HENDERSON — Javonte Waverly is a household name in Vance County, having led Henderson Collegiate to a share of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A men’s basketball championship in 2020, the school’s first state title on the hardwood.

As Henderson has become a part of Waverly, the rising sophomore UNC Pembroke guard wants to give back to the community and inspire the younger generation.

On Aug. 13 from noon to 3 p.m., he will be hosting a back-to-school event in conjunction with the Back to Eden property, on 451 Satterwhite Point Road in Henderson. The event, which will feature giveaways and school supplies for children, is important to Waverly, as it allows him to impact the city he grew up in.

“I want to spread awareness to what they can do,” Waverly said. “I had a lot of doubters coming out of high school. I couldn’t be this and I couldn’t be that and it fueled me to get where I’m at. Now I want to give back and apply the same things that Coach [George] Marshall, my mom, and my dad taught me. I just want to give back to the kids.”

The former Henderson Collegiate standout understands the weight his names carries in the community, but for him, it’s about providing something that he didn’t have in his earlier days, not the publicity.

“Growing up, nobody really did the things that I’m doing now for us, so that’s why I feel it’s so essential to do these things now,” said Waverly. “When they get older, they can do the same thing.”

Spreading his story and proving to the children in the Henderson community that anything is possible, no matter who you are, is what inspired Waverly to organize the back-to-school bash.

“I’m hoping to give happiness and smiles to the children,” Waverly said. “They’ll see somebody that came out of the same community as them doing things that they see people do on YouTube or Instagram. I just want to give them hope that they can do the same thing.”

Waverly’s community get-together comes just days before he begins his second year at UNC Pembroke, whose men’s basketball team went 27-4 in 2021-22. As he wants to help Henderson grow and prosper, Waverly also wants to grow on the hardwood.

Last season, he was a key player off the bench as the team’s sixth man, averaging 6.8 points in 18.5 minutes per contest.

“Individually, I want to become more vocal and more of a leader, even though I’m one of the youngest guys on the team being 19,” he said. “Even as a team, I just want to grow and be able to keep growing because maybe this year isn’t our year, but next year will be.”

With the success of last season and the future expectations for the Braves, it could be easy for Waverly to be caught up in the future at his second home. But for someone who never forgets where they came from, Waverly will always carry a part of Henderson with him, making his community outreach even more meaningful.

“Henderson as a whole, it’s molded me. Having to play outside in the summer has taught me to be tougher and have grit. Even if I don’t go to every part of Henderson, it has impacted me in some type of way.”

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