsome suspects that he would have received at least one more offer later in the recruiting calendar.

He said Washington's versatility is his strength; he's a natural receiver or running back who can play several positions.

"He’s a lot of different things," Newsome said. "He also can play defense. I think Carolina thinks he can come in and play corner or safety for them because he’s so athletic."

Ken Tysiac

Friday, July 29, 2011

Timing of Duke scholarship offer questioned

Duke released a statement Friday after reports that basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski may have violated an NCAA recruiting rule by offering a scholarship to a recruit during a summer club tournament.

“In all rules matters brought to our attention, the Duke compliance department exercises due diligence in determining the relevant facts of a given situation,” Duke associate director of athletics for media relations and public affairs Jon Jackson said in the statement. “Proper adherence to NCAA bylaws has always been, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of Duke Athletics.” reported that Krzyzewski offered a scholarship to Class of 2012 standout Alex Poythress, a 6-foot-7 forward from Clarksville, Tenn., on Tuesday. But the scholarship offer reportedly came before Poythress’ Georgia Stars team completed play in the Super Showcase tournament in Orlando, Fla.

NCAA Rule prohibits coaches from contacting athletes until they are finished playing in a tournament.

Jackson declined further comment; NCAA rules that prevent staff members from talking about recruits that have not signed scholarship agreements.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wolfpack adds a tight end, too

Newark (Del.) High football coach Butch Simpson said you don't hear the ball hit David Grinnage's hands when Grinnage catches a pass.

"He has incredibly soft hands," Simpson said. "Catching the ball is probably the best thing that he does."

The 6-foot-5, 243-pound senior committed to N.C. State on Tuesday.

"I think that N.C. State is looking at him as a tight end, but we run a spread and he was more of a slot back, an H-back for us," Simpson said. "We had four good receivers ahead of him at the start of last season, but he kept getting better and better and started catching passes and scoring touchdowns."

Newark finished 6-4 in 2010, but averaged 37 points per game.

Grinnage is a great athlete, Simpson said. Grinnage was a wrestler and hit clean up for the Newark baseball team.

-- Tim Stevens

N.C. State gets commitment from OG (with video)

Eddie Gordon, a 6-foot-2, 315-pound offensive guard, announced Tuesday that he will accept a football scholarship to N.C. State.

Gordon made his commitment on his 17th birthday.

"I knew I wanted to go to N.C. State and I decided to announce on my birthday," he said.

Boiling Springs (S.C.) High coach Bruce Clark said Gordon had made himself into an outstanding prospect.

"He is an exceptional blocker," Clark said. "He has tremendous feet, changes direction well and is excellent blocking downfield. He has great movement as a pass blocker."

Clark said Gordon was a year younger than many of his classmates.

"Eddie is going to continue to get better," Clark said. "He is still growing and maturing. If he had two more years of high school instead of just one, he'd be a monster."

Gordon also had offers from East Carolina and Furman.

"N.C. State was the first school to show interest in me. It invited me to its camp after my freshman year," Gordon said. "And State was the first school to offer me a scholarship, too.

"After I visited there, I really liked Coach [Tom] O'Brien and his staff, the players and the players that are coming in. The facilities are fantastic and I really like the school. I knew it was the place for me."

-- Tim Stevens

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tar Heels land QB prospect

North Carolina has received a commitment from quarterback Patton Robinette of Maryville (Tenn.) High School, according to Inside Carolina's website.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tar Heels add football commitment

Justin Meredith, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end at Anderson (S.C.) Hanna, turned down more than 30 other scholarship offers to commit to the University of North Carolina.

Meredith already has accepted a spot in the UnderArmour All-America football game next spring. Clemson, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and LSU were among the offers he most seriously considered.

“He is your prototype tight end,” said Hanna coach Kenya Fouch. “He is a big kid with long arms who is quick and strong. He makes good grades and has good character. He is exactly what college coaches are looking for.”

Meredith was on the Hanna varsity as a freshman. The school has a strong football tradition and currently has graduated players on the rosters of Wake Forest, N.C. State, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Hanna was 7-6 in 2010 but lost three games to teams that advanced to the state championship game in their classification.

-- Tim Stevens

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gill beats buzzer for big TOC win

RALEIGH – In his home gym Sunday, Ravenscroft junior-to-be Anton Gill provided a spectacular finish to the 16-and-under division of the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.

Gill’s Garner Road team got the ball with a two-point deficit after the Long Island Lightning scored on a tip-in with four seconds remaining in the 16-and-under championship game.

Taking the ball in the backcourt, Gill crossed the halfcourt line, pulled up from 28 feet and rattled in a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded for a 58-57 win.

“I just wanted to get the best look possible,” Gill said. “I looked up, and I didn’t see anybody and I was open. So I got to a good spot and I just let it go and it went in.”

Gill scored 13 points to lead Garner Road in the championship game and was named 16-and-under most valuable player. The honor added to his reputation as a big-time recruit – he’s rated the No. 23 player in the nation in the Class of 2013 by

He said that at this point, he is not overly concerned with the recruiting process. His ACC scholarship offers thus far have come from N.C. State and Wake Forest.

“I’ve got a lot of offers, a lot of Division I looks, but I don’t think I’m ready yet to make a decision where I want to go to college,” Gill said. “I just have to keep working hard and working on my game and I know when it comes time to make a decision I’ll make the right one.”

Gill’s game-winning buzzer beater was his second in the Ravenscroft gym. On Feb. 2, he made a 3-pointer from the corner to defeat Middle Creek 59-57.

Sunday’s winning basket had him waxing nostalgic about attending the Tournament of Champions in past years and watching players such as John Wall (now of the Washington Wizards) and C.J. Leslie (N.C. State).

“There’s been so many great players in this tournament,” Gill said, “and I was definitely one of the guys up in the stands jumping up and down when shots like this happened.”

Garner Road’s successful overall weekend also included a championship in the consolation bracket of the 17-and-under division.

T.J. Warren scored 39 points in the title game win over Belmont Shore. Garner Road failed to make the championship bracket after a Saturday loss to Team Loaded when N.C. State commitment Tyler Lewis scored 47 points to outduel Warren, who scored 41.

“It was a tough loss, but we got over it,” said Warren, the MVP of the consolation bracket.

In the 17-and-under championship bracket, the Southern Phenoms defeated the South Florida Panthers 59-53.

Ken Tysiac