Toure Fudge tossed in 23 points and Gavin Grubb dished out 10 assists on Sunday as the men’s basketball team at Johnson University took an 89-87 win over Oglethorpe.
Perhaps that twosome should be referred to as the dynamic duo.
Fudge, a 6-foot-1 senior from Virginia High, is averaging 11.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He has dealt with a shoulder injury, but is getting healthier as evidenced by Sunday’s performance.
“Toure is an amazing shooter and a lockdown defender,” said Johnson coach Brandon Perry. “He has shot the ball great. … He has had some huge games for us.”
Grubb, a sophomore point guard from Sullivan East High School, is averaging 10.7 points, 5.5 assists and 5.6 rebounds. He currently leads all National Christian College Athletic Association Division II players in assists.
“Gavin has led our team from the point guard position with toughness,” said Perry, himself a 1998 graduate of Sullivan East. “Not many point guards grab nearly six rebounds a game. Night in and night out, Gavin has been a consistent presence on our team and gets everyone involved.”
Fudge began his collegiate career at Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tennessee, but it closed in May due to financial issues. He landed at Johnson – located in Knoxville, Tennessee – for his final season.
“When I found out that Hiwassee was closing, there was a lot of emotions and confusion going on,” Fudge said. “I was losing the place I called home and all the friends that I had made over the years. The reason I chose Johnson is because Coach Perry and the rest of the coaching staff always showed me respect whenever Hiwassee and Johnson would play and respect goes a long way with me. ... I’m getting a chance to play under a great coach with a great coaching staff and also amazing players. This team fits my game.”
Fudge also likes playing in an offense that has a proven floor general running the offense.
“Gavin is an amazing point guard with crazy court vision,” Fudge said. “He sees it all. He is one of the toughest, quickest point guards that I have played with. He always makes the right play.”
Grubb also likes having a weapon like Fudge at his disposal.
“Fudge can shoot anywhere on the court and I love that because that helps spread the floor out more,” Grubb said. “He has come in and helped us in big games. Not just his offense, but his defensive mentality as well. I love that he has passion for the game. … I am glad he came to Johnson, because he is a really great guy and has become of my really good friends.”
Grubb and Fudge experienced a homecoming of sorts on Nov. 26 when Johnson dropped a 94-74 decision to King University in Bristol.
“I kind of got goosebumps when first checking into the game,” Fudge said. “Not because I was intimidated, but because I wanted to make all my family and friends proud. … It was also a great feeling because I got to match up with an old crosstown rival, Adonis Wheeler [of King]. He went to Tennessee High back in the day and he and I are great friends. We used to have some great battles on the basketball court, so it was good to play against him one final time.”
Johnson currently has a 6-5 record with Coby Jones from Hampton High School in Northeast Tennessee averaging 20.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists for the Royals.
“The season has gone pretty good for the most part,” Grubb said. “I am pleased with how our team is playing. There have been a few games that we should have won and just let get away. All we can do is learn from that as the season goes on.”
Garrett is good
Former Tennessee High standout Garrett Crandell went for 18 points, three rebounds and three assists on Nov. 27 for the Eastern Nazarene College Lions in their 89-68 men’s basketball loss at Lees-McRae.
The 6-foot-5 senior is averaging 15.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
Eastern Nazarene is coached by Scott Polsgrove, who was previously the head coach at Lees-McRae and King University.
Elon University freshman Zac Ervin finished with 10 points and two rebounds on Nov. 26 in a 97-61 men’s basketball loss to Furman.
The sharpshooter from Gate City High School is averaging 6.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
High point total for Helton
Ferrum College sophomore Nick Helton (Lebanon) scored a season-high 12 points and hauled down four rebounds on Nov. 27 in a 61-53 men’s basketball loss to Berry.
Helton is averaging 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
Bluefield kid vs. Bluefield College
The Bluefield College men’s basketball team was done in by a kid from Bluefield on Friday night.
Ex-Graham High School standout Darrin Martin had 12 points and three rebounds as West Virginia Tech took a 71-69 victory over the Rams.
Martin’s basket with 1:46 left put West Virginia Tech up 68-60 and the Golden Bears held on the rest of the way.
Local vs. Local
Three players from Southwest Virginia started in Union College’s 72-56 women’s basketball win over Milligan on Nov. 26.
Brooke Hammonds (Lee High) had 22 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals for Union.
For Milligan, Kaely Gose (Gate City) recorded 12 points, three rebounds, three blocks and two steals, while Hannah Wyrick (Eastside) had four points, three assists and two rebounds.
Bluefield State Duo
Two local players contributed to Bluefield State College’s 94-35 women’s basketball victory over Mid-Atlantic Christian on Nov. 26.
Dani Janutolo (Tazewell) had 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals, while Ericah Burton (Richlands) scored seven points.
Former Graham High School star Cam Allen finished his freshman football season at Purdue University with 32 tackles and one interception.
Locals at Austin Peay
A couple of Northeast Tennesseans contributed on special teams to Austin Peay’s 42-6 victory over Furman on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs.
Logan Birchfield (Elizabethton) was 6-for-6 on extra point kicks, while Devin Stuart (Dobyns-Bennett) averaged 33.7 yards on three punts.
Sophomore defensive lineman Austin Lewis (David Crockett) has made 33 tackles this season for the football team at Liberty University, which became bowl eligible on Saturday with a 49-28 triumph over New Mexico State.
SoCon honor for Richmond
Virginia Military Institute defensive end Jarrod Richmond earned second-team status on the 2019 All-Southern Conference football squad.
The Graham High School graduate finished with 70 tackles for the Keydets and recovered three fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown.