Excel doubles up at next level
by David Royal
Apr 20, 2013 | 863 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Excel held a double signing Friday as two of the architects of its successful run to last season’s Elite Eight in the Georgia high school basketball playoffs formally agreed to take their game to the next level.

Elijah Robinson signed to play with Chattahoochee Technical College, announcing his decision at a signing held for Rudy Winters, his highly touted teammate.

The Friday ceremony had been scheduled for Winters to sign to play at Gordon State College and Robinson chose to surprise his friend and teammate with his own announcement and signing with Chatt Tech.

Winters revealed last week that he will attend Gordon State next fall with the intention of developing his skills further over the next two years. He said he hopes to sign at a major Division I college at the conclusion of his playing days.

Robinson also hopes to continue playing basketball after finishing his two years at Chatt Tech.

“I’d like eventually to attend a higher division school, maybe D-1 or D-2,” Robinson said.

He said he picked the school because he had met David Archer, Chatt Tech’s head coach, at Excel, through his son, Cade.

“His son plays at Excel and his father comes to a lot of games,” Robinson said. “I wasn’t signing today but I called coach Archer at 11:59 a.m. and told him I wanted to sign at 1:15 p.m. He got all his stuff and hustled over.”

Robinson, a small forward, said he has enjoyed playing basketball with Winters his junior and senior years.

“We’re a small school and we just kind of popped out of nowhere and surprised some teams,” he said. “Those two years we jelled real well and it just worked and we won a lot. I knew how to play off him and he me. The chemistry was pretty amazing and it showed in our record. It was a positive year.”

Chatt Tech’s Archer said he expects a big impact from Robinson being on his team.

“We’re gaining someone who had been undervalued among other college recruiters,” Archer said. “I see him as a sleeper. I saw him more because my son plays for Excel.

“What I saw was a young man who hadn’t come close to reaching his potential but at the same time he already has a lot versatility. He defends well, can shoot the 3 and can post up. For us he can play the 2 and 3 spots and, if need be, the point guard and power forward if we go small ball.

“He also is a fundamental and very cerebral player.”

The coach said he made a major contribution to Excel’s success.

“What I saw him bring to the table at Excel was Rudy scored the majority of the points, but I felt Elijah was the foundation and the glue that allowed things to click on the floor. We feel he’s a very big piece for us the next two years.”

He expects the former Eagle to help Chatt Tech continue its success on the court.

Chatt Tech finished with a 28-5 record this past season, climbed at one point into the top 10 NJCAA rankings and finished the season as the nation’s No. 14 team. Chatt Tech advanced to the GCAA conference finals, where it lost, 74-71, to East Georgia College, the No. 6 team in the country.

Excel head coach Jon-Michael Nickerson said Robinson, who averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and five blocks per game last season, should do very well at Chattahoochee.

“I believe coach Archer and Chatt Tech are getting a player who will play Division 1 basketball,” Nickerson said. “I say that confidently. He had the best basketball IQ on the court at all times and that’s including his competition as well. I believe [Elijah] was on occasion the best player in northwest Georgia, and he was jockeying for that spot with Rudy.

“There’s definitely not a player more complete over every aspect of the game than Elijah in northwest Georgia.”

The coach said Robinson also has selected a program that will help him continue to develop as a player.

“He’s going to one of the best junior college programs in the state of Georgia,” he said. “It’s a great get for them and a wonderful situation for his family.”

Robinson said his goal after obtaining a degree is educational, adding he has never given a lot of thought to playing at the pro level.

“I’d be cool if I were able to,” he said, “but it’s not what I’m shooting for. I actually want to be a coach. With every coach I have had, I felt I could tell them anything and they’d help me.”

He said that help is given about playing basketball and also about life.

“I want to be that person to other kids when they need it,” he said. “It’s cool to have someone to go and talk to. I’ve felt that way with every coach I’ve ever had. I trust them and they trust me.”