North Point se­nior Hope signs to East Carolina for bas­ket­ball

North Point se­nior signs to D-I pro­gram for hoops

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MASON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Un­der head girls bas­ket­ball coach Mike Ser­pone, North Point High School se­nior Necole Hope has had a dec­o­rated ca­reer thus far: Lead­ing the pro­gram to two South­ern Maryland Ath­letic Con­fer­ence and Class 4A East Re­gion ti­tles, a Charles County champi- on­ship, a SMAC Po­tomac Divi­sion ti­tle to go along with two state tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances.

She also has boasted two All-SMAC and All-County se­lec­tions, in­clud­ing the county’s Ath­lete of the Year last sea­son as a ju­nior.

De­spite all the ac­co­lades, her hard work in the off­sea­son and in the class- room did not go un­no­ticed.

Hope, a left-handed guard, has now found her col­lege home, re­cently sign- ing her na­tional let­ter of in­tent to NCAA Divi­sion I East Carolina Univer­sity.

Her sign­ing cer­e­mony at North Point on Nov. 10 was one of three in­com­ing fresh­men for the Pi­rates to sign dur­ing the NCAA’s early sign­ing pe­riod.

“First off, I give all thanks to God for giv­ing me the abil­ity to re­ceive a full-ride schol­ar­ship and play the game I love,” said Hope, who is also re­ferred to by many as “Coco.” “And I want to thank my mom [Marie] for putting me be­fore a lot and sup­port­ing me through the long process. I’ve al­ways wanted to play Divi­sion I, so it was a bless­ing.”

Hope, who main­tains a 3.6 GPA is tak­ing AP and honors classes, is happy that the re­cruit­ing process is over be­fore the sea­son be­gins.

“It is so much pres­sure re­lieved,” she said. “Pick­ing a school can be a lot to deal with, but God kept me order and I’ve kept my grades up and I’m done with my se­nior port­fo­lio.”

Hope also re­ceived Divi­sion I in­ter­ests from Old Do­min­ion, Nor­folk State and Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Irvine, among oth­ers, but East Carolina was the right fit when she went on her of­fi­cial visit in late Au­gust.

East Carolina, which com­petes in the Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence, is 3-1 on the sea­son as of Nov. 20.

“East Carolina was the per­fect for me be­cause it is away from home, but not far,” Hope said. “When I went on the visit I played pickup games with the other play­ers on the team. They also play in the same con­fer­ence as [de­fend­ing NCAA cham­pion] UConn.”

Af­ter her visit to the cam­pus in Greenville, S.C., Hope got an early

taste of the speed of the col­lege game.

“I no­ticed that the games were up and down at a fast pace and that I have to keep run­ning, work on my han­dle and play de­fense,” said Hope, whose led the Ea­gles to a 6812 over­all record in three sea­sons. “The play­ers are big­ger and stronger also.”

On what Hope will bring to the pro­gram, East Carolina head coach Heather Macy said, ac­cord­ing to the school’s web­site, “Necole is an ex­plo­sive wing scorer. She has the abil­ity to score at all three lev­els, which will make her a very tough matchup. Necole is an out­stand­ing de­fender as her length and ath­leti­cism al­low her to guard mul­ti­ple po­si­tions on the floor. Necole and her high school team have en­joyed a ton of suc­cess dur­ing her ca- reer and we look for­ward to her bring­ing that win­ning men­tal­ity to our pro­gram.”

Be­fore ar­riv­ing to North Point in Wal­dorf, Hope, who was born in Bethesda, resided in Anne Arun­del County for most of her child­hood, also liv- ing two years in Germany as her mother, a mem­ber of the U.S. Coast Guard, was or­dered to serve for mil­i­tary work.

Af­ter a brief stint in Alaska, Hope first started play­ing soc- cer for the Jes­sup Youth Prov­inces Or­ga­ni­za­tion Re­cre­ation soc­cer team at an early age and then her ath­letic abil­ity took her to the bas­ket­ball court. She played for the Meade Youth Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and sev- eral other teams up un­til the high school ranks.

“I’m proud of her. Not only is she get­ting a full ride, but she is do­ing some­thing that she loves,” Marie Hope said. “It was a busy sched­ule with be­ing team mom and chal­leng­ing with tak­ing her to AAU prac­tic- es and games over the week- end. It was a sac­ri­fice of blood, sweat and tears.”

As a fresh­man, Hope came onto the scene where she played a key role in lead­ing the Ea­gles to the 4A state champi- on­ship game, in­clud­ing a nine­point per­for­mance in a 57-51 win over Anne Arun­del’s Old Mill in the 4A East Re­gion fi­nal. That game saw the young Hope score seven of the team’s fi­nal eight points, in­clud­ing a huge three-poin­ter with an less than a minute left.

Af­ter a gar­ner­ing All-County first-team and All-SMAC sec- ond-team honors as a sopho­more, Hope de­liv­ered in her ju­nior sea­son, av­er­ag­ing a team-high 17.0 points per game to go with 5.0 re­bounds, 5.0 steals and 1.0 blocks a game.

“We def­i­nitely are proud of her. She had raw tal­ent as a fresh­man and has grown into a big-time player for us,” Ser­pone said. “She is very ag­gres­sive and ECU is get­ting a di­a­mond in the rough. “We’ve been work­ing on her pull-up jumper. She is do­ing a job of adding to her game.”

This past sum­mer, Hope played on the AAU cir­cuit for the Boo Wil­liams 17-U Gold team and also for Havoc City in Maryland un­der coach Boo­gie Wash­ing­ton. Af­ter her sopho­more year, she with the Boo Wil­liams 15-U EYBL travel team out of Hamp­ton, Va.

With the se­nior sea­son near, Hope is ea­ger to help lead the Ea­gles back to the state tour­na­ment.

“We just have to stick to­gether and feed off of each other,” she said. “Our de­fense has to be on point and if we do that, we can make an­other deep run.”

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

North Point se­nior Necole “Coco” Hope, pic­tured at right in last sea­son’s Class 4A East Re­gion Sec­tion II semi­fi­nals ver­sus An­napo­lis, signed her na­tional let­ter of in­tent Nov. 10 to NCAA Divi­sion I East Carolina Univer­sity.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

North Point High School se­nior Necole ‘Coco” Hope signed her na­tional let­ter of in­tent to NCAA Divi­sion I East Carolina Univer­sity for bas­ket­ball on Nov. 10. Seated, from left, are Necole Hope and her mother Marie Hope. In the back row are North Point ath­letic di­rec­tor An­drew Shat­tuck, left, and head girls bas­ket­ball coach Michael Ser­pone.

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