Chattahoochee Valley men’s basketball coach Richard Mahone signed three players Wednesday off coach Bobby Wright’s Alabama High School Athletic Association South Regional champion Central Red Devils, including the Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Player of the Year, center Joseph Thompson.
The idea of having Thompson and two of his Central teammates, guard Marquez “Bill” Lewis and forward Sean Finney, on the 2009-10 CVCC team brought a smile to Malone’s face.
“This is great for Chattahoochee Valley Community College, our program and for Phenix City and the Chattahoochee Valley area,” Mahone said. “Coach Wright does a great job with his kids and always has great teams. And for us to sign three of his student athletes, who did a great job going to the final four this year, we just feel real great about the situation.”
Thompson picked two-year CVCC over four-year colleges including Jacksonville University, Savannah State, Tennessee State and Newberry College. The 6-foot-4 post player likes opportunity to play his first two years at home.
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“It was a hard process with all the phone calls from coaches,” he said.
Finney and Lewis were key players for the Red Devils, who went 24-5.
“I was just looking at going to Alabama State or (Alabama) A&M if there were no offers,” said Lewis, a shooting guard. “I’m looking forward to playing with my teammates and other Bi-City players who have already signed.”
Hardaway’s Mike Woods Jr., who signed last month with CVCC, was at the Central signing ceremony.
Finney, a forward, did several things to help the Red Devils win — rebounding, defending and making the occasional outside shot — and had the same type of options as Lewis.
“I was looking at Tuskegee or Georgia State,” he said. “If I didn’t get a scholarship, I was just going to go to college and walk on wherever I went.”
But they will be together for the next two years at CVCC. “We should have pretty good chemistry,” Lewis said.
Wright said losing the three players didn’t make him sad — for the right reason.
“It’s great to lose them,” he said, “because, to coach this game for as long as I’ve coached it, I’ve got a bunch of wins, but what really excites me is to see these young men go further their careers and educational opportunities.”