Collins named MVP

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 20, 2009

MEADVILLE – Franklin County’s Jamie Collins accomplished amilestone his senior year. He is the first All-Area Football andBasketball Player of the Year in the same season.

Collins, recognized as Mr. Basketball, averaged nearly 25-pointsper game during his career as a forward on coach Chris Jordan’steam. FC went 12-0 in the powerful Region 7-3A this season, andcollected their first district tournament championship since 2001.The Bulldogs made it to the second round of the 3A StatePlayoffs.

Also named to the DAILY LEADER’s 2009 All-Area Boys BasketballTeam were Josh Hood of Wesson, Eric Walker of Hazlehurst, BlakeBrown and Blake Rhodus of Parklane and Darius White and TrarudiusHolloway of McComb.

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The Dream Team, featuring players outside Lincoln County, wasselected by members of the DL sports staff, with input provided byarea high school and college coaches.

“It feels good being named All-Area in both football andbasketball,” said Collins a 6-foot-5, 220-pound USM footballsignee, who is a two-All-Area football MVP at quarterback. “We hada good season in both. I’m going to miss playing basketball,especially in this gym.”

Franklin County head coach Chris Jordan appreciated Collins’contributions.

“We had a good year,” said Jordan who guided the Bulldogs to a16-10 record. “Jamie was a big part of that. He’s the best athleteI’ve ever coached.”

Every game Collins was the man many Bulldog opponents tried tostop but very few had any luck.

“Around the basket he couldn’t be stopped,” added Jordan.”Opponents came in knowing he was the guy they had to stop and theyoften double-teamed him, but he still had 20-something points.”

Against Newton County, in the first round of the playoffs,Collins perhaps had the best game of his storied career, finishingwith 32 points, 20 rebounds, and six blocked shots. He had ninedunks in that game alone, a rare feat at any level.

“I just did what I had to do for us to win,” said Collins, wholed the FC football team to back to back State Championship gameappearances in 2006 and 2007 as a quarterback/safety.

The Bulldogs won the 3A title in 2006 in football. Blessed withblazing 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash and a vertical jump of nearly40-inches, Collins often played above the rim in basketball,throwing down two-handed slams, and performing windmill and reversedunks in several games.

“I like slamming it,” said Collins, smiling. “A dunk gets thecrowd into it.”

Collins said his favorite player is Carmello Anthony of theDenver Nuggets. He also likes Michael Jordan as well, who is a bigreason why he wore the number 23-jersey as a Bulldog

Josh Hood, a 6-0 senior guard, averaged 14.2points, 3 rebounds. 4.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game for theWesson Cobras.

Wesson coach Ron Kessler says, “Josh played for me all sixyears. I had the opportunity to see him grow as a basketballplayer. He worked on his outside shot and could mix it up inside.He broke his cousin Brandt’s 3-point record at St. Al this yearwith nine treys.”

Eric Walker, a versatile 5-8 senior shootingguard, was one of the key players in getting the Hazlehurst Indiansback to the semifinals of the Class 3A state basketball playoffsthis year. Walker averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals pergame.

Hazlehurst coach Robert McDaniel Jr. says, “Eric was out bestshooter with the best range. He helped carry us a long way into theplayoffs.”

Blake Brown, a 6-3 senior guard, led the McCombParklane Pioneers with 17 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Brownwas also the top scorer for the South team in the MPSA All-Stargame with 17 points.

Parklane coach Ricky Gray says, “Blake is very athletic. He hasa tremendous versatile leap.”

Brown has signed with Southwest Mississippi Community College toplay baseball and basketball.

Blake Rhodus, a 6-5 senior guard, helpedParklane as a starter averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds per game.Rhodus has also signed with Southwest.

Coach Gray says, “Blake has tremendous power for a 6-5 kid. Hemay play guard at Southwest. He passes the ball well. He’s atremendous passer and he is still growing.”

Darius White, a 6-5 freshman point guard, wasthe surprising sparkplug who powered the McComb Tigers this year.White averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assts per game.

McComb coach Hilton Harrell says, “Darius is a coachable kid whohas a lot of athletic ability. He has a lot of natural talent. Hemakes the team better. He sees the court real well.”

Trarudius Holloway, a 6-3 sophomore who playscenter, was another major contributor for McComb’s success with 14points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots per game.

Coach Harrell says, “Trarudius is one of those kids that hangsaround the block. He does the dirty work. He stays in the paint andblocks and rebounds. He is a hard-nosed player.”


Franklin Co. – Taylor Washington, Milton Griffin.

Lawrence Co. – Matthews Wells.

Hazlehurst – Fred Fuller, Gabriel Gray.

McComb – Rodrick Bland.

Parklane – Parker Moore, Kyle Adams

Wesson – Tyler Lumley, Cody King, Jeromy Smith.