High School Notebook, May 16: Whale Branch's Simeon Middleton, Denzel Daniel to play basketball at Oakwood University

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comMay 16, 2014 

Simeon Middleton is following his parents' path and bringing along a friend.

Middleton and fellow Whale Branch Early College High School senior Denzel Daniel signed Thursday to play basketball at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala.

The private school is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Middleton, who missed games during high school that conflicted with the church's Saturday Sabbath, will no longer have to worry about his team's schedule.

Middleton and Daniel, key parts of the Warriors' consecutive Class 1-A Lower State championship teams, played in an alumni weekend tournament at the school and impressed Ambassadors coaches. The program has won two national championships in the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association.

Middleton had also considered Washington Adventist in Maryland but ultimately chose the alma mater of both his parents.

"I think Oakwood is a better fit," he said.

Daniel was also mulling a junior college in Illinois.

Warriors coach Linc Lyles recognized their decision during a ceremony for the program's first college basketball players in the cafeteria Thursday. He played a highlight video commemorating the team's second Lower State championship and called up the rest of the Warriors basketball players to be recognized.

Principal Priscilla Drake praised Middleton and Daniel as "gentlemen."

Lyles said Middleton and Daniel helped push the Warriors' high-level practices that steeled them for tough game situations.

"They are just high-character kids," he said. "You can't break them."

Daniel, a hard-nosed forward known for his rebounding and ability to take charges, said he expects to continue to play forward at Oakwood and would work on his shooting.

"Shooting drills, going to the gym -- just doing basically whatever I can," said Daniel, who averaged 11 points and nine rebounds per game his senior season.

Middleton thinks he might play point guard for the Ambassadors. He said he might be more comfortable in a shooting guard role but that he would play where needed. He averaged 9.4 points and 2.7 assists per game his senior season.

BATTERY CREEK FOOTBALL PLAYERS MOVING ON

A few Battery Creek High School football players recently finalized their future schools.

Defensive back Raheem Cooper is going to the Apprentice School in Newport News, Va. Defensive back and running back Yuneek Crittendon will attend Gray Military Academy in West Columbia. And linebacker and tight end Isaiah Sloan will play for Orangeburg-Calhoun Tech.

Crittendon was a do-it-all player for coach Jim Shuman, playing a hybrid linebacker, safety, receiver, running back and throwing the ball in addition to returning kicks.

Sloan led the Dolphins with 139 tackles, six sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Cooper finished with five interceptions and returned a kickoff for a touchdown his senior season.

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