Tuesday was a great day for Nick Drake and East Literature Magnet High School.
The 6-foot-1, 160-pound guard signed to play for Trevecca Nazarene. In doing so he became the first player from the school to sign an NCAA basketball scholarship when he opted for the Trojans who are headed into NCAA DII play next season.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said Drake, who was a finalist for the prestigious Moss-Oliver award last month. “On my visit over there, I really liked all the players and especially Coach [Sam] Harris.”
Drake averaged 11 points, 3.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game for the balanced Eagles, who got to the Region 6-AA semis in March. The Eagles reached the AA state finals in his junior year.
“They want me to try point guard,” said Drake, who signed in a Tuesday morning ceremony at the school. “That’s going to be a big challenge, with guys stronger and quicker in college. I know I’m going to have to put on some weight.
“I am going to come in, work hard, and hope I can contribute early on.”
He said he chose Trevecca over Lipscomb, UT-Martin and Grambling.
“That [Moss-Oliver nomination) got our attention,” Harris said. “With the Christian and spiritual background he has, Nick will fit in great with our school. I think clearly his best basketball is ahead of him.
“We have a challenge [in moving up to NCAA DII]. Twelve of the teams on our schedule next season made the postseason last year.”
East Lit coach Jim Fey, the only coach in the history of the program, said that forward Chris Willingham is expected to follow Drake and to make a decision on college as early as next week.
“Nick is an outstanding student, outstanding player, and most of all, an outstanding young man,” Fey said.
• Gilmore captures Decathlon: Finishing strong in the final event, the 1,500 meter run, to go with wins in the long jump, hurdles and close seconds in the 400 and high jump, East Lit senior Vincent Gilmore won the Class A/AA Middle Region decathlon Tuesday night on the David Lipscomb track.
“This is more of a mental contest than physical, it is so mentally exhausting,” Gilmore said. “I feel like my finishes in the long jump and hurdles helped pull me through.”
Gilmore helped East Lit score a double. A day earlier, Jada Curbeam won the pentathlon. She scored 2,932 points to finish ahead of M.L. King’s Amia Butler and Terri Cunningham, who finished second and third, respectively.
“I am so proud of Jada, as well as all the up-and-coming track athletes at East Lit,” Gilmore, who said he is still undecided on college, said.
Entering the final event, four athletes were bunched close together, but Gilmore pulled away with his 4:40.46 run in the 1500 to finish with 5,720 points. That was well ahead of Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Chris Charles (5,268), David Lipscomb’s Jackson Powers (5,249) and Maplewood’s Wayne Williams (5,166), who won the high jump.
The top two finishers qualify for the state championship meet and the next four more may earn wild cards to state, depending on other regions’ times and distances.
• Ivy League honor: Former Montgomery Bell Academy baseball star Jon Eisen, playing for Columbia University, has won the Ivy League Blair Bat Award, given to the player with the highest batting average during the league season.
Eisen batted .469, while leading the Ivy League in runs scored (37) and stolen bases (13). He ended his college career as the school’s third all-time leader in hits (198) and sixth all-time in runs scored (121).
• BGA’s Winstead to Centre: Standout Battle Ground Academy five-sport star Mary Hannah Winstead signed to play basketball at Centre College (Ky.).
Winstead averaged 12.9 points, 3.5 steals, 3.4 assists for the Wildcats.
“It was the place that made me feel most at home,” she said.
• Celebration for Davis: Lipscomb will hold a celebration Friday, honoring Coach Gary Davis and his long-time assistant Jill Knott, following the Mustangs’ 4:30 p.m. first round district tournament game at Burton Elementary field. All former players, parents and friends of the program are invited. The two announced their retirement recently.
• Honoring track coaches at BA: Brentwood Academy will honor its track and field coaches, past and present, at a reception 5:30 p.m. Friday at the athletic center, preceding the running event finals of the annual Charlie Harper Relays that night.
The school will honor former headmaster Bill Brown, who got the program started, along with Harper (for whom the Relays event is named) and current coaches Brad Perry (boys) and Cathy Cheeseman (girls).
• Tournaments open: May means tournament time has arrived, and many of the district baseball and softball tournament single-elimination play-in games will be held Thursday and Friday. Most of the tournaments then go into double-elimination rounds next week.