High School Sports

D’Iberville hoopster rewards South Alabama’s faith, signs with Jaguars

D’Iberville’s Casey Ferguson signs with South Alabama

D'Iberville basketball standout Casey Ferguson signed Wednesday to play at South Alabama.
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D'Iberville basketball standout Casey Ferguson signed Wednesday to play at South Alabama.

Casey Ferguson’s stock was on the rise.

Coming off of an impressive junior campaign where she averaged 21 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.1 steals a night after really only fully committing to basketball the year before, recruiting circles were beginning to take notice of the D’Iberville standout.

Just before she hoped to hit more summer recruiting camps and possibly haul in the megaload of offers, she blew out her left knee, tearing her anterior cruciate ligament and dislocating her knee cap.

Luckily for her, South Alabama had been aware of her skill and still offered. Ferguson committed to the Jaguars in July and made her pledge official on Wednesday, signing with USA.

“They were mainly the first school that showed hope in me after my injury. It was meant to be,” Ferguson said before her signing ceremony at the DHS gym Wednesday. “I was kind of waiting on them to offer me and when they did I couldn’t pass it up. It’s the best thing that could have happened.”

‘She’s driven’

Former Ole Miss coach Renee Ladner, who now leads DHS along with long-time Long Beach coach Terry D’Angelo, believes USA is getting a steal in the 5-foot-10 forward.

“This is because of her tremendous work ethic. It didn’t just happen. Casey is a gym rat. She would stay in here 24 hours a day. She’s driven,” Ladner said. “We have both coached 30-plus years. You don’t get but one or two of those. What she brings to the table is far beyond points and rebounds. She has all of the intangibles. She hates to lose more than she likes to win. And she expects to win everything she does.”

Playing with her idol

Growing up, Ferguson played pretty much any sport — soccer, softball, you name it. She didn’t get serious about basketball, however, until her sophomore year, when Ladner took over the program.

From that point on, Ferguson committed herself to the sport and the potential was obvious. Ferguson said Wednesday she actually looked up to former St. Martin standout Savannah Jones, who is just starting her collegiate career at USA.

“We didn’t really know each other, but she was my idol when I first started playing. I looked at Savannah and said, ‘man, she’s doing all these great things.’ We’re going to become a great partnership when I get over there,” Ferguson said. “She was the best and still is the best on the Coast in my opinion. When I saw her getting things like the Dandy Dozen and making all-star games, getting all these points, great stats, and things, that was just something I wanted to be.”

The accolades are on a slight hold as Ferguson isn’t quite back to 100 percent just yet. Ladner is hopeful Ferguson, whose rehab is apparently two months ahead of schedule, will be back by mid-December.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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