Three Suffolk grads make All-Star teamsPublished 8:54pm Tuesday, July 9, 2013
By Matthew Hatfield
Three representatives from the city of Suffolk participated Monday in the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star games held at Christopher Newport University for boys and girls basketball.
King’s Fork’s Jacorey Smith and Nansemond River’s Ed Drew and Ashante Humphries expressed pride and appreciation as they are reaping the rewards of putting in those extra hours in the gym, each set to embark on the next chapter in their basketball careers.
“I didn’t think when the season started that I’d be in an All-Star game at all, but I was working hard this whole year. I guess the coaches felt I deserved it,” commented Smith after the East team defeated the West boys 74-70. “It’s really a blessing, though. For my family to see me make it as an All-Star with all these players in Virginia, it’s a good accomplishment.”
Playing in front of his future coaches from perennial Division III contender Randolph-Macon, Drew ended up with five points, 10 rebounds and two steals off the bench.
“I’m very excited and can’t wait to go to their campus real soon,” he said. “It gets started in the classroom first, then on the court.”
“I want to thank the VHSCA for selecting me to play in this game. It was great competition out there, and at the same time everybody got to have fun. I’ll remember the fun we had, especially the bond with my teammates.”
Drew took a hard fall when he was fouled on a dunk attempt in the first half, but was able to get up, brush it off and move on to the next play after shooting a pair of free throws.
“I guess I had it coming,” Drew joked. “You know hard fouls are coming when you go for a dunk, and it was physical. That’s what you’ve got to look for at the college level. It’s going to be harder to try to create your own shot, but I think I’ll learn to adapt real soon when basketball season starts and be ready.”
Put on the West girls’ squad instead of the East to help fill out their roster, Humphries contributed to an 84-72 triumph. She described being chosen as a pleasant surprise.
“Being picked for the All-Star game meant a lot to me,” she said. “It was just an honor to play in it, and it felt great to win. Playing with these girls and different people was a good experience, one that makes you think and react a lot quicker because you’re not used to playing with them.”
Committed to play college basketball at the Division II level for UVA-Wise, Humphries finished up with two points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal off the bench. However, she said, the stats didn’t mean much to her.
“To me, it wasn’t about putting up numbers. It was about having fun, playing against good competition that’ll make me better in the future,” she said. “I can definitely learn from this.”
Smith finished with six points off the bench in the win. He plans to play college basketball at Division II Chowan.
“I have to sit out one year. They’re not giving me a full ride and it’s a partial scholarship,” Smith said.
“In a game like this, it’s all about playing your role. We’ve got other guys out there that can play. We all obviously were one of the best people on our team in high school. It’s actually pretty cool fitting into a different role and no problem.”
For Smith and Drew, fierce rivals on the court at King’s Fork and Nansemond River, playing as teammates was a unique opportunity.
“We had the best chemistry on the team off the screen and roll,” Smith said.
“It was great playing with him,” added Drew. “We’re good friends. I’ve played all three All-Star games with him and it was a good experience. I wish him the best of luck at Chowan and hopefully I’ll see him again soon.”
All three Suffolk athletes left Monday evening as winners and are optimistic they’ll continue to taste success on the hardwood in the years to come.