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FPCA cager picked for Nike elite team
FPCA Highlander basketball standout Joey Bell was chosen to play for the elite Nike team from Birmingham, the Alabama Challenge. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
First Presbyterian Christian Academy basketball standout Joey Bell was chosen to play for the Nike elite team, the Alabama Challenge, for the upcoming Nike Memorial Day Classic this weekend in Nashville and the Nike Peach Jam in Augusta July 11-13.
The quiet and humble guard and forward has been one of the standout performers who propelled the FPCA Highlanders to a state championship in only three years.
“It makes me feel to good to know I was chosen for a tournament like this to compete with some of the best players in the nation,” he said.
The talented cager said he was excited with the opportunity to play for the Challenge, an elite team based in Birmingham. He said he plans to do his best to shine on the court, knowing there is a potential to be scouted at these events. Wanting to go to a Division 1 college, Bell said he’s improved in other aspects as well.
“I’m doing better with my grades this year than I did before,” he said. “I know that if you want to play at Division 1, you have to have the grades and the athletic ability to do it.”
There is no doubt of Bell’s athletic abilities. The 6’3”, 185 pound junior scored a school high and career high 44-points in one game to help his team toward the state finals. He averaged 21.8 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 3.6 assists per game and 2.3 steals per game.
Bell was named to the All-Region and All-State Team as a sophomore and junior. He received the FPCA MVP award for his freshman, sophomore and junior year. He led the GISA in scoring. He was named WTOC player of the week in February and was an honorable mention to the All-Greater Savannah area basketball team.
“It’s really exciting to see someone from around here getting noticed and getting attention,” David Linderman, junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant coach said. “Joey is kind of a gym rat and we have to kick him out of the gym every once in a while, but it’s great to see all his hard work is paying off.”
Bell also plays for the Coastal Crew Rebels. He said playing keeps his focus and while he loves the game he doesn’t have a preference for any particular NBA or college team. He said his focus is to get into a Division 1 school and, as stressed by his parents, get his education first.
Linderman said he explains the importance about education to the kids, telling them if they don’t have the grades they may not get very far. He said FPCA implemented a mentoring program this year to keep the older players on their toes and the younger ones are paired up with older players to learn on the courts and off.
“We would like to see all of our players going to college,” Linderman said. “To get them signed on to play basketball while in college would be great but we really just want to see them go to college in some fashion. A full ride is nice though.”
Bell said he is already looking forward to his next season at FPCA.
“I just want to come back next year and win another state championship,” he said.
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