Former prep standouts getting it done in college

Published 2:49 pm Thursday, January 18, 2018

By Kevin Eckleberry

In a sign of how successful LaGrange High’s boys’ basketball program has been in recent years, there are former Grangers scattered across the country on different college teams.

Twelve LaGrange High graduates, in fact, are playing college basketball, and that includes six members of the 2016-2017 team that won a third straight region title and reached the final eight of the Class AAAA state tournament.

“We work hard here, our staff does,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said this summer. “We email, we call, we send out highlights on HUDL and everything. You look at all these guys, geographically they’re spread out across the U.S.”

A handful of players from other local schools, including LaGrange Academy graduate Lincoln Anderson who is having a solid season at LaGrange College as a freshman, are also playing college basketball.

Here is a look at those players, and if there is anyone left off that we need to include, please email

ROGERS STATE: Former LaGrange Granger Baron Smith has been the main man for Rogers State, a Division II program in Oklahoma.

Smith, who began his college career at Cowley Community College before transferring to Rogers State for the 2016-2017 season, is the team’s leading scorer.

Smith averages 16.6 points per game, and he also leads the team in assists (2.6 per game) and steals (27).

Smith had one stretch where he scored at least 30 points twice in three games.

In a 73-69 loss to the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in November, Smith went off for 38 points.

Smith was 12-of-20 from the field, and he was perfect on each of his 10 free-throw attempts.

Against Southwestern Oklahoma, Smith was unstoppable, making five of his seven 3-point attempts on the way to a 30-point outburst.

Smith did all of that in just 26 minutes of the blowout victory.

Another former Granger, senior post player Don Leak, has played in 17 of 18 games, and he’s averaging a little more than one point per game.

MARYVILLE: Danterrius Bray, a junior from LaGrange High, is getting the most playing time of his collegiate career.

Bray has played in every game this season for the Scots, and he is averaging three points per game.

One of Bray’s most productive games came against his home-town team

Facing LaGrange College on Dec. 17, Bray made a pair of 3-pointers and scored six points in an 86-56 victory.

Bray had eight points while also making two 3-pointers in a win over Sewanee on Nov. 21.

The Scots are in first place in the USA South with an 8-0 record.

WEST GEORGIA: True to his word, former LaGrange Granger LaPerion Perry is a two-sport college athlete.

When Perry signed a letter of intent with the University of West Georgia, he said he was going to attempt to play football and basketball.

Perry was a member of the football team during the fall, and he made the immediate transition to basketball and has played in all eight games since joining the team.

Perry is averaging 5.4 points per game, and his best game came on Dec. 30 when he made 3-of-6 attempts from the field and scored 11 points against Livingstone.

Perry scored nine points against Carver Bible, and he also has a pair of seven-point games.

In Monday’s wild triple-overtime win over Alabama-Huntsville, Perry played six minutes and had an assist and three steals.

During football season, Perry played in four games and had a pair of catches.

At LaGrange, Perry was a remarkable player in both sports.

In basketball, Perry helped lead LaGrange to three consecutive region championships and a pair of trips to the state quarterfinals.

In football, Perry was an all-state player as a quarterback.

Rather than choose one sport or the other, Perry wanted to continue to play both, so he looked for a school where he would have that opportunity.

“They gave me the opportunity to play basketball and that was my first love,” Perry said of West Georgia. “So they gave me the chance to I really want to play both.”

WALLACE STATE: A trio of former LaGrange players are members of the Wallace State-Selma team, including sophomore Derieko Smith, who transferred from Cowley Community College following his freshman season.

Smith’s most productive game came on Nov. 13 when he was 6-of-8 from the field on the way to a 20-point effort against Meridian Community College.

Smith also scored 16 points against Shelton State Community College on Nov. 16.

Post players Kenan Gray and Bryan Fanning are both in their freshman season at Wallace State.

Fanning averages nearly two points and more than three rebounds per game, while Gray averages two points and one rebound a game.

SOUTHEAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Three LaGrange High graduates are playing at the two-year school in Nebraska.

Sophomore guard Qua Epps has started eight of the team’s 17 games, and averages 4.5 points per game and is making nearly 50 percent of his shots.

In a 90-89 win over Johnson Community College in November, Epps scored 16 points and was 7-of-10 from the field.

Sophomore Alex Dantzler is averaging 4.2 points per game, and he has been getting a lot more playing time of late.

In his past five games, Dantzler hasn’t scored fewer than seven points, and he had nine points in a loss to Southwestern Community College.

Dantzler’s most productive game came on Nov. 25 when he scored 13 points and made 55 percent of his shot attempts against Hesston College.

DJ Cooley, a freshman, has seen limited playing time in six games, and he has made a basket in two different games.

GREENVILLE COLLEGE: Gabe Duckett, a freshman from LaGrange High, hasn’t played in any games this season for the Illinois school.

Duckett has been getting playing time as a member of the junior-varsity team.

LAGRANGE COLLEGE: It’s been a smooth transition to the college game for Lincoln Anderson, a freshman from LaGrange Academy.

Anderson has played in all 13 games with two starts, and he is averaging six points per game.

Anderson’s best game was his most recent one.

Anderson had 14 points and seven rebounds in a 76-73 USA South victory over William Peace.

Anderson had 12 of those points in the second half as LaGrange College rallied from a seven-point deficit.

LABETTE COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Kwyneshia Spence, a freshman from Troup, has been a contributor for the two-year school in Kansas.

Spence averages close to seven points per game, and she had 13 points an 82-41 win over Cottey College in November.

ANDREW COLLEGE: Shawnkeya Sands, a freshman from Troup, has played in seven games for the two-year school.

Sands made her first and to this point only college basket in a victory over Oglethorpe on Dec. 17.

That Sands is playing college basketball at all is an accomplishment considering everything she overcame in high school.

Sands had two major knee surgeries, but she persevered and had a terrific senior season for a team that reached the state tournament.

“Keya came in, and she’s been a hard worker, and it’s fortunate that things worked out for her,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “Good things do happen to good people. She missed two seasons coming off back-to-back knee injuries. To still be able to get a scholarship, that’s extremely hard.”

Following her second injury, Sands predictably had some doubts about her chances of playing in college, and she said she’s “very excited” to get this opportunity.

“After my second knee injury, I really thought that no school would want me,” Sands said. “So I was down about that. But I kept working, and I feel like I’m stronger than I was when I first started because of the work I put in. I’m ready.”

CVCC: Jomarcus Brown, a sophomore post player from Callaway, has been a contributor off the bench for Chattahoochee Valley Community College.

Brown’s best game came on Nov. 9 when he scored 11 points against Gadsden State, and he had seven points against Gordon State on Nov. 7.

TROY: Whit Moreman, a sophomore post player from Troy, has played in five games this season for the defending Sun Belt Conference champions.

Moreman’s lone basket came against Delaware State on Nov. 27.

COVENANT COLLEGE: Morgan Douglass, a sophomore from Lafayette Christian School, has played in nine games this season.

Douglass got a little playing time in a victory over LaGrange College last week, and she scored her lone basket against Huntingdon College.