E.A. Sports Today

Guthrie heading to Oxford

White Plains guard returns home of sorts to play his senior basketball season for Yellow Jackets

White Plains guard Jerod Guthrie (center) dives for a loose ball between two Alexandria players at this season's Calhoun County Tournament.

White Plains guard Jerod Guthrie (center) dives for a loose ball between two Alexandria players at this season’s Calhoun County Tournament.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Joel Van Meter talked excitedly about the future of his Oxford basketball team back in January after watching another strong game from his overachieving underclassmen in the Calhoun County Tournament. He had height inside and a freshman point guard with a huge upside.

Things were going to be good. And then the Yellow Jackets had another potential game-changer fall into their laps.

White Plains shooting guard Jerod Guthrie has transferred to Oxford to play his senior season. He said his father had enrolled him last week.

“I think it’ll be a new experience playing with more athletic, bigger guys; you know how 6A guys are,” Guthrie said. “And it’ll give me more exposure.”

Guthrie said he and White Plains coach Chris Randall were “still cool (OK) about everything” and are supposed to meet for dinner later this week although he admitted things weren’t quite the same after he was benched in Janury for missing a practice right before their area game with Saks. He said he put Randall in a “tough situation” with the missed practice.

“I think I needed a new situation,” he said. “Everything was fine over there. Our values were different; we saw the game different from each other. Maybe 10 years from now I’ll see he was right, maybe I’ll regret it, maybe not. I felt this was a better move. I needed a different situation.”

Guthrie looked into transferring to two-time 1A state champion Sacred Heart — he wanted to go there as a ninth-grader — but that fell through because he said the school didn’t take senior transfers.

Van Meter had heard rumors of Guthrie’s transfer but isn’t permitted to have contact with the 5-foot-11 guard until the Yellow Jackets start summer workouts. He said he hasn’t spoken to Guthrie.

The Jackets have a strong core returning with inside threats Jakolbe McClendon and Braden Jones and point guard Eugene Leonard and Guthrie will bring them a prolific scorer and outside shooter. He said he is looking forward to playing with his new teammates, but already has a sense of acceptance.

“My parents have talked to Coach (Oxford AD Larry) Davidson and they’re all excited about me coming,” Guthrie said. “Some of the players have texted me and said how they’re excited about me coming, so I feel real welcomed.”

Actually, the move to Oxford is a homecoming of sorts for Guthrie. He went to Oxford schools until after fifth grade when the district lines were changed.

He had never played with his new teammates before, but did play against them in PARD ball.

“A bunch of people told me they were going to be good next year,” he said. “The only thing I was worried about was coming in my senior year and messing up the chemistry with the players. This summer is going to be big to get to know how they play. That’s what was so good about our team at White Plains. I had been playing with Eli (Hightower) and Murphy (Doss) since we were in fifth grade; I knew what they wanted.”

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