Word of God’s Josh Newkirk commits to Pittsburgh

September 22, 2012 

Green Hope junior Ashley Williams (22), left, moves past South View senior Talibah Brown (22), right. Williams led the Falcons with 19 points. South View High played Green Hope High in the NCHSAA 4A Eastern Regional semi final match on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at Crown Arena in Fayetteville, N.C. South View won the game 39-38. - GREG MINTEL


Raleigh Word of God basketball point guard Josh Newkirk committed to future Atlantic Coast Conference member Pittsburgh last week.

The 6-foot-2 fifth-year senior said the Panthers’ future move to the ACC was a big factor in his decision.

“I get to play in the ACC and my family will have a chance to watch me play,” Newkirk said. “That is really big.”

Newkirk, who began his high school career at Southeast Raleigh High, also had offers from Georgia Tech of the ACC and from Memphis, but knew he wanted to go to Pitt after making an official visit.

“I like the other players,” Newkirk said. “They made it feel like family and the coach (Jamie Dixon) made it clear that he wanted me there. That’s important to me. I had a great visit.”

Newkirk averaged 15.2 points per game for the 18-6 Rams in 2011-12. New Word of God coach Quentin Jackson is expected to have four of last year’s five starters back.

“We should have a great team,” Newkirk said. “My job will be to run the offense and keep everyone involved.”

Newkirk also plays with D-One Sports, NBA star John Wall’s club team. Newkirk said Wall, a former Word of God standout, has worked with him.

“The biggest thing he has told me is to work hard, because the guys that I’m playing against are working hard,” Newkirk said.

Falcons to Wolfpack: Green Hope girls basketball point guard Ashley Williams and volleyball libero Madison Brown have committed to N.C. State.

The 5-foot-7 Brown was an outside hitter for the Falcons as a sophomore and junior, but is leading the club at libero this season.

“She is very grateful and excited about the opportunity to play for N.C. State and can’t wait until next fall when she joins the Wolfpack,” said Green Hope coch Karl Redelfs.

Williams is a three-year starter for the Falcons and has helped lead Green Hope to three consecutive Tri-Nine Conference championships and an overall record of 87 – 6.

Green Hope coach Mike Robinson said that Williams turned down a number of other scholarships to play for State and Wolfpack coach Kellie Harper.

“She is a natural point guard who sees the floor very well,” Williams said in a release. “I think her leadership and work ethic will be an asset to N.C. State going forward, just as she has been at Green Hope the past 3 years.”

Williams averaged 15.8 points, 7.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 4.5 steals, and 0.3 blocks during Green Hope’s 28-3 season in 2011-12.

Seahawk basketball: Coach Adell Harris’ first UNC-Wilmington women’s basketball team has four former area high school girls basketball players on its roster. Sophomores Kelva Atkins of Granville Central, Lainey Childrey of Athens Drive and Olivia Oakley of Pittsboro Northwood are joined by freshman Dana Brown of Enloe. All four players are newcomers to the program.

The Seahawks were 20-13 last season.

Football recruiting: This year’s high school seniors cannot sign national letters of intent until next February, but Georgia and Texas A&M each already has 28 commitments from the Class of 2013, according to the on-line recruiting site

Michigan has the highest rated class with 23 commitments. Southern Cal has commitments from 14 of Scout’s top 100. The ACC’s 12 teams have eight commitments from the top 100.

The ACC’s four teams among the top-25 recruiting classes are Clemson (No. 12), Florida State (No. 13), North Carolina (tied for 17) and Virginia Tech (No. 25).

Fourteen of the players on Scout’s top-20 list have committed, including top-ranked Robert Knemdich, a defensive end from Loganville, Ga., (Clemson), and No. 20 Kendall Fuller, a cornerback from Olney, Md., (Virginia Tech).

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