Pike County seniors Quay Bailey and Jarrod Wilson may be graduating from Pike County High School this May, but Bailey and Wilson will still be Bulldogs when they report for basketball practice next year.
Bailey and Wilson signed scholarships Wednesday to play basketball at Shorter Junior College in North Little Rock, Ark. next year.
“It is really big for these guys because they worked really hard for it,” PCHS assistant coach Roddrice Griffin said. “I am excited about it, I know they are excited about it and I know coach (Doug) Holland is excited about it.”
Griffin said he is so happy for the duo of Bulldogs.
“To me it is just amazing because it has been so long since someone from here has signed a basketball scholarship,” Griffin said. “We just always told them that if you work hard in the off-season and you work hard during the season good things will happen to you.”
Bailey said signing a college scholarship is a dream come true.
“I am excited to go off to college and play ball,” Bailey said. “I am just fulfilling one of my dreams of making it and going off to college.”
Another plus for Bailey was having a teammate go with him in his trek west.
“When I found out that (Shorter coach Carl Latting) wanted (Jarrod) too that made me want to go there even more,” Bailey said. “I was excited for him when I found out.”
Cynthia Bailey, Quay’s mother, kept the statistics for the Bulldogs and she said watching her son sign a college scholarship was great.
“Every game, before and after, I always tell him ‘Before you go play, pray a little bit and go out there and do your best. If you lose and you did your best you are always a winner,’” Cynthia Bailey said. “Going to college is something new to us and I am excited because he has been playing basketball is something he wants to do and not something that we pushed him to do.”
Bailey is the first member of his family to go to college. His uncle, Eddie Bailey, who was at every game, said he is so proud of his nephew.
“This feels good and the main thing is that I want him to get a good education,” Eddie Bailey said. “Playing basketball is something that he has always wanted to do and he does it well. I just want him to do good in whatever he does.”
Eddie Bailey said he hopes Bailey signing a scholarship pushes other youth in the area to strive for a scholarship.
“I hope he encourages a lot more kids in the school to thrive and do the same thing,” he said.
Wilson said signing a scholarship was something did not expect after his first season on the varsity squad.
“It is definitely a dream and being able to sign a scholarship and play basketball in college is definitely exciting,” Wilson said. “It is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to taking full advantage of it.”
Jeremiah Wilson, Jarrod’s father, was thrilled to have his son sign a scholarship to play ball.
“I know he was wanting to play college ball and I know this will be a good opportunity for him to go in an make something good out of it,” Jeremiah Wilson said. “It really hit me that he has grown up from a little boy into a man when I watched him sign the scholarship. It makes me proud that he put forth the energy and made the sacrifices on the court.”
Jarrod Wilson has lived with his aunt and uncle for the past two years. Sara and Kenneth Wilson took him in and watched him play ball for those two years.
Sara was on hand at the signing Wednesday and said it has been a great time watching Jarrod play ball.
“It is just surreal because he has worked so hard and he has lived with myself and his uncle for two years and we always knew he had it in him,” Sara Wilson said. “We have three kids and we have always told them hard work pays off.”
Bailey and Wilson are not the only two Pike County Bulldogs who will be attending Shorter next year. The Bulldogs’ bookkeeper, Eddie Smith, also signed a scholarship to attend Shorter Wednesday. Smith will be the team’s statistician.
“I never thought I could get a scholarship for this, but it was a blessing and I would like to thank coach Griffin for finding out about this for me,” Smith said.
Smith’s mother, Natasha Smith, was proud to have her son sign a scholarship.
“I think it is a great privilege for him,” Natasha Smith said. “Although he couldn’t play basketball, he still gets an opportunity to go to college and stay with his friends. I think he will do well.”