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Originally published: 2013-05-15 13:55:14
Last modified: 2013-05-15 13:55:12

Hickory standout inks with Lees-McRae

by Staff Reports

BANNER ELK -- Darius Malbon, a former Hickory standout, and Mike Chambers have signed National Letters of Intent to play men's basketball at Lees-McRae College.

"I am excited to have Mike and Darius in our program [next season]," Lees-McRae coach Steve Hardin. "Both are proven winners and also proven individual players. Mike and Darius will be excellent representatives of Lees McRae College and the future of our basketball program."

Malbon comes to Lees-McRae from nearby Hickory High School in Hickory, where he helped the Red Tornadoes compile a 98-19 record over the course of his four-year career. The 6-foot-4 point guard has played for three Northwestern Conference 3-A championships. Hickory also made two 3-A regional appearances, and went to the state 3-A championship game in 2012.

Malbon averaged 14 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game during his senior season, while shooting 88 percent from the charity stripe. Malbon has also excelled off the court, posting a 4.6 grade point average in his high school career.

"Darius is a perfect example of a true student athlete," Hardin said. "He excels on the court and also in the classroom. He brings the combination of athleticism and skill to our program. Darius is a coach's dream on the floor and in the classroom. He will be able to play and defend multiple positions, which fits my style of pressure defense basketball. I am blessed that Darius chose to be a part of the Bobcat family."

Chambers joins the Bobcats from North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, where he averaged 20 points and six rebounds per game. The 6-2 shooting guard is ranked eighth out of all shooting guards in the state of North Carolina, according to Elite Hoops Rankings.

Chambers shot 44 percent from three-point range as a senior, while knocking down 80 percent of his free throw attempts.

"Mike was the first recruit I saw as head coach," Hardin said. "I knew during the first workout I wanted him [on our team] because of his work ethic, and his ability to score the basketball in many different ways. Mike can really shoot the basketball and is a floor leader; he fits my system and I expect he will become a good player for us."

"Bobcat Basketball will have all new faces and names next season," Hardin added. "We are basically bringing in a totally new team. I hope my brand of up-tempo basketball will make for an exciting year in Banner Elk. These two young men are the first installment with many more players to come."