COVINGTON, Ga. — For the Newton High boys basketball star players of the 2018-19 season, the doors on this year’s season have closed while the ones that have opened for the future have been anticipated for years.
This year has marked the beginning of a new journey for the Rams’ own “dream team,” Tyrease Brown, Armani Harris and Jimmy “Tre” Clark as they go from sporting royal blue to gold, gray, orange and black.
Back on April 17 Brown and Clark signed offers to Fort Valley State University and Virginia Commonwealth University, respectively. And on Friday May 3, Harris completed the signing day trifecta when he inked his offer to Kennesaw State University.
All three of the schools are Division I programs, and the boys have worked very hard to get to this moment.
“[Moving on and being able to play D1 basketball] feels great,” Harris said. “I thought I’d never see this day back in middle school, but I had all of these supporters and people behind me and with all the work I had to put in it’s a dream come true to go play division one basketball, especially in my hometown.”
As some may not know, these three young men have been rolling together since they were little boys, as reported by Clark’s mother, Toni Brewer.
In fact, it is quite the coincidence that Clark and Brown signed together considering the fact that they began their careers together in recreation ball.
“Ty and Tre played in rec as little boys and I could tell from then they were going to make it,” Brewer said. “They played their hearts out, they were dedicated, and just to see them now, is to see tremendous growth.”
Playing together since they were younger really helped them grow together as a unit on the high school level.
“We’ve been working together since we were little so we grew together. It just came to us this way,” Brown said. “[Tre and I] always promised each other we would play together because in rec ball we were always on opposite teams. It’s a really special thing, Armani just joined us in in eighth grade, so we’ve all been together for years. When we get together there’s no stopping us.”
Early on the Rams’ coaching staff saw how strong they were on the court together and how their bond impacted them. Head coach Rick Rasmussen noted how special it was to watch the guys “grow up before my eyes.”
“We recognized early on when they were coming in the summer before ninth grade that they had alot of potiental and could really develop in our program,” Rasmussen said.
And to see their maturation process and to see them develop has been very rewarding,” Coach Ras said. “I’m especially proud of how they’ve developed as young men, how they handle their business academically, on the court and stand for the great families they have.”
The boys recognize the special bond they have with each other and do not intend on letting a few hundred miles break it anytime soon.
“We’re best friends, all three of us,” Harris said. “We’ve been playing with each other since eighth grade. We hang together every single day, and we push each other in the classroom. So we’re going to stick together, even though we won’t be at the same school.”
But, though they are strong together, they can each hold their own on the basketball court individually and have developed into amazing players and are expected to be real assets to their teams.
“I’m ready to show off my ball handling and ability to score the basketball,” Clark said. “Newton basketball has taught me that being simple can get you wins, and I’m ready to showcase that.”
“I’m excited to show off my shooting and offense at Fort Valley State,” Tyrease Brown said. “I still need to work on my defense but the workouts are what I’m really looking forward to.”
It’s no secret that all three of these guys hold spots in Newton history as the best in their own respects, Brown being one of the top 3-point shooters in the school's history, Clark being yet another top tier point and Harris being “one of the most special players Newton has had in the last 21 years” as mentioned by Rasmussen.
It was noted that one of the most substantial forms of evidence of the skill level of these three young men was the way they handled leading the team this season.
“Tre, Armoni, and Tyrease were the big three this year. People doubted us and thought with what we lost, this year’s team wouldn’t be successful,” Rasmussen said. “And we played arguably the hardest schedule in Newton history. And still, we won 22 games, made a playoff run again and region runner-up again. And they were the ones consistently scoring double figures in games.
“It was their team this year. No doubt about it.” Rasmussen finished.
And while the guys are excited for their first college season in high division basketball, they understand that their performance in the classroom is just as important as their performance on the court.
“I’m going to have to work hard, but especially in the classroom. That’s first thing first,” Harris said.
Both signing ceremonies brought out large crowds, which showed just how much support the young men have from their community. NewtonAthletic Director Vincent Byams called the boys a “byproduct of their community” and a group of local ballers that has everyone excited to see just how far they’ll go in their careers.
“I know they have the work ethic, I know they have the character, I know they have those intangables already, but I know there will still be some tough challanges,” Byams said. “But I also know they’ll overcome this, and they will always have a strong family support behind them at Newton High School, and we’re looking forward to great things.”