2011-12 Basketball: Recruiters will see more than just Nunn at Christmas Classic
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY ó The Moir Christmas Classic always packs Catawbaís Goodman Gym. At last yearís finals, athletic director Dennis Davidson was ready to shut the doors before the boys game because he simply didnít think the 2,600-seat facility could hold any more bodies.
This year, there better be some extra seats for the college recruiters.
Salisburyís Jason Causby knows theyíll be there. Theyíll be following his 6-foot-8 star Tony Nunn all year long. The junior has already received several Division I offers.
The Hornetsí other big man, 6-7 junior Tyler Petty, is benefitting from the spotlight on Nunn. Causby told the story of one recruiter watching Nunn, but being enamored with Petty. He used to coach at Boston University and said that school would recruit a kid like Petty and he was getting the word out.
While players at West Rowan, North Rowan and Davie County will be trying to beat Salisbury and Nunn, they should shake the big manís hand after the game. He is getting them looks.
A recruiter may be in the gym when West Rowan plays Salisbury and wonder about that flashy West guard with the sweet jumper and super quickness. Theyíll peer down at their roster and realize itís Keshun Sherrill, the countyís leading returning scorer at 21 points per game.
As the season begins, Sherrill said the only legitimate offer he has so far is from Division II Lenoir-Rhyne.
ěThey offered me a full scholarship,î he said. ěN.C. A&T is the only Division I college recruiting me right now.î
Sherrill hopes his play will be enough to get more interest.
ěI got the offer by just playing,î he said. ěIím just going to give it all Iíve got.î
Sherrill attended a couple of Bob Gibbons showcases this summer and an elite camp in Charlotte where he played well.
As much as recruiters love Nunn, Davieís sophomore Martin twins 6-6 Caleb and 6-7 Cody have already been offered by Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. They have received letters from nine of 12 ACC schools. Letters have poured in from all across the country, including Kansas and UNC.
ěThey donít talk about it a lot,î War Eagle coach Mike Absher said.
Both Martins are 200 pounds. Caleb averaged 9.4 points as a freshman. Cody, averaged 9.6. Both have boundless versatility.
ěTheir size is one reason theyíre getting great looks because they could play 2 or 3 in college. I think theyíre both better shooters than they were a year ago, and they should be really tough on the wings defensively.î
The recruiters who come to watch the Martins will also see Absherís two seniors: high-jumping 6-5 Shannon Dillard and 3-point gunner Nate Jones, who had a three-game stretch last year where he poured in 36, 38 and 30 points against 4A competition.
Absher recalled Division I coaches asking about Dillard.
ěWhen Tennessee came to watch the (Martin) twins and when Virginia came to watch us practice, those guys were like: ëWho is that?í î Absher said. ěUntil you see (Dillardís) explosiveness and his ability to jump, itís hard to describe.î
Dillard averaged 17.5 points last year. He had three 30-point outings and 17 double-doubles. He has caught the eye of Winthrop, UNC-Greensboro, Furman and Elon.
ěHeís going to take a visit to Winthrop in the very near future,î Absher said. ěWinthrop came twice during the fall to talk. They came back another day to watch him work out.
ěDuring the course of the year and definitely early spring, thereís more coming,î Absher said. ěHereís a new one for you ó a coach from Georgetown called me yesterday.î
Just think what a show itís going to be in Goodman Gym Dec. 27-30 as one of the best Christmas tournaments in the state is played. There will be a coach watching Nunn or the Martins and say, ěHey, whoís that kid who just soared over the goal to dunk?î
It may be Salisburyís junior JíQuille Tracey, whose vertical leap is over 30 inches. It may be Northís 6-7 junior big man Malik Ford, who can rival Dillard with his monster dunks. Or Northís super-slashing sophomores Michael Bowman and Mike Connor.
ěTheyíll be a ton of D-1 kids,î said Causby.
And you can bet the college recruiters will be there to watch them.
If they can find a seat, that is.
Brian Pitts contributed to this story.