Westover hoops stars Keaton, Wheeler choose colleges

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- When it was all over, after the season-long rivalry with Monroe, the region title and the dramatic run to the Final Four, they had to pick an MVP for Westover's boys basketball team.

They picked two.

Maybe that's why Shevren Keaton and Chris Wheeler decided to sign letters-of-intent together on Friday.

They had shared everything else.

Keaton, the quick-silver point guard who seemed to be a step ahead of everyone else on the court, signed with Chattahoochee Tech in Atlanta, and Wheeler signed with Middle Georgia. Both will major in sports medicine.

"They were the co-MVPs for our team,'' Westover coach Dallis Smith said. "How do you replace those guys? Chris was big on the boards and had almost a double-double every game, and Shevren led us. He made us go. He is a general on the floor. His basketball IQ is so high, and he just did so many things to run this team.''

Keaton's brother Shaun starred at Westover, and Smith remembers when Shevren was still in middle school watching Westover's teams.

"I remember when he was a little kid when his brother played here, and he wanted to play for Westover,'' Smith said. "He grew up to be a leader at Westover, just such a headsy guy on the floor.''

Smith always picks one player to lift weights with in the summer, and after last season ended he picked Wheeler, who grew into a hard-nosed rebounder.

"He hit the weights hard, and he led us in rebounding,'' Smith said. "He did all the dirty work and for a while he led us in scoring.''

Wheeler became a force under the boards, and when Onochie Ochie missed a month with a shoulder injury, Wheeler picked up the slack and even had a 32-point game during that stretch.

Wheeler is expected to start at Middle Georgia, and Keaton will start at Chattahoochee Tech, the largest junior college in Georgia.

"It's a nice campus, and the coach told me I would be playing from Day 1,'' said Keaton, who was the heart and soul of Westover's quick-paced offense. "The thing I remember most about Westover is my teammates and the chemistry we had. I'll miss that. And I'll remember the winning, going to back-to-back Final Fours.''

Wheeler had some offers but said he felt right at home at Middle Georgia.

"As soon as I stepped out of the car it felt like a great atmosphere there,'' Wheeler said. "I'll miss my teammates. We were like a family. My teammates are like my brothers, and the coaches were like second fathers.

"We're so close. We were together on and off the court, and some of us have been playing together since we were in elementary school,'' he said. "We wanted to sign together. This is the last time we would do something together.''