By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STEPHENS CITY --Things happened quickly for Jeremiah Curtis.
The 6-foot-8 Sherando senior received a call from Morgan State University three weeks ago, and a week later Curtis had been offered a full basketball scholarship. On April 30, Curtis officially signed his letter of intent to play basketball at Morgan State.
"I was surprised that it came about that quick,' Curtis said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. "I'm really blessed."
Curtis said he had some interest from other Division I schools such as George Washington, American University, Farleigh Dickinson University and the University of New Orleans. Curtis said he was considering going to a prep school for a year, until Morgan State assistant coach Glenroy Plamer called to tell him they were interested. He said that they heard about him from his Middleburg Academy coach. Curtis played at Middleburg Academy as a junior, after playing at Sherando as a freshman and sophomore, before transferring back to Sherando this season.
A week later Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman called to say they wanted him to come for a visit, and Curtis went for a visit the next day.
"I really liked the school. I really liked the atmosphere, liked the people," Curtis said. "I feel that it could be something that could work out for me."
Curtis said that he got to meet the current players, and they all seemed really nice. Curtis said he was offered the scholarship at the end of the visit, and verbally committed to them right away.
Bozeman has been at Morgan State for eight years, taking the Bears to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament championship game six of his eight seasons, with two NCAA Tournament appearances. Bozeman coached for four years at California-Berkeley, where he led Cal to the Sweet 16 in 1993. He also coached future NBA All-Star and current Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd, among others.
Curtis said knowing how successful Bozeman has been helped with his decision to go there.
"It's real nice because he's coached NBA players. So he obviously knows what it takes to get there," Curtis said. "And when a coach brings you in and tells you that you could be a big impact not only in the college, but possibly later, seeing my potential -- it was very important. It had a lot to do with me wanting to go there."
Curtis said it will also be nice for his family to be able to come watch him play at the school, which is located in Baltimore.
The Bears went 15-16 last season, including 11-5 in the MEAC. The Bears lost to North Carolina Central in the MEAC tournament final.
Curtis said that he's been told that he will play at both power forward and center, but mostly power forward for the Bears.
He averaged 12.9 points and 9.6 rebounds for Sherando this season. Curtis led the area with a 56.2 field goal percentage.
Sherando coach Garland Williams said he thinks Curtis will do fine at Morgan State.
"I think he'll work hard and do well at Morgan State," Williams said. "It's a great opportunity for him. Since his sophomore year, he really has developed. He went to the private school last year, we missed him last year, but he did come back this year. Good deal of development dealing with his hand-eye coordination and his footwork. We thought his footwork was sound, but it's much better this year.
"If he keeps developing as he has been, who's to say what happens."
Curtis said he's excited to play at the next level, and fulfill a life-long dream.
"It's amazing," Curtis said. "It's truly a blessing to play Division I basketball, because you look at Division I basketball on TV and you always wonder what it would be like to really be able to play there. I get that chance, and I'm going to make the most of my opportunity."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org