By Collin Brooks
Putting ink to paper for a college scholarship hasn’t decreased the enormous chip on the shoulder of David Crockett standout Josh Releford. If anything, it has given him an opportunity to prove himself even more.
That was the feeling from the Johnson City native as he signed to continue his basketball career at Florida Southern College on Thursday afternoon.
That chip has also been a driving factor for some of Releford’s success, which hasn’t surprised his coach John Good.
“He’s earned it,” he said. “He is a competitor and he has drive. He wants to be good and he isn’t afraid to fail. So he gives everything that he has, in everything that he does, and you have to love that about him.”
Releford,known as Rico to his friends, credits his style of play to the place where he grew up. And he hopes to help the 2015 NCAA Division II National Champions back on their pedal stool.
“Just like I led my team to the substate this year, I feel like I need to do that at Florida Southern,” Releford said. “As a Carver-made person, I think I should to do that down there too.”
Releford’s highlight reel (click here) from his senior campaign is an exciting one to watch, and it’s even more enchanting because it isn’t filled with the above the rim reels that seem to get people going. Instead, it’s more of a methodical, picking apart of opponents with different variations of step-back jump shots and smooth dribbling.
Releford helped his team to a substate finish this season and a second place finish in the Region 1-AAA Tournament. During his time at the school, which included six games in his sophomore year and both junior and senior years, Releford amassed 1,200 points.
Those points were only a part of the leadership that he has instilled.
“He stepped in there and he didn’t like us go into places like we were supposed to take the back seat to anybody,” Good said. “He always tried to motivate our kids and let them know there is a standard here and we’re not going to let it down regardless of who is here.”
Crockett’s substate run may have surprised everyone’s fan base except the Pioneers — after the firepower they lost last season. But those players have had a lasting legacy on the program.
“Patrick (Good) always told me to keep playing and keep my head up,” Releford said. “The same with Brendan (Coleman) and Coach Good. And that translated from last year to this year.”
Being 10 hours from home in Orlando won’t be easy for Releford, as he mentioned he wasn’t wild about being away from his family, but he said he connected with the program when he made his visit a few weeks ago.
“When I went on the visit, the people were nice and the coach was great,” he said. “I’m going to have a good relationship with him, I can tell. He reminds me of my AAU coaches and Coach Good. So everything is nice down there.”