HEADLAND – One of the most talented athletes in the Wiregrass has decided to play basketball and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
K’shun Stokes, a star football and basketball player at Headland High School, committed to the Division I college which plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and had a ceremony at Headland High on Thursday with family and friends.
“A lot of coaches I talked to were like, ‘Wait, let me see what’s going on here, let me see what’s going on there’ but he (head coach George Ivory) was straight forward and told me he wanted me. That drew my attention,” Stokes said.
As a senior, the 6-foot guard averaged 22.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals a game in helping the Rams finish 23-8 with a regional tournament appearance this past season.
Stokes finished his prep career with 1,782 points and was named first team all-state as a senior. He was one of three finalists for the Class 4A Player of the Year award along with being a Dothan Eagle Super 12 selection for the second straight year and WAC Player of the Year.
“I’ll tell you what, he’s been the main cog, so to speak, who kept our fabric of our foundation going with our basketball program,” Headland coach Mike Henry said. “You’ve got a guy that can score, you’ve got a guy that can lead and defend and you’ve also got a guy that stays on an even keel no matter the outcome of the ball game may be. He has those intangibles that he was going to play hard for you night in and night out.”
Deciding between basketball and football was a tough call for Stokes.
As a senior quarterback in football, Stokes amassed 1,230 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and 1,123 yards rushing with 21 TDs . He also had 384 return yards and 2,756 all-purpose yards.
“Honestly, it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in my life because I love football a lot,” Stokes said. “But it’s just something about basketball that took me away and drew me to making this decision.”
Stokes isn’t ruling out getting back on the football field along with playing basketball.
“It’s a thought,” Stokes said. “I’m still processing it all right now, really, but I think about it sometimes. I might try to do it.”
Stokes has high goals entering his freshman campaign.
“Try to excel in education and not just sports, but also prove myself my first year and not just be one of the random people who come the first year and not play much. I want to play,” Stokes said. “I’m going to try my best to make sure I do.”
Henry believes he has all the tools to do well on the college level.
“He’s probably going to wind up being more of a combo guard, where he can score the basketball, but also sometimes handle the point,” Henry said.
“He’s a very good kid. His GPA is up there probably around 3.7 and he’s a qualifier with the ACT score. He’s taken early enrollment classes at Wallace College for the past two years to get acclimated to the college academic scene.”
Stokes believes playing at Headland has prepared him well for what’s ahead.
“I have some great coaches, fans and teammates who were behind me the whole entire way,” Stokes said. “They told me to always put God first and go with your heart.
“A lot of people say it’s hard to go Division I from this school, so it feels great to be one that actually did it and I thank God for giving me this opportunity.”