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Greenfield’s Kirby, Suggs make college choices

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Greenfield School seniors Cedric Kirby and Dorieon Suggs aren’t ready to slam the door on their chances of playing at some level of NCAA competition.

Following two additional years of seasoning at the junior college level, the duo hopes to have more options before them.

Therefore, Tuesday afternoon inside the Greenfield gym, Kirby and Suggs, teammates on the Knights’ basketball team, signed National Letters of Intent to head their separate ways.

Kirby, who played soccer, basketball and baseball at Greenfield, will attempt to give a college baseball career a go as he heads to Wake Tech. Suggs, who arrived at Greenfield by way of Greene Central as a junior, will hone his hoops craft at Catawba Valley Community College.

For Kirby, the continuation of his athletic career comes as he fought through a multitude of injuries during his time as a three-sport participant at the school. Suggs, who shot 41 percent from the 3-point line as a senior, was a Wilson Times All-Area selection in each of his two years of eligibility.

BUMPS AND BRUISES

Kirby’s injury maladies were comprehensive enough to completely fill out a medical chart.

A broken thumb as a freshman while playing goalkeeper in the Rotary Cup, along with a neck contusion. When his sophomore year arrived, he sustained the first of two concussions, not to mention, a dislocated shoulder.

After a sprained Achilles tendon, Kirby dealt with a bulging disk in his back as a senior during basketball season.

However, walking away from competition was never an option.

“My parents and coaches, they pushed me and helped me along the way with all my injuries,” Kirby said. “They kept me up, and I just really appreciate it.”

Kirby, who also considered Div. III William Peace University as well as Lenoir Community College, was on the Greenfield baseball team that captured the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A state title as a sophomore and was the goalkeeper for Greenfield’s first state title under Randol Mendoza last fall. But by the time his senior season arrived, Kirby was the leader of a Greenfield team in the midst of retooling. For the first time ever, he was asked to take the mound as a pitcher.

It paid off handsomely on March 30, where Kirby, who also played the role of a leadoff hitter, tossed a no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Fayetteville Trinity Christian in Fleming Stadium.

“He had never thrown a pitch in high school until this year,” Greenfield head coach Daniel Johnson said. “He never complained. He just said, ‘Whatever you need to do for the team, I’m there to do it.’

While Kirby will more than likely continue his outfield duties at Wake Tech, his hitting for power will need to be improved for the college level. However, Kirby is confident his speed, both defensively and on the basepaths, is ready for junior college baseball.

The Eagles finished 30-22-1 and 16-10 in National Junior College Athletic Association Div. II Region X play under head coach Eric Sibrizzi.

“Ever since I was little, I knew that baseball was my number one sport,” Kirby said. “They think I can contribute a lot. I’m probably going to be in the outfield, and I’ve got to go in there and work hard in the fall.”

WORK IN PROGRESS

Veteran Greenfield boys basketball coach Rob Salter has no problem telling the story.

On the morning of Greenfield’s NCISAA 1-A semifinal with Fayetteville Trinity Christian, Suggs woke up at 5 a.m.

Not only was he sick, he was vomiting around the clock.

It was no matter. Suggs, in Greenfield’s 83-75 loss, played regardless. His grandfather, who passed away last year, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“He threw up from 5 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon,” Salter said of Suggs. “And he went out and tried to give me everything he had. As a coach, that’s all you can ask.”

During his senior season, Suggs averaged 15 points per game to go along with six rebounds. As a wing player playing alongside the backcourt of Coby White and Elijah McCadden, it was sometimes easy to lose Suggs’ contributions in the shuffle.

“I tell people it’s the quietest 15 points and seven rebounds a game because that’s what he did night in and night out,” Salter said. “And he still had some big games. In the big wins we had, Dorieon was huge. A lot of people saw those two, but Dorieon was Dorieon.”

Suggs, who considers himself underrated, praised Catawba Valley for having faith in him. He considered interest from Div. II Walsh (Ohio) University and William Peace University, among others. Most overtures were of the Div. II variety, but Suggs relishes potential Div. I interest after two years.

While Suggs cites his mid-range game as an area for improvement, Salter had no problem raving about his defensive transformation. Upon arrival, Salter cited Suggs’ defense as “terrible.” By the end of his career, he was leading the Knights in charges taken.

“I found out that defense is fun!” Suggs said. “So taking charges and all that, it was fun.”

As such, rebounding, defense and shotmaking are strengths of the Suggs repertoire. Yet an ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim consistently stands as the next step in his development. Suggs is eager to shed a label that he says some have placed on him of being “passive.”

Playing alongside White and McCadden did not rank as a challenge for Suggs.

“I stuck with it. They’re both great players, and I help them out as much as I can. In the Trinity game, they held me up because I was sick that game.”

Under head coach Bryan Garmroth, Catawba Valley finished 19-11 overall and 13-7 in NJCAA Div. II Region X play last season.

jlewis@wilsontimes.com | 265-7807 | Twitter: @JimmyLewisWT

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