Former St. James Coastal Crew Rebels Nathaniel Gooding and Miran Murphy have signed scholarships to play basketball at Middle Georgia Technical College.
Gooding walked on to Waycross College’s inaugural basketball team last year, beating out 45 other candidates. However he was redshirted last season.
He said the time at Waycross was beneficial.
"It helped give me a taste of what college life is like and what level you have to be at to play college basketball," he said.
Murphy was attending Middle Georgia College, but was not playing for the Warriors’ team. He said he kept active in the sport, playing in intramural leagues but was elated to get a scholarship and an opportunity to start for the Titans’ team.
"To play college basketball has been a dream of mine. It really gives me something to work towards. There are not a lot of people out of my town that go to college and play sports," the former Tattnall High Warrior said."They never quit," Rebel founder Ernie Walthour said. "The most important thing is that Miran and Nate kept their college grades right where they needed to be and that was the deciding factor for the coaches. I’m excited that we were able to help get them back to school and back to the floor where they need to be."
Titan head basketball coach Bobby Brown said both men have qualities he wants on his team.
"Miran and Nate have tremendous skills and abilities that we liked," he said. "Miran is a great shooter and has a tremendous three-point shot. We are looking for him to knock down some of those shots next year. He is very aggressive and we like that as well. We know he is going to be a tremendous help to us defensively as well. He’ll be able to steal the ball and stop a lot of guys we’ll be playing against. Nate has a good eye of the game. We watched him play at some of the AAU tournaments and he has a good eye for the ball, rebounding and also going in and knocking down certain shots. We love his passing abilities. He also plays great defensive and we are looking forward to having both of them play next year for us."
Assistant coach Lamar Radford said he liked Gooding because of his ability to play multiple positions and he liked Murphy’s shooting skills.
"It makes me feel good to know that he will be able to participate in school and in sports and expand his opportunity to play and get a better education," said Gooding’s dad Edward. "That’s important because in these days there are so many things that could distract a kid so when you get a chance to go to school, accept it and take it for what it’s worth."
Gooding said, "It was real special to me that the coach took the time out and recognized my skills. I’m looking forward to this season."
Murphy said, "I stayed in the gym and went and tried out. And he liked me and called me back in."
Murphy said he is studying business management.
"I’m excited about it and I told him I hope he is successful in the work that he is doing," Murphy’s mother Teresa said. "The most important thing that I taught him was that in everything you do, you put the Lord first and everything will work out fine. I’m excited and proud of him."
Last season, the Titans were the conference runners up in the Technical College System of Georgia Division.
The coach said they have submitted a letter of intent to join the National Junior College Athletic Association for Division III.
"This year we are looking to win it all," the coach said.