Three ASH basketball players sign scholarships

Published 12:42 pm Thursday, April 19, 2018

AMERICUS – Three Americus-Sumter boys’ basketball players signed scholarships Wednesday, April 18, to continue their education and play basketball: Daniel Middleton Jr., Karmil Hamilton and Stepfo’n Luster. The signings took place in the ASH gymnasium in front of a crowd of senior students, the players’ family and friends and their coaches.

ASH Principle Kimothy Hadley opened proceedings with his opening remarks. “We are very excited because we are embarking upon another season of students going to the next level,” Hadley said. “We’ve had individuals to sign to play collegiately in various sports and that continues today with our student-athletes that are before you. They represent The Americus-Sumter High School, so I applaud them for all of their efforts and the work that they’ve done. You as students, parents and distinguished guests should be excited because our students our students are doing great things. They ae continuing their education at someone else’s expense.”

ASH Senior Guard Stepfo’n Luster signs scholarship to South Georgia Christian Prep.
Left to right: Sammie Luster (father), Stepfo’n Luster, Jonathan Gooden (friend).
Photo by Ken Gustafson

At that point, ASH boys’ basketball coach Michael Hoffpauir made his remarks about the three players signing scholarships. “Moments like these are great. They’re great for the players, great for the program,” Hoffpauir told the crowd assembled. “I know y’all know these guys. They’re like sons to me. I always tell everybody once they make the team, it’s like they’re my child. They’re my blood child. We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had adversity. We’ve done a lot of winning. We’ve played a lot of tough games, and we know that these guys here have the heart of champions. Everybody that makes it through the Americus-Sumter Basketball Program, they are winners. They are hard-nose guys and it’s a testament right here that they’re signing to play ball at the next level.”

Karmil Hamilton will join his teammate, Stepfo’n Luster, at South Georgia Christian Prep. Left to right: Valerie McGruder (mother), Karmil Hamilton, Lacherria McGruder (Aunt), Chayce Colwell (Karmil’s nephew in lap of Lacherria McGruder).
Behind: Coach Michael Hoffpauir (right), Coleman Price (left, back turned)
Photo by Ken Gustafson

With that, the players signed their letters-of-intent and made their remarks, starting with Karmil Hamilton. Hamilton signed to play basketball at South Georgia Christian Prep, a post-grad school in Albany. “First of all, I want to thank God, my little nephew and my sister,” Hamilton said. “I want to thank my classmates and my coach. All of y’all have supported me and kept me pushing. I love y’all.” The next player to speak was Daniel Middleton Jr. He will be furthering his education at Brewton-Parker College, an NAIA school in Mount Vernon, GA. “First of all, I’d like to thank God. It’s been a long journey for me,” Middleton Jr. said. “I want to thank my Dad, all of the coaching staff, my Grandma, my Aunt, everybody that’s a part of me that has been by my side. I want to thank Mr. Hadley for setting this up and Coach Price. I don’t know what else to say.”  Finally, it was Stepfo’n Luster’s turn to address his family, friends, coaches and the crowd of senior students assembled. “First of all, I want to thank God. It’s a blessing,” Luster said. “I want to thank my Dad, my brothers, Mr. Hadley, I want to thank the coaches for encouraging me to keep going, keep pushing. I want to thank my sister and my classmates and everybody else.”

Luster will be joining Karmil Hamilton at South Georgia Christian Prep.  Hamilton wants to learn the trade of Welding. “I want to try to get better on welding for my second option if basketball doesn’t work out,” Hamilton said. Hamilton went on to say that he plans to go to any school that will give him an offer once he finishes his time at South Georgia Christian Prep. Hamilton also said that he’s been told he will be used at point guard while playing at SGCP. He said that he wants to go to a Division I school after his time at SGCP.  Hamilton was also recruited by South Georgia Tech, but decided on going to SGCP. After he graduates, Hamilton simply said that he “wants to get rich.” According to SGCP Head Coach Keith Graves, Luster will start at point guard, but Karmil Hamilton will play a lot as well. “We play an up-tempo style of basketball, sort of like West Virginia,” Graves said. “Luster will be our starter, but Hamilton will play a lot as well.”

Daniel Middleton Jr., who is headed to Brewton-Parker College, really fell in love with the college when he went to visit. “I went out there and attended some camps,” Middleton Jr. said. “Coach (Gavin) Chapman, the head coach at Brewton Parker, told me he saw me and liked the way I played. I went on a visit, did a work-out and they offered me a spot.” Middleton Jr. went on to say that he will be studying Sports Medicine while in college and would like to be an athletic trainer after graduation. As far as basketball is concerned, Hamilton Jr. says he is willing to play whatever position they want him to play. “I just want to play basketball,” Hamilton Jr. said. For Daniel’s mother, Tammy Middleton, she could see this day coming. “He (Daniel” had a passion for basketball,” Mrs. Hamilton said. “He has always wanted to play basketball. This was a gift from God. He was not one of the elite players on the team, but because of his passion, I think God just opened the door for him.”  Daniel’s father, Daniel Middleton Sr., has seen the tremendous growth in his son as a player and as a person. “I’m very proud of him,” Hamilton Sr. said. “I’ve seen him come a long way. He’s been practicing a lot. He’s gotten better.”