ELIZABETHTOWN — Despite not having a scholarship available, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington got a basketball player they really wanted, and East Bladen High’s Lacey Suggs got the college she wanted.
Suggs officially committed to play her collegiate basketball for the Div. I Lady Seahawks on Monday, and will join the roster as a preferred walk-on.
The four-sport star and academic whiz had been looked at closely by other schools, but UNCW was the place she coveted most.
“It’s not far away, I really like the beach and the campus, and I feel pretty comfortable with the coaches there,” Suggs said. “Plus, my dad and brother went there.”
Suggs finished her career at East Bladen with 2,139 points, putting her No. 3 on the all-time list. She also averaged 22.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, five steals and 4.4 assists per game her senior season.
“While we’re celebrating Lacey’s accomplishments here at East Bladen, more importantly she is moving on with an opportunity to play collegiately at a Div. I school,” said Suggs’ basketball coach and athletics director Patty Evers. “Lacey is one of the best student-athletes to ever come through East Bladen — and probably even Bladen County.”
Suggs’ accomplishments stretches far and wide. Some of those include: three-time Four County Conference Player of the Year; finished her career with more than 800 rebounds and 600 steals; named the All-Cape Fear Region Player of the Year by The Fayetteville Observer 2015-16; named to 2015-16 All-State first team by The Associated Press; named to the 2015-16 NCPreps.com Class 2-A All-State Basketball Team; named to the 2015-16 North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association District 4 First Team; named to the 2015-16 Wilmington Star-News All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year; and holds a weighted GPA of 4.6083, ranked No. 5 in class of 134.
While she was excited about her future at UNCW, Suggs also hesitated when she was asked about leaving her high-school career behind.
“It’ll be sad to leave East Bladen,” she said slowly, searching for the right words,” but I think my teammates and I left a good legacy behind for others to shoot for. I really love my teammates and coaches.”
Suggs. who plans to major in exercise science, said coaches at UNCW have told her there will be a chance to play and earn a spot on the starting team.
“I’ll have to work hard and show what I can do,” she said. “And keep getting better.”
Suggs, who was the Mountaire Farms-Civitas Media Student-Athlete of the Month for January, will vie for the Student-Athlete of the Year title against five others from Bladen, Robeson and Scotland counties at a banquet next month in Lumberton. The monthly award came with a $1,000 scholarship and the overall award comes with an additional $1,500 scholarship.