Lakin Petty is coming back home.
After just one season with the Eagles basketball program at Meridian Community College, the 6’4 West Point native has decided to transfer to East Mississippi Community College and will be eligible to play this fall.
Petty said he has stayed busy during the summer and getting in basketball shape three times week by running, lifting weights and participating in drills. He says he’s glad to be back.
“I just wanted to be close to home,” he said. “I didn’t like what they were doing over there so I decided to leave.”
The Eagles had their share of off court issues last season. The head coaching position was like a revolving door. George Brooks originally recruited Petty and then left to be an assistant at Mississippi State.
His replacement Jeff Walker, lasted just one season before deciding he wanted to part ways. Last month, the Eagles hired Dale Brown, who had accepted the job but was offered a position at Clark University in Atlanta. Nathan Courtney has since been hired as the new head coach.
“It was frustrating,” Petty said. “You have to go through some changes, but not that many changes in one year.”
The college was also cutting back on scholarships. Petty lost his full ride to Meridian and was given just a partial. That allowed him to change schools and be eligible to play without sitting out. Scholarships last until July 31, so EMCC needed Meridian to officially release him.
West Point head basketball coach Brad Cox said the Lions will be getting a first class player in Petty.
“He’s the type of player that treats practice just like a game,” he said. “He was very vocal and a hard worker.” Cox said he recently talked to EMCC head coach Mark White and he said that was one of the things about Petty he was excited about.
“He is always wanting to get better and always wanting to get in the gym and practice,” Cox said.
EMCC recruited Petty very hard, and named him as one of their six players in the district on the protected list his senior season. White says when Petty decided to transfer they were excited to get him this
The Lions, who finished 25-5 last season and are two-time defending North Division regular-season champions, have quickly become one of the best programs in the state on the hardwood. Petty admits he was a little intimidated when he went down for a workout session.
“As the week went on, I said to myself I wasn’t going to quit,” he said. “I got used use to it after the first two days. It was something different for me, but I told them I would get better and work at it.”
“Lakin has a chance to be a really good player,” White said of Petty’s workout last week. “He’s a great athlete and a really good kid.”
The coaching staff at EMCC are strong believers in individual improvement led by assistant coach Billy Begley. White says Petty needs to work on his ball handling skills and shooting repeatedly from the outside.
“In high school, he played inside because that’s where his team needed him,” he said. “But on the college level he has to be more on the perimeter.”
Petty will be reunited with former Green Wave teammate Curtis Hall, something he’s pretty excited about and looking forward to when basketball gets under way in October. Hall gave him a hard time when Petty told him the good news.
“He told me that’s what I should have done in the beginning,” Petty said.View more articles in: