ALBANY — A big Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division game will take center stage on Friday in Albany, as the Alexander Spartans host the Athens Bulldogs.
At the center of it all, literally, will be the Spartans’ senior big man, Caleb Terry.
Standing 6-feet, 10-and-three-quarter-inches tall, it’s hard to miss Terry on the basketball court. The Spartans hope Terry can make a big difference as they try to follow up on last season’s run to a Division III Southeast District championship game.
Terry can attack his final year in Albany knowing that his basketball future is secure. Terry recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Trevecca Nazarene University.
Trevecca is a Division II school, located in Nashville.
Terry received a lot of interest during the recruiting process, and he said he checked on different schools. Trevecca had the type of atmosphere he was searching for.
“The biggest thing for me was the bonding of the team and whenever I took my visit to Trevecca, the team really got together really well,” Terry said. “The chemistry was really good. That was the biggest thing I was looking for. Trevecca nailed it on the head for all of those.”
Terry was so sold on Trevecca that he knew it was the place for him after just one visit. Omar Mance is entering his second season as the program’s head coach.
“I knew it was the place for me on my first visit, then I took another visit and that’s whenever I verbally committed,” Terry said.
Terry, a starter since his sophomore season, averaged 10.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks as a junior. He was a third-team all-district performer in Division III.
His father, Jason Terry, was a starter for Ohio University in the 1990s. Caleb Terry said it has always been his goal to play basketball after his Alexander days concluded.
“I’ve been working for it,” he said. “This is my 13th season, and seventh season of travel ball. I’ve been working at it for a really long time, so I’m happy about it.”
Alexander head coach Jim Kearns has watched Terry grow up. Coach Kearns’ son, J.K. Kearns, is a senior guard at Alexander who has played with Terry since grade school. Jim Kearns said Terry has put in the time to play at the next level.
“He’s played at a high level of AAU,” Kearns said. “Being his varsity coach, I’ve got a lot of contacts. He’s had a lot of interest. A lot of it started from his size as he was younger, now coaches that I talk to are really excited about having Caleb on their campus. He went to Trevecca and just fell in love with the place. The head coach came here, we got to meet him. It’s just a good fit for Caleb. I talked with his mom and dad about it and they all just feel real comfortable with his decision.”
Terry also cited his AAU experiences in helping him prepare for the next level. While he’ll tower over most players he’ll face this winter, that isn’t the case in his off-season travels.
“Whenever we traveled to the different big city tournaments in Louisville, Chicago and things like that, you see a lot bigger guys out there so that’s going to prepare me a lot more for college,” Terry said.
Terry has been a big part of a large senior class for the Spartans, part of eight 12th graders on the roster. They were in attendance as he signed his NLI.
“My teammates have helped me all the way up,” Terry said. “We’ve been playing together for 11 years. They’ve been with me all the way through. I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today without them.”
Terry’s parents — Jason and Rachel — have been there too, from the AAU tournaments to the TVC-Ohio games.
“They took me to all my AAU tournaments, my games, my practices,” Terry said.
“Also my coaches, they’re the ones that coached me all the way up,” he added. “Taught me what I know. I’d like to thank them too.”
Terry had 17 points in Alexander’s season-opening win last Friday at Southeastern. He hopes it’s the start of a winning winter at Alexander.
“It’s going to be a great season with a great group of guys,” he said. “I’m ready for it.”