Nine NRHS seniors sign college papers

Published 9:35 pm Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kyle Moore, Chris McMillian, Mike Copeland, Dontrell Brite, Warren Beatty, Shannon Evans, Jay Melendez, John Joyce and Sterling Peden of Nansemond River High School’s championship basketball team are all headed to college next year.

By Matthew Hatfield
Correspondent

Nine seniors from the Southeastern District Tournament Champion Nansemond River Warriors’ basketball team have finalized their plans beyond high school. A press conference in the school library was held on Thursday afternoon to recognize where each student-athlete will be headed following graduation.

Coach Ed Young is thrilled that every senior member from this past season’s basketball team will be moving on to bigger and better things. In fact, in Young’s 22-year coaching career, this year’s class marks the largest amount of seniors he had had and the most heading to college.

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“Off the court, it’s right up there with winning a state title. To have every one of your seniors going somewhere, whether they’re playing ball or not, that’s pretty neat,” Young said.

“Those kids have earned it, and I’m really excited for each of them. I might have a little to do with it if we win a title, but when these kids are going to school, they’re the ones that have put in the work. The bottom line is, what do you go to school for? To get grades, and then you hope to get that opportunity to go on to the next level.”

The headliners for last season’s Nansemond River team were All-Suffolk guards Dontrell Brite and Shannon Evans. Brite will be headed to Mount Olive College in North Carolina, one of the better Division II programs on the East Coast. A transfer from Grassfield before his junior year, Brite averaged 13.5 points, 7.8 assists and 5.0 steals per game in earning All-Southeastern District First Team honors and Second Team All-State recognition this past season for the Warriors.

As for Evans, he’ll be spending a year of prep school at Hargrave Military Academy on a partial basketball scholarship. Evans put up 19 points, five rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.6 steals per game in being chosen All-Southeastern District First Team and Honorable Mention All-Eastern Region. He’s getting most seriously recruited by such Division I College Basketball programs as High Point, Jacksonville and Winthrop.

Six-foot-five-inch center John Joyce, who averaged 7.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game last season, will play locally at the Division III level with Christopher Newport University. Swingmen Jay Melendez and Sterling Peden will continue playing basketball at Newport News Apprentice School and Ferrum College, respectively.

Reserve guard Kyle Moore has signed to play college baseball in the ACC at the University of Maryland. Kyle is the younger brother of former Nansemond River standout Ashton Moore, who had a productive freshman season at The Citadel.

Backup point guard Warren Beatty, who finished with a 4.0 GPA last semester, will be heading to Campbell University on a partial academic scholarship. Also going to school on partial academic scholarship nearby at Old Dominion University will be forwards Michael Copeland and Chris McMillian.

“Every senior group to me, I look at as distinctive as far as what they’ve done,” Young said. “You look back at when you first got them. Most of these kids we had when they were in future league when they were in seventh grade. To see where they started as gangly little guys running around to nine seniors announcing they’re going to college, six of them playing sports, you’re really proud of them.”

At times, Young even wondered if they would make it through his demanding program, let alone get the chance to play in college. Their dedication in the classroom and on the court showed, allowing improvement to gradually take place as the Warriors won 73 games during the past four seasons, including a 42-11 mark overall and 30-6 record in the Southeastern District the last two years.

“There were a couple guys when they were sophomores I’d turn to one of the coaches and ask why in the world we kept them,” Young admitted. “Then you watch how they’ve progressed and grown as young men; it’s really fulfilling.”

Nansemond River Class of 2012:

  • Warren Beatty – Campbell University (Buies Creek, N.C.) on partial academic scholarship, major in math
  • Dontrell Brite – Mount Olive College (Mt. Olive, N.C.) on basketball scholarship, undecided on major
  • Michael Copeland – Old Dominion University on partial academic scholarship, major in communications
  • Shannon Evans – Hargrave Military Prep on partial basketball scholarship, one year residency. Intends to sign Division I scholarship in either fall of 2012 or spring of 2013
  • John Joyce – Christopher Newport University with grant-in-aid for basketball, undecided on major
  • Chris McMillian – Old Dominion University on partial academic scholarship, major in engineering
  • Jay Melendez – Newport News Apprentice School with partial grant-in-aid for basketball, his trade choice undetermined
  • Kyle Moore – University of Maryland on baseball scholarship, major in kinesiology
  • Sterling Peden – Ferrum College with National Guard scholarship for basketball, undecided on major