Georgia Northwestern Inks Ridgeland’s McLin

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(Walker County, GA) – With tryouts just over two months away at Georgia Northwestern, Bobcats Head Men’s Basketball Coach David Stephenson is one person closer to filling the 15 jerseys the NJCAA program has on hand.

Ridgeland (GA) alum Xavier McLin made his commitment to GNTC in a ceremony at the Walker County, Georgia high school just before his senior graduation in late May. The 6-foot-2 swingman may be Stephenson’s last signing for the 2013-14 signing class. “This is an excellent signing to begin closing out this year’s recruitment,” said Stephenson.

Now entering his seventh season as top Bobcat, Stephenson says he’s extremely pleased with McLin’s signing. “Xavier is a solid person. Great character that he takes the length of the court for the length of the game,” said Stephenson. Stephenson first joined Georgia Northwestern in 2007. Now in his 26th year of coaching high school and collegiate basketball, the seasoned coach also serves at the college’s athletic director, as well.

McLin, a senior leader for the 2012-13 edition of the Ridgeland Panthers, also was a prep standout in track in the state of Georgia. “Going to (Georgia) Northwestern was sort of a no-brainer for me,” said McLin. “My parents really instilled the fact that academics must come first. I can see that happening now. Plus, Coach Stephenson reminds me of my dad. He’s very strong-willed and sees things in people that others may not see.”

The senior Panther baller averaged just over 10 points a game for the GHSA Region 7-AAAA prep power. “He got most of his points this year when he found his stride and really started taking the basketball to the rim,” said Ridgeland’s fourth-year Head Coach David Stoker.

The three-man for the Panthers fought his way back from a mid-season injury against Heritage (GA) in which he took a hard fall to the ground after blocking a shot off the glass in the final minute of that rivalry match-up. “He hurt his non-shooting hand and thought we may lose him for the season,” said Stoker. “But he fought his way back and was ready to play by our region tournament. He’s a great kid with great potential. And on the court, Xavier is just so deceivingly long.”

As for the rest of this year’s Bobcat recruiting class, McLin joins Silverdale Baptist’s (TN) John Hall, Northwest Whitfield’s (GA) Dustin Stanley, and Dalton’s (GA) Rico Mears, Demond Rucker, and Brandon Painter. “Dustin brings us solid size and a lot of grit at 6-foot-6, 215, the Dalton guys bring us chemistry just months removed from a region where they ran rough shot over the competition, and John helped lead his program to its first-ever trip to the TSSAA regional tournament. We have an interesting group of talent and determination headed our way.”

For more information on Bobcats Athletics at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, contact the Office of Sports Information at 706.764.3813, through BobcatsCountry.com, or by e-mail to dfoley@gntc.edu. Georgia Northwestern Technical College is the largest college in Northwest Georgia educating more than 10,000 students every year. GNTC offers more than 200 programs on five different campuses and online throughout the year.