Before the game took center stage, Highlander Joey Bell received an honor as the team retired his jersey and number (22). Bell has scored more than 1,500 points as a Highlander and still has the rest of the season to add more.
"It felt weird to have my jersey retired," Bell said after the game. "It made me nervous, and I didn’t find my groove until the second quarter."
"It’s a great feeling," said Robert Bell. "We’ve been watching Joey since he started playing recreation ball and
he has always done well and was always picked for All-Star teams so he has excelled on
the basketball court. We knew he was going to do good
things with it. With us making the grades in school was important and part of what he had to do to play basketball. He had to do that first so we are also proud that he is a good student."
Bell said his son has received calls from several Division II schools, but he hopes, as the season continues and his son continues to play well, more Division I school will take notice.
"Wherever he goes, I just want him to be happy," Bell’s father said.
Ernie Walthour, director of the St. James Sports Center and coach for the Coastal Crew Rebels, said he’s seen Bell make tremendous progress in the five years he’s played as a Rebel and a Highlander. He said it was an honor to see the young man’s jersey retired.
"Bell has put in a lot of hard work on the court as well as off the court," Walthour said.
Walthour said Bell is starting to draw the attention of college recruits and thinks by the end of the season, Bell may have several offers to choose from.
In addition to having his number retired, Bell was named WTOC player of the week Monday. It is the second time the senior Highlander received such an honor. Last year, he received WTOC’s recognition after winning the state title against Bethesda at Milledgeville.
Sample list of Bell’s accomplishments:
2006 Team MVP, 2007 All-Region Team, 2007 Team MVP, 2007 CFCA All-Tournament Team, 2008 All-Region Team, 2008 All-State Team, 2008 WTOC Player of the Week, 2008 Honorable Mention Pick to the All-Greater Savannah Area Basketball Team, 2008 Team MVP, 2008 Faith Baptist All-Tournament Team, 2008 State Title Team, 2008 CFCA All-Tournament and Tournament MVP, More than 1500 points in his career thus far.