By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
A dream came true for North Laurel High School student-athlete Marcus Carson on Wednesday. The standout prep basketball and baseball player signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Kentucky baseball team while becoming the third student-athlete from North Laurel (Jon Hooker and Zack Storm) to ink with the Wildcats baseball team.
Carson had given a verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky, but sealed the deal with many family and friends in attendance Wednesday.
“I always knew that this was the place I wanted to be,” Carson said. “It’s the SEC, so you know it’s the best competition in all of the leagues. Coach (Brad) Bohannon just said to keep working and make a spot for myself.
“It’s a big thing for my family and myself,” he added. “It’s one of those things that not many people get to do, but working hard and my dad helping me along the way helped me get to where I am today.”
North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said hard work is what got Carson to where he is now.
“We’ve been fortunate and these kids work extremely hard and they are very deserving,” he said. “It just doesn’t happen by accident. Marcus has definitely put the work in and worked on his skills. You won’t find a better role model that represents North Laurel High School than Marcus Carson.
“He’s deserving,” he added. “If they could have let all of the kids out of class, they would have filled the gym up and every kid would have wanted to be there because of what kind of kid Marcus is. They are going to be getting a heck of an outfielder — he’s as good as they come. His baseball I.Q. and instincts are phenomenal. He’s made it real easy for me as a coach.”
Carson began playing at the varsity level since his eighth-grade season and turned in impressive results at the plate and on the field since.
“They are getting a kid with an unbelievable work ethic and they are really going to enjoy him the next four years,” McWhorter said. “You have to have some kind of special gift before UK comes knocking at the door and Marcus definitely has that. I’m tickled to death for him.”
Carson said his biggest influence was his father, Mark, who was a star athlete at Union College before injuries cut his athletic career short.
“It has to be my dad,” he said. “(He’s) always pushing me to be my best and driving me to and from practice and coaching me since I was little and always being there for me.
“My dad and mom is at every single game and if they’re not, my dad tries every way in the world to come there,” he added. “If it’s like a morning game, he would go to work at about three o’clock in the morning just to get there in time for my game.”
Carson also hopes to have athletic goals beyond the University of Kentucky.
“One day I hope to make it to the MLB (Major League Baseball) and make something even bigger of myself than I am right now,” he said.
Marcus Carson inks with the University of Kentucky
By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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