Carmel Christian all-state boys’ high school basketball star Donovan Gregory has committed to Appalachian State.
Gregory, 17, said he chose Appalachian over Old Dominion, Winthrop and Hampton. Gregory is ranked as high as No. 9 in North Carolina in the class of 2019.
“They have just always been loyal to me from the start,” Gregory said. “They have been recruiting me since the end of my sophomore year and that meant a lot to me.”
At Appalachian State, Gregory will team with his best friend J.C. Tharrington. Tharrington, an all-conference point guard at Charlotte Christian, committed to Appalachian in May.
“It will be fun to play with J.C.,” Gregory said. “I think we can use it to make each other better.”
Gregory, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound rising senior, averaged 19.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 3.1 assists last season. He was named all-conference and all-state after leading his team to the N.C. Independent Schools’ 2A state championship.
“I’m very proud and excited for him,” said Carmel Christian coach Joe Badgett. “His off-the-court activities, though, are what have always been the most impressive to me. He handles his school work. He’s never been a discipline issue. He does what he’s supposed to do off the court and that filters into why he’ s so successful on the court.”
Gregory played for Badgett as a junior varsity player in the eighth grade. That team was undefeated. As a high school freshman and sophomore, Gregory helped lead his team to state championship games.
And last year, as a junior, Gregory led Carmel Christian to the state championship win over Gaston Day, avenging a double-digit regular-season home loss.
“I think Donovan’s a great player and he’s underrated big-time,” said Jeff McInnis, the former UNC star who coaches Gregory on the Under Armour travel circuit with Team Charlotte. “I think he’s one of the best defenders in the country. He showed that on the Under Armour circuit and pretty much locked down everybody we asked him to guard. His shot really improved. He does all the dirty work.”
Badgett and McInnis said the same thing about Gregory when asked about his best attribute.
“The kid,” Badgett said, “just wins.”