High School Sports

Two Middle Georgians sign with Division I basketball programs

Deirdre Jones adjusts the tie of her son, Kentrevious Jones, prior to the younger Jones’ signing ceremony Wednesday at Westside. Jones signed with Xavier.
Deirdre Jones adjusts the tie of her son, Kentrevious Jones, prior to the younger Jones’ signing ceremony Wednesday at Westside. Jones signed with Xavier. jvorhees@macon.com

The fall National Signing Day produced a pair of basketball signings with Division I programs Wednesday, including one that will send a big man from Macon on to Big East competition.

Westside center Kentrevious Jones signed with Xavier, a team that has made the NCAA Tournament in 14 of the past 15 seasons.

In another men’s basketball signing, Veterans center Josh Linder is headed to Georgia State.

Linder, a 6-foot-9 center, led the Warhawks with with 13.7 points and 12.4 rebounds a game. He was an honorable mention All-Middle Georgia pick, and he was selected to play in the Middle Georgia All-Star Classic amd was invited to the Georgia Elite Preview.

Linder joins a former rival from the Houston County School District. Former Perry standout Chris Clerkley is a freshman for the Panthers this season.

Also signing Wednesday were three of Middle Georgia's top baseball players.

Westfield center fielder Cole Brannen signed with Georgia Southern, while teammate pitcher Jordan Hampton signed with Gardner-Webb.

Jones County's Brooks Veal is also headed to Gardner-Webb, a former conference rival of Mercer.

Brannen, a first-team All-Middle Georgia selection last year, is a 2016 Under Armour All-American, a member of the Chain Baseball 17U National team, and has been named a top 10 2017 draft prospect by MLB Pipeline.

He has been named as a GISA Class 3A all-region and all-state player, and played in the 2016 Perfect Game All-American at Petco Park and the Under Armour All American Game at Wrigley Field.

Last season, he batted .450 with seven home runs.

Hampton also is a Under Armour Preseason All American (2016 and 2017). He is ranked in the top 500 players nationally by Perfect Game and is the number 16 right-handed pitcher in Georgia.

Hampton was a member of the GHSA Class 5A state title team last season at Houston County. He was also on the 2011 Warner Robins American Little League team that won the state and Southeast Regional championships and played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Veal, a second-team All-Middle Georgia pick last season, batted .360 last season with 11 doubles, two homers and 16 stolen bases. He has a 4.0 GPA and earned a 1,290 SAT score. He helped the Greyhounds to the Class 5A semifinals as a sophomore.

Gardner-Webb went 37-21 last season, 14-10 in the Big South Conference.

Stratford softball players Alyssa Orona and Hannah Rae Griffin, members of three straight Elite Eight teams, signed Wednesday with Gordon College. Orona batted .429 with four home runs and 26 RBI, while Griffin batted .370 with seven doubles, a pair of triples and 22 RBI

On Thursday, FPD will have golfer Wesley Hanson sign with Valdosta State. Hanson shot a 75 at the GHSA Class 1A private championships in May, helping lead the Vikings to a second-place finish.

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