Wednesday, May 29, 2013
By Chris Sokoloski
Andrews High School’s Monte McCrea signed to play basketball for Limestone College on Friday afternoon.
“It means a lot to me,” McCrea said. “I know most athletes don’t get the chance to get signed, but it’s a blessing to get signed today.”
“He’s a terrific kid,” Yellow Jackets coach Kevin Branham said. “Never any discipline issues. He was always ‘yes sir, no sir.’ That reflects on his parents and how they’ve raised him.”
Branham knew he had somebody special during an open house before McCrea’s sophomore season. McCrea had an assistant coach sit in a chair under the basket and toss the ball toward the ceiling. McCrea jumped over the chair, grabbed the ball and dunked it.
“[And] every year he’s just improved,” Branham said.
McCrea played in the frontcourt at Andrews, but will probably move to the backcourt in college.
“I was playing big man – center and forward – throughout my high school career, but turning into a guard will be my biggest challenge,” McCrea said.
But he’s confident about the move, and playing against bigger and stronger players.
“I can handle it.”
His coach is confident too.
“He creates some mismatches for opponents because of his physicality [and] his leaping ability,” Branham said. “He [will] have to work on his ball handling and his mid-range jumpers.”
As a senior, McCrea led the team in scoring, rebounds and blocks, and recorded 12 double-doubles.
He set career marks twice in one week, scoring 20 points and grabbing 18 rebounds against Lee Central, and coming back three days later to score 18 points and grab 27 rebounds against Kingstree.
“He didn’t care how big, how tall, how strong, or how fast, he took it as a challenge that night and he just went at his opponent and he’d wear them down,” Branham said.
The Yellow Jackets made the Class AA playoffs this year, but fell to Marion in the first round. McCrea had 25 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks, four steals, and one assist in the game.
McCrea also played football at Andrews.
His advice to his younger teammates on getting a scholarship: work hard and never let anything get in your way.
“You put in more work on the basketball court but grades are always a major thing to accomplish too,” McCrea said. “You can’t go [anywhere] if you don’t have good grades.”
McCrea wants to study elementary education and become an elementary school teacher.
“I think he’s going to do well at the next level,” Branham said. “I think he’s going to prosper [and] he’s going to get an education out of it.”