Prep basketball: Doby, Honeycutt sign with JCC
By Mike London
Coach Roderick “Bunny” Ford steered Johnston Community College to the first official basketball win in school history last January, and he’s now working on his first real recruiting class.
Two of his signees are first cousins and familiar names ó Wesley Honeycutt and Josh Doby.
Honeycutt was all-county at South Rowan in 2007 when he averaged 15.1 points a game. He averaged 5.3 points for Davidson County Community College in 2008. Doby averaged 10.2 points and was all-county as a senior at Carson last spring.
Johnston County is located in Smithfield, 30 miles east of Raleigh, but Ford is familiar with Rowan County.
His long list of friends includes Salisbury girls coach Andrew Mitchell and former North Rowan girls coach Mike White. He’s worked the local Bobby Jackson Summer Camp and is well aware the six high schools in Rowan annually produce a dozen males and females who can play college hoops at some level.
“There are lots of people in Rowan County that can play,” Ford said. “That’s a great area for basketball.”
Ford also had interest in Salisbury point guard Thaddeus Williams (J.C. Smith) and post man Brandon Abel, but he’s thrilled he was able to sign the 6-foot-4 Doby and the 6-2 Honeycutt.
“Both are impact players,” Ford said. “Doby will be the best-kept secret in our conference. The sky is the limit for him. He’s a steal for us.”
Ford started from scratch last season. The Jaguars had fielded a club team in prior years, but they plunged headlong into the Division II junior college circuit last fall. The record wasn’t pretty, but Ford was satisfied.
“We went into a lot of gyms with people not expecting much, and we left with a lot more respect,” Ford said. “We competed on the court, and academically we had kids that did as well as any in the conference. That’s really important to me because we’re mentoring young men.”
Most of Ford’s coaching philosophy dates back to his playing days at J.C. Smith.
“Coach (Steve) Joyner always told me if you take the losses the right way and the wins the right way, you can stay around this game a long time,” Ford said.
Doby began his career at South Rowan before transferring to Carson midway through his sophomore year.
He showed flashes of brilliance throughout his time with coach Brian Perry’s Cougars, but consistency proved elusive. His junior year he enjoyed back-to-back games of 21 and 22 points against West Rowan and North Iredell, but a week later he was held to three by West Iredell.
His senior season was his best offensively, defensively and on the boards, but a handful of days after lighting up Northwest Cabarrus for 21 points, he settled for three against West Rowan.
Doby scored 599 points as a varsity player. Despite his size, half of them probably came from behind the 3-point line. His assets are height, long arms, shooting range and leaping ability.
Doby’s only serious negative has always been a thin body.
“Josh has got to focus and get a lot stronger,” Ford said. “But I look at his athletic ability and I see a guy who can play any position on the floor for us except point guard. We want to take advantage of his jump shot, but he’ll also play in the post a lot. We’ve got drills that will help him develop his skills with his back to the basket. He could develop into a versatile (Hideki) Turkoglu or (Manu) Ginobili type of player.”
Ford didn’t throw around NBA comparisons when discussing Honeycutt, but when his knees and ankles are healthy he can score. At his best, he’s a deadly 3-point shooter with enough athleticsm to create his own shots.
South Rowan has played an awful lot of basketball games against Salisbury, Mooresville and West Forsyth over the years. No Raider has ever had bigger scoring games against those three schools than Honeycutt did for coach John Davis his senior year. He had 33 against Salisbury, 32 against Mooresville and 30 against West Forsyth.
“I’ve watched tape on Wes and saw him play great against good teams,” Ford said. “He’s gone through a lot of stuff, he’s had injuries and some people don’t like to give a kid a chance. I’ll give him a chance.”
The JCC Jaguars open with a jamboree Oct. 10 and play the Virginia Tech jayvees Oct. 17. They’ll take on D-III schools such as Methodist as well as junior colleges such as Surry, Guilford Tech and Louisburg.
Ford said Honeycutt and Doby have made it up for several workouts and are “working out religiously.”
“I stay in contact with them every week,” Ford said. “We’re excited about what they’ll bring to us.”