Incoming freshman hits hardwood this fall
(Chickamauga, GA) – After a senior season where he earned All-Region status in football, Gordon Lee’s Garret McAllister was leaning toward continuing his gridiron career in the college ranks.
But when his first love came calling, McAllister simply couldn’t say no.
The senior has opted for basketball as his sport of choice at the next level, signing a letter of intent on Thursday to join nearby Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
“I love football,” said McAllister, who had considered a handful of schools, “but basketball is my favorite sport and I’m happy I found some place where I can keep playing basketball.”
McAllister said he also considered not playing sports at all when he got the call from Bobcats head coach David Stephenson. “I couldn’t find anywhere to play basketball, so I thought about just going to go to school and being a regular college student,” he explained. “But Coach (Stephenson) called me one day and asked me to come and talk to him. So I did and everything just worked out.”
McAllister had an award-filled senior year for the Trojans, leading the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game, shooting 36 percent from behind the 3-point line and 68 percent from the charity stripe, while adding 5.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 steals a night.
He was named to the All-Region 6-A squad by the region’s coaches and as a Class A All-State honorable mention by the Georgia Sports Writers Association.
“He had been talking to some football people, but his passion was basketball and from a money standpoint, (GNTC) will be a lot cheaper than any school he was looking at for football,” Stephenson said. “I think we got a steal here. He’s a guy that can play the 1 or 2 spot for us, and we like getting guys that have played football because they are more used to the contact they will have to adjust to in college.
“Plus, he’s got good character, good grades and he comes from a good family, and if you get a kid out of Gordon Lee’s program, you know they are coming with good, sound fundamentals. It makes our job a lot easier when the kids have the basics down.”
Gordon Lee’s Ed Clendenen said he wasn’t surprised that his point guard finally chose basketball.
“I think he enjoyed playing football, but his first love was basketball,” Clendenen said. “I’m proud that he will get to play some more at the next level. He’s multi-talented and one of best rebounding guards I’ve ever coached. He can play the point, but he shoots it well enough to play the 2, and if they want to go small, he could even play the 3. He’ll be a good addition for Georgia Northwestern and a valuable addition to their recruiting class.”
The Trojans played in arguably the toughest Class A region in the state and Clendenen said that type of competition will only help McAllister down the road.
“He wasn’t exactly held back from playing against top-level players, that’s for sure,” the coach continued. “He’ll be ready to play the competition he’ll face (in college) because he’s gone up against even (NCAA) Division I talent in high school. I think he’ll make an immediate impact and he can be a great leader for them. I’m looking forward to watching him play some more.”
McAllister added that he chose GNTC for its proximity to home and that he credits Clendenen for helping prepare him for the college game.
“Coach (Clendenen) always pushed us and tried to get the point across that we had to mature as players,” he said. “That really helped me get to the next level and know that basketball is what I wanted to keeping doing with my life.”
McAllister said he considering Criminal Justice as a major.