Bayless Makes His Choice

Two-sport star Omar Bayless scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds to lead the Laurel Golden Tornados to a big basketball victory Friday night. He made it an even bigger night when he got home.

“I just decided,’’ said Bayless. “I got home from the game and talked with my mom and we decided to commit to Arkansas State.”

It has been a whirlwind week for Bayless, who got a mid-afternoon phone call on Monday with a scholarship offer. After a busy Sunday night on Twitter with the Arkansas State coaching staff he was not surprised. On the other end of the phone was A-State coach Blake Anderson had an offer for the 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver from Laurel, Miss.

He spent Wednesday and Thursday in Jonesboro visiting.

“I liked everything,’’ he said, “the coaches, the campus, the town. It was a great visit. It just felt like the place where I needed to be.”

Bayless, who has been offered by Southern Miss, Memphis, Troy and Louisiana-Monroe, was on the Red Wolves’ radar early but re-entered the picture of late.

“They thought I was going to get an offer from Auburn and go there,’’ he said. “Now everything has changed and once they found out I was not going to Auburn they picked up interest.”

After a visit to Troy last weekend, Bayless said he expects the Red Wolves’ Anderson for an in-home visit this weekend.

“I don’t know a lot about Arkansas State but I do know they have won a lot of championships,’’ he said.

Limiting Bayless’ visiting time is basketball season. He is a starting forward on a team that is a strong contender for the Mississippi 5A championship. Averaging 15 points a game, Bayless said the Golden Tornadoes should be a favorite for the state title. He was named by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger as one of the top 12 players in Mississippi.

“We lost in the semis by four in overtime last year,’’ he said. “We have a lot of people back. We expect to be there.”

The school has already captured a state title in football, defeating Oxford 29-26 in the title game. Bayless was named offensive most valuable player for his conference after catching 70 passes for 1,442 yards and 18 touchdowns. His yardage ranked second in the state and his TD total was fourth.