GOODMAN --- The Holmes Community College men's basketball team had four players recently sign letters of intent with four-year schools.
Cedric Harper of Tallahassee, Fla. and Dietrich Taylor of Jackson both signed letters of intent with Delta State University in Cleveland, Xavier Williams of Birmingham, Ala. signed with Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., and R.J. Scott of Batesville signed with Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.
Harper, a 6'6 forward, finished the season with 11 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and two blocks per game. He was named Second Team All-State and was chosen as a MACJC All-Star.
"It was a good choice for me because I liked the people, the environment and the coaches," Harper said of Delta State.
He feels his strengths are hustling, blocking shots, rebounding and playing defense, attributes he displayed at Holmes. "Off the court, I enjoyed the team, the coaches and all the people who were around," Harper said. "On the court, I enjoyed being around the team and how we had fun."
Harper, Taylor and Scott all played their freshman season at Holmes where the Bulldogs won the North Division Championship, Region XXIII Championship and made it to the Elite Eight of the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas. This season the Bulldogs won the North Division and fell in the opening games of the MACJC and Region XXIII Tournaments.
"That was the first time going that far with a basketball team," Harper said. "It was a big experience for us. I got exposure, and I enjoyed doing that. During this year's season we expected to go further but we didn't."
Holmes Head Coach Jason Flanigan said Harper chose Holmes without even coming on an official visit. "He trusted us with his future," Flanigan said. "He's been great for us. He's a great kid on and off the court. We will really miss him.
"He was consistent on the court. I think he'll have a bright future at Delta State. They are very excited about him, and I know why. He's the kind of kid you'd want on your team because of his athleticism. Cedric is the type of guy who gets it done on the court even if it doesn't involve scoring. I'm glad he played for me and was part of my family. His future is bright."
Taylor, a 6'5 forward/center, finished the season with 4.7 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game.
"I chose Delta State because I liked the environment and when I went on my visit they made me feel very welcomed," Taylor said. "They have a great historic background of winning. I don't feel like I'm switching programs."
Taylor said being physical around the rim and being vocal on the floor is his strength. He, too, has enjoyed his two years in Goodman.
"I enjoyed hanging around the guys off the court and bonding with them on the court," Taylor said. "Considering we won a Regional Championship that made four championships for me coming from high school. I'm very fond of winning even though we couldn't accomplish the goal of winning a National Championship."
"We recruited him hard," Flanigan said of Taylor. "He's an undersized post, but he's a tough guy and works hard. He's a great kid and comes from a great family. He defends, rebounds and scores with his back to the basket. He plays hard and will bring the toughness needed on the floor."
Williams, a 6'9 forward/center, finished the season with 7.9 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game and 1.2 blocks per game.
"I built a very good relationship with the coaching staff, and they've been recruiting me since the start of the season," Williams said. "After going on an official visit, I felt that is was the best decision for me to make."
Williams said despite being 6'9, he still feels he has strengths on the offensive end are playing with his back to basket and shooting the mid-range jumper. He also likes defending and blocking shots.
"I felt we had an okay season, but I felt we fell short of our ultimate goal in making to nationals," Williams said. "We did win the North so it was an okay season; however, we did not go as far as we wanted to go. I enjoyed being around the team. There were a lot of fun times, cool guys and a lot of memories built that I'll have down the road. Just being on the court with them was a lot of fun."
"He questioned our judgement at first, but Coach Harrison and I felt as if we would be more successful with him playing around the bucket. After all, the kid is 6'9. Once we gained his trust, he stepped up and helped us win quite a few ballgames. They are getting a great guy, and he's talented. He's athletic and runs the floor. If he continues to improve and stay focused, he'll have a bright future at Tennessee State. They are getting a great kid."
Scott, a 6'6 forward, finished the season with 4.6 points per game and 2.8 rebounds per game.
"I felt like it was a perfect and good atmosphere like back at home," Scott said of Fisk.
Scott said his strengths are hustling, rebounding and always playing his hardest. "I enjoyed Holmes," Scott said. "It was a great atmosphere and had great teammates. Making it to the Elite Eight last year was a great feeling that I've never felt before. This year we came up short, but it was still a pretty good season."
"R.J. is a guy who could have easily started at another program," Flanigan said. "He accepted his role, came off the bench and brought energy every game. I'm proud of him. They are getting a great player. His best basketball is ahead of him."