THERE’S A NEW TEAM IN TOWN: Covington County Elite looks to take AAU ball by storm

Published 12:05 am Friday, April 12, 2019

The Covington County Elite is a new AAU basketball team in town loaded with talented athletes from around the county and they are set to compete in their first tournament this weekend.

Niguel Jones started the team and also serves as the head coach.

“There are some really good athletes around the county and they don’t get a lot of chances to go out to other cities and get exposure,” Jones said of why he started the team. “There were a couple of them that went over to Enterprise to play and when they came back I told them that I would put something together for them.”

Jones said starting an AAU basketball team in Covington County is something he has wanted to do for some time.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Jones said. “To start an AAU team around the community. It keeps a lot of these kids in the gym and out of trouble. They are also learning parts of the game.”

The team has been practicing together for nearly a month and Jones said he has been impressed with the team.

“They are a pretty good group,” Jones said. “They come on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and practice. They have really started to come together as a team. They laugh, joke and play all day. They are just a like a regular high school team.”

Florala’s Rashaad Coleman and Opp’s Bryan Matthews talked about their new AAU team.

“I looking to become a better player,” Coleman said. “Playing with these different guys will make you better. I’m enjoying playing with these guys. It’s been fun getting to know these guys. They are fun to be around.”

Matthews talked about what he hopes to get out of the AAU season.

“I’m looking to be able to help my team out next season by being able to be a better player and also help my team out here,” Matthews said.

Jones said the team is quickly building chemistry.

“The biggest thing I’ve noticed so far has been the friendships,” Jones said. “Some of these guys hadn’t ever seen each other before. We have a group chat and they are on it all day having a good time. When I was picking rooms for the tournament, it was strange. You would think one kid would want this kid in their room and some of the kids were like, ‘No, let me go in this room.’ Friendships are starting to build, chemistry is starting to build and that’s biggest thing for having a successful team.”

Jones said he started the team because he wanted to be able to help the young men in the community.

“My this is, I want to impact every child’s life that I can,” Jones said. “I had guys that impacted my life like Coach (Richard) Robertson and Kevin Anderson. Those guys impacted my life through basketball. That’s my biggest goal with these guys. Impact their life and let them know somebody is behind them at all times.”

The C.C. Elite team will travel to Phenix City this weekend for their first tournament.

“We need the county’s support,” Jones said. “These guys have worked hard in the high schools and outside of school. These guys are probably the best athletes in the county. When we have home tournaments, we want you there. If we have anything you guys in the county can help us with, we need it. These guys deserve the support of the county.”

The team includes Chance Russell, Rashaad Coleman, Ant Stone, Erik Matthews, Bryan Matthews, Justice Palmer, Erik Rudolph, Jaydon Lacey, Omaree Latimer, Isiah Brundige and Brenden Davidson.