ALBANY -- A little more than a year after it began, the Dequan Green era is over at Sherwood Christian Academy.
Green, the rising sophomore basketball star who is the son of former Westover and Cincinnati standout and one-time NBA player Dontonio Wingfield, is no longer a student at the school as of this week and is actively looking to transfer to Westover as early as today, according to Wingfield.
"It was just a family decision and first and foremost, I want to thank Sherwood for all that they've done for my son in what turned out to be a little over a year of (going to school there). We're just leaving a little earlier than expected," said Wingfield, who has told The Herald in the past that his long-term plan for his son had always been for him to attend two years of private school at SCA in a Christian environment before transferring to his alma mater Westover for his junior and senior years.
"Our focus from here is just to get Dequan enrolled at Westover, get him in the flow of his school work and go from there."
While Wingfield, nor Sherwood boys basketball coach Matt Ruta, declined to go into any detail about what led to Green's abrupt decision to leave, Ruta confirmed to The Herald on Wednesday that Green was, indeed, no longer an Eagle.
"I can say that he's not on the team and is not a student at Sherwood anymore," said Ruta, who did not play Green in Saturday's lopsided loss, 67-26, to Bethesda Day, and Green had only played in two games of the team's four this season, leading all scorers with 16 points in a win. "Other than that, I can't tell you anything else. That's really the only comment I have."
Wingfield says he doesn't anticipate any problems enrolling Green at Westover, considering his son is going from a private school to a public school, and currently resides in the Westover school zone. Wingfield also added that Green did not have any academic issues at Sherwood and "that as far I know, he was doing fine and wasn't failing any classes" at the time of his withdrawal.
As for what this means for Green's future -- on the court -- however, is unclear.
As far as simply becoming a student first and foremost, Wingfield said that should be the easy part. He plans to go with Green today and obtain his transcripts from Sherwood then go directly to Westover and enroll.
"That's the plan right now. We want him to miss as little school as possible. We hope it's a quick process," said Wingfield, who starred for the Patriots in high school and the Bearcats in college before being drafted No. 37 overall in 1994 by the Seattle SuperSonics, playing one year in Seattle, then three with the Portland Trailblazers. "As far as the rules go, I don't anticipate any problem taking him out of a private school and enrolling in the (public) school he's already zoned for."
And once on campus and settled into his classes, there's no doubt what Green's next goal will be: Playing basketball.
When Westover coach Dallis Smith was contacted by The Herald early Wednesday before practice for his unbeaten Patriots (6-0), he said he didn't want to speculate about Green's arrival, saying only that he'd "heard the rumors he was coming over."
"I will wait until I see him walking the halls before I believe it," Smith said with a laugh. "But, yeah, if he's here, he would be allowed to come out. Of course, he'd be way behind (the learning curve) on what we do here. And he would have to learn the system."
Smith, whose Patriots reached the Class AAA state title game a year ago, added that he hadn't spoken to Wingfield or Green at that point in the afternoon, but anticipated a visit and conversation with the duo would happen in the future.
And Wingfield confirmed late Wednesday the future had already arrived.
"Well, we actually went by practice (Wednesday night), spoke to Dallis and pretty much told him the same thing: That Dequan was no longer at Sherwood and we're enrolling him at Westover (today)," Wingfield said. "We both agreed that once he was a student and settled in, we'd just go from there."
Of course, if Dequan knows any history about his father's high school career, Smith's unique system -- playing two, five-man rotations and relying heavily on contributions from their depth of players -- shouldn't be too difficult to master.
"The Westover system is one that goes back to when I was playing there, so Dequan knows the basics of it well," Wingfield said.
Westover, aside from being unbeaten, is No. 2 in The Herald's Top 5 Poll, right behind an undefeated Monroe (5-0) squad. The Patriots play their next game Friday as they open the city rivalry series at Dougherty at 8:30 p.m.
MORE REACTION FROM WILD MITCHELL-ALBANY GAME:
Mitchell County boys basketball coach Kenneth Harris said Wednesday that Albany coach Archie Chatmon was pretty spot-on in his assessment of Tuesday night's Indians-Eagles boys game in which Mitchell jumped out to a 28-1 lead, only to watch it evaporate to a 32-26 lead at halftime and eventual 63-62 win.
"He was right: It was a wild game and you never would've thought it would be after the way we started," said Harris., who team improved to 3-3 with the win, but more importantly opened Region 1-AA play up with a victory. "It's funny, because I've known Archie for a long time -- we played college ball together (at Georgia Southwestern) -- and I know he doesn't get flustered. I looked down that bench at him when we went up big and his players were looking at him, and he just stayed cool. And credit to Albany and him for holding their composure and coming back the way they did."
