It was a productive week for former Science Hill football and basketball players.
Christ School (Arden, N.C.) transfers Jaylen Allen and Shannon Hale signed basketball scholarships on Wednesday, and former Hilltoppers basketball/football player Tre’vonn Fields’ Virginia Episcopal won the VISSA Division III state championship on Saturday.
The 6-foot-8 Hale signed with Alabama, where he initially committed two years ago during his sophomore season with the Hilltoppers. The 6-foot-3 Allen signed with Wofford. The Terriers, coached by former Emory & Henry player Mike Young, went to the NCAA Tournament back-to-back seasons in 2010-11.
“I was pretty excited when I signed those papers,” Allen said Saturday shortly after arriving back in Johnson City for Thanksgiving break after scoring 22 points in Christ School’s 118-71 victory against Oakbrook Prep. “Now, I can just play. I’m just thankful somebody wanted to me to play for them and pay for school. …
“I thought it was a good fit. I like the coaches. … They like to run and push it.”
Allen mentioned Wofford being a good school. And it’s a bit pricey for the non-scholarship students.
“One of the reasons I picked it was because of the education,” he said. “It’s way more than just basketball here (at Christ School), too.”
Allen averaged 9.3 points, 3.4 assists, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals for the Greenies (32-5) last season, which included an Arby’s Classic title. Christ School will return to Arby’s next month.
It could play Science Hill. The Hilltoppers are back after skipping the tournament last season to play in a holiday tournament in Hawaii, which they won.
The Arby’s draw is today in Bristol. If Science Hill’s history of difficult draws continues, it’ll probably get Christ School, assuming it’s one of the top teams in the field. For luck, Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip said he’s taking senior point guard Will Adams to do the drawing.
Allen doesn’t want to hype an eagerness for a potential matchup. He respects his former teammates. Allen played AAU this summer with Adams and former Hilltopper Hunter Leveau, who is now at Massanutten (Va.) Military Academy.
Hale averaged 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last season at Christ School, he had 17 points and seven rebounds in the Arby’s championship win against Mentor (Ohio).
Speaking of championships, Fields caught a touchdown pass and returned an interception for a TD in Virginia Episcopal’s 48-20 championship victory against Fredericksburg Christian on Saturday, according to a Fredericksburg.com blog.
The 6-foot-4 Fields, a junior, will also play basketball. Former Virginia standout shooting guard Curtis Staples is the coach.
Carson-Newman had a bye for Saturday’s first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, but senior safety Issac Kinley had a busy week. Kinley was named second-team All-South Atlantic Conference on Tuesday, a nice prelude to his son, Camden, being born on Wednesday.
Kinley, a former Science Hill quarterback, helped secure the bye with an in interception in last week’s victory against Mars Hill. Carson-Newman will host Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday at noon.
Another former Science Hill football player, the University of Charleston’s Jeff Green, was named a first-team All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference defensive lineman this week. The senior had 17.5 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and returned one for a touchdown for the NCAA Division II program that went 9-2 this season.
Daniel Boone coach Ryan Arnold is happy to have another Keever in the program this season, 5-foot-5 freshman Ryan Keever. Ryan is the younger brother of former point guard and three-sport standout Travis Keever.
“He’s got a chance to be a very, very good player,” Arnold said. “Not as physical, but he’s a better scorer … than Travis was as a freshman.”
Arnold has also enjoyed the arrival of new Boone girls head coach Travis Mains. They played in the post against each other two years in the old TVAC when Arnold played for Phil Worrell at Virginia Intermont and Mains played for Scott Polsgrove at King College.
“We’ve studied the game a lot the last six months together,” Arnold said. “We actually run a business together, so we’re pretty good buddies.”
They started Next Level Basketball, which concentrates on player development.
Mains, who played for Bobby Snyder at Daniel Boone (’94), assisted Mark Pendleton at South (2005-09) before becoming the girls coach at Ridgeview Middle School in 2010. He coached the Raptors to a regional runner-up and sectional title last season.