First for Crossroads boys hoops

Jul. 04, 2014 @ 09:02 PM

When Joseph Cooper took over the Crossroads Christian boys basketball program in 2011, Holden Hedgepeth gave the young head coach a “deer in headlights” look.

Cooper saw the talent, but Hedgepeth didn’t have the confidence to match.

“He told me, ‘You’re a kid that’s going to be a great basketball player one day,’” said Hedgepeth, then a sophomore. “But I thought, ‘I’m slow. I’m just not strong enough. I just can’t do it.’”

After three seasons with Cooper, Hedgepeth transformed into a versatile scoring threat, averaging 23 points and eight rebounds in his senior campaign.

In May, Hedgepeth became the first Crossroads male athlete to sign a letter of intent when he officially joined Vance-Granville’s program.

“It’s a big step in the right direction,” Cooper said of the significance for boys hoops at Crossroads. “It shows how hard he’s worked and the time and dedication he’s put into basketball. I know he’ll do really well at the next level.”

Hedgepeth won over Vanguards head coach Michael Woody with a stellar showing in an overtime win over Trinity Academy of Raleigh.

“I had a pretty good game,” said Hedgepeth. “I think it was 25 points that game.”

Hedgepeth had a lot of pretty good games in his junior and senior seasons, especially. The 6-foot-4 lefty showcased shooting range along with an ability to lead fastbreaks and finish at the rim.

Cooper said Hedgepeth’s knowledge of the game seemed to “quadruple” from his sophomore to senior season.

“He can really do it all,” said Cooper. “Run some point and at the same time, you can run him off screens and let him knock down shots; get him out on the break and attack the basketball; make plays for others. Defensively, he’s come a long way as well.”

Vance-Granville has struggled to find success on the basketball court in the last few seasons; having enough players to play has even been a challenge for the National Junior College Athletic Association program.

Woody’s first season at Vance-Granville concluded with one win and six players left on the roster, but Hedgepeth is confident in the direction Woody has the team headed as season two approaches.

“He wants us to be in the championship. This year,” Hedgepeth said of the Region X Tournament. “I want to help us much as I can, in any way possible.”

Hedgepeth said the team’s roster is set and he’s been in communication with some of the incoming players.

Woody told Hedgepeth schoolwork would have to come first, then basketball. The former Colts standout said he is committed to that philosophy and senses excitement around a program with lofty ambition.

“I hope we have a winning season,” said Hedgepeth. “I hope what he says comes true, win a championship — or be right there.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.