It’s been quite a junior year for East Lincoln High two-sport star Sage Surratt.
In the fall, he helped lead the Mustangs’ football team to an N.C. 2AA Western Regional championship appearance. A 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide receiver, he caught 97 passes for 1,734 yards and 25 touchdowns. He was named to the All-Observer team, the N.C. Associated Press all-state team and was a second team MaxPreps junior All-American.
So far, his basketball season might be even better.
Surratt, a guard, ranks 10th nationally in scoring at 33.1 points per game. He’s already East Lincoln’s all-time leading scorer with more than 1,600 points. He’s making 55 percent of his shots this season and averages 8.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.2 steals. Academically, Surratt also puts up big numbers. He has a 4.93 grade-point average. His schedule consists of advanced placement calculus first period, then AP U.S. history, AP psychology and then honors chemistry.
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“He’s impressive as a player,” East Lincoln coach Neil Hodges said. “But I think the thing that impresses me most about him is his competitive spirit. He’s competitive not only athletically but academically. He’s one of our most outstanding students in our entire school. He has old-school work habits, and he’s spent an awful lot of time in the gym. He’s very good. A nice guy.”
Surratt, who turns 18 in April, said he is surprised by his scoring average this season, adding his scoring “just happens.”
“They say I score in bunches and that it doesn’t look like I’m scoring a lot,” Surratt said. “I know we have a hard offense to stop and we have a lot of weapons. If you try to key on one of us, other people get involved.”
East Lincoln, which will play rival West Lincoln at home Friday, is 19-0 and hasn’t lost a regular-season game in more than two years. This year’s team includes senior Hayden Duggins, who averages 21 points, and junior Cameron Dollar, who averages 14. The Mustangs recently welcomed senior point guard Chazz Surratt back from an elbow injury. Chazz, Sage’s brother and an all-state basketball player last season, was recently named Parade Magazine’s national football player of the year. A 6-foot-4 quarterback, Chazz has signed a scholarship to play football at North Carolina.
Sage said he has college football offers from North Carolina, Duke, East Carolina, Wake Forest and Harvard, which offered this week. In basketball, he has a scholarship offer from Appalachian State. He said Clemson, College of Charleston, Cornell, Wake Forest, Virginia and Yale have shown interest.
The lure of playing college football with his brother is strong, but the high-scoring guard said he isn’t sure yet which sport he’ll pursue in college. Much will depend on what happens with his basketball recruiting after playing on the summer circuit with his Team Loaded travel team.
“It’s going to be a tough decision,” Surratt said. “I have to try to weigh all my options. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to play with (their) brother. That’s definitely an option. I think we have a connection that’s really special and it would be hard to break it. But I’m not sure yet. I love basketball.”
When East Lincoln played Maiden last month, Surratt made three straight 3-point shots, including a step-back jumper when he was terribly off balance.
“When that one went in,” Surratt said, “I knew I was going to have a good night.”
He’d scored 32 points at halftime and 46 after three quarters. He finished with a school-record 50 points, making six of 12 3-point attempts and 17 of 32 field goals overall.
“He scored in every way -- off transition, off steals, off screens, offensive rebounds,” Maiden coach Danny Anderson said. “If there’s a way to score, he found it that night. But as that was going on, he continued to find ways to make his team better. I don’t think there was ever a forced shot.”
Anderson said Surratt has steadily improved in the three seasons he’s coached against him.
“He’s gotten stronger and added different components on his game,” Anderson said. “Originally, he was primarily a kid who could shoot it. Now, he can do a little bit of everything. ...He’s the kind of player coaches love to have.”
After going 24-1 last season and losing to Kinston and Duke recruit Brandon Ingram in the N.C. 2A championship game, Surratt has one goal this season: state title or bust.
“We made a good run last year,” he said. “It was tough losing and we want to be on the winning side in the state championship, holding up the trophy. That’s about all that matters right now.”
Wertz: 704-358-5133; twitter: @langstonwertzjr