A WPIAL boys' basketball player made a verbal commitment to a Division I college over the weekend.
Hempfield High School's Nate Perry, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound shooting guard, committed to Coastal Carolina near Myrle Beach, S.C. Coastal Carolina plays in the Big South Conference agaist the likes of Radford, Winthrop, College of Charleston and VMI.
Perry is the second junior from the WPIAL who has committed to a Division I school. The other is Chartiers Valley's T.J. McConnell, who is headed to Duquesne. Perry will sign with Coastal Carolina during the NCAA's week-long early signing period in November.
Coastal Carolina is coached by Cliff Ellis, who previously coached Auburn, Clemson and South Alabama. Ellis, 63, led Auburn and Clemson to NCAA Sweet 16 appearances.
"I really like Coach Ellis. He's my type of coach," Perry said. "I figured I would just get this out of the way before my senior year. They have a new arena coming in down there [at Coastal Carolina] and I think they're really a team on the rise and one to watch in that conference."
Perry committed while making an unofficial visit to the school this past weekend. He also visited Elon last week.
"I could've maybe waited to try and get something on a higher level," said Perry. "But I want to go somewhere that I have a chance to play. Coach Ellis told me if I work hard, I have a chance to play as a freshman. I just want to be able to play. I'll be a four-year starter at Hempfield, so I'm used to playing. I wouldn't want to go to a bigger school and have them recruit over me and I don't play."
Perry was the third-leading scorer in the WPIAL this past season and finished with a 25.7 average. He is an excllent 3-point shooter and had 35 points in a WPIAL Class AAAA first-round playoff loss to Central Catholic. Bucknell also offered a scholarship.
Perry worked out with some Coastal Carolina players while on his visit.
"I can shoot with them," Perry said. "They're pretty athletic. Next year will be Coach Ellis' third year and he's trying to get players to fit his system."
Droney to visit Davidson
Sewickley Academy junior guard Tom Droney plans to visit Davidson this week. Davidson is one of Droney's finalists.
Here are some notes and thoughts on the Roundball Classic, played Saturday night at Geneva College. The event included many of the top high school seniors in Western Pennsylvania. In boys' games, the Class AAAA All-Stars beat AAA, 133-132, and Class AA beat Class A, 138-120. In the girls' game, the Black All-Stars beat the Gold, 91-90.
* One of the most impressive players in the practice and the games was Plum's Andrew Cressler. He certainly wasn't shy to shoot, but many of the players in the game had a quick trigger finger and pretty much ignored defense. But Cressler could get his shot off just about any time he wanted. He's 6 feet 4 and has excellent leaping ability. He has a nice mid-range jumper and is very athletic. He was the AAAA MVP after scoring 22 points, but he also won the 3-point shooting contest at halftime, making 12 of 16 3-pointers.
Cressler said he will attend Fork Union Military Academy. He's hoping he will attract some Division I colleges.
* Perry's Vaughn Morgan is definitely the most explosive player in the area. If they would've had a dunk competition, he definitely would've won. His college future is up in the air (no pun intended). He was the AAA MVP with 16 points.
* Jeff Yunetz, a Post-Gazette Fabulous Five pick, should have a nice career at West Liberty (Division II). West Liberty led NCAA Division II in scoring this season and the team likes the 3-point shot. Yunetz can really shoot the 3. He had 24 points for the Class AAAA team.
* No doubt McKeesport's Zeke Marshall has the most potential of any player in the Roundball. He's 7 feet. He still has a ways to go offensively, but his shotblocking ability is tremendous. He had to have a triple double with points, rebounds and blocks. One of the best parts of the game was the first few minutes when Morgan was doing some damage on the inside, but Marshall also kept blocking his shot.
Marshall is headed to Akron. He turned down scholarship offers from a few ACC, Atlantic 10 and Big East schools. But I think he might have made the right choice. Players in the Mid-American Conference aren't exactly slouches. If Marshall adds more weight, muscle and improves offensively, he could have a nice career. Of course, he also needs to have the work ethic to improve.
* Bethel Park's James Barton, who is headed to Division II Limestone College (S.C.) had a great second half with five 3-pointers.
* Franklin Regional's Nick Novak, who led the WPIAL in scoring this season, is still one of the best scores I've seen in the WPIAL in recent years who doesn't shoot 3-pointers. He had 16 points.
* Central Catholic guard Lucas Mickens said he will most likely attend Kiski School in Saltsburg for a year. Mickens said his brother, Ben, also might attend Kiski next year. Ben, a 6-4 forward, saw some varsity playing time last year as a freshman. Kiski School is trying to upgrade its basketball program and has been trying to recruit some WPIAL players. It is not illegal because Kiski School is not in the WPIAL or PIAA. But WPIAL coaches are not too happy about it.
* I did not see the AA - A game, but Farrell's Marsell Holden must have been something to watch. He scored 32. He became Farrell's all-time leading scorer this year.
* Beaver Falls' Todd Thomas, a Pitt football recruit, said he's closer to being academically eligible for his freshman year with the Panthers, but there is still a decent chance he will attend a prep school.
* I'm not just saying this because my son, Sean, played in the AAAA - AAA game. But it was a well-run event and Roundball director Allen Deep has worked hard and definitely turned this into the premiere all-star event in Western Pennsylvania now. The banquet the night before was a nice touch.
* We here at the Post-Gazette might have made a mistake in not putting Westinghouse girls' player Shalonda Winton on the Fabulous Five. That's not a knock on the five girls who made it, but I thought Winton was the best all-around player in the girls' game. She's long, versatile and athletic. Cleveland State might have a steal with Winton.