The next level: Three local players sign with Alabama AM

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212;The Alabama A&M Bulldogs will get a boost next season as three local products, Demopolis High&8217;s Casey Cante and Sunshine High&8217;s Royce Hamilton and Marcus Lee, signed letters of intent to join the program for the upcoming season.

As a senior, Cante averaged 28 points, eight rebounds and three block per game for the Demopolis Tigers.

At the NCAA Division I level, the 6-foot-6-inch Cante will shift from the post where he played his high school career to the small forward position. Bell believes the transition will be an easy one as Cante flashed signs of his shooting range when called upon as a Tiger.

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However, Cante understands the position shift will require work on his part and is prepared for the challenge.

For Cante&8217;s mother, Evern Holley, the day is the realization of more than a decade of work on her son&8217;s part.

Cante&8217;s collegiate goals will be aided by two of the Sunshine Tigers&8217; top players. Hamilton averaged 16 points and eight rebounds a game for the 1A Tigers this season while Lee flirted with a triple-double almost nightly, realizing the feat 10 times on the season. For the year, he averaged 10 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for Sunshine.

The 6-foot-5-inch Hamilton will also likely see a position shift from the post to the wing. It is a transition Hamilton and his teammate, Lee, are confident will come naturally.

While the level of competition will be a decided upgrade, Lee will step into familiar territory as a pure point guard. Hamilton believes his longtime teammate and friend will offer a great deal to a newly energized A&M roster.

The friendship the two share served to make the decision easier for both.

As it was for Holley, Wednesday was a milestone day for the Lee and Hamilton&8217;s households.

While the trio will work to improve the state of Bulldog basketball, each is intent on placing emphasis in the classroom. Marcus and Cante plan to major in accounting while Hamilton is leaning toward psychology.