COVINGTON, Ga. — AJ Paschal and Shaquille Brown will remain teammates after graduation as the two Alcovy basketball players signed on with Wiberforce University (Ohio) on Thursday.
The Tiger duo’s signing ends a six-year drought of Alcovy not having signed a basketball player to a collegiate scholarship.
“I don’t know what’s happened for the past six years, but it feels nice,” said Brown. “I feel like we’ve built some type of hope for the underclassmen. That it’s possible that the dry spell is over with.”
The opportunity to play at the next level almost didn’t happen as they were not being recruited heavily by college coaches. But all that changed when they attended a workout at Wheeler High School.
“I went to camp about a month ago and the (Wilberforce) coach was there,” Paschal said. “He said he liked me and thought I would be a nice fit at the school. He wanted me to come in and fight for a starting spot right off the bat. That’s relieving because it took a while. At first I didn’t think I was going to have (a scholarship offer), but once I got one they started rolling in.”
The experience for Brown was similar as the coach liked the combo guard’s size and ability at the workout.
“The head coach offered me on the spot,” said Brown. “A lot was going through my mind, but basically I knew I had the opportunity to play college basketball. That was a wonderful feeling.”
Paschal was named an All-Region 2-AAAAAA performer for the past two years with Brown being tabbed as the team’s MVP for his defensive play.
“With the talent that they’ve displayed the last couple of years I knew they would get a scholarship,” said Alcovy head coach Mack Hardwick. “They’ve helped transform our program. They’re going to be a huge loss for us. AJ was an offensive weapon and Shaquille was a defensive weapon. They could slash to the basket real hard. Both of them together was a real force on the court for us. Trying to replace them will be a task in itself. They were two key players to our program.”
Brown said he was excited about the chance to play college ball, despite having to travel quite the distance to do so. He said being with a long-time teammate will make the transition easier.
“It’s a wonderful feeling, and its been a long time coming, ever since I stepped on Alcovy in the ninth grade,” said Brown. “It’s kind of far, but I just have to mold into it. It’s very big (going with Paschal) because it makes me feel comfortable because I’ll be with somebody I’ve known for a long time, ever since middle school. It makes me feel like it’s a good fit for me.”
Wiberforce is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and competes on the NAIA level in the Association of Independent Institutions Conference and plays in the Association of Independent Institution conference.