Lowndes' Demarcus Black signs with Gulf Coast State

May 25—VALDOSTA — The reigning Region 1-7A Player of the Year has called his shot.

Lowndes senior forward Demarcus Black signed his letter of intent to attend Gulf Coast State College Friday, May 19 in the LHS Performing Arts Center lobby.

"It means a lot. It's been a great four years at Lowndes High School and I can't wait to see what's next for me, you know?" Black said. "It's great for my family because I'm the first one going to play sports in college. It really means a lot."

The Vikings' top scorer, the 6-foot-5 high-flyer averaged 16.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the field and 33% from 3-point range this past season. Black also led the team in free throws made (96) and attempted (132) — converting at a 73% clip.

In three years on the Vikings' varsity team, Black took considerable leaps from a 6-foot-2 sophomore to a 6-foot-5 senior.

Black nearly tripled his scoring average during his time at Lowndes, averaging 5.7 points per game as a sophomore and 12.7 points per game as a junior before breaking out this past season.

According to Black, what sold him the most on Gulf Coast State is what the future holds for him from there. Gulf Coast State has had several players over the years transfer to other schools and have outstanding careers. Most recently, two of those players came into Black's backyard to play at Valdosta State — the school's single-season assist record holder Jacolbey Owens and athletic forward Maurice Gordon, who both arrived in 2020.

Black said he plans to major in business and marketing in college.

Known for his highlight reel dunks and finishing ability in transition, Black has been working on expanding his game even more for the college level.

In his first two years on varsity, Black's 3-point shooting percentages hovered in the mid-20s on a low volume of attempts. As a senior, Black shot a little more than three 3-pointers per game and hit at a career-best 33%.

His ability to attack the basket is a strength, but being able to create better for himself off the dribble, Black said, has been a point of emphasis this offseason.

When asked how he figures to fit in with the Commodores and head coach Phil Gaffney's system, Black believes the fit will be seamless as they emphasize a lot of what he already thrives on.

"I've been working on ball-handling and shooting the ball more," Black said. "I'm looking to shoot the ball well and from further outside the 3-point line.

"I expect that I'll fit in well. One of the things we talked about was getting out, running in transition and playing really aggressive defense. I think I'll fit in well."

The ceremony was attended by Black's teammates, many current teammates as well as former ones. Black's family was also at his side for his big day. After the ceremony, teammates took time to catch up over cupcakes and other refreshments.

Head coach Reshon Benjamin reflects on what the day means to him as a coach and the impact of Black's journey to a college scholarship.

"This day is the culmination of a lot of hard work, a lot of pain, a lot of guts, a lot of sweat and a lot of tears," Benjamin said. "I just want to say that everything he's done the last four years is a major accomplishment for him, but it's an even bigger accomplishment for the program and it's even greater for the family and his loved ones. He's done a lot. He's been All-State, Region Player of the Year, leading scorer, prom king, homecoming king...the accolades go on and on.

"As I told Demarcus on prom night, it's time to go be great. It's time to go be great, and as we talked about during the region championship, don't leave no meat on the bone."

Shane Thomas is the sports editor at the Valdosta Daily Times.