By Chris Whitaker, Americus Times-Recorder
Mike Leeder needed someone to run the basketball team, and he's found his man.
A Gordon native and former Wilkinson County standout, Damayrius Adside signed with Georgia Southwestern this weekend.
"He's a physically strong point guard that can really attack the rim," said Leeder. "The thing that's going to help us is he's a very competitive kid. He's what we didn't have last year."
Adside (6-2, 200) comes from Neosho County Community College (Kan.) where he was second on the team in scoring (14.3), steals (77), assists (141) and 3-pointers made (41).
Adside likes to think of himself as a pass-first guard, and he said his main goal is to make the players around him better, including All-Peach Belt performer Anthony Sargent who was at the top of the conference in steals and scoring.
"I'm a driver, I like to penetrate a lot, and I want to get (teammates) to the right spots where they can produce," he said. "But I am a scoring point guard."
Leeder said the best way to describe Adside would be calling him a "ball guard."
"I think he can get to the basket and force a lot of teams to help from somewhere else on defense," he said. "We've always had success when our guards have been the focal points of the offense. We'll need him to score, but I hope we will have better pieces around him."
The Hurricanes graduated two seniors off last year's team, but a total of five are not returning. Leeder said there's a good chance he'll be running the offense, and he believes Adside will fit right in.
"He can overpower some of the guards we've seen," he said. "He shows the willingness to pass, and he can really get to the basket. We want to find guys who have passion about playing, and he's really good. We wanted to make sure we upgraded overall in the backcourt, and I think we did that. We're ahead of the game."
Prior to Neosho County CC, Adside played a year at Georgia Perimeter, helping the Jaguars to the NJCAA tournament. He said the two years of junior college will help most in adjusting to the tempo and a faster played game.
He also said Leeder is the type of coach he wants to learn from and grow as a player.
"He's a demanding coach, he demands the best out of you every day," he said. "He challenges you to step up your game."
Adside also has some ties to the university as his cousin, Shawn King, was a standout for the Hurricanes from 2005-2007.
The GSW 2008-09 season kicks off Saturday, November 15 against Puerto Rico-Cayey. The game will be played at Valdosta State and tip-off time is TBA.
PHOTO BY: Jason Peake/Chanute Tribune