Pearl checks out combo guard

A basketball player who spent most of his life in Tennessee may be coming back to the Volunteer State … this time as a Big Orange signee.

Verice Cloyd grew up in Gallatin, where he played two seasons at College Heights Christian Academy. He transferred to Southern Maryland Christian to get more national exposure but the program folded, leaving the 6-3 combo guard in a bit of a bind. Cloyd wound up attending Genesis One High of Jackson, Miss., where he averaged 17.5 points per game last year. He also played for the Tennessee Travelers, backing up ballyhooed Jamont Gordon.

Victor Evans, head coach at Genesis One, recently told national recruiting analyst Jeff Goodman that Cloyd "can really catch and shoot it – and can also create his own shots. He's silky smooth, and everything comes so easy for him."

Because he spent the past year in an obscure high school program and backing up Gordon in AAU ball, Cloyd was relatively unknown until April, when he made some waves at the Real Deal on the Hill tournament in Arkansas. His strong showing surprised a lot of people but not himself.

"I was young," he told Goodman, "so I knew my time would come."

Apparently, his time has arrived. Cloyd, who once scored 40 points in a game against Goodpasture Christian, says he now has scholarship offers from Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State and Tulane. He says Tennessee has begun showing interest, as well. "I want to go somewhere I can win," Cloyd told Goodman. "That's important to me."

Because Pearl likes to run on offense and press on defense, Tennessee desperately needs to add more speed and athleticism to its backcourt. Verice Cloyd just might be the kind of guy who can provide both.

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