CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Lee) -- Two high school basketball stars decided to stay close to home to continue their careers on the college level.
Bradley Central guard Bryce Copeland and Bledsoe County's guard Jamal Worthington signed this week to play for Lee University and head coach Tommy Brown.
Copeland, who has been named to all-state teams in both basketball and football, scored more than 1,500 points in his indoor Bears career. He was on two Class AAA sectional teams, and the Bears won their first region championship since 2007 this past season.
The 6-foot guard led the Bears in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. He was a four-year starter at quarterback as well, accounting for 8,160 yards of total offense and 83 touchdowns.
"It's a great opportunity and I look forward to it," Copeland said of Lee. "I liked the program, and the coaches seemed cool; they were the most consistent in terms of calling and texting me. I like their style of play and think I can fit in, plus it's local and I can still watch [brother] Cole and [sister] Brooke play.
Bledsoe County coach Mark Cagle said Worthington has had to overcome a lot of adversity in becoming a high school standout.
"He suffered injuries his first three seasons in high school, but he refused to quit and his work ethic has helped him improve quickly," Cagle said.
Worthington is a 6-foot-4, 190 pound wing player known for his leaping ability and highlight-reel dunks.
"He's a really good athlete with a very big upside," said Brown. "He already has a college-ready body and could contribute right away."
An all-district, all-state and a member of the Chattanooga Times Free Press Best of Preps team, Worthington averaged over 17 points, six assists, four blocks and 10 rebounds per game for the Warriors.
"He is mentally tough and always a team player," said Cagle. "I think he will be a quality college player."
The Warriors won the district title and lost to a strong DeKalb County club in the semifinal round of the region tournament.
"I chose Lee because I felt welcomed and accepted as a new family member," said Worthington. "I feel the coaching staff will show me how to better myself on and off the court. I'm so excited; this has been a highlight of my life."
Information provided by Lee University and GoLeeFlames.com.
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