Manila Senior Lion Blake Wheeler signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Crowley's Ridge College next season. Coaches, family, friends, and teammates were on hand for the signing on Tuesday, April 27.
Wheeler averaged a team-best 15.9 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game from his 2-guard position.
"He stretched the defense and allowed us to get the ball inside better," Manila Coach Bill Taylor said. "Ninety-nine 3s, I mean, that says a lot right there to make that many 3-point shots. He was known for his jump shot, but he can handle the ball as well."
Taylor said he improved in all aspects of the game and became an all-around player.
"He became a better defender than I even think he thought he could," Taylor said. "He became a very good defender and he improved tremendously off the dribble from when I first saw him. I think he had a great senior year. He led us in scoring, takes us from three wins to the state championship game and he was a huge, huge part of that turnaround."
Wheeler was named all-conference as a senior and was also a member of the all-NEA team.
It was in the NEA Tournament where Wheeler first caught the attention of Coach Chris Perkins, CRC coach.
Coach Perkins invited Wheeler to visit the CRC campus. He went and talked to the coach.
"I really liked it and it seemed like the right fit," Wheeler said. "I am excited. It is what I've wanted to do since I was little and I am glad to get the chance."
Coach Perkins expects to sign as many as 10 players in the school's first season as a four-year institution.
Wheeler said he is happy to be part of the first group going to a four year college. He plans to major in sports management or business management.
He is the son of Craig and Amy Wheeler.