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ASU men’s hoops set for historic signing class

Thomasville's Trey Gosier, front row, center, is surrounded by friends and family Thursday as he signs with Albany State. (Clint Thompson/Thomasville Times-Enterprise).

Thomasville's Trey Gosier, front row, center, is surrounded by friends and family Thursday as he signs with Albany State. (Clint Thompson/Thomasville Times-Enterprise).

ALBANY — Albany State’s sports programs have been criticized sometimes over the years for not recruiting more local talent.

And Rams head coach Chris Cameron has heard it — although he likely won’t be hearing it anymore.

Starting next season, the Albany State men’s basketball program — which is already returning two former area stars (Josh Alford, Worth County and Andrew Covin, Dougherty) — will have five more former Southwest Georgia high school basketball stars on its roster. Cameron could only confirm Thursday that Trey Gosier of Thomasville is one of the five after Gosier officially signed his national letter-of-intent Thursday.

Although, a source confirmed to The Herald earlier this week that the remaining four, who are expected to sign in the coming weeks, are former Worth County star Jerome Hamilton, former Monroe big man Brandon Johnson, former Deerfield-Windsor star Reggie Brown and former Americus-Sumter star Shaquille Harris. When finalized, it will go down as a historic signing class for ASU basketball in terms of the number of former area players joining all at once.

Speaking about Gosier’s addition to the group Thursday, Cameron said he’s thrilled any time he’s able to sign a local kid who both wants to stay home and has the talent to play at a high level.

“It’s a good thing for. Sometimes we fight that battle of people saying we don’t recruit our local guys, when the reality is we do, it’s just that many of these local guys want to leave and go other places (after growing in the same place their whole lives),” Cameron said. “And with Trey, he’s a guy I think we can groom to run our team for a few years. We’ve got some talent returning at guard, so it’s nice to finally be able to have some depth at that position to learn our system and get him ready to take over the team.”

Hamilton, who signed with Division I Wichita State out of high school two years ago, left the program and has decided to transfer to Albany State. Brown, who signed with Middle Georgia out of high school, is already enrolled at ASU as a student and will join the program for the upcoming season. Johnson is transferring to ASU after playing one season at L.A. Southwest CC in California, and Shaquille Harris is transferring to ASU from Mercer.

Gosier seemed pleased Thursday about joining such a talent-rich program on the rise. The Rams rebounded from a dreadful season in 2010 to win nearly twice as many games than a year earlier and finish 13-15 overall, tied for sixth in the conference.

While Cameron says that kind of record still doesn’t meet his standards, he’s hoping the infusion of local talent with kids like Gosier should provide a spark for the program across the board.

Gosier certainly seemed to understands the benefits of playing close to home.

“I’m just happy to be going there,” Gosier told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise on Thursday after signing. “I think it’ll fit well for me. I think I’m going to bring a lot of fans to the games.”

Gosier was a crucial part of a Thomasville program that won 91 games from 2008-12 and advanced to the Class AA championship game in 2010. While big men Willie Clayton and Robert Carter got much of the headlines during Gosier’s first three years, Thomasville’s diminutive point guard played a starring role.

“I think he made tremendous strides,” Thomasville coach Ben Tillman said. “I think also that when you talk about Trey Gosier as the basketball player, although he gets overlooked because the point guard position is a selfless position, sometimes you get the opportunity and everybody sees the big kids making plays, but they forget the one that actually leads them and guides them down that path.

“Like I tell him, everybody remembers the horse that won the Kentucky Derby but nobody remembers the jockey that rode him. That’s the way he’s kind of always looked at things. He’s on the horse’s back — but without him it wouldn’t go.”

Cameron agrees whole-heartedly.

“Trey can control the game. He’s an extension of a coach out there — that’s what I see when I watch him,” he said. “He understands how to run a team.”