Two players from Columbia County are on the roster this season with the Augusta State University basketball program.
Of the pair, it comes as no surprise that one is suiting up for the Jaguars, while the other may be a shock to some observers.
Former Augusta Christian School standout Lee Jones is the likely suspect to be playing college hoops. The 6-3 guard was a first-team All-county selection the past two prep seasons, so many people figured he would move on to the next level.
While several college teams showed interest, Jones chose to walk on at Augusta State. He will play a reserve role this season, but he has a bright future, according to ASU coach Gary Tuell.
"I really like this kid," Tuell said. "He has a chance to be pretty good here before his career is over."
Through ASU's first three games this season, Jones has received limited action, but he has performed well. In just 3.3 minutes per game, he has hit two of three shots from the field (including one of two from 3-point range), is two for two from the free-throw line, for an average of 2.3 points per game.
The second Columbia County native playing for the Jags is former Evans High School star Shane Pangle.
Pangle graduated from Evans in 1996, and was an extremely talented basketball player. He was a member of the varsity team for four seasons, and as a senior was one of the top shooters in the state.
After Pangle poured in an average of 22 points per game in his final campaign, many colleges were interested in his services.
Still, he was better known for his exploits on the baseball diamond with the Knights. In fact, he was considered one of the top high school baseball prospects in the South.
Despite basketball being his first love, Pangle signed a baseball scholarship with the University of Georgia in the fall of 1995.
Unfortunately, things didn't work out in Athens, and Pangle transferred to Georgia Southern.
Following a couple lacklustre seasons in Statesboro, Pangle moved back to Augusta.
Now, seven years after Pangle last played a competitive game of basketball, he is back on the hardwood at Augusta State. He has two years of athletic eligibility left, and is determined to be a factor for the Jaguars.
Coach Tuell doesn't think those expectations are far-fetched.
"I like Shane a lot. When we get him back in playing shape, and he learns our system, he will play a lot for us," Tuell said. "He can really shoot the ball, and he absolutely loves the game."
In his first three games, Pangle collected four rebounds, and the 6-1 guard hit his only field-goal attempt.
Augusta State's next home game is Dec. 30, when the Jaguars take on a very good squad from Winston-Salem State.
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