LYNCHBURG, Va. — The 2018-19 edition of the Liberty Flames will have a heavy influence from the state of North Carolina.
On Wednesday, the Flames signed a trio of players on National Signing Day, in Darius McGhee, Blake Preston and Josh Price.
All three student-athletes hail from the state of North Carolina, and all will bring something different to the hardwood as a member of the Flames in 2018-19, and beyond.
“What I love about this class is the people they are,” stated head coach Ritchie McKay. “I am excited about the athletic ability and their basketball prowess that each individual brings to our family, but I love more the kind of people that they are and will continue to uphold the pursuit of excellence this campus embodies.”
“They will be great representatives of their families and high schools. They are all well-coached and have played for terrific high school coaches. What may be the most important thing is they value winning and being a part of a team rather than worrying about individual success.”
Darius McGhee (5-9 | Guard | Roxboro, N.C.)
McGhee has helped build a winning culture at Blue Ridge School, as the Barons most recently claimed the 2017 VISAA State title. In his first year at Blue Ridge School, McGhee averaged 14 points per game and was named First Team All-VIC. Under head coach Cade Lemcke, McGhee was lethal from beyond the arc, making 95 three-pointers last season.
Before arriving at Blue Ridge, McGhee attended Roxboro Community School, and played for head coach Brian Cousin. During his time at Roxboro Community, the guard from North Carolina averaged 36.4 points per game in his final season. An exceptional athlete, McGhee was also a two-time VIC Champion in the high jump in 2016 and 2017. McGhee plans to major in exercise science.
Coach McKay on McGhee: “Darius may be small in stature but he has a huge heart and a great ability to impact the outcome of a game in a variety of ways. Not only can he can score the ball but he is a terrific defender and another one that is a beautiful person.”
Blake Preston (6-9 | Forward | Charlotte, N.C.)
The big man from Charlotte comes from Charlotte Christian School, where he was a two-year starter and captain in his final season. After averaging 3.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks during the 2015-16 season, Preston made a jump during his junior campaign, bumping his averages to 9.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest.
McKay has found top talent throughout his coaching career at Charlotte Christian School, where he recruited Seth Curry and Anthony Gill.
Playing for head coach Shonn Brown, Preston was named the Most Improved Player during the 2015-16 season and then was named the Most Determined Player last season. Preston was effective from the field, shooting 52 percent from the floor. Not only has Preston been successful on the court but also off the court, posting a 3.5 grade point average. Preston plans to major in business.
Coach McKay on Preston: “Blake could be a high major recruit with the upside that we project him to have. He has good size with exceptional hands and a good touch. As he continues to develop his strength, he has a very high ceiling.”
Josh Price (6-3 | Guard | Charlotte, N.C.)
In his junior campaign, Price was a starter at Covenant Day School, where he averaged 12.3 points per game. Price has transferred schools and will finish his high school career at Carmel Christian School, where he will play for former NBA player, Byron Dinkins, in North Carolina.
Price will have a familiar teammate once he arrives at Liberty as he played with fellow signee, Blake Preston, as Price attended Charlotte Christian School his freshman season. Basketball is in Price’s blood as his father, Mark Price, played in the NBA for 12 seasons and is currently the head coach for the Charlotte 49ers. Price plans to major in business.
Coach McKay on Price: “For us to find a player of Josh’s availability at such a late date is truly an incredible blessing. He has great blood lines and fits the mold of what we love about players and people. We are elated to bring Josh into our family and the future I think that he will have.”
The Flames could be the team to beat in the 2018-19 season in the Big South Conference, if all goes according to plan. With only two seniors on this year’s roster (Ryan Kemrite, Zach Farquhar), the bulk of this year’s team will be back for another kick at the can. Adding three talented freshmen to the puzzle will only add another element to the roster for coach McKay.
Liberty tips off their 2017-18 regular season Friday night at home against Clarks Summit. Tip-off is set for 7:00pm EST.
– T. Bennett