Tom Knight will experience a life-altering event Wednesday afternoon, and he couldn’t be happier.
A press conference has been called for 4:30 p.m. at Dirigo High School in Dixfield, where the 6-foot-8, 240-pound senior center for the Cougars will sign a National Letter of Intent to accept a basketball scholarship from Notre Dame.
Knight selected Notre Dame after also considering Maine, Davidson, Rutgers and Northeastern.
“The most difficult decision for Tom was to say no to UMaine,” said Dirigo coach Gavin Kane. “We all really liked their coaching staff and appreciated their approach. But in the end, Tom thought that the University of Notre Dame was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Knight was a second-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice last April after leading Dirigo to the No. 1 seed in the Western Maine Class C tournament and a berth in the regional final, where the Cougars lost to eventual state champion Winthrop.
Knight had team-high averages of 16.8 points and eight rebounds per game during the 2007-08 season, and ranked second on the team in assists and steals.
Knight also has starred in the AAU ranks during the summer months, and his performances at the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia last spring and the AAU 17-and-under national tournament at Orlando, Fla., last summer greatly enhanced the recruiting interest in the Mountain Valley Conference all-star.
Knight is projected as a power forward at Notre Dame, in great part because of the versatility within his game that enables him to shoot successfully from 3-point range or work much closer to the basket.
“One thing that really attracted the D1 coaches is the fact that at 6-8 Tom can step outside and shoot the perimeter shot as well as anybody, along with his ability in the low post,” said Kane. “This combination offensively really will help him at the next level. Tom also is a strong rebounder with a very quick outlet pass. He has a tremendous feel for the game and passes the ball exceptionally well for a big man.”
Knight will become the first Mainer to play basketball for the Fighting Irish since former South Portland star Chris Markwood went to the South Bend, Ind., campus out of high school.
Markwood later transferred to the University of Maine, from where he graduated in 2005 and now serves as an assistant coach for the Black Bears.
“Tom will have an unbelievable opportunity in front of him at the University of Notre Dame both academically and athletically,” said Kane. “He will get a tremendous education while having the chance to compete at the highest level of collegiate basketball.”
Surgery awaits Calais’ Shorey
The Calais boys basketball team’s quest for its fourth consecutive Eastern Maine Class C championship this winter has grown more challenging with the loss of sophomore forward Cam Shorey for the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Shorey suffered the injury Nov. 1 while playing for the Calais-Woodland football team in its LTC playoff quarterfinal against Mattanawcook Academy.
Shorey, a running back for the Silverados, jumped over a block during a fourth-quarter rushing attempt, and as he landed back on the ground he was hit in the thigh, twisting his knee and resulting in the injury.
Shorey visited his doctor in Bangor on Monday, and according to his father, Kevin Shorey, will undergo physical therapy in order to strengthen his knee in preparation for surgery.
After seeing the doctor again in two weeks, surgery likely will be scheduled approximately two weeks later, or sometime in mid-December.
“The prognosis is very good for a full recovery,” Kevin Shorey said.
The Shoreys are hopeful Cameron will be ready to return to full athletic participation in time for summer basketball season.
The 15-year-old Shorey stepped in for the Calais basketball team as a freshman last winter and helped coach Ed Leeman’s club post its third consecutive undefeated regular season. Calais, state champions in 2006 and 2007, then advanced to the state final for the third straight year before Winthrop defeated the Blue Devils 72-62 to end the team’s 63-game winning streak.
Shorey was coming off “a great summer” of basketball, according to Leeman, including his participation in the Adidas Top 150 Camp, where he was one of 150 members of the Class of 2011 nationwide invited to attend the elite basketball clinic held in San Diego. The 6-foot-4 forward subsequently was named to his age-group all-star team at the camp, his father said.
Shorey was expected to team with older brother Cal, a 6-foot-5 senior, and senior guard Jordan Leeman to lead the Calais basketball team this winter.
Shorey also starred for the first-year varsity Calais-Woodland football team this fall, teaming with fullback Blake Ford to give the Silverados one of the top rushing tandems in the LTC.
In the playoff game against Mattanawcook, Shorey rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries in helping Calais-Woodland to a 32-14 victory.
Shorey was sidelined as the Silverados fell to unbeaten and top-ranked Bucksport 43-12 in last weekend’s semifinals. Calais-Woodland finished its season with a 6-4 record.
Willoughby new Erskine coach
Ben Willoughby, a 1994 graduate of Erskine Academy of South China, has been named the new boys varsity basketball coach at his alma mater.
Willoughby replaces Tim Bonsant, who stepped down this summer after 13 seasons to become the new head coach at Cony of Augusta.
Willoughby played basketball at Erskine during the early 1990s, and later played at the former Westbrook College in Portland.
A social studies teacher at Erskine, Willoughby has eight years of basketball coaching experience at the school, four year as the Eagles’ boys freshman coach and four years as the boys junior varsity coach.
Willoughby also has coached track and field at Erskine.
The Eagles went 10-8 last year in Eastern Maine Class B, and will play in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B ranks again this winter.