05/13/07 — Goldsboro's Kornegay signs

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Goldsboro's Kornegay signs

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 13, 2007 2:03 AM

Tim Kornegay scribbled his signature onto the paper and within 30 seconds, terminated 16 frustrating months of waiting for a college recruiter to offer him a scholarship.

Kornegay officially signed a national letter-of-intent with the University of South Carolina at Salkehatchie, a Division I junior college program in Waterboro, S.C., on Thursday afternoon. He hopes to transfer to a four-year school once he completes his two-year coursework at USC-S.

"I'm happy," Kornegay said. "I didn't want to wait until the last minute. I did what I had to do and picked the school that I wanted to go to."

USC-Salkehatchie coach Travis Garrett -- who had seen Kornegay at the Glaxo-Smith Kline Invitational in Raleigh last December -- finally came to Kornegay's aid.

"Tim's very explosive," said Garrett. "He can really score and has a knack for getting rebounds and making key plays in key situations.

"That really attracted me to him. I just thought with his potential and his name, he can make a really big splash for my program."

Garrett's program at USC-Salkehatchie is in the process of a revival following a 10-year hiatus from the sport.

"I'm sure people may have other comments about it, but my program is just as good as anyone else's -- even though we are a first-year program," said Garrett.

Going to a school that is just getting a basketball program started doesn't concern Kornegay though.

"I think I'm going to be all right," he said. "I'm ready to go somewhere new and keep doing what I've been doing ... balling hard. I'm looking forward to getting that degree and playing lots of basketball."

The school's students and fans are excited for the return of basketball and they will have the opportunity to watch a player that starred for Goldsboro High School the past three years.

Kornegay finished his high school career with 1,586 points (an average of 20.2 per game) and pulled down 504 rebounds. The 2007 News-Argus Player of the Year was also named to three all-Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference teams during his varsity career.

"It's a great opportunity for Tim," said Goldsboro coach Randy Jordan. "He'll be in on the ground floor of something he can help get started. I know he'll do a great job.

"I'll miss him, not only because of basketball, but because of the type of the kid that he is."

Jordan's loss is Garrett's gain.

"I think he'll be able to step in and play one of my wing positions," said Garrett. "We're going to play up-tempo and that may benefit him. We'll hone his skills, work on the things he's good at and the things he's not so good at so we can make him a complete basketball player."

Above all else, Kornegay's education is the first priority for his new coach.

"We have all the resources for him academically to get him on the right track and give him the opportunity to graduate," Garrett said. "My main goal is to make sure he graduates with an associates degree so he can go anywhere in the country."

While Kornegay didn't necessarily end up where he thought he would, Garrett's program at Salkehatchie is sure to feature the guard, and hopefully, draw the interest of other four-year institutions.

"We're trying to attract the best student athletes that are going to fit my program and that want to be a part of something special," said Garrett. "I think he's going to step in and be a major factor as we start up in the fall. It's just a joy to have him part of our program."

Despite heading to South Carolina to continue his schooling, friends and family won't necessarily have to go too far to see Kornegay play as Salkehatchie plays games in North Carolina at Cape Brunswick, Cape Fear, Louisburg College and Rockingham College.

"Even though Tim is going kind of far away, he definitely has the opportunity to come back so family and friends can see him play," said Garrett. "At the end of the day, I just think it's good for him to get away so he can focus on academics."

With his goal in sight, Kornegay finally has a home for next fall and his coach is ecstatic to have him.

"Tim's a good kid. He just wanted an opportunity and I'm fortunate enough to land him," said Garrett. "He'll be good for both of us."