Stevens

Mabry decision likely this week

Staff WriterApril 25, 2010 

Tashawn Mabry, the career basketball scoring leader at Rocky Mount High, expects to make his college commitment this week.

He is expected to pick from among N.C. State, Providence, Connecticut, UNC Wilmington, Western Kentucky and Rhode Island.

Mabry said State had offered him a scholarship and had been recruiting him since his freshman year. Last Thursday he went to campus and talked with players and coaches.

"I'll make my final decision next week," he said Friday.

Mabry is a 6-foot-6 forward who led Rocky Mount to the NCHSAA 3-A championship. He was the most valuable player in the championship game, an 84-79 victory over Concord. He had 26 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

He averaged 24.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.4 assists. He finished his career with 2,411 points, passing former Gryphons point guard Phil Ford to become the school's all-time scorer.

"I am achieving everything that I had dreamed of," Mabry said. "It is really unbelievable."

Mabry said he talked regularly with Raleigh Word of God's C.J. Leslie, a McDonald's All American who also is considering N.C. State.

"C.J. is my boy," Mabry said. "We talked about what a great class it would be if we both decided to go there with Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown, but both of us need to make the best decision for ourselves and our families."

Mabry said his decision would come down to where he thought he could get the best education and where he could develop his basketball abilities the most.

Nunn loves South Florida: Erica Nunn's commitment to the University of South Florida in the middle of her sophomore softball season was earlier than most high school athletes' decisions, but it came long after she knew she wanted to attend the Tampa, Fla., school.

"I've known for a long time," Nunn said. "I was just waiting to make absolutely sure. I love it."

Nunn, a 5-foot-10 left-hander with 120 strikeouts this season, didn't know that there was such a thing as South Florida until N.C. State played the Bulls in the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl.

"That was the first time I ever heard of the school," she said.

She attended a softball camp at South Florida in December 2008 and was overwhelmed. She knew she wanted to go to school then.

Nunn returned to the campus twice in 2009 and again this spring. She talked with coaches, players, academic advisors and students, and soon after made her commitment. The commitment is not binding on her or the school, but she sees no way that she will change her mind.

Garner coach Moe Barbour summed up Nunn's ability in the preseason. "She is the real deal," Barbour said. "She has been outstanding every time I've ever seen her pitch."

Of course, Barbour didn't see her when she was nine years old, sitting at the far end of the bench in a Fuquay-Varina recreation league.

"I wasn't very good," she recalled. "But someone suggested that I ought to try pitching because I was tall and left-handed."

The change worked.

"She was shocked when colleges started coming after her ... she was like, 'Why do they want me?' " Traci Nunn, her mother, said. "I remember when she received her first college questionnaire last winter. She started crying. She couldn't believe that her dream might actually come true."

Nunn likes South Florida's aggressive style under coach Ken Eriksen, and she is working at being more aggressive on the mound.

South Florida has had winning teams every year except one since Eriksen was named coach in 1997. The Bulls have made the NCAA playoffs eight times since he took over the program in 1997.

Hairston is better: Veteran Greensboro Dudley basketball coach David Price said North Carolina junior recruit P.J. Hairston is improving rapidly.

"He is much stronger than he was at the start of last season," Price said. "He can get to the basket much better. We've still got to work on his ball handling and some other things, but he is working hard and getting better."

The 6-5 junior guard has exceptional range on his jumper and is ranked No. 19 by Scout.com in the class of 2011.

Kentucky strikes: Kentucky already has the makings of an exceptional men's basketball recruiting class in 2011.

The Wildcats have commitments from Michael Gilchrist, a 6-6 forward from Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick, and from Marquis Teague, a 6-1 point guard at Indianapolis Pike.

Gilchrist is the top-ranked junior in the country, and Teague is ranked No. 5 by Scout.com.

North Carolina has a commitment from No. 2-ranked James McAdoo, a 6-8 forward at Norfolk (Va.) Christian, and Duke has a commitment from No. 14-ranked Michael Gbinije, a 6-6 forward at Richmond Benedictine.

None of the commitments is binding on the schools or the players. The players can sign scholarships in the fall.

tim.stevens@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8910

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