POPLARVILLE – Chris Oney has a vision of maintaining the championship tradition in men’s basketball at Pearl River Community College, and to do that he’s looking for players with a championship background.
That makes his two most recent signees doubly important, as the Wildcats look to reload after losing 10 sophomores.
PRCC won the services of Cameron Douglas and Javontae McDavid from Columbus High, which won its first Class 6A state championship last month in its first season under veteran head coach Luther Riley.
“It helps them coming from a championship program, but it helps me out as well,” said Oney. “We’re not returning a lot of experience, so it’s important to reach out to programs that have a championship pedigree.”
Riley made his mark as a multiple championship-winning coach in the Jackson area before taking over at Columbus last year.
“I think them going to school together gives them some comfort,” said Riley in an article that appeared this past weekend in the Columbus Commercial Dispatch.
“When you go into a different environment, and have somebody to play with, it is a lot more comforting on the court, socially and in the classroom.”
Douglas, a 6-foot-4 small forward, averaged 12 points and four rebounds per game, while McDavid, a 5-10 point guard, averaged nine points and four assists.
“They’re both outstanding young men from outstanding families,” said Oney. “They are going to compete for playing time – everyone we signed is going to compete for playing time, because we lost so much.
“I told someone the other day that we averaged 84 points a game, and 80 of them are walking out the door.”
McDavid told the Commercial Dispatch that he felt at home on the PRCC campus, which he described as, “beautiful,” and that he plans to set up residence in the coliseum.
“Coach (Oney) said the gym will be open 24/7, so I will be in there late nights and early mornings working hard to go to the next level,” McDavid told the newspaper.
Oney said a big selling point in this recruiting cycle has been the two-year-old M.R. White Coliseum.
“It’s more than that, though,” Oney said. “We show kids the arena, and it’s outstanding. But it’s just a building. What makes this such a special place is we have the best administration we could hope for, and that goes hand-in-hand with the building. And that is the real selling point.”
Columbus High seniors Javontae McDavid (left) and Cameron Douglas (right) pose with Pearl River caps after signing basketball scholarships with PRCC last week.