03/18/07 — Cougars' Kornegay named News-Argus boys player of the year

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Cougars' Kornegay named News-Argus boys player of the year

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on March 18, 2007 2:16 AM

Randy Jordan speaks of frustration. Tim Kornegay speaks with confusion.

The source of their anguish is -- how could one of the more talented basketball players in North Carolina be without a school for next fall?

The answer has nothing to do with Kornegay's talent.

Over his three-year career at Goldsboro High School, Kornegay piled up an impressive list of statistics and awards.

The 6-foot-3 guard scored 1,586 points (a 20.2 points per game average) and pulled down 504 rebounds. Each of his three seasons with the Cougars, Kornegay was named All-Eastern Plains Conference, co-outstanding player for Goldsboro High, all-area first team for the News-Argus and now the 2007 News-Argus Player of the Year.

The latter of the honors was the one Kornegay was most proud of.

"To be able to be named News-Argus Player of the Year (is what I'm most proud of)," Kornegay said. "I've never been named player of the year before in anything."

The problem Kornegay is running into with his college search has to do with his size.

"Tim's caught in a unique situation," said Jordan, his coach of the past three seasons. "He's what (colleges) call a tweener. He's 6-foot-3. If he was 6-foot-8 or a 6-foot-1 point guard we aren't having this conversation.

"A lot of college coaches say 'we already have a guy that is 6-foot-3' and I say 'that's fine, but you don't have Tim.' Somebody's going to step up and take him and they're going to be very happy that they did."

There are colleges that have shown interest. Western Carolina, Coastal Carolina and UNC-Greensboro to name just a few. The key is finding one that is the right fit for both Tim and the school.

"It's very frustrating though," said Jordan. "Right now we're playing a waiting game. There's still four to six schools out there that like him.

"Tim's going to land on his feet and get to a school that's right for him, so its not totally a bad thing that he hasn't signed to this point," said Jordan. "Things will work out, they always do."

Kornegay has played and succeeded against some of the top talents in the state as evidenced by twice being named to the all-tournament team at the prestigious Glaxo-Smith Kline Invitational. Now, he plays a waiting game with his future.

"It's really frustrating -- to not know anything," he said. "I've got something to prove -- no matter where I go."

Tim proved a lot during his time at Goldsboro and it was all due to natural talent and hard work.

"You could tell Tim was going to be a great athlete," said Jordan of what he saw in Kornegay as a freshman. "He had everything there that told you that."

Kornegay fine tuned his talent spending countless hours in the gym.

"The most pleasing thing for me has been to see Tim's development as a player," Jordan said. "When he first came in he was a scorer, but now, he's a scorer and a shooter. He would stay after practice every day putting up 100-200 jump shots because he knew that was lacking in his game. Just to see that development during these four years and to see him take on a more leadership role this season, that's really gratifying as a coach."

Kornegay's role evolved into co-team captain and Goldsboro's go-to guy when they needed a key basket.

"When we needed a basket, our first option was always Tim," said Jordan.

This past season, Goldsboro looked to build on last season's EPC championship with another title and, hopefully, a run toward the state crown. That goal, however, came up short.

Following a disappointing regular season where the Cougars finished fifth in the conference with a 3-7 mark and fell in the second round of the EPC tournament meaning their only shot at earning a trip to the state playoffs would have to come way of a wild card entry. To the team's surprise, Goldsboro received that berth into the playoffs.

"We thought we weren't going to make it, but then we get a shot for the playoffs," said Kornegay. "There, I knew we could beat anyone out there if we just went out there gave it our all."

Kornegay and the Cougars sent shock waves through the 2-A high school ranks when they upset top seed Jacksonville Northside in the first round of the tournament. With a clear path to the regional final, Goldsboro lost a heartbreaking game on the road to South Lenoir -- a defeat Kornegay still has a rough time speaking about.

"It was bad ... I just don't know," Kornegay said.

While the season had a disappointing end, Kornegay's career did not. The senior accomplished quite a bit during his time at Goldsboro and now waits to figure out where his next basket will take place.

"Tim did everything we asked him to do," said Jordan. "It's a phenomenal career. We'll miss him -- from a program and a coaching standpoint."