Harris blames the near collapse on the fact that Albany became uber-aggressive in the second quarter and started drawing foul after foul. And to top it off, the same Indians team which had struggled from the free throw line, suddenly was knocking down all its shots.
"Man, we kept fouling -- I had two or three starters with two fouls in the early part of the second quarter -- and they kept making all their free throws," Harris said. "His kids didn't lose their heads and before we knew it, the game was close.
"Now, we've been on the other end of that before, but I can't remember the last time we got ahead so much and (watched a lead dissipate like that)."
Albany never led once in the game as Mitchell maintained a one- or two-point edge throughout the third quarter. And when the fourth quarter came, Harris said he told his team to buckle down.
"We knew we couldn't hold them off forever, and I told my guys that," he said. "But now that they had made their run, it was time to make our own and finish it."
Led by Kentavius Silas' 12 points coupled with what Harris called "great defense from our leader (Silas)," Mitchell held on for a one-point win.
The Eagles get back in action Friday against Berrien at home.
BURLEY, GAINES PACE LADY EAGLES TO WIN IN REGION OPENER:
Mitchell County's girls also won Tuesday against Albany, 49-38, behind a team-high 19 points and 16 rebounds from senior star Tiona Burley. Burley also got help from one of the six other seniors who pepper the Lady Eagles' experienced lineup this season, Kapri Gaines, who added 17 points of her own.
"Tiona and Kapri played great, and it was a very exciting win for me and the girls; first region win, too," said first-year coach Rosemary Dudley-Sanders, whose team improved to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in Region 1-AA. "I think this group is just going to get better as the season goes on. This could be a great year for us if we start jelling together like I think we can."
MONROE GIRLS RELISH FIRST WIN OF SEASON:
Still learning on the fly, the young Lady Tornadoes -- who start a freshman, a sophomore, two juniors and one senior -- finally came together and picked up their first win of the season Tuesday night.
Led by Lakeisha Jackon's 14 points and 12 from Shenequa Young and 8 from Ashley Johnson, Monroe edged out a narrow 46-45 win against Peach County -- a game that also marked a 1-0 start in Region 1-AAA.
"I told the girls afterward that it's a whoe new season and to forget about (our 0-3 record coming in)," Monroe coach Cheryl Cheeks said. "It feels good to start off right."
Of course, Monroe's first win was in doubt until the final seconds. As Cheeks tells it, the Lady Tornadoes were lucky to escape after the score was tied, 45-45, with under a minute to play.
"There was about 30 seconds left and we were holding for the last shot, but then we had a bad pass, Peach County stole the ball and went down the floor for a layup with under 12 seconds left," she recalled. "But then the Peach girl missed the shot and we rebounded."
Amazingly, Peach County fouled Young, who was then put on the free throw line with 1.2 seconds to go.
Young made the first to give Monroe a 46-45 lead, and missed the second. But Monroe's Devon Anduze grabbed the rebound, ending the game.
"We played with a lot more intensity and stayed out of foul trouble," Cheeks said. "We just did a better job at everything overall."
The Lady Tornadoes will try to begin 2-0 in region play Friday when they host Crisp County at 7 p.m.
HERALD NO. 1s STILL PERFECT:
The Bainbridge girls (8-0) and Monroe boys (5-0) -- The Herald's No. 1 teams in the Top 5 Poll -- both won Tuesday night. Monroe beat Perry on the road, while the Bainbridge girls hosted Rickards -- a traditionally strong Florida high school out of Tallahassee.
But what Rickards found was that Bainbridge is just strong -- period.
With four played in double figures -- Bria Harris (29 points), April Thomas (22), Brianna Wade (19) and Alexis Burke (18) -- the Lady Bearcats remained perfect on the season, much to the delight of head coach Latriesha Moon.
"They were pretty good and they played fast -- they pressed the whole game, but my girls played really well and just kept breaking the press," said Moon, whose team pays a visit to a bigger Class AAAAA Colquitt County team on Friday in what Moon calls a "great chance to find out just how good we are."
As for talk of an undefeated season after such a strong start, Moon isn't allowing that just yet.
"No, the only thing we've talked about is Friday," she said.
DOUGHERTY BOYS WIN FIRST GAME, OPEN REGION 1-0:
The Trojans hit the road Tuesday and not only came back with their first win of the young season, but did it against Region 1-AAA foe Perry, 53-43.
Herald Super 6er Arabian Williams led the way with 11 points.