Ch­ester hop­ing to make his mark at GNTC

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

Through­out his 11-year run as head coach of the Ge­or­gia North­west­ern Bob­cats men’s bas­ket­ball team, head coach David Stephen­son has al­ways had an eye out for self­mo­ti­vated play­ers to bring into the pro­gram.

And with that in mind, Stephen­son be­lieves he has un­cov­ered some­thing of a hid­den gem with his lat­est re­cruit.

Re­cent Cass High School grad­u­ate Mark Ch­ester is the new­est Bob­cat af­ter sign­ing his let­ter of in­tent in front of fam­ily and for­mer team­mates in a cer­e­mony at the Bartow County school on Thurs­day, May 31.

“Mark has come to our open gym work­outs on his own,” Stephen­son ex­plained. “He con­tacted us and showed a lot of ini­tia­tive. We’re look­ing for­ward to him com­ing in and do­ing some good things with all the other de­fen­sive-minded peo­ple that we’ve signed this year.”

The soft-spo­ken guard called it “a very im­por­tant day” for him.

“I’m get­ting to do some­thing that a lot of other peo­ple don’t get to do, which is get­ting to play bas­ket­ball at that next level,” he said. “I’m just blessed I’m go­ing to get to do it and I’m blessed that my mom is here with me to­day.”

“He’s a high­char­ac­ter kid,” said David Brock, who coached Ch­ester for three sea­sons at Cass be­fore step­ping down to take the boys’ post at Dal­ton in the off­sea­son. “He’s had to over­come some things in his life and he and his mom are re­ally close. You’re never go­ing to have to ask him to do some­thing. He’s self-mo­ti­vated and he’s go­ing to get it done.”

Ch­ester said he feels like he can bring a high bas­ket­ball IQ to the Bob­cats.

“I can be a shooter and some­body who will play de­fense,” he said. “Hope­fully I can do a lit­tle bit of every­thing for them. I re­ally like my new team­mates so far. They’re all kind and nice. The first day I went there, they were very open and wel­com­ing. I think we’re go­ing to do re­ally good next year.

“I think we all have the same kind of mind­set. (Coach Brock) stressed sim­i­lar things, like tak­ing smart shots and slow­ing it down, so it’s not been that hard to ad­just.”

“He doesn’t do any­thing bad to hurt you,” Stephen­son added. “He’s used to play­ing de­fense and he can han­dle the ball, so I think his best bas­ket­ball is still in front of him.”

Ch­ester earned sec­ond team Al­lRe­gion hon­ors in Re­gion 7-AAAAA last sea­son as he put up 11.5 points a night to go with 4.0 re­bounds and 1.7 as­sists. He shot 36 per­cent from be­hind the 3-point arc and av­er­aged over 16 points in his fi­nal eight games to help the Colonels make the state play­offs.

Brock said it was a plea­sure to watch Ch­ester grow as a player in the past three sea­sons.

“He was a great guy for us,” Brock con­tin­ued. “He’s a knock­down shooter and he’s not afraid to take the big shot. He hit two big free throws for us with about a sec­ond left against Car­roll­ton to get us into the state tour­na­ment. He’s your typ­i­cal 3-point shooter in that he re­ally doesn’t know if he made or missed the last one. In his eyes, he’s al­ways open, there’s al­ways a use for guys like that who can score the ball.

“He’s long and kind of sneaky ath­letic and I think he’ll be good for Ge­or­gia North­west­ern. I think he’ll be able to carve out a role for him­self.”

Ch­ester said he is con­sid­er­ing sports medicine, phar­macy or mar­ket­ing as cour­ses of study.

Re­cent Cass High School grad­u­ate Mark Ch­ester (seated, sec­ond from left) signed his let­ter of in­tent on Thurs­day, May 31 to play bas­ket­ball for Ge­or­gia North­west­ern Tech­ni­cal Col­lege. Also on hand for the cer­e­mony in the school’s gym was (from left)...

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