Sims recruits more athletes, scorers

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 24, 2002

WESSON – Coach Dennis Sims was looking for athletes andball-handlers to fill positions on his Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege men’s basketball team for the 2002-03 campaign. Sims hassigned eight players to compliment the group of nine returningsophomores.

“We needed more athleticism on our team,” said Sims. “We werelooking for ball-handlers, too.”

The new signees are 6-foot-6 guard Jerry Richardson of Zachary,La., 6-foot guard Jason Berry of Jackson, 5-10 guard Martez Hopkinsof Jackson, 6-2 guard Fred Mackabee of Brookhaven, 6-6 forward PaulCoker of Brookhaven Academy, 6-4 guard Richie Williams of Wesson,6-7 center Derek Jarvis of Natchez and 6-8 post Kristian Jonassonof Iceland, by way of Decatur, Ala.

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Coker was named The Daily Leader’s Mister Basketball on the 2002All-Lincoln County Boys Basketball Team. He averaged 16.2 pointsand 9.7 rebounds per game for the Cougars.

“Paul is a good athlete who can shoot the basketball,” saidSims. As a senior, Coker played outside linebacker and widereceiver for the Cougars. He pitched for the baseball team and madethe All-County squad.

Mackabee averaged 16 points per game.

“Fred has the potential to take over on offense,” said Sims. “Weneed players who can break down the floor and score in ahurry.”

Miller led Wesson in scoring the last two years, averaging 16points per game. He also averaged 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3steals per game. “Richie is a person who can score,” said Sims. “Heknows how to get open and put the ball in the hole.”

Richardson is a slender athlete who, according to Sims, “seesthe floor and handles the ball well.”

Berry comes to Co-Lin from Christ Missionary & IndustrialSchool. He helped CM&A capture the Mississippi Private SchoolAssociation’s Overall Tournament. He was named MVP in the MPSAAll-Star Game.

“Jason is a point guard who is real quick,” said Sims. “I feellike he can break the press.”

Hopkins, who played for Forest Hill, has been out of school fortwo years. “Martez is a point guard who can put a lot of pressureon an opponent defensively,” said Sims. “He’s a good one-on-onedefender.”

Jarvis, a powerful post player for the Natchez Bulldogs, helpedlead them to the Class 5A North Mississippi championship. “Derekgives us a big, strong person inside,” said Sims. “He has goodhands and should be one of our strongest post players.”

Jonasson played high school basketball for Hanson Memorial inDecatur. “I think Kristian can be a scorer for us,” said Sims. “Hepasses the ball well for a man his size. He does a good job withfundamentals, too.”

Co-Lin struggled through a rare losing season in 2001-02, going7-15 overall and 4-8 in the South Division. They lost playmakerBruce Smith, the team’s leading scorer, to graduation, plus postplayers B.J. Black and Quentin Christian. They also lost guardsLorenzo Townsend, Chad Smith and Pat Bridges.

Nine players are returning for their sophomore campaign; guardsElliott Cowart of Brookhaven, Nick Mikell and Tim Horton ofMonticello, forwards Jerimie Collier of Baton Rouge, La., ZachBaldwin of Mendenhall, James Hathorn and Corey Bryant of Brookhavenand Jason Scott of Natchez and center Carl Minor of Natchez.