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Gold Elite league drawing crowds in second season
Gold Elite 1
Gold Elite players JaQuez Motley and Rion Brown, left, watch the game from the sidelines behind South Georgia King founder Jessie Fleming, standing, who coached the Gold Elite squad in their 112-108 overtime win against the Georgia Storm. Photos by Patty Leon

Last year, former local basketball standout JaQuez Motley returned to his former basketball gym at Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici, where he launched a newly formed league made up of several local high-profile basketball players.

This summer, the Gold Elite league is back in action each Saturday from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Faith Baptist Gym.

Motley, who organized the league, was a standout at Faith Baptist and later Coker College. He transferred to Coker from East Georgia State College, where he was a second team all-conference selection. He was the leading scorer on his team, averaging 18 points per game. At Faith Baptist, Motley averaged 25 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. He went on to play in several pro leagues after college and has now banded together several other high-profile players from the surrounding area.

He said he formed the league to help others, who didn’t get the opportunities to play like he did, a chance to play for fun and to showcase their talents to others.

“And also, to bring basketball back to the community,” Motley added. “I wanted to bring the energy back.”

Motley said this is also an opportunity to stay ready for play in the professional leagues.

“Got to have some competition to keep myself going just in case,” he said. “Until then, I think this is something I can build on and keep making it better and better each season.”

The league is open to players ages 18 and up.

He said he got immediate interest from players this second season due to the success of the league last year.

“I didn’t have to do much recruiting,” he said. “A lot of people wanted to be a part of this, so that was a blessing.”

Motley said that all the teams in this year’s league are competitive, and the talent is spread out — so you never know which way a game will go until the bitter end.

Last Saturday, Gold Elite took an overtime win against Georgia Storm, 112-108. Gold Elite had a lead through the first half and watched as the game came to a close with a tie-ending shot at the buzzer by the Storm.

Helping his team earn the hard-fought win was American and international basketball player Rion Brown, a graduate of Liberty County High School. Also assisting in the win was Shavon Stoves, another Faith Baptist standout during his high school career.

Motley and Stoves were Faith Baptist teammates and part of back-to-back state titles won by the Crusaders.

“For me personally, that right there is fun,” Motley said about playing with Brown, Stoves and others. “Those are people I grew up playing with. Our class, we all graduated together, and we grew up playing AAU together. So to play pro or go off to college but then come back together to play on the same team is super fun.”

Coaching the Gold Elite squad was long-time basketball mentor and South Georgia King founder Jessie Fleming. The Gold Elite squad is 3-1 on the season so far.

Motley said he would like to be a mentor to others and pass on all the knowledge and skills he has spent a lifetime learning from others throughout his basketball career.

“I think it is also an outlet where I can help kids stay out of trouble,” he said. “Give them something to do.”

The Gold Elite roster includes Motley, Brown, Stoves, Byron Johnson, Sayvon Wilson, Rodriguez Cobb, James Sinclair, Omari Moore, Liston Johnson, David Thomas, Tim White Jr. and Johnathan Blair.

Rion Brown
Rion Brown
JaQuez Motley
JaQuez Motley
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