Two former Middle Georgia basketball players are making the jump from junior college to mid-major Division I basketball, with another staying in state on that level.
Jailan Haslem of Northside is going from Gordon State to Charlotte, while former Stratford guard O’Showen Williams is headed to Appalachian State from South Georgia State.
Rutland alum Ty’Lik Evans has committed to Savannah State.
The 6-foot-10 Haslem averaged 9.7 points and 7.6 rebounds for Gordon State last season, helping the Highlanders to a 22-9 record.
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Williams, a 5-11 guard, averaged 13.6 points, 5.1 assists and 2.4 steals for the Hawks, who went 22-10. He has signed with Appalachian State, as announced on the team’s website Wednesday.
The two players battled last season, with Williams and the Hawks winning 70-60 in January and Haslem and his teammates getting revenge 82-63 in February.
Charlotte is a member of Conference USA and went 13-17 last season and was a fairly regular NCAA Tournament team from 1995-2005. Appalachian State is a member of the Sun Belt Conference, along with Georgia Southern and Georgia State. The Mountaineers went 9-21 in 2016-17 and are looking for their first winning season since 2010-11.
Evans also went up against Haslem and Williams while playing at Georgia Highlands, which went 32-2 and lost in the second round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament, 70-69 to Motlow State. Georgia Highlands beat Gordon State 87-71 (Evans had 13 points, five assists and five steals off the bench, while Haslem had 15 points and 10 rebounds) and South Georgia State 101-65 (Evans had 20 points, seven assists and six steals, while Williams had five points and three reounds).
Evans, who led Rutland to the GHSA Class 3A semifinals in 2015, averaged 12.7 points and 5.8 assists last season.
▪ A pair of Houston County football teams watched three players cast their lots for college recently.
Houston County defensive lineman Kor’Darius Melton signed with Ohio Wesleyan while defensive back Andrew Brown is headed to LaGrange.
Perry wide receiver Jhi’Marre Brown has signed with Fort Valley State.
Ohio Wesleyan is a Division III program that finished 6-4 last year. LaGrange went 3-7 in 2016 but has a new head coach in Steve Pardue, who went 161-45 as the head coach at LaGrange High School, was an assistant at Kentucky and then went 24-9 in three seasons at East Coweta.
The Panthers had several Middle Georgians on last year’s roster: quarterback Robert Allen of Peach County, linebacker Shamar Slappy of Bleckley County, running back Daniel Curry of Jones County, running back Nick Searcy of Peach County, defensive back Jamal Shakir of Warner Robins, linebacker Daniel Turner of West Laurens, wideout Austin Sapp of Taylor County, defensive linemen Royce Owens of Hawkinsville and Arlie Weber of Northside, and offensive linemen Phillip Manning of Bleckley County, Simeon Tanner and Hank Harrison of Houston County and River Vaughn of Jones County,
Brown joins nearly a dozen signees from Middle Georgia at Fort Valley State, which begins head coach — and Warner Robins alum — Kevin Porter’s second season this fall.
▪ A pair of Baldwin girls basketball players made it official at a signing ceremony Wednesday.
Courtney Butts will attend St. Petersburg, a junior college in St. Petersburg, Florida, while JuLia Nelson signed with Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Butts was a four-year starter, and finished with 1,132 points. She averaged 11 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists in her career and is a two-time All-Middle Georgia honorable mention selection. St. Petersburg finished 11-19 last season last season, and former Westside standout Daisha Terry averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in her sophomore season with the team.
Nelson, a center, averaged five points, six rebounds and two blocks as a senior, and she earned second-team all-region honors in Region 4-5A.
▪ Two Houston County girls soccer players are set for college. Emily Burgess signed to play at ABAC while teammate Shannon Walsh signed with Georgia Southwestern.
▪ Tattnall Square pitcher Garrett Houston will continue his career a bit to the west. Houston has signed with Bevill State, a junior college in Sumiton, Alabama, northwest of Birmingham. The school is resuming college sports after shutting down the athletics program after the 2010-11 year.
Mary Persons’ Colton Perkins has signed to play at Georgia Southewestern.