Bluffton boys basketball coach Brett Macy approached his star player, Bryson Bell, with a simple question.
"He asked me if I wanted to play college sports," Bell recalled.
The answer was a resounding 'yes.' And just a few months after Macy first made phone calls in the hopes of getting scouts to pay a visit to the Bobcats' gymnasium, Bell has found his college home.
The Bluffton standout, who was named The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette's player of the year this season, is heading to Emmanuel College in Georgia.
"The campus was beautiful, everyone was friendly," Bell said. "I scrimmaged with the team a few times. I loved the team and what they stood for. That's pretty much how it began."
He first earned the offer after Bob Rosene -- the father of Emmanuel coach T.J. Rosene -- scouted the big man a few months ago. The elder Rosene, who lives on Hilton Head Island, made sure the Lions found out about Bell.
"He looked at my shot and we talked about Emmanuel," Bell said. "Pretty much everything what Emmanuel is about. I liked it."
Bell, who chose the Lions over Orangeburg Tech and Lewisburg Community College, averaged 13.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game for the Region 7-AAA champions this past season.
"It's a big sigh of relief," Bell said. "I'm glad to finally have a decisive, actual school. ... I've been praying and talking to my family about my decision. This is the school I wanted to go to."
Name: Bryson Bell
High school: Bluffton
High school coach: Brett Macy
College: Emmanuel College
Probable major: Business Administration
About Emmanuel: The Lions -- an NAIA school in Franklin Springs, Ga. -- reached the NCCAA national title game last season, where they lost to Cedarville, 74-56. The Lions finished with a 21-16 record.
Why Emmanuel? "The thing that really stood out to me was pretty much the people there," Bell said. "As soon as I walked on campus, I was welcomed greatly. I was very appreciative. Everybody there was so excited."
Other schools considered: Orangeburg Technical College, Lewisburg Community College
Other high school sports played: None