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Basketball: JM’s Alers committing to playing for Panthers

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

When Te’Quan Alers recently attended a workout at Virginia Union University, he realized he wasn’t in high school anymore.

Alers stands 6-foot-9 and is accustomed to towering over everyone on the basketball court. But the Panthers featured several players close to his height.

“Everyone was my height,” Alers said Tuesday, “except for maybe the point guard.”

Alers will have to get accustomed to it. He has orally committed to Virginia Union, which is located in Richmond. Alers said the Panthers offered him a scholarship, and he’ll sign a national letter of intent soon.

“I think it’s a good fit,” JM coach Antonio Coghill said. “He went down there and worked out and did real well. I think he can contribute early if he goes in there and works hard.”

Alers was The Free Lance–Star Player of the Year this past season. He averaged 17.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots per game. He helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the Battlefield District regular season and tournament titles, as well as their first appearance in the state tournament in 40 years.

Alers said he also had an opportunity to play for University of Virginia–Wise, an NAIA school.

Virginia Union is perhaps best known for producing future NBA stars Ben Wallace and Charles Oakley. The Panthers have won three NCAA Division II national championships and have made seven Final Four appearances.

However, they haven’t been as much of a factor on the national scene since veteran coach Dave Robbins retired in 2008. They were 15–14 last season.

They’ll be led by first-year head coach Luqman Jaaber this upcoming season. Former NBA standout Anthony Peeler is an assistant.

Alers said he played on the perimeter more than he’s accustomed to when he worked out with the Panthers.

“It’s definitely a change,” Alers said. “But it felt good.”

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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